Britax Factory Visit

Getting the Grand Tour of Britax Australia
Getting the Grand Tour of Britax Australia

Britax Australia is the mastermind company behind some of the safest and highly regarded car seats, prams and infant carrier systems across Australia. They have won countless awards for their engineering, safety and innovative products designed to ensure maximum comfort, protection and safety. So when I was invited to take a tour of the Britax Australia factory in Melbourne and learn more about their new Safe-n-Sound Platinum SICT and Meridian SICT car seats, I jumped at the chance!

I knew Britax Australia had a very exciting day planned for me, but I deliberately didn’t look at the itinerary as I’m a bit of a fraidy cat and heard the words ‘race track’ mentioned around the office (with snickering because they know driving is not my strong suit).  So when I arrived in chilly Melbourne and headed straight out to Sandown International Raceway, home to the V8’s, I can tell you my heart was in my mouth.

Safe Driving Lessons

Behind the wheel of a Supercar
Behind the wheel of a Supercar

The lovely blokes from Driver Dynamics, the leading driving training company across Australia,  met me there and took me through a defensive driver training course in the warmth of the office.  However, as soon as the training was over, I knew what was coming up; I’d seen the witches hats set up.  All plea’s of ‘but I’m a crap driver’ were ignored as they put me through my paces to improve my confidence and driving skills.  Sixty kilometres an hour doesn’t sound fast until you have to stop in a hurry.  They had me swerving, slamming on brakes and weaving in and out of cones in no time, and it really did make me feel confident.  After an hour of putting me through my paces, the fella’s bought out a Ferrari and Lambo – and they allowed me to drive it (game I’d say!!!!!).

These cars are all part of their ‘Supercar Drive’ program that allows ordinary drivers to take to the streets in a Supercar, for around $400/hour. The car was sex on wheels and I’ll ashamedly admit I Facebooked it and tweeted it proudly. After all, it will probably be the only time I will be allowed to get that close to such a powerful machine.

Testing Out the Safe N Sound Car Seats
Testing Out the Safe-n- Sound SICT Car Seats

Crash Tests and Car Seats

Next I was ferried over to the Britax Factory where they make the Safe-n-Sound car seats.  I’m a huge fan of Safe-n-Sound, I’ve never used anything else for my two boys.   I got to see their brand new seats, the Platinum SICT and Meridian SICT and even tested them to see how easy it was to remove the covers and re-attach (because if your babies were like my babies, car seats get full of spew!).  Seeing how these amazing car seats are made from pebbles of hard plastic, moulded and put together is amazing.  All the staff were so proud of the product, and were all happy to answer my ceaseless questions.

The Safe-n-Sound Meridian SICT is currently the most popular seat on the Australian market and has been re-designed to provide an even safer ride for your baby. The seat features innovative features such as Side Impact Cushion Technology, an Active Head Restraint and an easy adjust lever. The Meridian SICT is suitable from birth to approximately four years and now offers 20 percent more energy absorption than the previous model. The Safe-n-Sound Platinum SICT features additional SICT Torso protection with a 25 percent greater side impact protection than the previous model. Both are considered to be the most advanced seats on the market and after seeing them in action, it’s easy to see why!

To get a better idea of how the Safe-n-Sound Platinum SICT can protect, take a look at this Safe-n-Sound video. Or, watch the entire day unfold with the video below:

 

The worst part of the day I will admit was the crash lab.  This was the part I was looking forward to the most, but when I got there, I felt physically ill – so much so I had to sit down and get a drink of water.  They have lifelike crash test dummies – dressed in blue sitting in these chairs.  Seeing the little dummy in the Safe-n-Sound seat being wound back to be hurdled through the crash lab was truly vomit worthy; seeing the devastating impact of a crash truly makes you appreciate having a good quality car seat with SICT and makes you really understand why it is so important  The fella’s then showed me a video of the cheap knock-offs, and truly your children wouldn’t stand a chance.  They literally broke into a thousand pieces.  I was very glad to get out of the lab…. And just quietly I wanted to take that crash test dummy with me.

Crash Course in the Importance of a High Quality Car Seat
Crash Course in the Importance of a High Quality Car Seat

The next stop on the factory tour was probably the most interesting one, where they test all the seats and prams (they also make Steelcraft Prams).  They had large treadmills set up to test the wheels, testing the safety clips on the car seats again and again and again.

The Safety Behind the Seat

The entire day was filled with beautiful and friendly people, happy to answer my questions and guide me through the intricate maze that makes up the process of manufacturing a car seat. And from what I had just seen in the crash testing room, knowing that all of their products are put through these extensive testing definitely put my mind at ease.

Reviewed by Jody.

 

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