WRITTEN BY ROBYN HUNT
Registered Counsellor &
Certified Car Seat Technician
The BeSafe Stretch is one of two extended rearfacing car seats (in South Africa) that have a weight limit of 36kgs. This means that your child can travel rearfacing until approximately 7 years old! The BeSafe Stretch is also the highest scoring extended rearfacing belted car seat ever tested by ADAC. This makes it the safest belted seat available in the world.
I was one of the first in South Africa to be lucky enough to receive a BeSafe Stretch and I have had the pleasure of using it with my daughter who is 5 years old. She weighs 22kgs and she is 121cm tall. I have the BeSafe Stretch in Peak Mesh. This means that the seat cover has mesh built into it for airflow.
What are the height and weight limits for the besafe stretch?
The BeSafe Stretch can be used from 61cm until 125cm or 36kgs. This is approximately 4 months old until 7 years old for the average sized child. The Stretch is rearfacing only.
BeSafe performed their own in-house testing where they tested the seat with a Q10 dummy (Equivalent to an average 10 and a half year old) in the Besafe Stretch. The Q10 dummy weighs approx. 35.58 kg and is 1,45m tall. The seat still scored well and passed the crash test. However, the seat's official height limit is 125cm which we recommend you adhere to. You can read more about the additional testing with the Q10 dummy here: Safety testing of BeSafe Stretch
pros and cons OF THE besafe stretch
(based on general information as well as my personal experience):
- It is the highest scoring extended rearfacing belted seat ever made
- It allows rearfacing until 36kgs (lasting the average child for 7 years)
- You can install it with legroom for your child
- It can be reclined at any time without reinstalling it
- It contains magnets in the harness to keep it out of the way when getting your child into the seat
- It has low sides to allow you to get your child in and out with ease
- It contains SIP+ (Side Impact Protection)
- My daughter found it extremely comfortable with extra padding and extra airflow
- Even in the most upright position my daughters head did not fall forward when she fell asleep
- it has really great recline positions which don't take up much more space when fully reclined unlike other toddler seats
- It can be installed in any car that has a full 3-point seat belt making it very universal
- Even on the most compact position, my daughter has more than enough space for her legs
- It is very light weight
- It is expensive
- Its more complicated to install than isofix seats
- The installation must be 100% correct or else the seat will come loose over time
- It will take up quite a bit of room in the car if you install it with extended legroom for your child
- The Peak Mesh colour gets dirty quite easily (I bought a summer cover for the seat to prevent this)
What are the safety features of the besafe stretch?
The BeSafe Stretch is i-size approved which means it meets the new R129 safety standard. However, over and above that, it has been independently crash tested by both ADAC and The Swedish Plus Test which is the most stringent crash test available.
Over and above passing The Swedish Plus Test, in crash testing done by ADAC, the Stretch received an incredible safety rating of 1.2. In the test, it displayed a very low risk of injury in both side and frontal collisions. This is the highest score out of all extended rearfacing seats tested by ADAC.
The unique external frame on the Stretch is designed to withstand the forces in a frontal crash. In addition, the shell of the seat has a very rigid spine that will make sure your child is kept in a stable position in an impact. The Stretch also comes with additional side impact protection SIP+ that easily slides on to the seat on the side closest to the door, but can be removed if there isn't space for it.
The headrest of the Stretch is protective, soft and padded and it has been made with BeSafe's innovative Dynamic Force Absorber™
The BeSafe Stretch is rearfacing only and that's why it received such an amazing safety rating and why it passed the Swedish Plus Test. Rearfacing is highly recommended for as long as possible! With the BeSafe Stretch, my daughter will be rearfacing until approx. 6 years old (she is bigger than average).
Below is the crash test video of the BeSafe Stretch and you can see just how well protected the dummy is:
What are the comfort features of the besafe stretch?
The BeSafe Stretch is really well padded all over. It comes with 2 x removeable inserts that you would use for younger children (up until 2 years old) which are there for safety but also for comfort for smaller babies who need the added support. The bottom part of the seat (the part they sit on) is particularly padded which my daughter found very comfortable.
The Stretch has 5 recline positions which are easily adjusted by a lever at the front of the seat. Unlike other extended rearfacing seats- you do not have to uninstall the seat to recline it. You can recline it on the go while it is installed and while your child is in it.
The furthest recline is the best recline angle I've seen out of all extended rearfacing seats. It looks really comfortable; especially for younger babies who sleep a lot in the car. My daughter personally didn't like being so reclined so she uses one of the most upright settings. Even on the most upright setting; the shape of the seat and the headrest ensured that her head didn't fall forward when she was sleeping.
The Stretch comes with a front brace which can be extended to give your child more legroom. It can extend all the way up to 26cm! It has 5 positions to suit your car and your child. Unfortunately I have a smaller car so I had to install it on the most compact position but she still had more than enough space for her legs (she crosses her legs either way) and kids don't need legroom anyway!
