A rear-facing car seat is the safest way for a young child to travel in the car. This is because the rear-facing position can substantially reduce the pressure on your child’s head and neck. It's understandable then that many of us are keen for our little ones to stay rear-facing in their car seats as long as possible. The BeSafe Stretch car seat is one option that makes this possible as it can be used from six months until your child is seven years old.
Here's how our tester dad-of-two Joe got on when he tried it out...
Overview of the BeSafe Stretch
• Extremely well padded
• Feels secure, very little movement
• Rubberised harness
• Especially comfortable for babies
• Large size not suitable for smaller vehicles
• Not ISOFIX so not quick to take in and out
• Rear-facing only
i-Size guidelines state children should travel rear-facing until at least 15 months old. However, many experts advise longer than this. The BeSafe Strech can grow with your child all the way to 125 cm and 36 kg will leg space up to 26cm meaning the car seat will be comfortable even for a seven-year-old.
While it's not ISOFIX, the car seat being belt installed means you can install the seat in any position in the car such as the front passenger seat and middle rear bench. The belt can also be adjusted as your little one grows, all the way up to 36kg.
Unique external frame
The external frame on the seat will protect your baby from the forces should you experience a frontal crash. The seat shell has a very rigid spine that will make sure your child is kept in a stable position in an impact. There is also additional side impact protection SIP+ that easily slides onto the seat.
Testing the BeSafe Stretch
We tested this seat in a 5-door Kia Stonic and I was unable to drive the car with this seat installed behind me (I’m 6ft). Bear this in mind, it is big. If you drive an SUV or a similarly shaped vehicle this will not be an issue.
Our two children alternated riding in the beast - yes we gave it a name. It is easily the most comfortable car seat our 10-month-old has used.
Normally we open the door to a sleeping baby, head bobbing on her chest, but not in this case. Remarkably she always slept incredibly. It really was a strong pro for us. As a parent, I worry about our daughter's head bobbing around in a car seat, but every time we glanced at her in the mirror she looked so comfortable asleep, no bobbing head.
Our three-year-old was certainly extremely comfortable but wasn’t so keen on being rear facing. Again, this is due to safety being primary in its design, and rear-facing has been proven to be the safest way of transporting children in car seats.
It’s worth noting that if you are on the market for a seriously safe car seat and you own a large-ish vehicle, this is an excellent choice.
As a man who takes pride in not reading the instructions, I admit I had to glance at them occasionally as it wasn’t obvious how to install the seat. The lack of ISOFIX adds on plenty of time during installation, however, there is a valid reason for this. Besafe (the clue is in the name) considers ISOFIX as just one more thing to fail in the case of a collision. This seat connects securely using the seat belt. There is a foot which levels the seat - this actually beeps if not enough pressure is applied. Then there are the two anchor straps ensuring this thing is going nowhere. You really cannot fault the design. It is super padded too, the straps are rubberised to prevent children from slipping out.
As previously mentioned, this seat was too large for me to fit into our car so my wife drove. We attempted to test the seat in a range of scenarios. We parked in a multi-storey car park and got the kids in and out. No issues there. Once I’d actually read the instructions getting the car seat in and out was easier, everything is colour coded and fairly self-explanatory when you know how.
We added the extra padding for our little one, which looks very comfortable, and we removed and enlarged the seat to fit our three-year-old. To make a point, we installed the seat in a Ford Kuga - much better. No access issues for 6ft me and the extra vehicle height meant installing was easier.
There are seats on the market that have handy features, such as ISOFIX or a swivel function. These are great for speed and saving your back when they get bigger. But put these car seats next to the Besafe and there really is no competition. The primary purpose of any car seat is to protect your precious babies against any harm in the case of a traffic collision- fact. So, providing your vehicle is large enough to handle it, this model should be heads and shoulders above the rest in your top 3. It cannot swivel and it is a faff installing but these are features you won’t worry about when you need to get from A to B.
Despite the Besafe’s size, I really like this car seat. It feels like they’ve gone back to basics and designed a simple, strong car seat but added lots of super-comfortable features. It reclines enough so your baby sleeps like a dream, it has soft inserts to support them as they grow which get removed as they get heavier. As long as they’re used to being rear-facing from a young age I can’t see this being an issue.
I actually think the fact it doesn’t have ‘handy’ or ‘gimmicky’ features gives me so much more peace of mind when driving my children about. If your car is big enough I would highly recommend this seat, especially from a young age.
I rate the Besafe 4/5 stars, docking half a star for its inability to fit in smaller vehicles. However, it is a great seat and completely fulfils its purpose.
After more BeSafe reviews? Check out our BeSafe iZi Turn B i-Size review.
Full product spec
Stature height: 61-125 cm
Max. weight: 36 kg
Age: approx. 6 months – 7 years
Installation: 3-point vehicle belt
Approved: UN R129 (specific vehicle)
Seat weight: 10 kg