Shopping for a car seat can be a totally mind-boggling experience. With so many car seats available it all seems so complicated doesn’t it? Group 0, Group 0+, Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, combinations of different groups, ISOFIX, rearward-facing, forward-facing… the list is endless.
Thankfully Joie have developed the i-AnchorSafe System that will cast all your confusion aside. Designed for the first ride home and usable up to the first day of school (up to 18kg and approximately 4 years old), the i-AnchorSafe system is the only seat you’ll need from newborn to toddlerhood and beyond. It’s also i-Size compliant for more peace of mind. Brilliant!
So what does i-Size mean and what makes i-Size car seats the ‘bees knees’?
‘i-Size’ is the name of a new EU safety regulation for child car seats. It was introduced in July 2013 in order to make child car seats easier to fit, provide better protection from side impacts and keep children rearward-facing for longer. I-Size compliant car seats provide better head and neck protection thanks to the longer rearward facing period of 15 months and they also provide better side-impact protection because, for the first time ever in a child car seat regulation, it includes a set of minimum performance criteria for this type of collision.
i-Size compliant seats are also more likely to be installed correctly, because they have a simple ‘place-and-click’ fitting procedure (ISOFIX) that doesn’t involve the car’s seat belt. Additionally, the i-Size regulation will help prevent ‘up-sizing’ your car seat, from a rearward-facing seat to a larger forward-facing one, too soon as it has the clearly specified requirement of 15 months old and/or 75/80 cm in length, instead of 9 to 12 months.
I could waffle on and on about how brilliant I think the i-Anchor is, but to keep it more concise I have highlighted the main advantages below:
- The seat is i-Size compliant and is the only i-Size suitable from birth.
- It’s a Group 0+/1 (0-18kg) car seat, making it usable from birth to approx 4 years old. This is a huge selling point and saves you the hassle and cost of splashing out on a new seat every time your child has a growth spurt!
- The seat can be used both forward-facing (from 15 months) and rearward-facing. Rearward-facing car seats are up to five times safer than forward-facing car seats in a head-on collision, so being able to keep your child rearward-facing until four-years-old makes the Joie i-AnchorSafe System car seat hard to beat. The seat also includes a rebound bar for additional rearward-facing security and reassurance.
- The Joie i-AnchorSafe System car seat and base are really easy to install and even if you don’t have ISOFIX in your car, you can attach the base using your seat belts. You can even use both methods simultaneously for extra peace of mind.
- The seat has been designed with deep padded sides in both the seat and head area to offer the ultimate in protection and comfort. It also has a 5-point harness with soft, padded covers to keep your little one cosy and secure.
- The seat comes with 3 inserts, including a newborn support, that you can remove as and when your child outgrows them. The removable layers are easily taken out and enable you to customise the seat to the shape and size of your little one.
- The multi-height headrest and harness system adjust simultaneously and require no re-threading of the harness. Hallelujah!
- The seat has 7 on-the-go recline positions, which can easily be found using the orange lever.
- The seat covers are easy to remove and most importantly are machine washable.
- Ventilation on the back of the seat increases your little one’s comfort.
- Colour indicators confirm that you have correctly installed the base, support leg and child seat to the base which is really helpful and gives you total peace of mind.
The following video shows you how to install the base/seat and how to utilise the 7 recline positions. As you can see it’s super easy to do and the aforementioned colour indicators ensure that everything is secure.
The seat comes in four colours (l to r): Caribbean, Liquorice, Salsa and Walnut (coming soon).
For what you get, I think the retail price is really competitive. Don’t get me wrong it’s pricey (The i-AnchorFIX base is £100 and the i-Anchor car seat is £160), but car seats are pretty costly and if it’s the only seat you’ll need for four years, it is brilliant value.
I’ve been really impressed with the i-Anchor. It feels and looks high quality with nice thick padded seats and Jack assures me that it’s very comfortable! But most importantly, it’s the conformity to the new i-Size standard that is the i-Anchor’s biggest draw.
Although I know I shouldn’t from a safety point of view, I currently use the seat forward-facing for Jack as has travelled facing forward from 9 months old (before we had the i-Anchor) and I know that he would hate to suddenly have that reversed. But as soon as Jack outgrows the seat, Phoebe will inherit it and I will definitely be keeping her rearward facing for as long as possible.
It’s also worth pointing out that the i-Anchor is meant to stay in the car and can’t be used as an infant carrier. However this is easily remedied, if budget allows, by purchasing the ‘Joie Gemm Infant Seat’ which is also compatible with the i-AnchorFIX base and will fit on some buggies too.
I’m a huge fan of the i-Anchor and have really struggled to find any negatives in it to make this review a balanced one. It’s high quality, comfortable, versatile, super safe, easy to install and Jack sleeps really well in the seat when we are on long journeys, but if i’m being super critical I’d love Joie to put in one more reclining option on the base to make it recline even further into a sleeping position.
Disclosure: I was very kindly sent the i-AnchorSafe System free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own and I’d still rave about it even if i’d paid for it!