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Sunday, February 3, 2013

CAR SEAT REVIEW MaxiCosi Goliath (air) protect

I went all Rocky Balboa after successfully removing all the fabric in
two minutes. Coincidentally, my same best time for removing a bra.

When you have seven kids you build up a wealth of knowledge about certain things - like cheap nappies are a great way to save money if you aren't so worried about keeping all the pee in.

One area I believe I'm qualified to teach at University level is the field of car seats. I've bought and installed about a dozen, including a complete upgrade and fit out when the government decided to change the laws to better protect the nation's munchkins.

Even now, our car has three car seats fitted for Miss1, Miss3 and Miss5.

When it comes to this sort of equipment I have very specific requirements.

Firstly, Tracey has to like it. Fortunately, the range of Maxi-Cosi car seats (and capsules) look a million bucks. Better, in fact, than the car I'll be driving our Maxi-Cosi Goliath <air> protect around in. While I've no doubt my kids will work tirelessly towards grubbing it down to our level, the easy to remove and machine washable fabric means we can keep it looking nice for a good while yet. One thing you can't do in a shop when you're looking at these sorts of thing is break it down. I wanted to know how quick and easy it would be to take the fabric off and put it back on.

"Shouldn't we install it and take a photo in the car first?" Tracey asked me as I set the car seat on the dining table.

"You don't think I'll be able to put it back together," I accused her. She didn't deny it.

But she needn't have worried. It took exactly 2 minutes to take all the fabric off and, despite my wife's lack of faith in my abilities, only 4 minutes and 24 seconds to have everything back in place. Not bad for a first run.

page1The dismantle. The reassemble.

Secondly, I want the car seat to be light (I could juggle the Goliath with one hand even in the box) and so easy to install I don't need to look at the instructions. What is the point in having to look at instructions for car seats? When I need to adjust the seat when Miss1 grows to the next level or to re-install it if I remove the seat to vacuum and chip away at the dried food under it, there's no way I'll have kept the original instructions handy. They'll be long gone: tossed with the box. Installation needs to be intuitive and simple. Or attached to the car seat. And guess what!? With the Goliath, they're both!
I want the car seat to help me avoid tickets from well meaning police officers. Meaning, I want it to meet or exceed all Australian Standards without me needing to think about it. This is why we don't try to save money on car seats by buying them at garage sales or on ebay - you don't know if they comply with the new regs. Quite aside from putting your child in unnecessary risk, the $330 for the ticket (for each child) would have been far better put towards a new car seat.

The seat must also be supremely comfortable for the same reason I listen to Hi-5 instead of ACDC when I'm cruising the hood with my posse. I want my kids happy. Where at all possible, I want them to sleep.

But ultimately, what I need is for the seat to best protect my kid because we put a lot of work into making them and grown rather fond of the little blighters. Australia has the toughest standards in the world and the Air Protect even goes beyond these in its efforts to keep our kids safe.Fortunately we live in a country where the powers that be also think protecting our kids is important, so they've legislated some very strict standards. 

Which is lucky because given my track record behind the wheel I'm going to put them through their paces at some point - probably when I'm squeezing into a park at the shopping centre. Thanks to the Goliath's revolutionary air protect technology, when I'm battling it out for a spot in front of Woolies our little miss is better protected from side impacts (which apparently cause a shocking 1 in 3 fatalities in children).

There's even an insulated bottle holder.

Then, because I'm super-lazy and ultra-demanding, I want the car seat to never need replacing. Ever. I don't want a seat which will do the first four years and then I'm required to go out and buy another one. It's not the money so much as my preference for spending the bulk of my shopping time in Dick Smiths or Sushi Bars rather than the bub section of Big W or K Mart. The Maxi-Cosi Goliath will do from 6 months to 8 years, depending on the size of your kid.

Then there's the price.  Even though we want the very best for our kids, we're all working to a family budget. The Goliath won't break the bank. At a recommended retail of $349.95 the Goliath works out at about $50 a year for the seven odd years use you'll get out of it.

And if that's not enough to sell you on this car seat, I don't know what is.

_MG_2148bbMiss1 was most impressed with her new car seat being installed because it meant she could have the box...
_MG_2113cv share.

Disclaimer. While the good people at Maxi-Cosi were kind enough to send us a car seat to test and tell (FOR FREE!!!) we have not received, requested or been offered any payment for reviewing their product, nor did we guarantee a positive review. BFLI have received a number of products since blogging began to trial but we haven't done more than test them because don't like the idea of bitching about something we were given for free. This post boasts our genuine opinion of this product.

