When it comes to car safety, I’m a bit of an over-thinker. We had our son just as new regulations were coming in to play and there was a huge push on rear-facing being the safest way for little ones to travel, right through until as long as possible. For him, we duly purchased an ISOFIX base and baby travel seat. This served us wonderfully, allowing us ease of getting him in and out of the car, combined with the ability to use the same seat on the days he was with my parents due to being able to use a seatbelt to keep it in place the rest of the time.
Then he outgrew it. Our option at home was simple, we bought the toddler seat that fitted the same base that we currently had. He remained rear facing with an option to move to forward facing when older. All was well. Only this carseat didn’t have an option to attach it via seatbelt. Suddenly, my parents were facing a transportation nightmare.
They didn’t want an ISOFIX base permanently in their car or the expense and whilst the idea of lugging it in and out each time crossed our minds, we quickly realised we needed an easier option. There are plenty of seats that would affix via seatbelt and allow him to be forward facing but what about those who wanted to practice extended rear facing and didn’t have the option of ISOFIX?
Introducing the Diono Radian 5 car seat
Diono are a US born company that pride themselves on two things; safety and smiles. They know that your little one’s safety is paramount but that also, small improvements, tweaks and extras can make all the difference. The Radian 5 is their all-in-one car seat, designed to take you from birth through to approximately seven years of age. If you’re into your car seat groupings, that’s groups 0, 0+, 1 and 2 all in one seat.
What’s so special about it?
The Diono Radian 5 offers extended rear facing from 0-25kg (around seven years of age) and front facing from 9-25kg (6+ months – seven years). Not only that, it allows you to use a five point harness for even longer when forward facing; something that’s less common than you’d think. Together, you get increased safety for your child and flexibility to do whatever suits you best (no judgement here!).
The Radian 5 has an all-steel construction that can be niftily folded for storage or transportation when not in use. This steel construction provides impressive crash protection, whilst the seat design offers great side impact support due to it’s straight sides; your child shouldn’t leave the seat. With a memory foam seat and impressive padding that can be added to with various supports depending on your child’s age, it’s a true all rounder. Diono couple their seat with an industry leading Lifetime Warranty, meaning you’re guaranteed peace of mind.
What did we love?
I love the little touches. The seat comes as standard with additional straps to transition your child as they grow (after all, a baby needs different padding to a child). There’s a cup holder included as well as space for up to three others, making it great for long journeys and preventing those never-ending cries for more drink or snacks. The seat’s design is not only ultra-protective, it’s also narrower than other standard carseats which can be a blessing for those needing to get more than two seats into the rear of their car. Finally, they really have thought of everything. There’s a booster pad if your carseat has got too much angle, a support pad to go against the rear of the front seats to minimise impact and plenty of instructions to ensure you get it right, whichever seating combination you go for.
What could be better?
That all-steel construction is great but heavy and whilst the seat is narrow, it’s still a big chair to get in and out. With that in mind, it’s not ideal if you’re looking for a temporary seating solution (say for Grandparents). Despite the mountains of instructions, it’s also a little confusing the first time you put it into place. Diono have really tried to cover everything with step by step instructions and in doing so have almost made it too confusing. But persevere and you’ll get there in the end!
I love the concept behind the Diono Radian 5, in reality it didn’t quite live up to my expectations at first. I wanted it to be as easy to use as the ISOFIX and found it clunky and difficult to get into position. Having tried it in both of our cars, I’d say it’s more suited to cars with flatter rear seats rather than those on an angle/more of a bucket shape. This would allow a far easier fit without the need for the under seat pad which is an optional extra.
That said, it really does feel like a secure seat and I’m confident that that heavy steel construction would offer substantially more protection than our other car seat. Finally, for extended rear seating, this one really does lead the pack. It’s the only seat I’ve found that offers that without the need for ISOFIX, introducing a whole different type of car owner the option to practice rear facing with their child. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this is his ‘happy in the car’ face! I promise!