Joie i-Anchor i-Size Combination Car Seat product test: the feedback thread

Hello.

This is the feedback thread for those of you who are testing the Joie i-Anchor i-Size Combination Car Seat for us as part of our latest MadeForMums product test. 

You should all have received your Joie i-Anchor i-Size Combination Car Seat and Joie i-AnchorFix Car Seat Base by now – if not, it's definitely on its way!

Please now fit the seat and its base in your car (do read and follow the fitting instructions carefully), give it a test drive with your child on board – and take some pictures for us.

Then we'd like you to give us your feedback on this thread by answering EACH of the following 4 questions, please:

1. What did you think of the car seat when you got it, and how did you get on with installing it in your car and adjusting the straps and headrest?

2. How comfortable do you think your child is in the car seat? Please post up your picture of your child in the seat.

3. What do you think of extended rearward-facing car seats in general? Would you have considered buying one before this product test? And after?

4. Would you recommend this car seat to a friend?

Everyone who leaves quality feedback on this thread (and is part of our product test) will be put into a draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher.

Thank you so much - and good luck!

The Joie i-Anchor i-Size Combination Car Seat pictured below, £175, is an extended rearward facing seat, meaning your child can travel for longer (up to 4 years old or 18kg) in the recommended rearward-facing position. It’s installed using the i-AnchorFix base (sold separately), has deep padded sides, multi-position headrest and harness and newborn support with removable layers to custom-fit each child.

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  • Hi Helen 

     

    So here is my review, tested on Chloe 10 months old.

     

    The seat looked very well made and extremely comfortable, plenty of soft padding. However I noticed there was no means to hold back the straps. My husband fitted the base and seat into the car, he said it was easy to do but we both felt unhappy about the amount of movement/wobbly in the seat and base. Being long time users of the isofix base and maxi cosi car seats we have been used to a very ridged fitting car seat. Fitting the straps was very easy the straps moved smoothly and no tugging was required. The head rest was easy enough to move once you found where you needed to place your hand.

     

    Chloe looked very comfortable in the seat however, my problems came when Chloe fell asleep. Now this seat comes with 7 different angled positions, I have no idea why as the difference between 1 and 7 is minimal and as the seat is quite up right to start with even in its most reclined position chloe was unable to keep her head back whilst asleep.....

    https://us.v-cdn.net/6030864/uploads/ForumPostImages/135583.jpg

    Notice how upright she is even though the seat is at it's most reclined. Her head has no support what so ever.

    I'm all for keeping them rear facing for longer but this seat is not the answer, for all its safety claims I don't think it would have be safer if we'd have had an accident whilst Chloe was asleep. For this reason I can not recommend this car seat, such a shame as I really wanted to love it.

    If they are somehow able to change the angle at which the seat reclines then I would happily continue to use this seat but, for now the maxi cosi will be put back in the morning.

  • My son Archie is 10 months old now and is in the top 2% for his height. I have tested the car seat on both short and a long journey of over 250 miles.

    I opened the box when the seat and base arrived which was packaged as you normally expect when you buy a car seat. I took the seat from its protective wrapper and immediately thought how well padded it was, I also liked the neutral colour on the car seat we had been sent. I thought the head rest was particularly good as it looked deeply padded and gave protection for the sides of his head. Installing the car seat was very easy and was done in matter of 10 minutes including the base. The headrest can move up and down and the great thing with this product was that the harness adjusted with the headrest.

    our son was very comfortable in the car seat and looked protected, the 250 mile journey didn't phase him in the seat at all and he was able to fall asleep comfortably, the headrest as it comes around to the side of his head allowed him to rest his head whilst sleeping.

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    The only extra this seat needs is the harness holders, as these are invaluable to me as I often have to struggle to find the harness under him once he was in.

    the seat was simple to recline and has 7 settings and very easy to manoeuvre to the level you wish your child to be in.

    we did try our son in the rearward position but he didnt  like it on the long journey we had now he is at an age where he wants to see what is going on, he got bored very quickly we noticed. Very simple to move from rearward to forward position though and great that you can choose the position that suits you and your child best. 

    I actually really like this seat as it gives the parent the option of either facing position and our son was very comfortable in it and more so than the recent seat we just brough him a month ago. This seat is great value for money if you were to purchase from birth as the newborn layers we removed looked so cozy for a newborn.mwe will be keeping this to use for our son.

