If you are after a car seat that can carry your child in the safest of positions, right up to around 6 years old, then the Axkid brand is a great place to start. We're looking at the Axkid Minikid, which has bags of safety features, is Plus Test approved and can fit in most cars.
Suitability 0-25kg (Axkid recommends 6 months - 6 years/125cm approx.)
Group Group 0+/1/2, Swedish Plus Tested
Fitting Seat Belt and Lower Tethers
Colours Grey, Black, Red, Pink, Green, Petrol
Axkid is a Swedish company, founded in 2009, with a passion for child safety on the roads.
The brand's Minikid is designed for use all the way up to 25kg, which is about 6 years old. It is tested from birth but recommended from around 6 months, or when your little one is sitting up unaided. As a rear-facing only seat, it keeps your child in the safest position possible, while secured with a harness. It is tested to the strictest crash test in the world, the Swedish Plus Test, so you can be assured that it belongs to the safest group of car seats!
One of the things that impressed us most with this seat is the automatic headrest and harness adjustment. Parents can often wonder if their child's harness is in the correct position, but this completely removes that worry. Just place your child in the seat with the harness in the highest position, fasten and tighten and the harness and headrest drop down into the perfect position for the child. It can also be locked into place with the head support brake at the very top of the headrest.
To make children of different ages comfortable, the seat has five recline positions using the front leg. Axkid advises that the seat should be in the most upright position as possible for safety, but babies need to be more reclined when younger to keep their head within the headrest. The headrest is deep and padded and so helps to keep the passenger's head completely supported and we haven't noticed any head loll whilst testing. As the recline position is adjusted as part of the installation, you can't alter it during travel or when your little one falls asleep.
For a car seat that can last up to 25kg, it has some flexible fitting options. If you need to fit in a smaller vehicle, then the Minikid can be positioned on the seat, right up to the backrest. Or if you have more room and would like to allow extra leg room for an older child, it can be placed towards the end of the seat, with the heels on the base just over the edge. It can also be fitted in most cars on any of the three seats on the back row, or the front passenger seat, as long as the airbags are turned off. You will just attach the lower anchor straps in a different position. As well as a 2-year-old, we have also tested the seat with a tall 5-year-old, who had plenty of room in the seat, as well as leg room. She loved the comfort it offered!
Axkid recommends that you stay with an infant carrier until baby can sit unaided and then move into the Minikid. For a seat suitable for use from 6 months, it does have a very upright position. You can purchase an angle adjusting wedge to put under the front leg and further increase the recline. There is a small padded baby cushion already in the seat for use with younger children.
For the best protection in a side collision, the Axkid Minikid comes with an ASIP (Axkid Side Impact Protection) cushion that connects to the side closest to the door. Just unzip the fabric at the side that you need it and slide the connector on. We did find that this cushion is very thick, so brings it very close to the side of the door. This may be a different fit with different shaped cars and doors and could push the car seat over slightly when the door is closed.
Because this is a car seat that has passed the rigorous testing of the Swedish Plus Test, there is a little more to fitting it in to your vehicle. First thing is to pass the vehicle belt through the seat belt slots at the front of the seat, tighten, and then take it through the blue belt lock-off clips and fasten. If your car doesn't already have them, you have to install the provided lower anchor straps - usually to the rail of the seat in front. These pieces of webbing just thread under so that you can attach the upper tether straps. They pull out from the Minikid just like a seat belt so that you can adjust to the correct length and tension. By pushing on the top of the seat, the tether straps will self-tighten for a solid fit in the car. There is also a support leg to adjust to the floor. It's good that you can brace against the front seats or dashboard if necessary, to allow for more room for other passengers.
While using the seat, we have found that the harness straps easily twist, and although it's an easy fix to correct them, it can become annoying. Axkid has confirmed that this is something they have addressed and stock with the new, changed harness that shouldn't twist is becoming available now.
The Minikid is quite a heavy seat, so may not be the one for you if you have to move it regularly. Saying that, you can purchase additional lower tether straps should you want to keep a set fitted in two cars. It is worth noting that this weight issue is common to the majority of ISOFIX seats beyond the infant stage, with many weighing in closer to 15kg.
All recent research shows that the safest way for children to travel is rear-facing for as long as possible. The Axkid Minikid allows this right up to around 6 years old, so is currently one of the longest extended rear-facing seats out there.Although it takes a little more time and effort to install the seat in the vehicle, it's not as hard as you may first think, and really does offer a solid fit once installed correctly. The self-tensioning tethers on the seat help to make sure that you have it as tight as possible.
We loved the automatically adjusting harness and headrest! We have seen so many parents travelling with their child in a car seat where the harness is at completely the wrong height level! Either too low or too high. This removes any worry about this and ensures that the fit is always perfect. It also made our 2-year-old tester's position in the seat much comfier, with his head very well supported - even when napping.
We give the Axkid Minikid 5 out of 5 stars