For more information on Australian Standards go 
to Department of Transport & Main Roads - CHILD RESTRAINTS

For more information on MAXI-COSI (air) protect Goliath 
Convertible Booster Seat - HOW IT WORKS

To find out where you can buy MaxiCosi car sets & capsules in your area - CLICK THIS LINK

Head G-Force Comparison graph

Wondering where we've been? Wonder no more.

 We've moved. Here's BFLI's new home.

BIG FAMILY little income WEBSITE

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Plant

Wondering where we've been? Wonder no more.

 We've moved. Here's BFLI's new home.

BIG FAMILY little income WEBSITE

Tracey planting the plant in her sister's car. 2003. This will make more sense after you read the post below.

Reading a recent article about a game of tag  a bunch of middle age men have been playing every February for years has reminded me of our own bit of fun with Jason & Bel (Tracey's sister) and Joshua & Mel (Tracey's bestie).

Years ago, Tracey and I held a How To Host A Murder party and bought some props from a thrift shop to set the mood in our dining room. The best purchase we made was a tall, plastic rainforest plant. In the cold light of day it was hideously ugly but it sure made us laugh.

The plant's uncanny ability for producing mirth revealed itself when Tracey's sister, Bel, and her hunka-hunka burning love, Jason, were moving furniture from under their parent's house to their new place in Brisvegas. We decided to give them the plant as a housewarming gift. They didn't want to deprive us of it. We decided to insist.

Tracey and I spent the better part of two hours trying to sneak the plant into the back of the truck while Jason and Bel's backs were turned. Finally, Jason stomped down the ramp and 'planted' the offending thing at our feet. It was the end of a really, really long day of moving stuff. "We don't. Want. The plant."

"I don't think he wants to play anymore," I whispered to Tracey as he walked away.

"He's tired. He doesn't know what he wants," Tracey assured me. But we stopped trying to get it in the back of the truck. Until right at the end when they were closing the doors. I distracted them while Tracey shoved it in. "They'll thank us later," Tracey assured me as they drove off.

They didn't. When they opened the truck doors the tall plant stood grinning at them in all its plastic splendor.

"Fark!" Jason apparently, appreciatively said. But what they did next would change all our lives for the better. Instead of tossing it in the bin they decided to give the thing straight back next time they came to town.

We were thrilled because it meant we could give it straight back to them, again without their knowledge. Here's a vid of them driving off, beeping their horn in farewell as we rejoin in our evil doings.

This time Jason discovered it a mere hour down the road when he glanced in the rear view mirror of their hatchback and spotted the telltale stalk sticking up through their luggage.

And so a game began which has kept us all savagely amused for years as the plant has made its way from one home to another in all sorts of imaginative and creative ways.

Jason & Bel really weren't very good at this game initially. My favourite was when we folded the plant in half and stuffed it into an empty suitcase of theirs. They only discovered it six months later, the night before they went on a holiday, and started packing.

Eventually the plant had been shoved and folded and tossed so much in its journey's back and forth up the east coast of Queensland, it was nothing more than a sad leaf on a stick. We sent it to that great big plastic rainforest in the sky and replaced it with a couple of life-sized kids dolls (why not?) and Tracey's bestie, Mel and her husband, Joshua, joined in.

By this stage Bel and Jason had moved to G-town and soon the Twins were cropping up in gardens and cupboards across town, often in compromising positions. It was a great game. Whenever you had one of the other couples over you'd go to great pains not to leave one of them unsupervised for fear they'd be hiding the Twins in your washing machine.

Then, about three years ago the game just sort of fizzled. It was sad, but we guessed it had run its course. Eventually, we stopped waiting for the twins to turn up and even allowed Jason and Bel to wander out of our sight in our house.

But last week Tracey got a call from her friend. They'd been doing a clean out in the garage. "Oh my God!" she said to Tracey. "We just found the twins in the garage!"

Of course we see what happened now. The game wasn't over at all.

Best. Hiding spot. Ever.

Well played, Jason & Bel. Well played. Looks like you guys have leveled up.

Wondering where we've been? Wonder no more.

 We've moved. Here's BFLI's new home.

BIG FAMILY little income WEBSITE

BIG FAMILY little income Facebook 
 'raising a family on little more than laughs'

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