  • I forgot to add that if I would recommend this product, particularly to friends and family to purchase from birth as the usage you would get would be phenomenal value for money until your child is 4 years old.

  • Here is my review of the car seat tested on Callum who is 6 months old.

    We were very pleased with the neutral smart grey colour of the car seat, which looked well made with extremely soft and supportive padding. The car seat and base were easy to install and it feels very secure. We were initially concerned that we would need to fit using ISOFIX, nevertheless there is also the option to fit using the seatbelts. The headrest and straps are easy to adjust once we found out that this could be done. The instruction are very detailed and it was only from reading very carefully that we found out the rebound bar must be fitted when the car seat is rearward facing and therefore a quick safety feature guide would be helpful.

    Callum looked very comfortable in the car seat, we had removed the newborn head insert and left the second insert in place as recommended for his age, however it was a bit of a squeeze. Callum seemed to enjoy being in the natural upright position that this car seat provides, however his head would fall forward when sleeping, questioning the support and safety of this in an accident. He would wake every time I drove over a bump therefore perhaps not as comfortable as I thought. The car seat has many features that apparently allow you to adjust to each individual child including the option to recline the seat, however it does not appear to make that much difference across the 1-7 recline settings and in our car we are unable to have the seat on the recline 1 or 2 setting. We removed the insert retaining the wedge only and adjusted the recline, this actually appears to be worse (see photos below). The seat would also benefit from a harness holder because it often gets stuck underneath him and therefore is a struggle to find once he is in the seat.

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    (Happy to be in his new car seat)

    image (With the insert)

    image (without the insert and wedge only although the headrest has since been moved down to a lower position)

    We were looking to purchase a seat that allows rearward facing for as long as possible for the safety benefits that this provides and this was the one that we had considered purchasing. Now that I have tested the seat my main concern is that it does not offer enough support to the head in this position at this age even with the various inserts and padding that the seat has, essentially the recline function is not sufficient.

     

    I do think that as a standard car seat it has added benefits that other seats on the market do not offer, the padding is very comfy and well made and the seat does feel very secure and therefore good value for money, but as a rearward facing seat it does not yet meet my needs as a parent so on this selling point I would not recommend.

     

     

  • Hello. And thank you thehoads, Jo Kelly and ljrodgers for your very detailed feedback – and gorgeous pictures!

    My, thehoads and Jo Kelly, how your babies have grown!

    thehoads: the folks at Joie have been in touch with us after you wrote about how unsupported you thought Chloe’s head was when she fell asleep. Here’s what they said:

    “We just wanted to check that Chloe is sitting in the Joie seat with the wedge part of the 3-piece seat insert in place. The wedge section can help to create a more comfortable seated angle for a child like yours.

    "At your child’s age, children have enough strength to hold their heads up while awake but, once they’re asleep, gravity takes over. And the wedge section will help adjust the angle until Chloe’s neck muscles are developed enough (usually at about 15-18 months) to be able to support her head while asleep, too.

    "You may also find that using a neck support cushion (a smaller version of those travel pillows adults use on long journeys) will help, as they can support the weight of your child’s head from under the chin while she’s sleeping.”

    We hope that’s helpful and addresses some of your concerns, thehoads. We’ll pop you a PM to make sure you see this, and to see if you have any further questions. The folks at Joie say they'd be very happy to talk to you personally if you need any more detailed help or guidance.

    Ljrodgers: as you've only just posted your feedback, the folks at Joie won't have seen it yet but I'm sure they'll want to offer you some help, too. Watch this space! 
  • Thank you Helen, they certainly grow up fast. A friend of mine on Facebook saw the pictures of Archie in his car seat and asked if it was the I-Anchor as she was looking at getting one. I gave her the feedback since I have been using it and is off to purchase it this weekend! 

  • Thanks Helen any help would be appreciated as we really would like to keep using the seat. 

    Lucy 

  • Thank you MFM and Joie for the opportunity to test the Joie I-Anchor I-size car seat. 

