We quite like testing out carseats in this house, mainly because I really am on a quest to find the absolute best one. When I heard about the Mamas and Papas Cybex Pallas 2 in 1 I was intregued not only because it's a three stage one, but also because you dont use a harness to strap your child in rather a pad goes in front of them to hold them secruely and you use your normal seatbelt. It's an innovative, safe design, possibly the future of car seats.
We tried the car seat with our two year old. It was easy to set up and she was very excited. The pad meant she could sit like her big brother using the normal adult seat belt. The seat is quite high up and in our Vauxhall Zafira she sat very high up which she liked. This made her feel very grown up.
I'm told that the pad is exceptionally safe, much safer than a standard harness. However, I had reservations that Fifi would be able to wriggle out. This wasn't the case, she was very secure. She was very happy, until she realised that its near on impossible to cuddle a toy. Not ideal for long journeys then, also I would imagine the pad would get very dirty if they had a snack in the car.
I really liked the concept, however in practical terms although our seat belts were long enough it was really tricky to put her into the carseat each time. By tricky, I mean a total faff. There really is something to be said about one click harnesses which dont require contortionist skills and super long arms. With this system you have to stretch across the carseat and child and pad. Really, truth be told, the 6 ft 4 husband had trouble so you can imagine the trouble I had!
After giving up on the pad system and going back to our normal car seat for Fifi we thought we would give it a go with the boy who is four. The beauty of the carseat is that it converts into a seat suitable for older kids. I cant really fault it at this age group, it's not a lot different to the other ones on the market, although the quality is superb. However, I find the cupholder on the boys Graco carseat absolutely brilliant and it's a feature I would look for in all future carseats, this one doesnt have one. But I guess you cant really have it all.
There you go, it's a brilliant car seat in theory, looks nice, and is well made the kids like it and it's very safe. In practical terms though, it's just not ideal for our family. If you are considering car seats make sure you go and have a look at Mamas & Papas car seats and if you get the chance try it out in your car to see what you think. I would suggest its a 'love it' or 'hate it' product and you wont know what side of the fence you sit on until you have given it a go...