Kiddy USA generously offered us a Kiddy World Plus for review, and I was eager to try one. Unlike any other child restraint in the US, this seat has a protection shield instead of a 5-point harness. This type of restraint is new to the US, but is fairly common in Europe, where restraints similar to this one are seen more frequently. The Kiddy world plus made the IIHS “Best Bet” list for 2013 and 2014 for belt positioning boosters, and has also won top choice awards.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Forward facing weight range: 22-40lbs
- Forward facing height range: <43″ and sitting unassisted
- Highback booster weight range: 40-110lbs (older models are 40-80lbs)
- High back booster height range: <57″
- Highest booster guide position: 23″
- Expiration: 10 years
- Lower anchor weight limit: 40lbs
- Protection Shield instead of harness
- Push button lower anchor connectors
- FAA approved (shield mode only)
- Lightweight at only 15lbs
- Comfortable 2-way seat cushion for smaller children
- Easy to adjust headrest
- IIHS Best Bet for booster fit
When I unboxed the World Plus, the first thing I noticed was that it is very light. At only 15 pounds, it is easily the lightest of the combination and convertible seats that we own. My back loves that part! The fabric seemed very durable and yet comfortable. I immediately started to read the manual, and I was pleased to find a very useful picture identifying parts of the seat right on page one. Since this seat is different from other seats available in North America, I think this will be very helpful to new owners.
I wanted to use the World Plus with the protection shield first, and I decided to try using the lower anchors. I put the Kiddy World Plus on the vehicle seat and reclined the vehicle seat back slightly so that there was no gap between the vehicle seat and the back of the World Plus, as per the manual.
Side note: I installed the car seat in two vehicles, a 2010 Honda Odyssey and a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am, and I did not have a gap behind the seat in either vehicle. Due to differences in the curve and pitch of vehicle seats, one may find it difficult, or perhaps in some situations impossible, to install the World Plus without a gap behind the seat. This would be something to discuss with Kiddy USA, as the manual recommends reclining the vehicle seat to prevent a gap.
Despite the visual similarities, this seat is not at all like two other styles of seat that have graced North American markets in the last 20 years. Parents and caregivers of older children may remember the original ‘shield booster’ (or our younger readers may have ridden in these a few times themselves), popular during the 90s. These seats were loosely fitted and allowed the seatbelt to go over the child’s belly across a shield. They allowed a significant gap between the child and the shield, had no energy absorbing foam, and could easily lead to serious injury and ejection. More recently, the overhead shield seat (in which the harness attached to a shield which descended over the child’s head) was quite ubiquitous until it was finally discontinued completely in 2009.
While it was still a five point harness (the ends of the shield made up the 4th and 5th points), it did not fit as snugly as a traditional five point harness and frequently provided a very poor fit for smaller infants. The World Plus manual suggests only using standard spacing for lower anchors, but does allow a range between 10.2″and 17.7″ if the vehicle allows it. This means that if the vehicle allows “lower anchor borrowing” then you may do so as long as the lower anchors being used are within the distance stated above.
I sat my Little in the seat to see where the headrest should be, and I adjusted the headrest before installing the seat. I found the headrest adjustment system to be very smooth and easy to use. Next, I took the top tether out of its handy pocket on the back of the seat, and attached it to the tether anchor. Finally, I attached the lower anchor connectors to the lower anchors.
The protection shield is attached to the lower anchor connector strap, and there is a dedicated belt path on the shield for it.
The World Plus has a seat cushion which has two settings for smaller children using the protection shield. It is very padded and seems like it would be comfortable. For children 22-26lb, it is used fully folded, and for children 26-30lb, it is used unfolded. The cushion snaps right onto the sides of the seat when in use, preventing it from moving around or getting lost.
Fit to Child and Installation
4.5 Years Old
My first assistant is almost 4.5 and is tiny for her age at only 33lb and 38″; however, she’s too big to use the seat cushion, so I removed it from the seat. I unbuckled the protection shield buckle, which is attached to the lower anchor on the right side of the seat, and lifted the shield so she could sit down. The headrest should be adjusted so that the child’s ears are within the narrow portion of the headrest, and be sure to adjust the headrest before you put your Little into the seat so that you don’t have to undo the tether anchor after it’s already installed.
The shield buckle is on the lower anchor connector strap, and it has a handy button which is easy to use. Getting a Little into the Kiddy World Plus is easy and straightforward. Lift the protection shield, put your Little into the seat or let him climb in by himself, and then replace the protection shield. Once she was seated, and the shield was snugly positioned in the correct spot, fitting nicely under the arm rest, I tightened the lower anchor connector strap at the protection shield buckle.