    When we first got the car seat, we thought it is well made, well padded, looked really comfortable and the colour looked really nice. We love the safety features that it has. It was really easy to install, thanks to the green indicators you can be sure everything is in its place. I would like it even more if it would have something to hold the straps. The headrest looks really safe and comfortable and easy to move it in the best position for your child. image

    For us, comfort comes after safety. Luckily, this car seat ticks both boxes. We waited until now to post our review, as we had a few trips (short and long). He looks really comfortable in it, we used the wedge only, as he is too big for the other inserts. It did help him sustain a better position with the wedge. I think it would have a plus if it would be a bit more reclined. I am sure it does depend on your car too, as the shape of the seats in our car makes it still quite upright even at full recline mode. As long as we can use the wedge I think he will be just fine. Andy looked really comfortable and he did sleep in it for a long part of each trip. 

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    We plan to keep Andy rearward facing for as long as possible, so our options were only this type of car seats. Joie I-Anchor I-size was one of our option before the product test and we are happy we tested it, as we decided to use it from now on because it meets most of our expectations from a rearward car seat. 

    It is a hard job for a parent to choose the best car seat for their child, but Joie I-Anchor gives me peace of mind. I have a few friends with babies that are outgrowing their infant seats and truly recommend this car seat. The safety features, easiness of use and comfort are this car seat's big pluses. 

    Thank you again MFM and Joie! 

    We are really happy with our new car seat. I think Andy agrees with me ☺️

  • Thanks Mirela for your great feedback and pics. My, how cute is Andy!

     

    ljrodgers/Lucy: We mentioned in our post earlier up on this thread that we thought the folk at Joie would like to offer your some help, too, following the feedback you gave and the pictures you posted – and we were right!

    Here is what they've said:

     

    "We do understand that you think Callum is more comfortable in the Joie car seat without the newborn body insert but we do strongly recommend you use both the body insert and the wedge until he reaches 9-12 months. (From then on, the wedge alone can be used – till around 15–18 months.)

     

    "Using both the insert and the wedge will mean he’s positioned more safely and his neck will be better supported while he’s sleeping.

     

    "To further help with head positioning, it’s best, if possible, to avoid clothing without a hood. Hoods can push your child’s head forwards, as the one Callum is wearing in one of your pics appears to be doing. We do appreciate this can be difficult as so many baby clothes have hoods, so it might be worth getting a neck-support cushion, too, as these can help provide support under your child's chin, helping to hold his head back even when he’s wearing a hood."

     

    We hope that’s helpful. The folks at Joie say they'd also be very happy to talk to you personally if you need any more detailed help or guidance.
  • imageimage

    Hi Helen,this is my review for the car seat:

    When we received the car seat it looked fantastic,the design,padding and base looked of really good quality and very comfortable and the neutral colour is lovely.To fit in the car seat was easy enough and was very secure,but with Faye being 14 months and quite long for her age,we had to remove some of the padding,and she was unable to sit rearward facing in the car seat unfortunately as her legs were squashed and uncomfortable.We turned it forward facing,and Faye loved being able to look around at everyone and everything.The only thing we found as others have mentioned,when she fell asleep she had no support for head and it kept falling forward and wakening her,but other than that she was very comfy and has plenty of support.

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    I had thought of getting the rearward facing car seats before and think they are a great idea if they were able to provide a way of making more leg room for toddlers.I would recommend the seat to someone with a younger child,or again if there was a way of making more leg room.Thankyou for the opportunity to test the Joie car seat 😊

  • Thanks Helen I will give it another go this weekend, and let you lovely people know how we got on.

  • Thanks Helen 

    I appreciate the feedback however Callum is not actually wearing a hood in any of the photos so not sure if they may have meant that advice for someone else. We will use the insert because we did think that overall he looked better supported. They suggest a neck support cushion do they have a particular one that they recommend that will be safe to use?  

    We are not able to get the seat to recline onto the 1or 2 setting as the actuall seat of the car is in the way and we wondered if that was because we are not using the isofix and a seatbelt to install ? 

  • Thanks thehoads! That's really appreciated.

    ljrodgers: Oops about the hood! Sorry about that. 

    We'll ask Joie about the setting/isofix/seatbelt thing for you. Just one quick question first: are you using the i-AnchorFix base (that should have sent to you) to anchor Callum's seat to your car's seat?

  • Hello everyone 😊

    In regards to the neck support cushions, this is what The Lullaby Trust replied to my question (I have asked them if it is safe to use it): ."I am afraid we don't have any research on this sort of product. What we think of as a traditional 'pillow' is not recommended for babies under 12 months, but the links I could see were for different products. I think it is question to ask the manufacturer of your car seat, as the seat should be able to support your baby's head in their design, so they might have some suggestions on how to ensure it is safe. Whatever you choose do make sure it can't get in front of your baby's mouth or cover their head at all." 

