5 Things Smyths Toys Taught Me About Car Seats

Car Seat Fitting at Smyths Toys

This is a sponsored post. It represents my honest opinion of the car seat demonstration and fitting service at Smyths Toys Leckwith store in Cardiff. The blog post is my representation of the information I learnt.

I was recently invited to Smyths Toys at Cardiff to learn about their re-launch of the baby department next month (16th March) and car seat fitting service. Hands up if like me, you have only ever been there to look at toys. My visits usually involve wrestling children from the Lego aisles and saying ‘no’ a million times. I have three kids. I’ve been putting children in and out of car seats for the last nine years; but these five tips shocked me.

Did You Know?

  1. Most of us have been guilty of wanting to put our toddlers into forward facing car seats as soon as possible. It’s the weight and head position that’s important. The back of the car seat should be above their ears, not the top of their head! I have babies with long legs and I’ve always worried that their legs were squashed. With my son now I will definitely wait longer before moving him up a seat class and out of his current seat.
  2. Rearward car seats up to the age of four are much safer. They drastically reduce the force from a car impact. I have always moved from rearward facing seats to forward facing at around 12 months as they have outgrown their class 0 seat. Even though I have a car seat already from my previous children I am definitely going to look at keeping Boy2 facing backwards.
  3. How many of us “protect the car” by placing blankets under the car seats. I do! I have two black towels under the hard backed booster seats to stop them digging in. After my visit though I’ve taken them out. They might cause the car seat to slip and not do it’s job properly. Car seats aren’t tested with blankets underneath them! The same goes for headrests. Make sure they are out of the way and not interfering with the seat at all.
  4. For Houdini in a 5-point harness. To make sure the harness is totally tight, first pull on the lap straps, once these are tight then tighten the shoulder straps. If you only tighten the shoulder straps you may find the lap straps still have some give, while the shoulder straps are too tight.
  5. Why replace a car seat after an accident? It’s a common question. I loved the analogy used of a Pyrex bowl. Drop it on the floor it’s might not smash but it might chip. You can see that weakness. With a car seat you can’t see any hairline cracks that might have occurred after an accident. This is why it’s best to replace them.

Smyths Toys Have Fully Trained Advisors

Smyths Toys have a full car seat fitting service with IOSH Accredited Advisors. Their car seat service can advise you on the available seats in their range and also provide expert fitting. Have more than one car? They’ll make sure the seat you choose can correctly fit both of your vehicles.

Regular Maintenance…?

I did ask what regular maintenance they recommend. Except for cleaning I don’t do any regular checks on our children’s car seats. But should I? Sam, a qualified baby expert, recommended testing the harness without your child in it. Is the buckle gummed up with sticky stuff? Is it working correctly? If you have a seat that uses the adult belt to secure it. Check the adult seat belt and it’s buckle to make sure they are both working correctly. Clean the seat regularly but don’t use strong cleaners on the seat. We all get tempted to bleach the living daylights out of it, but strong chemicals could damage or weaken the harness straps.

There is a demonstration car seat in the store where you can have all the features and fitting demonstrations done by a trained fitter. Much easier to see what they’re doing here than in the back seat of your car!

I was really impressed and I am definitely going to return to Smyths Toys as a customer when I change my current car seat.

If you want to see how good they are go along to the Leckwith store on the 24th March for a free demonstration. If you can’t make the 24th don’t forget Smyths Toys do free car seat fitting all year round!

Burnished Chaos
3 Little Buttons



  1. There are a couple of things here I didn’t know about so thank you for sharing! Thanks for sharing at #TriumphantTales.

  2. So important to get car seats right and so many are second-hand or ill-fitting. A real worry so here’s to anyone who helps you get it right as a parent #TriumphantTales

  3. I hadn’t realised that Smyths fit car seats! That’s great to know. I’ve always found it a bit bamboozling to be honest. After doing loads of research, I wanted to get a fully molded seat with a 5-points harness for my then 3 year old to replace what she had outgrown. But you know what, the very well known brand I went to actually told me that this was over the top and all she needed was a standard booster with the adults seat belt. I didn’t listen and went else where, but it’s surprising how varied the advice is. Thanks for sharing with the #DreamTeam

  4. I have no idea where my nearest smyths toys is… goes checks… it’s great to get good car seat information though as there is so much bad advice. Rear face as long as possible all the way!! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

  5. Interesting post. I have 4 kids and have never heard about it being the ear height rather than head height being important so thanks for that. I will be checking the littles tomorrow. #dreamteam

  6. I had no idea that Smyths did car seats, looks like a great selection and some handy tips here #familyfunlinky

    1. It’s good to know isn’t it. Thanks for the comment.

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