We have been testing a new car seat for Evie recently, the Cozy ‘n’ Safe Merlin. Our first impressions have been great overall. We do a lot of travelling and the first few weeks with this car seat have been no exception, we have been to the Cotswolds, to the North West and on lots of day trips.
My first impressions as I took the car seat out of the box was how sturdy, safe and comfortable the seat looked. The fabric felt soft and really padded, I could see Evie was going to be a lot happier in this than she was in her infant seat. I also loved the colour, it was so nice to have a car seat that wasn’t grey!
I filmed a video of my unboxing of the car seat, if you would like to see how the seat arrives and my first impressions check out the video below:
I have reviewed the car seat out of five under the following subjects; fitting instructions, installing the seat, using the seat, comfort and safety, style look and feel and finally the price point.
1. Fitting Instructions (4/5)
This is our 3rd car seat that we have had for the girls so we are quite used to the way the ISOFIX connectors work so we got it out of the box and put it straight in the car, however if you needed the full instructions they are in a handy compartment at the back of the seat. There is a really useful description of the main features of the car seat printed on the seat and full instructions on the Cozy ‘n’ Safe website which is perfect if you always lose manuals like me!
2. Installing the MERLIN (4.5/5)
I have to admit I didn’t personally install the seat, my husband did (you can see a little of the installing of the seat on the video above) but it was really easy to do. We have a 2016 Nissan Qashqai which has the ISOFIX connectors so once we had pulled the ISOFIX bars out on the seat (which took a few seconds for my husband to do) it then attaches to the bars. There is a support leg that needs to be pushed down to reach the floor, we found this easily adjustable and once in the right position felt really secure and sturdy. Once you’ve done the above you can do a quick safety check (look for the green light on the seat) and then you’re ready to go.
One of the things I love about the Merlin is that the base and the seat are already attached, so once the seat is connected to the ISOFIX you don’t have to worry about then installing a seat. If you are going to move the car seat into a Grandparents etc car then yes it will be heavy to lift but the ISOFIX connectors mean it’s a simple move.
I liked that the usage instructions are printed on the seat, especially for the safety features like the green light/at what age the child can be sat in which position in case the car seat is used by Grandparents or friends and they aren’t as familiar with the installation.
3. Adjusting the headrest/harness, and using the rotation (5/5)
The rotation is my favourite thing about the Cozy ‘n’ Safe Merlin. Evie is a heavy baby and I also have a bad back so being able to rotate the seat so I can get her in easily is amazing. It’s great that I don’t have to reach in and over into the car to do her seat belt up – which as you may know if you have a squirmy / unhappy baby at times makes life SO much easier! I really wish Amelie’s seat had this feature as I still struggle to get her in and out.
Amelie is nearly three so we also tried her in this seat (as in theory she is able to sit in this seat for another year) and she still seemed comfortable rear facing which is great news as I am keen for both of them to rear face as long as possible.
The headrest is really easy to move when they grow and need the seat adapting to their age. The newborn insert seemed really soft and cozy and I’ve noticed that Evie always gets into her seat and snuggles her face into the side of the headrest as I think she feels comfortable.
Car seat with the newborn insert
Evie snuggling into the seat before we drive home from a day trip
4. Comfort & Safety (4/5)
She seems really comfortable in the seat and once she has been reclined, has slept really well on both of the long journeys we have made in the car, so I do wonder if she is more comfortable in this than she was her infant carrier. The Merlin has a four point rearwards recline and a three point forward facing recline so you can adjust as necessary really easily.
The first thing I noticed and said on my unboxing video was how soft I thought the fabric was, I commented on how comfortable I thought it would be and (unfortunately I can’t ask her) but I never have any problems from her once she’s in the car. We have a rear facing car seat for Amelie and now I can compare the two I think the Merlin has more padding. Evie seems very secure and protected when she’s in the seat which is key for me as having a screaming baby can be really off putting when you’re trying to drive. When we used her infant seat this used to happen a lot so we spent a lot more time stopping to try and settle her which made long journeys longer, so I have been really pleased so far with how content she seems to be when travelling.
One little thing I have found tricky was doing up the seat belt after I have made the belt tighter so that Evie is strapped in effectively, we have to loosen it so the fabric doesn’t catch and then tighten it again which is fine but can be difficult at times if she doesn’t want to be put in the seat.
5. Style, look and feel (5/5)
We have only had grey / black car seats in the past and I have to say I do really like the colour of this seat. It looks really stylish in our car and I think I prefer the look of the seat to Amelie’s. It feels and looks really comfortable with soft fabric and I love the padded straps.
I liked that there was a choice of colours for the seat. I know that lots of my Mum friends have chosen seats in different colours and I can see why – they look great!
So far we have had one little sickness incident and it cleaned off really well with some soapy water and upholstery cleaner and it didn’t require a whole wash and it looks like new. (phew)
6. Price point (5/5)
For me the comparison is what we spent on car seats for Amelie to last her until she was four. We have bought x1 infant carrier x1 ISOFIX base x1 toddler car seat which cost £506 (prices correct at time I wrote this). Using that as an example it’s clear that it is a much more affordable bundle to get the same extended rear facing seat as we have for Amelie.
The one downside would be if you want to transfer your newborn or baby from car seat to pram, as this seat is attached to the base you wouldn’t be able to do that. Personally I never did that with Evie anyway as my preference was to take her out of the car seat and have her lie flat in her pram but this is a consideration as you may want a traditional infant carrier for that reason.
My overall thoughts on the Cozy ‘n’ Safe Merlin
I love this car seat, I really have been very impressed. You can tell that a lot of thought and engineering has gone into making this what seems like a very comfortable, practical and safe car seat.
If you are looking for a new car seat, for either a newborn or for a baby who is coming out of their first car seat I would say this is definitely one for consideration. The fact it can be used from birth to four years is a big factor for me as only having to buy one car seat where with Amelie we had to buy two makes a huge financial impact.
The most important factor is that Evie seems happy in her seat, which for our regular long journeys is very important.
*We were kindly sent the Cozy ‘n’ Safe Merlin to review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own*