    I just wanted to share their advice xx

  • Hello Helen 

    Yes we we are using the base that was sent to anchor the car seat but using a seat belt rather than ISofix which the instructions say is OK. I have tried again this morning and I have managed to get to the 1 setting but had to remove the rebound bar and then reinstall because otherwise the one safety indicator was half green/red it now feels secure so will see how he gets on today and update my review. We are getting the Isofix fitted into the car also so will let you know if this does help. 

    Lucy

  • Hello Helen

    Yes we are using the base sent to anchor the car seat however using a seatbelt rather than Isofix which the instructions state are fine. I have now managed to move the recline to the first setting by removing the rebound bar and refitting after otherwise the safety indicators were half red/half green. It now feels secure and I have installed the insert so will let you know how we get on at the weekend. 

    Thanks

    Lucy 

  • Apologies for the duplicate post image

  • I reattached the infant insert on the recommendation but Callum does not fit within the car seat then. Looking in the manual sent it states "remove the body portion of the infant insert when the infant's shoulders no longer fit comfortably". I believe that this is the case, although Callum is 6 months he is over 18lbs and I do feel that a weight/ size recommendation would be better than an age. After removing the insert and fixing the recline he does actually now look very comfortable and safe. My only concern now is that as he grows we will need to adjust the recline to allow more room for his legs and feet and then the lack of support to the head will remain an issue until he is stronger.

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  • Here is my review of the Joie i-Anchor car seat, thank you for the opportunity to try it out.

    What did you think of the car seat when you got it, and how did you get on with installing it in your car and adjusting the straps and headrest?

    The car seat arrived ready-assembled and neatly boxed, we were given the neutral one which is two shades of grey which looked smart and very padded/comfortable. 

    Installing it was really simple, I've never put in an ISOFIX car seat before but it really was one click easy, and the extendable leg (down to the floor) was really simple to adjust. There are little indicators in key places which look red if not fitted right but green once they are done correctly, so you really can't go wrong. It took up much less space than I was expecting and I was able to put the passenger chair in front of this child seat fully back, meaning plenty of legroom for my front passengers.

    The straps and headrest were already in place and were straightforward to adjust once I'd found out the knack to moving the headrest. The chest pads snap off with poppers so can be easily washed if you have a sicky child, I really like this idea as I have spent ages threading straps through other seats in the past to get these off to wash.

    So far so good. 

    How comfortable do you think your child is in the car seat? Please post up your picture of your child in the seat.

    The seat is for my 7 month old son. He seems very comfortable once in the seat and is happy travelling in it.

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    However I have 2 main gripes.

    Firstly, it is very tricky to get him strapped in in the first place! There is no harness holder to hold the straps back and the crotch pad springs up when he's not in the seat, so when I am trying to get him in he is writhing around and sitting on all the bits that I'm trying to strap over him. Not fun, especially given that the seat lacks a feature which most of its competitors boast - a sideways swivel, which would make strapping in so much easier (and also easier on the back!)

    Secondly, the recline. It boasts '7 recline levels' but the difference between each is very small, you might as well only have 3. All of the recline levels looked pretty upright in my car, so I kept my son on the most reclined level. Initially I removed the entire newborn insert and we travelled like that for the first few journeys, however when he fell asleep his head lolled forwards and it looked very uncomfortable.

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    I then read the emailed instructions more carefully and realised I was supposed to have left in the newborn 'wedge' - oops! With this in place his head no longer lolls - but it is now that little bit harder to strap him in as the wedge changes the angle of the crotch pad. (Pic is of him sleeping with the wedge in place.)

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    Overall it seems like the chair would work better by having a more reclined setting for younger babies rather than relying on using a wedge. I'm not sure what will happen when he outgrows the wedge but still needs to nap in the seat, as the wedge will only fit him up to 12-18 months.

    Although the seat is primarily for her little brother, my three year old (who is only just below the top limits for weight and height, she is in the top 2% size wise) couldn't resist giving it a go too. Although the seat looked like it might be too small for her, she fit into it quite happily, and told me it was very comfortable. It was surprisingly easy to adjust the straps and headrest to get her in. We only did a short journey around the block but she said she was very comfortable in it - see picture. It gave me faith that the seat will live up to the height and weight limits advertised, despite the fact that it initially looks very small. It also made me realise that I will have to invest in some sort of covering to protect my seats from muddy shoes in the future!

