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BeSafe Stretch Review

Review Overview

BeSafe Stretch Review
Expert Reviewer
78 Reviews
Reviewed On: 30 Aug 2022
Kelly Walker
Expert Reviewer
Kelly's Verdict:

Around since 1963, BeSafe are known for providing car seats that offer the best in safety, and have an ethos that focuses on rear facing for longer. With their new car seat, the BeSafe Stretch, they’ve gone even further with this, offering rear-facing up to 125cm and 36kg.

Review Summary

Summary

We have really enjoyed reviewing the BeSafe Stretch! They've done a great job of offering a car seat that not only gives you great longevity in a safer position, but also in a more accessible way, as it is intuitive to install and easy to use.

The fact that you can use it all the way from six months up to around seven years old is brilliant and very cost effective. At £449 its more expensive than some other seats, but still only £64 a year.

A big game changer that will make a difference to parents, is the reclining function that can be adjusted on the move and as and when the child needs it!

Even though its an easier ERF seat to install, there is more to the fitting process, so it might not be a car seat for everyone. But if you're wanting a harnessed car seat that offers rear-facing for the maximum time, DEFINITELY check out the BeSafe Stretch.

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£ 99 . 99
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What’s good
  • Extended rear facing right up to 36kg
  • Lots of leg room
  • Intuitive installation
  • Reclines on the go
What’s not so good
  • Still more to installation than an ISOFIX car seat
  • Higher price point
Watch our review video:

Review Content

BeSafe Stretch Review

What’s in the box?

• BeSafe Stretch car seat
• Brace
• Lower Tether Straps
• SIP+
• Instruction manual

The RRP of the BeSafe Stretch is from £449 depending on colours.

Colours

The BeSafe Stretch is available in Black Cab, Metallic Melange, Cloud Melange, Sea Green, Anthracite Mesh, Peak Mesh and Premium Car Interior.

Specifications

• Car seat group: R129
• Fitting: Seat belt, Lower Tethers and Support Leg - Harness for the child
• Usage: 61-125cm, 6 months up to approx. 7 years old, max. 36kg
• Weight: 10kg

The BeSafe Stretch is the newest R129 and Swedish Plus Tested car seat that offers extended rear-facing - from six months up to a potential seven years old! We were keen to get hold of this seat and test it out with a four and seven year old, to see how easy it is to install and how long it really lasts.

Installation

Although lots of parents look for ISOFIX car seats these days, it does limit the use of the car seat to only being fitted on seats that have ISOFIX points installed - usually the outer two seats on the back row. It also limits the weight of the child as ISOFIX can only hold a maximum weight of 33kg, with the seat and child combined.

As the Stretch can be used for longer, it uses the vehicle seat belt, lower tethers and support leg to install, meaning that you have more options on where to install it in the car. Even the front passenger seat or middle seat if that works better for your family!

QR codes are appearing more and more on modern car seats, and the BeSafe Stretch is no exception. The QR code on the side of the seat opens the website to installation videos, USP’s, a contact BeSafe area, place to register your car seat and you can download the manual if you need it too! The installation videos are great, and show it being fit in an actual car which really helps. So handy when you're installing the car seat for the first time, or want a refresh and aren’t sure where your instructions are. Well done BeSafe.

BeSafe Stretch Review QR Code

When you get the Stretch out of the box, you’ll first need to install the brace into the seat. Just hold the button at the front while sliding both tubes into the openings on the seat. There are five positions to choose from when deciding how much leg space your child needs, just squeeze the button again to move. We found it easiest to adjust this before even putting it in the car. We were also pleasantly surprised by the weight of the seat, at only 10kg it’s easy to manoeuvre and you can hold on to the sides of the seat to lift too.

BeSafe Stretch Review Brace

You can now pull the support leg all the way out until it locks into the 90 degree angle, which is the usable position.

First job is to install your anchor straps onto the rails of the front seat or around the seat itself. Some cars may have them fitted to the car already, but this is usually only Volvo models. In our test vehicle, we have had to go through the seat and round, as the rails are actually blocked in on one side. It’s usually just a case of threading through under the rail and round and then threading it through the gaps in the material of the strap, as close to the floor as possible. Extra tether straps are available if the seat is to be used in more than one vehicle to save time re-installing.

