Review: Britax Dualfix car seat

When Toby was about 8 months old he outgrew his 0+ infant car seat. He was nowhere near the minimum weight to move to a next stage forward facing seat but being so tall the top of his head was starting to appear over the top of the seat.

Britax Dualfix car seat review

As it was I had read about the safety benefits of extended rear facing car seats and had no intention of moving Toby to a forward facing seat any time soon. We needed a rear facing seat that was suitable from birth but would last Toby for at least another few years. Unfortunately there weren’t a huge amount of options available to us. With the introduction of the new iSize regulations (you can read more about iSize here) there are more and more extended rear facing seats coming on to the market but even though it was only just over a year ago there weren’t many suitable seats available at the time.

Having looked at the options we decided to go for the Britax Dualfix. We’ve now been using this car seat for over a year so I thought it was about time I shared some of my thoughts.

Firstly, I wanted an isofix seat and we had to find one that was compatible with our car. The other main attraction of the Dualfix was that it can swivel from being rear to forward facing, and although we weren’t planning on using it forward facing for a good few years it was good to have the flexibility. The swivel feature also means that the seat can face the door which makes getting Toby in and out much easier (especially when you are 7 months pregnant!).

So, a few of the other details about the Britax Dualfix. As I’ve already mentioned it’s a combination rear and forward facing seat. It is fitted into the car using an integrated isofix base. The seat is suitable from birth to 18kg (approximately 4 years old). There are three recline positions – the seat must be used in its most reclined setting until your child weighs 9kg. There is also an infant insert included which should be used from birth until approximately 6 months. The straps are easily adjusted by moving the headrest up and down.

This photo shows Toby at about 10 months old with the seat fully reclined.

Britax Dualfix at 10 months

After more than a year of use then, what do we think of the Britax Dualfix?

On the positive side Toby has always seemed comfortable in the seat, from when he first started using it at 8 months, until now at almost 2. The straps are very easy to adjust and to open and close and Toby always seems secure in the seat. The biggest plus point has to be the swivel feature which allows the seat to face the door for getting Toby in and out. I’m sure this has saved my back from untold damage over the last 18 months!  In rear-facing mode with the seat in the most reclined position it will swivel towards the door but will not turn the full 180° to face forwards. This worked fine for us when Toby was smaller and was always using the seat in the reclined position.

So although there are some positive features of the Britax Dualfix there are also quite a few negatives that we have come across with this car seat . First of all it was quite difficult to fit the seat in the car in the first place. This may be partly due to the location and access to the isofix points in our car (we have a Nissan Qashqai) but it wasn’t made any easier by the fact that the seat is attached to the base making it very big to try and manoeuvre. However, once we managed to get it in the car it did feel very secure so no issues there. There are indicators which turn to green to show that the isofix points and supporting leg are fitted correctly, so you shouldn’t be left in any doubt that the seat is fitted safely.

The other main issue we have had with this seat is that the recline adjustment is very stiff. In theory you can adjust the recline with your child in the seat. In practice this is almost impossible. There is a handle under the front of the seat which must be pulled (and held) out whilst pushing or pulling the seat to adjust the recline. It moves fairly smoothly from the more upright positions to being reclined but it is very stiff to move it the other way. In order to move the seat to the most upright position you have to grasp the handle at the front, push in a safety button on the base, and push the seat itself into the correct position – very tricky unless you have three hands!  When Toby was smaller and always using the seat in the fully reclined position we didn’t have any problems. The issues with the recline only became apparent when Toby was about 12 months or so and wanted to see what was going on around him a bit more. At that age the most upright position seemed to be too upright – this problem is exacerbated when the seat is rear-facing as (depending on your car) the slope of the seats can make the car seat seem almost tipped forward. There is a middle recline position which would have been perfect but unfortunately in this middle position the seat no longer swivels to the door. Because the recline mechanism is so stiff it was too annoying to adjust it every time Toby was in the car so now he has the seat in the most upright position all the time. In this position the seat will swivel to the door and also the full way round to be forward facing if you choose. This is OK most of the time but if we are going on longer journey where Toby is likely to fall asleep we do find his head falls forward when the seat is fully upright.

This is Toby at 19 months with the seat fully upright.

Britax Dualfix at 19 months

The final niggle with the Britax Dualfix is that compared to some other rear facing seats which are now available the seat, and leg room when rear facing are quite small. As Toby is particularly tall it is likely that he will grow out of this seat way before he reaches the weight limit. I am hoping we can get another year out of it, by which point our new baby will be ready to move from his infant carrier to a bigger seat, so he can use the Dualfix and we can get a next stage seat for Toby.

