Mother of 3, Occupational Therapist & child safety advocate.
In this review, I will be covering the Hauck Varioguard Plus car seat and everything you need to know about it; including the practicalities, safety features, pros and cons. This seat is the most affordable extended rear facing car seat with high safety ratings.
The Hauck Variogaurd Plus is made in Germany. It is the most affordable, high scoring toddler seat that allows extended rear facing and forward facing. It is a versatile seat as it can be installed either with isofix OR seatbelt, and it is quick and easy to install.
PRO'S AND CONS OF THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS
- Good safety ratings
- Installation is quick and easy
- More affordable
- Versatile; installs with isofix or seatbelt
- High base so easier for child to see out the window
- Infants don’t always fit &/recline safely. Recommended from 3 months
- Thin covers are difficult to remove and can only be hand-washed
- Risk of buckle crunch in some cars when installing with seatbelt
HOW LONG WILL THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS LAST MY CHILD?
The Varioguard Plus is an ECE R44/04 approved car seat, with the weight limits from birth to 18kg. When installed with isofix, it can be used rear facing from birth to 18kg or forward facing from 9 to 18kg. When installed with seatbelt, it can be used rear facing from birth to 13kg and forward facing from 9 to 18kg.
This usually lasts average-sized children until they are approximately 4 years old. It does not have a specified height limit, but is outgrown by height at approximately 105cm when the harness dips below the shoulders in forward facing to more than an inch below the shoulder in rear facing.
WHAT ARE THE SAFETY FEATURES OF HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS
The Hauck Variogaurd Plus base has visual indicators to ensure correct installation. It has a 5-point harness to distribute crash forces more evenly across the torso, memory, as well as energy-absorbing areas in head and shoulder paddings.
It scored an overall score of "satisfactory" by Hauck Varioguard ADAC and a safety score of "good" with low risk of injury in a side impact collision and low risk of injury in a frontal collision.
WHAT ARE THE COMFORT FEATURES OF THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS?
The Varioguard Plus has memory foam in the headrest and side panels for added comfort and safety. It comes with a removable infant insert that is softly padded.
Variogaurd Plus has 3 recline settings. It must be used in the maximum recline setting for rear facing, which is a decent recline angle. It has 3 recline settings for forward facing.
There are 7 height adjustments of the integrated headrest and 5-point harness to accommodate your child's growth. This makes it easy to adjust the height without having to rethread the harness.
HOW IS THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS INSTALLED?
The Variogaurd Plus is quick and easy to install. A huge bonus is that it is versatile and can be installed either with isofix OR seatbelt, never both! This is very convenient if one of your vehicles do not have isofix or for occasional lifts in Ubers or grandparents cars' without isofix. The Variogaurd Plus can be detached off the isofix base, making it lighter and easy to move between cars. The Variogaurd Plus is quite compact for a rear facing toddler seat.
HOW TO INSTALL THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS WITH ISOFIX
Attach the isofix connectors of the base to the vehicles isofix brackets and check that the indicators turn green. The base should then be pushed as close to the vehicle backrest as possible for a secure installation, with less than an inch of movement side to side.
The support leg should then be adjusted to the correct height in the footwell of the car, until the indicator turns green. Simply click the seat onto the base and recline it. To change it from rear facing to forward facing is easy; simply detach it from the base, turn it around and reattach.
HOW TO INSTALL THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS WITH SEATBELT
The Variogaurd Plus base is a bit tricky to install with seatbelt and is prone to errors. It requires a full 3-point seatbelt and cannot be installed with a lap belt.
Guide both portions of seatbelt through the red seatbelt guides of the base, pull out the slack and close the seatbelt tensioner. Lower the support leg until the indicator turns green, then attach the seat to the base.
Vehicles that have female buckles (the part of the buckle that the seatbelt clicks into) that are on long stalks can cause buckle crunch with the Varioguard Plus. Buckle crunch is when any part of the plastic seat belt buckle casing is bends over the plastic frame of the seat, which can cause too much pressure on the buckle in a crash and may cause the buckle to break in a crash. If your car has long webbing on the seatbelt buckle, the Varioguard may not suitable for your car to install its seatbelt (unless you have the option of installing it with isofix rather!)
HOW TO REMOVE AND WASH THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS COVERS
The covers are thin and difficult to remove. So you need to be careful when doing this. They must only be handwashed. The buckle padding falls off easily, so it may be best to stitch it to the cover to prevent it from getting lost.
HOW LONG CAN HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS BE USED FOR / WHAT IS THEIR LIFESPAN?
Hauck recommends that their harnessed car seats not be used for longer than 6 years, provided it has not been in a crash.
WHAT IS THE WARRANTY ON HAUCK?
The warranty is 1 years on the seat excluding textiles. The Hauck importer in South Africa will provide parts free of charge, but request that the customer pays for the shipping fees. They do not carry out any repairs.
IS THE VARIOGUARD PLUS COMPATIBLE WITH MY CAR?
In order to install the Variogaurd Plus, the car requires a full 3-point seatbelt OR isofix, and no underfloor storage compartments. If your car has underfloor storage compartments, please contact us to check if your vehicle is compatible. A rear facing car seat must never be installed in front of an active airbag. Click here to check if your car is on the approved fit list:
WHAT ARE THE DIMENSIONS OF THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS?
The Hauck Varioguard Plus is 72cm heigh, 50cm long and 42cm wide. The Variogaurd Plus including the base weighs 15kg. It can be separated from the base making it lighter to move between cars.
The Varioguard Plus is the most affordable high scoring extended rear facing car seat in South Africa. It is a simple, easy to use car seat with great safety ratings. It is versatile as it can be installed with isofix or seatbelt. Legroom is limited for the child, but this makes it a bit more compact than other extended rear facing seats.