BeSafe Stretch Review Lower Tethers

Depending on whether you are installing in the front or back seat, you will need to start the installation differently. For the back seat, move the front seat as far forward as possible to give yourself plenty of room to install. For the front seat, make sure the front airbag is deactivated and move the front seat so that the back of the child seat braces on the dashboard. If it won’t reach, make sure there’s at least a 25cm gap.

Fitting in the back, place the Stretch on to the vehicle seat with the brace touching the backrest of the vehicle seat. You can now take off the yellow cap from the end of the floor support, as the alarm will stop as soon as you’ve pushed it firmly to the vehicle floor. There’s a button on the side of the leg to press and that will extend it in and out as needed and a green indicator on the foot to show that it’s touching the floor.

BeSafe Stretch Review Front Seat

Your next step is the vehicle seat belt - pull it out from the start so that you’ve got some length to work with and hold the two sections together. Then start feeding the buckle through the belt guide at one side following the green indicators, through the tensioner lock off, which is the green clip in the centre, and then through the second belt guide at the other side. Once all the way through, you can buckle in. Make sure that the seatbelt is straight and follows the guides.

It’s really important, as with any belt installed car seats, to take all slack out of the belt. First pull on the shoulder belt near the buckle to remove it from the waist section, then pull on the shoulder belt on the door side, while holding the seat in a secure position. It should feel really solid in the car already.

After the belt is tight through both guides, and the belt is sat through the tensioner lock off, you need to turn the tensioner knob on the back of the seat, clockwise. This slowly pushes it out and closes over the belt. We like that you can keep turning it until it clicks and won’t tension anymore, so you know it is tightened sufficiently and removes user error. It does take quite a few turns though, so just keep going until you hear it.

Finally, connect your lower tethers to the anchor points that you created at the beginning. The Stretch has auto retract tethers with a release button above both tethers, so you’ll need to press this before you can pull them out. This makes it a two handed job, rather than one, and we did find that we needed to go to the other side of the car to do the one on the inside. The tethers just clip on to the anchor points, and should be tight. By wiggling the seat slightly, they will automatically tension and tighten themselves. Make sure that the tethers have extended enough so that you can see the yellow line on each strap. It should be a case of bringing the tethers down to the anchor points, rather than the other way round.

BeSafe Stretch Review Seat Belt
BeSafe Stretch Review Seat Belt 2
BeSafe Stretch Review Tensioner Knob

If you have installed the car seat on the back row of seats, move the front seat backwards, so that it is in light contact with the back of the BeSafe Stretch. If this isn’t possible, you need to go the other way to create at least 25cm between them. If you have installed the car seat with more leg room like us, this shouldn’t be a problem, as we have had to move the car seat fully forwards and it is still touching.

As part of the extra safety that this car seat offers, it comes with removable SIP+. This provides up to 20% extra side impact protection over and above the protection already built into the seat. This side impact protection cushion fits to the doorside of the vehicle and just slides into place. If the seat is too close to the door, it may be that you can’t use it, but don’t worry, it also has integrated side impact protection too.

BeSafe Stretch Review SIP+
Day-to-day use

To give you great longevity and last from six months to around seven years old, this is a car seat that needs to be flexible and grow with your child. It comes with a two part bottom and body insert that should be used from 61cm up to two years old. The body insert can be removed earlier if they don’t physically fit with it anymore. As they needed to be removed for our testers, we haven’t needed to use them, but they are both nicely padded, with the bottom section being thick and squidgy to lift the child and give extra support.

BeSafe Stretch Review Insert

Most extended rear-facing car seats, that go past the standard 18kg, have a recline position that you choose at installation stage and can’t be adjusted at nap times. Not with the BeSafe Stretch though! The recline can be done at any point and goes from pretty upright to a really great reclined position for younger children. Having the capability of being used from six months, it’s likely that your little one will have lots of car naps, so we love this! Even our four year and seven year old testers sometimes fall asleep in the car on longer journeys, so it will be a feature that gets lots of use and will be much appreciated. In this reclined position, both testers were still comfortable and had nearly as much leg room as the upright position. It didn't affect the fit of the car seat or the room if took up at all. 

