The Way Forward?

When I was first in the business of growing babies and buying equipment, extended rearward facing wasn’t something that was on my radar. Back in 2010, facing your kids backwards in car seats beyond Stage 0 wasn’t really talked about, at least not in the baby shops in which I frequently handed over fistfuls of cash, or even in my parenting circles. If it was, I’d probably have been all over it. There’s none more earnest and conscientious than a first time parent, after all.

By all accounts, the savvy Scandinavians have been at the practice for ages. By the time the debate kicked off here in Ireland, my seats had been bought and I’d tuned out a bit, my kids happily facing forward from the age of one. My youngest is now two and has been using her elder siblings’ forward-facing seat since she outgrew the infant seat that came with our first travel system.

diono radian 5
Well if everyone else is facing this way…

The New Norm

While children aren’t required by law to remain rearward facing beyond nine months in Ireland, there have been murmurings for quite a while now about impending regulations that will keep little ones rearward facing for longer. There’s no shortage of research out there to suggest that rearward-facing seats provide greater protection for the baby’s head, neck and spine than forward-facing seats and experts and retailers alike are firmly stating that it’s best to keep your baby in a rearward-facing seat for as long as possible.

OK. So clearly a woman who has been practicing extended rearward facing for a wet week isn’t in much of a position to preach about its benefits, so I won’t. But if you have a little rummage around the web, you’ll be able to make up your own mind. Here’s the RSA’s take on it. 

Diono Radian 5
Image from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) 

Our Review of the Diono Radian 5 

Image: Diono

When I was offered the chance to review the Diono Radian 5, I didn’t hesitate. Partly because I had been hearing and thinking a lot about extended rearward-facing and partly because it’s one of the slimmest high back boosters on the market when facing forward – we’ve recently changed our car from a seven-seater with three full seats in the middle row back to a five-seater and things are a lot tighter back there.

diono radian 5

Functionality (Group 0, 0+, 1 and 2) 

While a lot of rear-facing options on the market facilitate passengers up to 18kg, there are only a few that offer this feature up to 25kg (approx. age 7).  What’s even more remarkable is that the Radian 5 is suitable from birth, as well as everything in between. The seat comes with a gorgeously soft, removable infant cocoon and headrest to support newborn babies’ heads, torsos and legs. It also comes with an extra set of super grip harness pads for use with higher weights, which allow for the use of the five-point harness up to 25kg, again, not a feature that’s necessarily easy to find. The seat has nifty expanding edges too to help accommodate older kids.
If you only ever planned on buying one car seat, then this would probably be it.
diono radian 5 review
Comes with super grip harness pads for older passengers and a removable infant cocoon

Comfort 

As car seats go, this one is the comfiest and the softest I’ve come across. The seat cushion and surrounds are made with energy-absorbing memory foam. It’s a bit like a business class flight recliner for babies. With memory foam. I predict much snoozing.
Diono Radian 5 Review

Durability, Safety & Reliability

The seat is sturdy and robust. A full steel frame and reinforced aluminium sides mean it’s seriously strong and one of the most crash-resistant on the market. It comes with a ten-year guarantee. The downside of this is that it’s a very heavy seat – much heavier than any of the others I’ve used in the past.
Diono Radian 5 Review

Portability

The seat folds flat – this is a handy function if you need to store it in the boot from time to time or take it on holidays. It comes with a strap that allows you to carry it on your back. It’s pretty unlikely that you’d carry it for long though or even move it regularly, because of its weight. Diono also sell an accompanying travel bag.

Installation 

I’d be lying if I said the installation was a walk in the park. There’s no winging this one without instructions. There are lots of parts and straps and buckles and if you’re someone who’s used to the instant gratification of an ISOFIX click, then you’ll find this cumbersome and laborious by comparison. ISOFIX is unable to hold as much weight as a car seat which uses a seat belt and tether, hence the Radian 5’s capacity to cater for 25kg.

The instruction manual left us scratching our heads initially, and it took (two of us) a while, even after consulting online video tutorials.

However, in it’s defence, a car seat that’s going to offer such a huge range of functionality isn’t going to be straightforward really, is it? We forgive you, Diono.

Usage

Getting our daughter in and out is simple and straightforward and the straps are easily adjustable. I’ve had no complaints from my rear-traveling passenger so far, who, from what I can see, is enjoying the first class travel experience. I did fear that she wouldn’t like facing backwards when her siblings were facing the opposite way, but she doesn’t seem bothered. I do need to root out the old mirror I used when she was an infant though, so I can see what she’s up to.

Diono Radian 5 Review

Another feature that impressed us was the additional angle adjuster pad that Diono sent us to to use with the seat. It’s easy to position underneath the car seat in rear-facing mode and it adjusts the angle of the seat to a more upright position to allow for extra leg room for passengers in the front – a feature welcomed by my long-legged husband!

diono radian 5
The angle adjuster allows for a more upright position for older kids, saving space.

Oh. And it comes with a cup-holder as standard, which is more than I can say for my last car.

Cost

The Diono Radian 5 car seat retails for anything between €250 and €400, which, even at the higher end isn’t unreasonable considering it can be used up to age 7. Shop for a Diono Radian 5 on Amazon ” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener”>here.

Overall

We’re more than happy with the Diono Radian 5, now that we have it installed and have come to understand its ways! We love the peace of mind that a car seat of this calibre offers and for now, our little passenger is happy to be rear facing. I’m confident that when we choose to turn the seat around, we’ll be grateful for the narrow base width in the back row.

Diono Radian 5 Review

For more info on the Radian 5, including installation videos, visit the Diono website.

Do you practice extended rear facing beyond the infant stage? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Looking for a One-Car-Seat -Fits-All solution? Read our Diono Radian 5 review - a multi-stage car seat suitable for rearward facing from birth up to 25kg. #carseat #extendedrearfacing #diono #radian5

  • I was sent a Radian 5 car seat from Diono for the purpose of this review. As always, I’ve written honestly and all words and opinions are my own. 
  • This post contains affiliate links. Shinners & the Brood is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk. To find out more, please read my Disclosure page.
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14 Comments

  1. We bought an extending rear facing seat after our daughter grew out of the infant carrier. It’s the Brittax dualfix which rotates and I love it. Just wish I’d known about this extending rear facing when we bought the initial lot!

    • Sinéad Reply

      I love the rotating car seats. We never had one but they always look so handy!

  2. wow sounds like a fantastic seat
    with the twins I support erf and have had two car seats so far each with my current seat only up to 18kg which they’re about to grow out of and I need a 3rd rtf up to 25kg
    wish I’d heard of this seat 3.5years ago

    • Sinéad Reply

      It seems that are are very few that allow for ERF all the way up to 25kg!

  3. We were the same and it wasn’t something that was about much when my girls were babies. I love Diono and we have their car seats. I’m amazed at how much space they have, I always wondered about their legs being squashed.

    • Sinéad Reply

      This is our first Diono but I love how narrow it is forward facing too!

  4. What a great review! It looks like an excellent car seat, if I was in the market for one I would absolutely consider it. We also have a rear facing to 25kg seat.

  5. This sounds like such a good seat. I wish it had been around when my two were younger. It looks like it is really well padded too and I’ve heard that rear-facings seats are the way forward (no pun intended 😉 )

  6. This sounds great! I love extended rear facing seats, I never knew the importances of then until recently! It looks so comfy too, and a great colour, it’s definitely one to consider!

  7. I love extended rear facing carseats and am so glad that the law is changing. This one looks great, I love the colour and the cupholder.

    • Sinéad Reply

      My little passenger is a big fan of the cup holder too! 🙂

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