Be sure that the lower anchor connector strap is in the correct belt path; in this case I needed to route it over the arm rest as was indicated by this very clear label on the side of the seat. This was very easy, but we did have to make some adjustments because neither of us are used to a shield, having only used a 5 point harness before. We finally got the shield to be snug against her body without being too tight. She was told not to put her face on the shield, and to sit upright. Because she’s four, she followed my instructions well most of the time and rested her head on the head rest.
A potential downside for the World Plus for her was that she could not buckle herself in, something that she’s able to do when using her regular seat.
Using the vehicle belt with the protection shield is very similar, but the vehicle belt goes into the open belt path. The lower anchors are stored in their nifty pocket, however, one must still utilize the protection shield buckle, even if the vehicle belt is being used. Once your Little is in the seat, replace the protection shield and buckle the protection shield buckle. The World Plus can be installed with a lap/shoulder belt or a lap only belt. Below you’ll see photos of both methods of installation.
Installation: Lap/Shoulder Belt
First, an installation with a lap and shoulder belt that locks at the retractor.
You’ll pull the vehicle belt out, put the lap portion into the belt guides, buckle the belt, and pull the shoulder portion so that the lap portion is as snug as you need it to be.
Put the shoulder portion into the same belt path as the lap portion of the vehicle belt, and lock the belt. in my vehicle, the belt would sometimes lock right before I could put the shoulder belt into the belt guides, which made things a little more awkward, but over time it would probably get easier. Make sure that you’re not routing the vehicle belt through the red belt guides meant for booster mode.
This is what a lap and shoulder vehicle belt installation will look like after it is completed.
- If your vehicle has lap and shoulder belts that lock at the latch plate, you’d pull the shoulder belt tight to make the lap portion snug and then route the shoulder belt through the belt path.
- If your lap and shoulder belt does not lock, you’re going to be using the locking clip that Kiddy provides with the World Plus seat.
Installation: Lap Only Belt
Using a lap only belt is very simple, and some of the steps used during a lap and shoulder belt installation apply. Again, use the top tether when installing the Kiddy World Plus. Put the little in the seat, replace the protection shield, buckle the protection shield buckle. For a lap only belt, route the belt through the belt guides on the shield, buckle the belt, and pull the “tail” so that the belt is as snug as you need it to be. In our Grand Am, we didn’t have a lot of belt to pull on the end, but had enough to make it work. Note: a lap only belt is NOT suitable for use with a booster seat, and also isn’t acceptable for someone riding without a booster. A lap only belt is fine for installing a child restraint though, and is allowed for installing the World Plus in protection shield mode. This lap belt must lock at the latch plate. Not sure how your vehicle belts lock? Read our article to help you figure it out!
Fit to Child
2.5 Years Old
My second assistant is 2.5, 36″ tall, and is 26lb. Since she’s 26lb, I am using the positioning cushion unfolded, which is for kiddos 26-30lb.
Kiddy has a stated a minimum of 1 year and 22lb for using the World Plus in toddler mode with the shield.
Of course, we at CSFTL, along with other safety organizations and government agencies, recommend rear facing until at least age two. Ideally, a child will remain rear facing as close to age four as possible, or until they outgrow their rear facing convertible seat.
Read more about why rear facing is safer for toddlers and younger children in: Why Rear Facing: the Science Junkie’s Guide.
Our model is an active and adventurous two-year old, but she did sit down for a few photos, thankfully. She didn’t seem to mind being put into the car seat and happily climbed in.
The included seat cushion helps to position the child properly so that the shield will fit properly on smaller children, and I think that she did get a very good fit. This is a close up of the seat cushion when used for a child between 26 and 30lb. It’s contoured to better position a lighter or smaller child and is very padded and cushy. It is attached to the side of the seat with snaps, so that it isn’t going to move around even if a wiggly toddler is sitting on it.
Just like many two-year old littles, our model quickly decided that she didn’t want to be contained any longer and demanded to be released. An up-side to the shield on the World Plus is that she cannot simply escape whenever she wants to. For kids who have a proclivity for escaping from a traditional 5-point harness, the shield could be very helpful. A really determined child could, possibly, unbuckle the vehicle belt. Our model could not do this, though.I am not sure that our model has the right kind of personality to use the Kiddy World Plus regularly. I think she felt too restrained and would protest during car rides. Even though she’s within the limits of the seat, because she’s only 2.5, she is definitely going to stay rear facing for a while yet. She doesn’t always like that, either, but she is more used to being rear facing and I know that best practice recommendations are for kids to remain rear facing as long as possible.
2.5 Years Old
We’ve enlisted another 2.5 year old model to demonstrate the fit to child. This model is 2.5 years old, 27 pounds, 34 inches tall. She had to use the pad unfolded since she’s under 30 pounds. The seat fit her well.
