Convertible car seats that cover a wide age range are becoming more popular with parents, and this time we're taking a look at Diono's version that is also rear facing right up to six years old!
With over 100 products to their name, Diono are well known for their baby accessories, but they also have two car seats. We are taking a closer look at one in our Diono Radian 5 review.
What's in the box?
• Radian Seat
• From birth harness pads
• Super grip harness pads
• Crotch pad
• Safe stop
• Tether strap
• Tether connector
• Rear facing base
• Cup holder
• Infant cocoon
• Rear facing back pad
• Instruction manual
• Fitting guide
The RRP of the Diono Radian 5 is £295
The Diono Radian 5 comes in Black, Lagoon and Plum
• Car seat group: Group 0+/1/2
• Child weight: Birth-25kg
• Child's age: Birth-6y approx.
• Weight: 11kg
It's understandable to feel slightly nervous when opening the box of the Radian 5. There are quite a few bits to the car seat. Rather than it arriving all in one piece, there are different parts for forward or rear facing.
As the only car seat that can be folded for easier transportation and storage, the first thing that you need to do is unfold it. Laying the car seat flat on its back, you need to unfasten the red strap that is Velcroed around one of the gold bars in the centre of the seat. You can then pull down the seat section of the Radian 5 down until you hear it click loudly into place. Then you just need to pull the strap at the bottom of the seat until the harness tightens, to ensure that you haven't caught it in the folding hinge.
Before fitting the car seat into the vehicle, you will need to customise it to fit your child. The five point harness has five different height settings, but it does need rethreading through the back of the seat to adjust. There are also two positions for the buckle, which again needs threading through the bottom of the seat and placed depending on the weight of your child. We found this quite tricky to get to and it is easier to reach with the bottom of the seat partially folded.
So that it can accommodate children of all shapes and sizes, up to 25kg, the sides of the seat can be pushed in or out to give more space for their legs. The headrest is also adjustable - when the harness is used in the lower three positions, the head support should be in the top position, and when you reach the top two harness positions, the bottom of the head support should be placed between the child's jaw line and shoulders.
We love that the Radian 5 can be installed into the car rear facing until your child is around six years old. Fitting the car seat rear facing means that you need the detachable base attaching to the bottom of the seat. This easily clips on to the bottom of the car seat and locks into place with a metal locking pin. Using this with the seat keeps it in the reclined position required for rear facing and as a from birth seat. Once attached, place the Radian 5 in the vehicle with the feet of the base pushed up tight to the back of the seat. Next feed the seat belt through the hole in the bottom of the car seat. This isn't the largest gap so it might be a squeeze if you have large hands! Push the seat down and tighten the seat belt, then attach the red clip on the door side around both parts of the belt.
Although Volvo vehicles are the only ones that offer rear facing tether anchors, it is still possible to make one in your car with the tether connector that comes included with the Radian 5. The rear facing tethering acts as an anti-rebound feature to eliminate the motion of the car seat towards the back of the vehicle. It's simple enough to attach the short black strap to the track of the front seat. Just push the front seat forward to expose the closest track to the car seat and pass the strap underneath. Then pass the metal ring through the looped end to create a slip knot. That's all you need to do, and then it's a case of connecting the Radian 5's top tether to the metal ring. It will need tightening until the indicator turns green. The front seat needs moving right back so that it touches the car seat. If the front seat can't be moved back enough to touch the Radian 5, an EPS foam back pad is provided, which attaches to the car seat with two pins. A quick wiggle is needed to make sure that there isn't any movement of more than an inch each way.
Though rear facing is the safest way for a child to travel, you can also use the seat forward facing from 9-25kg. To fit in the car forward facing, place it on the vehicle seat and hang the tether strap over the back of the seat. Then feed the seat belt through the hole in the base of the seat and fasten into the buckle. It then needs passing through the top red belt guide on the door side. While pushing down on the seat, tighten the seat belt as much as possible. You'll then need to lock the red clip on both parts of the seat belt on the door side to ensure a secure fit. Finally just attach the tether strap to the anchorage point on the back of the seat, which will be accessed through your boot. This needs tightening until the indicator turns green. To make sure that there is limited movement in the seat once fitted, just pull the car seat at the bottom. It should move less than an inch from side to side. Depending on the angle of your vehicle's seat and backrest, it is possible to adjust the base of the car seat before fitting.
Diono provide two sets of harness pads - one from birth to 15kg and one from 15-25kg. Te seat can be used with the five point harness right up to 25kg. Diono call the 15-25kg harness pads ‘super grippy' and are to be used when the seat is forward facing to reduce the effect of crash impact on the child's shoulders. This higher weight limit in a harness is thanks to the installation with the vehicle's seat belt, which can hold more weight than ISOfix points. The Safe Stop strap is also to be used for forward facing after 15kg. It connects to the back of the harness to absorb more energy in an accident. To lengthen the harness, there is a metal lever to lift at the front of the seat, and then a strap underneath to pull to tighten.
The numerous safety features on the Radian 5 are equally matched with smaller features to make the child comfortable. One cup holder is included for the child to keep their snacks or drink, but it is possible to attach up to four! All fabrics used are lovely and soft, with the memory foam making it super comfortable for the child. For use from birth, there is the thickly padded, two-part infant cocoon which offers protection for young babies, specifically additional support around the head, torso and legs. This can be removed as the child grows.
The Radian 5 is a heavy car seat, and it's not surprising as it comprises of a fully steel frame. This means that it provides extra resistance in a collision and enables it to be so much slimmer than other car seats. The frame is also lined with an EPP foam to absorb the crash forces. Diono are so sure of their car seat's construction, that they offer a lifetime warranty (up to 10 years) on the Radian 5.
The Diono Radian 5 is a very safe and clever car seat. Its biggest selling points are the fact that it can be used from birth to around six years old, all the while being rear facing. Rear facing is proven to be five times safer for young children, so this is a must for many parents now. It can be also used with the five point harness for the full term, which keeps little ones safe and secure up to the 25kg - very appealing to parents who feel that their child is not ready for the adult seat belt at around four years old. We really like the shape of the Radian 5. Multiple children in the car can sometimes be a squeeze, but because of the slim width of this car seat, you will have more room.
Now for the bad bit, it is complicated to install. There are many parts and stages where parents could become confused and so we would definitely recommend taking a look at the Diono videos to clarify each stage before you start. You need to be fully aware that there are differences if you are changing the car seat from rear to forward facing and for different child weights. Once you know what you are doing, it won't take quite as long, but we wouldn't like to remove it regularly from the car. When you do have to, the fold makes it easier to store and transport as it's a hefty weight. The more complicated something is to fit, the more chance there is for human error and mistakes in the installation of the car seat.
At £295, the Diono Radian 5 is an investment, but it could last your child from birth to around six years old, so that's actually only 95p a week! There's no need to worry about any issues with the seat either as Diono offer their industry first lifetime warranty. Then there is the added benefit of being able to carry your child rear facing in their harness for as long as you use it.
We give the Diono Radian 4 out of 5 stars