I did install it with the full extended legroom for the sake of this review and my daughter could place her feet directly on the vehicle bench with all the legroom she had.
The shell of the seat is quite roomy so it gives children a bit of space for movement while still remaining protected and secure.
I received the mesh version of the BeSafe Stretch. The seats made with the mesh fabric allow up to 8x more airflow with BeSafe’s 3D Mesh fabric. This is because the mesh fabric has an open structure and an intermediate layer with a 3D structure. This allows heat and moisture to be dissipated from the child, while air is allowed to flow freely through the layers.
The headrest on the BeSafe Stretch can be adjusted higher or lower to accommodate your growing child. This is done by simply lifting the lever on the back of the headrest. The headrest and harness raise together so no need for rethreading. The headrest has 10 different height settings.
For rearfacing car seats, the harness must be in-line with the shoulders or no more than 2cm below the shoulders. The harness must not be above the shoulders
The Stretch also has built-in magnets in the harness of the seat as well as on the shell of the seat. This holds the harness out of the way when you are putting your child in and out of the seat.
How is the BESAFE STRETCH installed?
The BeSafe Stretch can be installed in ANY car that has a 3-point seat belt. This makes it a really great, universal option as it doesn't require isofix or top tether for installation. The Stretch is installed using the vehicles 3-point seat belt and lower tether anchors which get wrapped around the front runner rails of the seat in front.
Like all extended rearfacing car seats; installing the Stretch isn't as quick and straight forward to install as isofix seats.
Unlike other extended rearfacing seats; the Stretch has a seatbelt tensioner. This means that you do not have to pull the seatbelt tight yourself, rather the seatbelt is tightened by turning a knob at the back of the seat which tightens the seatbelt for you. this knob must be turned until you hear 2 loud "clicks".
The Stretch also has self-tensioning lower tether anchors. this means that you do not have to pull to tighten the tethers yourself but rather you rock the seat from side to side and they tighten themselves. The seat also has a load leg with an indicator which turns green when the tethers are tight enough. If the tethers are not tight enough; the indicator will remain red and it will beep until you fix it
The first time I installed the Stretch, it did take me a good 15-20 minutes as I was still figuring it out. However, now it takes me 5 minutes at most to install it.
Although it is not as easy to install; once it is installed, it is solid and doesn't move at all unlike isofix seats which always have a tiny bit of movement. With the self tensioning tethers and the seatbelt tensioner, the seat doesn't loosen over time or need installation adjustments. The extended rearfacing seats without those features do need to be tightened and checked periodically.
The Stretch can be installed with up to 26cm of extra leg room for your child. This is done by pulling out and extending the front brace of the seat by squeezing the lever on the brace. This must be done before the seat is installed.
How to remove and wash the covers of the Besafe stretch:
Here is a great video showing how to remove the covers of the BeSafe Stretch. The covers can be hand washed or machine washed on a delicate 30 degrees cycle with gentle or baby detergent. The harness and shell of the seat can be wiped down but must not be submerged in water or hosed down.
What accessories are available for use with the besafe stretch?
The following accessories are approved for use with the BeSafe Stretch:
- BeSafe Seat Protector
- BeSafe Tablet Holder and Seat Protector
- BeSafe Belt Collector
- BeSafe Belt Guard
- BeSafe Stretch Protective/Summer Cover
Do not add anything on or under the seat unless it has been approved for use by BeSafe.
what is the lifespan of the besafe stretch?
The BeSafe Stretch has been designed to be used for no longer than 15 years from date of first installation. This is only applicable if the seat has not been in an accident, dropped, or damaged in any way. The seat must also be stored appropriately to maximise the lifespan.
The seat must be replaced after an accident of 10km/h and above.
What is the warranty on the besafe stretch?
The warranty is 2 years on all BeSafe products. This covers any manufacturing faults. BeSafe South Africa bring in any spare parts needed for repairs and can carry out repairs for you at their main office in Pretoria.
is the Besafe stretch compatible with my car?
The BeSafe Stretch can be installed in any vehicle with a 3-point seat belt and no underfloor storage compartments. Click here to check if your car is on the approved fit list. Please contact us if your car is not listed here:
What are the dimensions of the Besafe stretch?
The BeSafe Stretch dimensions are 790mm x 440mm x 600mm.
It weighs 10kgs.
The BeSafe Stretch is a great option if:
- Your child is bigger than average
- You child is not old, tall, heavy, or mature enough for a booster seat
- Your car does not have isofix
- You would like to rearface for as long as possible
- You want a seat that has a very long lifespan (15 years!)
- You want a seat that will last your child for approx. 7 years before upgrading to a booster
- You want the safest extended rearfacing seat on the market
The BeSafe Stretch really is in a league of its own with its amazing comfort features and of course its unmatched safety rating. As a mother who drives on our dangerous roads every single day; It is very reassuring to know that my daughter is always comfortable and most importantly safe and protected in the Stretch.
If budget allows, you cannot go wrong with the BeSafe Stretch!