So there are quite a few negatives to the Britax Dualfix but plenty of positives too. So when it comes down to it, would I buy another one? Honestly, probably not. I love the swivel feature of this seat but for something that costs £350 there are too many problems with it. As I mentioned at the start of this review there are more and more extended rear facing seats coming on to the market and some of these also have the swivel feature so I would probably look to one of those before buying another Dualfix.

Here you can see the seat facing the door – the swivel is the main selling point of this seat for me. Britax Dualfix swivel

 

If you’ve made it this far – well done! I hope you found this review helpful. If you have any questions about this seat or extended rear-facing in general then please feel free to ask. I’m no expert but I can certainly share our experience. And for the record, Toby is still perfectly happy rear-facing at nearly 2 years old and I plan on keeping him rear facing for as long as we can!

EDIT: Toby stayed rear-facing in the Britax Dualfix until he was just three. At that point his shoulders were right up under the head rest, even though he wasn’t over the weight limit for the seat. However, Toby is particularly tall, and has a long body so it was no surprise that he outgrew the seat at three. This is him at about two and a half and you can see he doesn’t have a lot of room left.

Dualfix at two and a half

Our younger son Gabe then moved into the Dualfix when he was about 11 months old and it is still going strong. He is now two years old and happily rear facing.

You can buy the Britax Dualfix from all good car seat retailers.

SAFETY NOTICE: I recently received a comment on this review from a reader who was concerned that the Britax Dualfix should not be used in the more upright positions when rear-facing, as shown in some of these pictures. I contacted Britax for clarification as admittedly it is not entirely clear from the instructions that come with the seat. This is the response I got from Britax customer services:

I am able to advise that the Dualfix car seat can be used in all three recline positions rearward facing. There are weight categories on the side of the seat base therefore for a child from birth until 13kg the seat unit is to be used in a fully reclined or in the slightly reclined position for this weight. For a child who weighs over an unclothed weight of 13 kg the seat is to be used fully upright or in the slightly reclined position for this category.

 

**I was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

11 thoughts on “Review: Britax Dualfix car seat

  1. the swivel sounds great, and think that would be the biggest selling point. The price tag would scare me off. I hate car seats. We have a brutal forward facing which still cost over £100 and the recline setting is clunky on that too. But our biggest bug bare with a few is the harness gets sticky on the stuff behind when tightening and loosening. 🙁 #triedtested

  2. This was a really interesting review – we have the dualfix and I have to say I love it and we have had no problems with the recline mechanism being stiff though it does stick on occasion. I do like the fact that it can swivel and face the door of the car.
    We haven’t actually used the seat rear facing much as when Boo sits rear facing in the car she throws up so sometimes I do feel like I have spent a lot of money on a carseat!

  3. How cool that it can swivel and switch from rear to forward facing! I think most car seats have good & bad points – we have the Kiddy Car Seat that uses a lap insert and the normal seat belt not the 5 point harness and I know that isn’t for everyone. When we got it was billed as the safest alternative to rear facing and there wasn’t many rear facing seats on the market for older kids then.

    I’ve never actually had or used a Britax product before – not initially, it just hasn’t happened. I guess we will get another Kiddy for my youngest but I’m keeping her in her baby car seat as long as possible as she is a dinky dot.

    #TriedTested

  4. Is there a different seat you have come across that you would buy instead if you had had a chance? One that doesnt cost more than 350 pounds? Thanks.

