Seven child seat!

At last Thomas can come out to play with Daddy.

I've been wanting to take Thomas out in my car for well over a year, and have been struggling to find a child seat that will fit in a Seven. Standard seats don't tend to fit because of the narrow width. Steve, the Sevens listmeister, gave me details of the seat he uses, but it didn't seem to be made any more. I had a close call with a Recaro Start, but it wouldn't fit without removing the transmission tunnel cover, and I'd need to get an inertia-reel seatbelt fitted on the passenger side. In desperation I posted again to the list.

Ron Zwart said he used a Siege Auto Speedway, and Andy Bradshaw recommended the Britax Freeway Excel. They both said that they strap the child in to the seat (they have integral harnesses), and then secure the combination into the car using the passenger harness. For some reason I didn't like the sound of this, and reasoned that some seats can be secured using only a lap belt; if you ignore the shoulder belts then a harness is like a lap belt.

I found the Siege in Argos as Ron had suggested. Because of the design of the seat, the car's harness buckle would have pressed into Thomas' back, so I ruled out this seat.

I couldn't find a Freeway Excel anywhere, but Halfords, Mothercare and Toys R Us all had a regular Freeway. It looked like a better bet than the Siege, but the buckle wouldn't fit through the hole in the seat because of a stupid piece of plastic holding a cover onto the back of the seat. I bought the seat from Toys R Us because they had them on special offer (£60). Once I had it home and ensured that Thomas would actually fit in it I removed the cover, cut off the useless mounting hole, and with a bit of force, got the buckle though the hole. In theory the rest was easy, but it proved to be very difficult to pull the harness tight enough to hold the seat still. With a few minor injuries, and feet and knees placed in strategic spots I managed to get it in. Excellent! Getting the seat out of the car could be tricky but I don't take passengers out often so that shouldn't be a problem. The tonneau even fits over the top.

I had planned for Thomas' first trip to be short, but he seemed to be liking it OK so we went to see Grandad Peter. When I asked if he liked going out in Daddy's car he said "No... it's loud." Fortunately he also said "yes" when I asked whether he'd like to go in it again.

Thomas kept lifting his head forward to get out of the wind, so I'll have to find him a suitable hat. It couldn't have been that bad, because he managed to fall asleep on the way home... Expect to see him at the Phoenix soon.

The seat does get in the way slightly when changing gear. I will have to try it for a while and see whether I can adapt.

This page is It was first published on Sunday 21 July, 2002 and last updated on Sunday 21 July, 2002.