Reviewed by Paula Bowes
The Radian 5 arrived in a heavy box with a picture of the car seat on the front. When I opened the box it was nice to see that it wasn’t full of excess packaging and padding and the car seat was just covered in a plastic bag. Also in the box was the accessories for the seat, the instruction manual and a paper ‘quick guide’ to fit it.
After having a quick look at the instructions I realised it wasn’t going to be a simple job so I roped my husband in to help and waited until the kids were settled in bed before fitting the car seat.
The car seat can be installed rear and forward facing and used with children up to 25kg, Diono give a guide of up to 7 years of age. My children are 4 years and 21 months old so I wanted to see how well it worked for both of them; I decided to do it rear facing first as it is safer, the Diono website states ‘Extended rear facing can be up to 5 times safer as it protects and supports the neck in the event of a collision’.
I followed the instructions in the smaller book but needed to look at the pictures occasionally in the A4 paper guide. As this car seat can fold flat the first thing to do was unfold it, this was easy to do by unfastening the red strap and clicking the car seat into place. When the car seat is rear facing a detachable base needs putting on, again this was straight forward to do. The harness shoulder pads were already in place but I did have to change the position of them for each child and this was easy to do and they went back through the slots with no problem.
The next point in the instruction manual was to attach the harness pads (these are for use with children over 15kg). I managed to fit them fine by following the diagrams but once I come to use the car seat I couldn’t pull the harness tight enough as when I was pulling the harness the pads seemed to be causing friction and were pulling up through the slots. I had to remove them and refit the original hardness shoulder pads.
I followed the instructions to fit the car seat rear facing in the car. Number 1 was to make sure the seat was pushed into the back of the vehicles seat but instruction point number 2 was to feed the seat belt through the path under the padded seat. I found this really hard to do whilst keeping the car seat pushed into the vehicles seat. I ended up having to put the car seat on its side to feed the seat belt through and then re-do number 1.
I installed the car seat into a Hyundai I30 and when fitting it I had to move the vehicles front seat forward, when I tried to move the front seat back it seemed to be squashing the car seat (so I did not need the bolster for this car). I am petite but I do not feel that there would have been enough room for my husband to be able to sit in the vehicles front seat as he is 6′ tall. I have previously had a car seat rear facing in this car and did not feel there was the same problem. I also wasn’t sure how safe the car seat was once the vehicles seat was pressing against it.
My 4 year old weighs 20kg and is 113cm tall. He climbed into the car seat, after removing muddy shoes, he did have to try and avoid the vehicles seat belt which was in-front of the car seat. He felt very uncomfortable and his legs were bent and his knees up towards his chest. There was no way he could have travelled in that position, so unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to have it rear facing for him. I then put my 1 year old in the car seat, she weighs 15kg and is 86cm tall. Again the vehicles seat belt got in the way when I was trying to get her in but once in the seat she was comfortable and fit in it well. I did occur a problem when I came to tightening the harness by pulling on the harness adjustment strap; because it was up against the vehicles seat it found it hard to pull the strap downwards in order to tighten it.
Changing the car seat from rear to forward facing was straightforward. I just had to undo the vehicles seat belt and remove the seat and the detachable base. I installed the car seat forward facing following the instruction manual but again had to do step 2 before step 1 as I had to lay the seat sideways and then put it upright. The vehicles seat belt wasn’t in-front of the car seat like when rear facing as there was a metal bit to guide it into.
As both kids weigh over 15kg I followed the instructions to install the safe stop attachment but when my 1 year old was sat in the seat the safe stop did not allow the hardness straps to be pulled tight enough so I had to remove it. I had to adjust the head rest but I wasn’t sure how to and I could not find this in the instruction manual, I had to look at a video online to do this and once I knew how to it was easy.
Next was to tether the car seat to the car, the tether strap unravelled easily and went over the vehicle seat, under the headrest and clicked onto the tether point I then had to pull it so the tension indicator turned green.
It was finally all installed! With the problems I had with the harness straps and the safe stop attachment it took 2 hours to install the car seat, which did seem like a long time.
The car seat also comes with more accessories than what I have mentioned:
Cup holder- this was easy to install and just clicked onto the car seat, there was 4 different positions which it could go. Both kids loved having a cup holder.
Infant cocoon and head hugger- these allow the car seat to be used from birth, the head hugger can be removed as the child grows and then the infant cocoon can be removed at a later time. These give the car seat extra support and cushioning for younger babies.
Tether connector- This is for use when the car does not have a tether point and it can be wrapped around the frame of the vehicles car seat to make a tether connection point.
Rear facing back pad (described as a bolster in the instructions)- This is to be used when the car seat is rear facing to help brace the seat and its only necessary when the front seat can’t be moved back enough to tough the car seat.
The colour- the plum colour of the car seat I have is gorgeous and I found it to be a unisex colour.
The memory foam seat padding made the seat very comfortable for the kids.
Fold flat design- I like how the car seat can easily fold flat when not in use, this is a great design and will save space when storing the car seat.
Secure- When forward facing and tethered up it felt very safe and secure.
The space saving design- The car seat is narrower than others due to its steel frame design and it made more room in the back seat as with our previous car seat nobody could use the middle seat.
Warranty- the car seat comes with a 10 year warranty.
Weight- the car seat was heavy and I would have struggled lifting it in and out without my husband’s help. I do understand that this is because of the full steel alloy frame which creates a strong car seat.
The harness pads- These were to be used from 15kg but I could not use them with my children due to not being able to tighten the harness strap when using them.
The safe stop attachment- This is to be used from 15kg, but when I put my 15kg daughter in it restricted how tight I could pull the harness so I had to remove it.
Rear facing- Although rear facing is the safest way for a child under 25kg to travel I feel I could not put my 4 year old in this car seat as he was too tall for it and he was very uncomfortable in it, also the vehicles seat belt was in the way when I was trying to put the kids in.
Harness adjustment strap- I found this hard to pull tight when the car seat was rear facing.
Instructions- I preferred the a4 paper quick guide instructions rather than the instruction manual as they were clearer. I did find that some points in the manual were in the wrong order e.g. feeding the seat belt through should have been before putting the car seat in place.
Overall I am happy with the car seat and once it was installed I found it easy to use on a day to day basis in a forward facing position. I do think it’s a great idea to have a car seat that can be used from birth up to 7 years of age as it will save parents a lot of money, but retailing at £295 I feel that it’s a big outlay for new parents to pay.
For more information or to find a stockist visit uk.diono.com/product/radian-5.