High Back Booster Mode
To use the World Plus in booster mode, one will have to remove the protection shield for booster use. The manual gives instructions on how to use a Phillips head screwdriver (not included) to remove the two screws holding the lower anchor connector strap/ shield onto the back of the seat. Be sure to put these screws in a safe spot because they’ll be needed again if the shield needs to go back onto the seat. Also note that the tether anchor connector strap should be stowed in the pocket on the back of the headrest as it cannot be used in booster mode.
Next, open the red belt guide on the side of the headrest and place the shoulder portion of the belt inside, then close the belt guide again. Make sure that the belt guides are at or just above the shoulder, placing the vehicle belt squarely across the shoulder area.
Fit to Child
6.5 Years Old
My third assistant is 6.5, 45lb, and around 49″ tall. He uses a high back booster full-time, and does very well. He was attracted to the World Plus because it is red, and red is an awesome color. Here is our model buckled up and very happy.There was plenty of room to adjust the headrest upwards, and the top belt guide position is a generous 23″ he has a lot of room for growth in the car seat in booster mode. He found the World Plus in booster mode to be comfortable. He could buckle himself in, and the belt guides allowed him to adjust the vehicle belt very easily. The width of the seat at the shoulder is very generous and he appreciated the extra space.Compared to his regular booster, the World Plus is pretty low profile at the bottom, which was also nice. We took several long rides and his only complaint was that he wished that the headwings on the headrest were a little wider apart. Our model also missed having a cup holder, but wasn’t really very bothered by that. One minor complaint that I had was the lack of lower anchors in booster mode, which isn’t a necessary feature by any means, but is convenient to have so that we don’t have to buckle the booster in when it isn’t being used.
9 Years Old
Here we see a 9 year old model demonstrating the lap/shoulder belt fit on the seat in booster mode. This particular Little has been quite picky about her boosters over the years — she’s rather slim so padding is of utmost importance to her. The World Plus is contoured around her legs and torso, with comfortable padding in all of the right places. She’s so comfortable in this seat that she’s choosing to ride in this seat rather than the low back boosters that she normally rides in.
We don’t think the Kiddy World Plus is a good option for a kiddo with a port or tube on the belly or chest, but the lack of a chest clip and the open area up top may be just what some parents are looking for. For kids who have sensory issues and need pressure or to feel “snug” in the vehicle, the Kiddy World Plus may be ideal. This car seat should definitely be considered as an option for some kids with special needs, depending on the need.
One problem we had was that our older model got sweaty during a longer car ride. It is summer here in Arizona, so the vehicle can get very hot.There is a warning in the Kiddy World Plus manual cautioning parents to be aware of a hot seat that has been in a vehicle, and this is definitely one to pay attention to if you’re in a hot climate like I am.
Just like a hot metal buckle, a hot protection shield can be uncomfortable and limit air flow somewhat. The Kiddy World Plus protection shield does have a mesh portion, shown in the photo to the right, which can help keep some kids cooler in hot weather. Always take proper precautions when putting a little into a vehicle that is hot inside! If your little tends to get very warm in the vehicle, you may find that he or she will sweat a lot when using the shield if it’s very warm out. Pre-cooling the vehicle or using other tips or tricks for keeping cool in the vehicle can help, but since the shield is right up against the abdomen, it may be difficult to prevent a very hot natured kiddo from getting sweaty. Check out our Keepin Car Seats Cool article for more ways to keep cool during hot weather.
Lower Anchor Storage
Replacement After Crash
While the cover for the seat can easily be removed using velcro tabs on the back, the shield is spot-clean only. After a few days of use, there was some dirt or dust on the cover and it brushed off easily, leading me to believe that spot cleaning would likely be sufficient for cleaning most of the time.
Since the protection shield mode on the World Plus has a 40lb weight limit, and there are seats that rear face to 40lb, this seat may be more suited for smaller or lightweight forward facing kids. Our 4 year old model is still not 40lbs and our older model didn’t get to 40lb until around age 5.5 or so.
Overall, our models and I all liked the World Plus. Our 4.5 year old model prefers to be able to buckle herself into a seat, and chose to go back to using a 5-point harness because she felt it was more familiar and comfortable. Our 6.5 year old, however, enjoys using the car seat as a belt positioning booster, and now uses it as his everyday seat.
Are you interested in the Kiddy World Plus? What about a Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro? Kiddy has partnered with CSFTL for a giveaway! You could win a Cruiserfix Pro or a World Plus car seat. Which one would you choose? While Kiddy generously provided a World Plus for this review, the comments and opinions above are my own. Always read your vehicle and restraint manuals when installing and using a child restraint, and, when in doubt, seek help from your friendly local CPST. a Rafflecopter giveaway