BeSafe Stretch Review Sleeping Reclined
BeSafe Stretch Review Up Right
BeSafe Stretch Review Reclined

Putting your child in the car seat is really easy, especially when you have it set up with the extended leg room. This meant that our testers could climb in and out themselves, with plenty of space at the sides to get in.

The harness and headrest have 10 positions to go through, and move up and down smoothly using the one handed button at the back. Making sure that you don’t have a fight with the harness, there are strong magnets on each of the shoulder pads which connect with the sides of the seat to keep it open.

BeSafe Stretch Review Harness

The biggest reason that people give us here at PX as to why they want to forward face their child sooner, is the fact that the child’s leg room is limited when rear-facing. It really isn’t an issue with the Stretch, as it has fantastic leg room, all the way up to 26cm! As our testers are older, we’ve reviewed with maximum leg room and there is plenty of room for their legs to be fully bent and supported on the vehicle seat, between the car seat and the vehicle seat back. This did mean though, that the front seat was pushed fully forwards, so bear in mind that there may not be much leg room for a passenger in the front seat. If this is an issue for you, you also have the option of installing the car seat on the front seat and have it touching the dashboard instead.

As we’ve mentioned, the Stretch is light for a car seat that lasts so long and weighs only 10kg. This is great if you need to move the seat out of or between cars regularly.

BeSafe Stretch Review Seven Year Old
BeSafe Stretch Review Four Year Old
Safety Features

BeSafe are known for their safe car seats, so you know that there will be plenty of safety features included as standard. The Stretch complies with the latest R129 regulation and has also passed the world’s toughest crash test, the Swedish PLUS test, which lots of parents will be looking for in their search for a safe rear facing car seat.

As it is proven that rear-facing car seats are five times safer than forward facing, BeSafe have designed the Stretch to give you this position for longer - right up to around seven years old, 125cm and a maximum of 36kg. More and more children that visit us are reaching weight limits sooner, so this gives parents another option and doesn’t mean that they have to use a high back booster before they are ready.

The Stretch is designed with a unique external frame that is there to bear the forces in a frontal crash. The spine of the shell is also rigid to make sure that the child is kept in a stable position on impact.

After frontal impacts, side impacts are the second most common source of serious injuries for children. As cars don’t have the same energy-absorbing crumple zone to the sides as they have in the front, children are especially vulnerable in side impacts and it is crucial that their child car seat shields them from the impact and absorbs the forces especially in the head area. The headrest of the stretch features Dynamic Force Absorber, which is a state-of-the-art solution made of special materials and a construction of different flex-zones. Its advanced design allows for a controlled bending in the inner area while staying more rigid in the outer frame, through which forces are optimally absorbed.

Although it passes the safety tests without it, the additional side impact protection SIP+ cushion easily slides onto the car door side of the Stretch, to offer even more protection.

BeSafe has switched to durable materials like aluminium and EPP to make the Stretch lighter, sturdier and capable of lasting longer. They've even given it a lifetime of around 15 years, which is easily enough to last two children! If a repair is needed during that time, they've tried to make it easier to replace parts and make the materials recyclable once its finished life as a car seat. 

Our verdict

We have really enjoyed reviewing the BeSafe Stretch! They've done a great job of offering a car seat that not only gives you great longevity in a safer position, but also in a more accessible way, as it is intuitive to install and easy to use.

The fact that you can use it all the way from six months up to around seven years old is brilliant and very cost effective. At £449 its more expensive than some other seats, but still only £64 a year.

A big game changer that will make a difference to parents, is the reclining function that can be adjusted on the move and as and when the child needs it!

Even though its an easier ERF seat to install, there is more to the fitting process, so it might not be a car seat for everyone. But if you're wanting a harnessed car seat that offers rear-facing for the maximum time, DEFINITELY check out the BeSafe Stretch.

BeSafe Stretch Review Four Year Old 2
BeSafe Stretch Review Seven Year Old 2
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