Faye is now 8 months old but being on the 98th percentile for height she is one long baby! Even though she is still well within the weight category of her current baby carseat we have been thinking about moving her to the next stage one for some time. If memory serves (and it often doesn’t these days!) we didn’t move Aiden across untill he was around one. The reason we waited a bit longer was because I was researching the heck out of rear facing carseats. I had read a very simple statistic and it had stuck. Rear facing car seats are five times safer. Five times. It was a statistic that once researched, I found was not disputed anywhere; they were and remain five times safer. Well that is a pretty simple statistic to process and with one simple outcome for us; we would get Aiden a rear facing carseat. It proved to be a little easier said then done though as ‘extended’ rear facing is not the norm in the UK yet (although it’s popularity is increasing and we are beginning to catch up with the Scandinavian countries who have seen rear facing up to at least four or five years old as absolutely commonplace for decades.)
It took us so long with Aiden to decide upon the right carseat that I was so relieved this time when Diono got in touch to tell me about the Radian 5; a carseat which amongst it’s other features, boasts rear facing capabilities from birth to around six years. So a few weeks ago two absolutely huge boxes arrived from Diono. Aiden and Faye had a great time pretending they were anything from trains to tractors. All was going swimmingly. Diono are a very reputable company with many many years in the business so we were pretty confident from the outset we would be happy with the quality of the chair. And we were. There wer however two fateful errors we made which as you install a carseat only a minimal amount of times in your life, I think we are allowed to make, but that I am going to tell you about so hopefully you can avoid them. Error number one: Keith decided to build the carseat whilst the children were awake…
Do not, I repeat DO NOT try assembling this (or infact any piece of technically challenging kids goods) when said kid(s) is/are awake. It took Keith over 3 hours to assemble. Keith remained surprisingly calm during the whole time although I was losing it a bit on his behalf as Aiden tried to climb into the half made seat for the zillionth time.
So as Keith did the assembly I thought I’d let him give his thoughts. He reported back that firstly you should chuck out all the instructions in other languages, very handy for the folk who speak another language but they just make the whole process seem even more daunting if you leave them all in a pile. You are still left with a fair amount of instructions and Keith said that whilst he could understand them, they tended to overcomplicate the process in the lengths they went to. In fact his feedback overall on the assembly was that is was overcomplicated. He did however concede that there was most likely a very good safety reason for it being so complicated to assemble and that as the seat was good for any child from newborn to approximately six years old, all the adjustments needed were probably there to allow this transition to take place. This he said is why he remained so calm; he could do the instructions, there were just a lot so wait until the kids are in bed!
After three hours Keith had had enough. He said the seat was safe enough to send any kids to the moon in which is surely a good thing. The chair felt exceptionally well build and secure. It has quite the weight to it and is absolutely huge. It is also so so comfy and soft feeling. So we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves and decided to fit it to the car the next day DURING NAP TIME!
Well the best laid plans etc. Keith got called away to work. No matter I thought, I can do this myself. And I would have, and you can too if I hadn’t have discovered error number two. You see car seats either attach safely to your car using iso fix, the seat belt or a tether system. Aiden’s uses iso fix. Faye’s baby seat uses the seat belt. The Diono Radian 5? It uses a tether system. This is actually a pretty common system but wouldn’t you know it that one year the type of car we have decided not to include it is the very model we own. I spent quite some time thinking I was definitely doing something wrong but called the dealership eventually to have them confirm my suspicions, we can’t use this car seat in our car. So some very simple (and probably pretty obvious although not to us it seems) advice would be CHECK THE COMPATABILITY OF CAR AND CAR SEAT FIRST!
Not willing to admit defeat just yet (but also not really up for buying a new car) we hatched a plan. My sister and her partner are in the process of adopting currently so will no doubt be needing a carseat although for which age of child they do not know. Well ta da the Diono Radian 5 has got them coveted for 6 years. Skip forward a few weeks to last weekend when we all met up for my Mum’s 60th birthday celebrations and us two sisters successfully installed the seat into her car and took little miss Faye for a spin as test subject.
Her smile says it all really. This is a very comfy seat. It supported her well even when she looked tiny totey in it. Both my sister and I love the plum colour. A nice variant on black but still dark enough to cover any little spill stains. The seat is actually available in five different colours.
The seat has additional padded inserts for newborns that are removed as your child grows. These inserts are definitely needed for smaller babies but it is worth noting than you can not fold the seat shut for easy transportation (another top feature if the seat) between cars or on holiday sat, with these inserts still in.
The Diono Radian 5 comes with one cup holder but the chair has the option to hold four in total (for which you can buy additional.) Handy for longer journey’s or to hold a variety of things other that drinks such as snacks and toys.
The seat doesn’t have an adjustable recline which was my main disappointment with it. We always time any long distance travel in with naps and as I do drive on my own with two kids in the back when Keith is away and I visit my folks, I do want a car seat that allows for the kids to lie back and get a good sleep at nap time. My sister didn’t seem bothered at all by the lack of recline and is of the opinion that kids will sleep if they are tired (she works with kids and is actually often right but don’t tell her that!)
The Diono Radian 5 is currently down from £295 to £225 on the Diono website here.
Disclaimer: We were gifted the Diono Radian 5 Car Seat in exchange for a honest and fair review. As ever, all opinions given are our own.