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The Britax TRIFIX review

Review Overview

The Britax TRIFIX review
Expert Reviewer
14 Reviews
Reviewed On: 12 Jun 2012
William Studholme
Expert Reviewer
William's Verdict:

Britax have produced what they believe to be their safest front facing car seat yet, the TRIFIX. Beautifully engineered, well constructed and using ISOFIX+, we have had one on test for some time to see if the TRIFIX lives up to the billing.

Review Summary

Summary

The TRIFIX has many features designed to improve safety: The ISOFIX+ system ensuring the optimum location in your vehicle and the SI-Pad side impact foam that is designed to deform in a crash to name but two. These make the TRIFIX a very compelling option if you want the ultimate in car seat safety for your little one.

What’s good
  • Child comfort
  • Flawless build quality
  • Child safety
What’s not so good
  • Harness straps get in way when putting child in
  • Not all cars have ISOFIX+ points

Review Content

The Britax TRIFIX review
What's in the box

Not much actually! The huge box contains the TRIFIX car seat and numerous copies of instructions in several languages.

Installation in your vehicle

The TRIFIX is one of a new generation of ISOFIX+ car seats that uses a top tether that attaches to a 3rd ISOFIX point in the rear of the car. It is not stated that you can use the TRIFIX in a vehicle without the 3rd ISOFIX point, so bear this in mind before purchasing.

The instructions Britax provide are clear and comprehensive and if these are not enough, they also provide a video demonstration on their website and on You Tube. Of course, we would always recommend having a trained installer fit your car seat for you the first time.

With a careful eye on the instructions, I had the seat securely fitted within 10 minutes.

The ISOFIX connectors pull out of the base with a strap and easily snap on to the ISOFIX connectors in the car. The seat has two indicators (one each side) showing you that the ISOFIX connectors have been successfully engaged.

 

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You must then connect the top ‘V' tether strap to the third ISOFIX location point in your vehicle. For a full vehicle compatibility list visit the Britax website. The top tether strap has a neat green indicator strip that shows when the tether has been tightened correctly. I like ideas such as this as they help provide you with an added feeling of security that you are fitting the seat correctly.

Overall the seat is simple to fit, the only downside being at 10.3 kgs it is quite heavy to lift in and out of the car.

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Safety and Security

We are not here to test the TRIFIX in a full crash test and neither (we hope) will you. However, you can tell a lot from the design of a product.

It has to be said that the TRIFIX looks incredibly snug and secure. Harry looks particularly well protected from side impact and the TRIFIX incorporates polystyrene foam in the shoulder area that is designed to deform in an impact. Britax call this SI-Pad Technology.

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Other safety elements include the V tether which is a ‘superior top tether system which intelligently absorbs energy in proportion to the accident' and Performance Chest Pads which are designed toreduce your child's forward movement in the event of an impact'. 

 All in all, the TRIFIX design inspires confidence in its safety. When you add to this, the 3rd  ISOFIX anchor point, TRIFIX really ticks all boxes.

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Day to day use

I can safely say that I have now officially covered all aspects of use of the TRIFIX including stripping and washing the fabrics! (More on this later).

One of the key indicators of any product designed for children is if your child is happy when they are using it. News is good here, Harry is very happy in the TRIFIX, he can see out and is clearly comfortable. The first time we used the seat Harry ended up having a nap for an hour and this, for us, is a good indication about what he thinks!

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Doing the 5 point harness buckle up is simple, and can be done almost one handed. The height adjustment of the harness and the head rest is done by a simple tug on a plastic ring, with both the headrest and harness sliding easily to their new positions.

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I do, however, have a couple of small niggles.

The retainers designed to hold the straps open when you put your child in, do not really work. You end up putting your child in the seat and have to fish behind them for the buckles.

The other niggle is a little bit more of an inconvenience but easily solved nonetheless.

The TRIFIX itself is very deep, the front edge sits quite close to the back of the front seats, this is where the single strap to tighten the TRIFIX harness is. If the TRIFIX is placed behind the driver or the passenger seat and the seat is set back, tightening the harness becomes difficult. The small gap between car seat and front seat makes it difficult to obtain the ideal harness tension as it is tricky to pull the tensioning strap forward. The solution is simple but perhaps a bit of a faff. Move the front seat forward before buckling your child in. 

Of course, this may not be a niggle in all vehicles as interior design is different for every type of car, plus, if the driver sits close to the wheel or the passenger seat is kept in a forward position, then the problem disappears.

Removing and cleaning the fabrics, is very easy. I should know, Harry had a little projectile accident the other day causing me to have to strip down the TRIFIX and wash the fabrics in the washing machine.

Fabric removal is detailed in the instructions. The headrest cover slides off and the main seat cover peels off after this. Both can be washed at 30 degrees. The only downside is that you cannot remove the shoulder pads as they are permanently attached to the shoulder belts. Once the fabrics are off, you can clearly see all the protective foam (now that is clever) and the main seat unit. The straps and seat are simple to clean with a little soapy water.

One neat touch when cleaning the seat, you can remove the main buckle. This is perfect for giving it a REALLY good clean and getting the bits out as I had to do (nice!).

Last but not least the seat tilt mechanism is simple to use. Depress the button and lift the front edge to tilt it backwards. The TRIFIX does not have a huge degree of tilt, but it is adequate and we had no complaints from Harry. 

Our verdict...

The TRIFIX has many features designed to improve safety: The ISOFIX+ system ensuring the optimum location in your vehicle and the SI-Pad side impact foam that is designed to deform in a crash to name but two. These make the TRIFIX a very compelling option if you want the ultimate in car seat safety for your little one.

In day to day use the 5 point harness is a frustration. I would like to see an improvement in the method used to hold the harness open when you are putting your child in. And, for me, the fact I have to move the front seat forward when buckling my child in to tighten the harness effectively, is something of a chore. However I am sure this has a lot to do with rear seat design. I would recommend you try fitting the seat in your vehicle before purchasing.

The TRIFIX really stands out when it comes to child comfort and it has to be said, you can only describe the build quality of the seat as flawless. In addition, Britax have paid maximum attention to child safety and this really shines through.

Should you buy a TRIFIX?  If you want the ultimate in build quality, safety and security for your child and can afford the £319.00 price tag, then I suggest you make sure you have the TRIFIX on your hit list!

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