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    What do you think of extended rearward-facing car seats in general? Would you have considered buying one before this product test? And after?

    Having done some research into extended rearward-facing ('ERF') seats I am completely sold on the safety benefits and would not put my child in anything else. From a Volvo study "Independent studies of real traffic accidents show that a child, up to the age of 4 years, has a 5 times greater chance of surviving and/or avoiding serious injury if sitting rear facing rather than forward facing in the car." I struggle to understand why anyone would want to forward face their child any sooner than they need to in the face of such stark safety information!

    I was debating which one to buy before this product test, and my experience hasn't changed my opinion. This was one seat I was considering buying, however if I were buying one now I would look for one with a swivel function to make strapping the child in a bit easier.

    Would you recommend this car seat to a friend?

    Whether I would recommend this to a friend depends very much on their budget! It is by far the cheapest ERF I have found (currently on sale at £175 plus free base) and I think it's a solid comfortable seat, plus it looks smart and doesn't take up too much room in the car. However there are undoubtably some features which could be improved such as having a swivel function and having better recline options, I imagine that these are available in the more expensive seats - so it depends how much my 'friend' wanted to spend! Having said that, it's a solid seat which my son seems comfortable once in, and I would definitely recommend this over a forward facing seat just for the safety benefits alone.

  • Hi! Firstly thank you SO much for letting us test your car seat out! I tested it with my 17 month old son Sebastian in my Ford Fiesta 2006 model.


    My first impressions when I opened the box was how nice and smart the colour of the carseat was- although will probably show dirt up quite easily! I also loved how incredibly well padded the carseat was! After giving it a good prod I had no doubt that Sebastian would be more than comfortable sitting in it. I've never had a car seat with an isofix base before so was also shocked at how heavy the base was!


    The instruction manual was pretty straightforward once I could decipher what each image meant and installation went smoother than I anticipated. I can not for the life of me find the isofix points in my car so installed using the seatbelts, which it said i could do, instead. I gave the base a good shake and it seemed sturdy so proceeded to grab the car seat and i absolutely LOVE how easy it was to put in! A simple click and away you go- once you strap your child in, of course!


    Adjusting the straps/headrest was insanely easy once you know where to do it! I've always struggled with straps with previous carseats so usually delegate the task to my other half who has a fair bit more patience than I do!


    I believe Sebastian was extremely comfortable in the car seat. I had to remove the baby insert and the extra padding because he is too big for them. He was very happy with being able to see better out of the window! I tried him reclining on both 1 and 7 and could honestly see very little difference between them. I guess maybe it is more obvious when a younger baby is sat in it as they would benefit more from the different angle?


    I also had an issue with how wobbly the carseat seemed to be once clicked in! I couldn't understand why this was because the base was pretty hard to wobble before the carseat was in. It's a side to side wobble rather than it feeling completely loose. I had a quick look online and found that its a pretty common issue with isofix carseats. When driving, the carseat did jiggle slightly but then previous carseats were never completely rock solid. I think I would need to get an expert carseat fitter to take a look before I took a long journey, just to be safe!


    I tried Sebastian in the rear facing position but he was unhappy with this as he barely had any leg room (he's always measured average height and weight for his age) and couldn't see as much out of the window. I've always thought that I like to keep baby rear facing for as long as possible- I've always bought travel systems and used the car seat that comes with the buggy then purchased the next size up when needed. So by aged 12months they're usually always forward facing. I'm not sure if I like the idea of keeping them rear facing after 12 months of age, though. I felt bad that Sebastian didn't have any leg room and how upset he seemed that he couldn't see out the window.


    I certainly regret not getting an isofix carseat before! How simple it is to put in and go- i've wasted so much time fighting with seatbelts! I think the price for the base and carseat individually is quite breathtaking considering just how much us mums have to buy for babies/toddlers/kids so if the two items could be put together at a friendlier price then that would be ideal but then again this is suitable from birth til 4 so you're getting a wondeful, long term product for your money! I would definitely recommend this to everyone looking at carseats. I've really enjoyed testing the car seat out and Sebastian has too!

    And some pictures of Sebastian in the car seat! 

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