    1. There is the Axkid Minikid which is for a baby from 6 months to 6 years. It is rear facing only, belt fix only and up to 25kg. It has passed the Swedish Plus test which the Dualfix is not allowed to sit since it can be forward facing. Only rear facing only seats can sit the test. I have a Minikid in my Freelander 1 which doesn’t have isofix. The Minikid fits in most cars. It takes about 3 minutes to fit it into the car the first time and about 2 minutes afterwards because the tethers stay in. It cost me £295 from Securatot who are on Facebook. This included delivery. The seat does not turn at all. It is heavy to carry but then it is very sturdy when fixed into the vehicle. It is a bit narrower than a Dualfix so you could have 3 of them on the back seat of a Disco 3. Or you could have a Minikid between 2 Dualfix if you have 3 children. I have a Dualfix in my Disco 3 and the Minikid in the Freelander. I prefer the Dualfix for a smaller child but then it fits into my vehicle very well. For choice I would prefer the Dualfix if it went all the way to 25kg but it only goes to 18kg. Oh and the Minikid will recline but you can’t alter the recline while the child is in the seat. So the best thing is to fork out for the Dualfix providing it fits into your vehicle. Then when the child has grown out of it sell the seat on e bay. There is a market for them. Then buy a Minikid for your child to carry on rear facing. This is what I am going to do. I might buy a second Minikid if it proves a nuissance to keep changing over when my grandson starts full time school next month. Not much fun doing this when it is pouring with rain and dark. The Dualfix is much easier to transfer in the dark since the base is pale grey and you can see it easily. If you are going to have to change the seat between cars then the Dualfix is best but it is quite heavy. My son-in-law changes the seats and it takes him about 20 seconds including walking down the drive to his car. Click Click Click and it is in. I would have bought a second Dualfix but since it takes him only moments to change the seats over I haven’t. The Dualfix is worth every penny of the £340 I paid. It even has summer covers and a bag for taking it onto a plane. I am in the fortunate position of being able to afford the huge price of a Dualfix but then my grandson’s parents economised by buying a secondhand pram/pushchair and cot so they had money left to buy a brand new up to date car seat. They sold the infant seat which was outgrown on e bay and then bought the Dualfix. I have 3 other daughters and if they were expecting a baby I would recommend that they buy a Dualfix for their newborn rather than an infant carrier and its base. It takes up less room and lasts for 4 years. I hope this helps you.

  5. We have the Dualfix for our 4 year old grandson. He’s small for his age and he stil has some growing room. I think that the Dualfix works best if the vehicle seat is flat across the seat from side to side and flat from front to back. In the pictures the vehicle seat is shaped and the Dualfix doesn’t appear to recline very much. In my Discovery the Dualfix is flat when used with the infant cushion. I too have problems with reclining the seat whether my grandson is in it or not. I think you have to pull the handle under the child’s feet and press the small button on the side of the base. My son-in-law has no problem with reclining the seat but my daughter and I do. He’s a lot stronger than we are. That said I would definitely buy this seat again. It is very sturdy and with the big rebound bar gives me the impression that it would offer a lot of protection in a crash.

  6. Ok let me say as to anyone who reads this review this car sear should only be used in the most reclined position when using rear facing or your baby will die in an accident, do not under any circumstances sit the seat up as done in the phoros here, this is clearly stated in the britax instructions, please do no be so neglectful to not read the instructions and fully understand them on any child safety equipment.

    1. Thank you for your comment and your concern John. I have followed the instructions which came with the Dualfix with regards to the recline, however of course I wanted to make sure I was not endangering my child, or inadvertently anyone else’s. So I contacted Britax for confirmation and received this reply:

      I am able to advise that the Dualfix car seat can be used in all three recline positions rearward facing. There are weight categories on the side of the seat base therefore for a child from birth until 13kg the seat unit is to be used in a fully reclined or in the slightly reclined position for this weight. For a child who weighs over an unclothed weight of 13 kg the seat is to be used fully upright or in the slightly reclined position for this category.

  7. We still use the Dualfix for our grandson in our Seat Ibiza. He is almost too tall for it now. He weighs only 16kg. When being used for an infant the Dualfix should be fully reclined and facing the boot. Once the baby can hold their head up by themself a mid recline is ok providing the vehicle seat is flat. If there is a recline on the vehicle seat you need to have the Dualfix fully reclined. Frankly when you have your first baby you often need to change your car. So before you change make sure that the Dualfix fits then you can have the best infant car seat in your car for your new baby.

  8. The concept of this seat is great but as it ages the operation of it becomes more and more difficult until ours completely seized up and will neither rotate or recline. Before anyone says it must be sand, because we live near the sea, objects dropped by the child, well they all drop things, or misuse, how can you misuse a baby seat. I have to say that the complexity of the internal mechanisms with their interlocks is bound to fail if there is no way to exclude debris and dirt falling into the internals of the seat. The seat worked fine the day it was fitted but we all buy these seats to last the needs of the child and this seat has let us down seriously. I won’t buy another Britax seat.

    1. Sorry to hear your seat has stopped working as it should. We’ve had ours for 5 years now and it’s still working fine. I agree though it’s difficult to clean inside the seat, and almost impossible to stop stuff falling in there!

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