Trying out the Joie ‘every stage’ car seat

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Elizabeth in her Joie ‘every stage’ car seat.

You know those items used every day without really thinking about them? Well, I think a child’s car seat has to be one of them.

You strap your child (or children) into them every day, possibly more than once a day, without giving it too much thought. Unexpectedly your offspring will make a remark that forces you to take a close look at said item.

In our case, it was the day my eldest daughter, Helen, said; “Daddy, my car seat is too small.”

I took a close look and she was right. She had outgrown it and I hadn’t really noticed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was strapping her into a rear-facing baby’s seat, but as she now stands shoulder-high with her mother, it was obvious she required something a bit more substantial.

As Elizabeth, her little sister, is also growing at a frightening rate, we thought we’d better replace both their seats at the same time. We plumped for a pair of Joie ‘every stage’ car seats. The ‘every stage’ title says it all. These seats are designed for use form birth until a child reaches 12 years of age. What have our experiences been of these seats?

I shot a short video introducing you to the seat. You can watch it by clicking on the link below. Please do, however, keep reading for further details.

First thoughts

The every stage car seat sits on a solid base and is well constructed. It is a full-sized car seat, not a simple booster and I think this is important as it provides protection for the head should you be involved in a side-impact collision.

Does it really suit every stage of development?

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The Joie ‘every satge’ car seat set up in ‘junior’ mode. Note that in this mode it relies on the car’s seat belt both to hold the child in place.

There are a variety of modes you can use depending on the age, weight and size of the child. The mode you use will dictate whether you use the seat’s independent buckle or the car’s seat belt to keep the child safely in place (more about this in a moment).  You can tilt the seat into a few different positions for comfort and safety. There are also various bits of padding you add or remove, depending on the size of the child.

I have to be honest, I found the different modes a little confusing. It’s designed for use as a rear-facing seat for newborns up to the age of four (or up to 18kg in weight). You can also use it as a front facing seat in toddler mode for a child aged between one and four years of age (or 9kg to 18kg). Junior mode is also front facing, and is for children aged between three and 12 years (or 15kg-36kg).

This overlapping of modes isn’t entirely straightforward. We relied on trial and error and eventually got the seats in a position that seemed safe and comfortable.

Anchor, buckle and safety belt

This seat does not use ISOFIX points. Whatever mode you use it in, the car’s seat belt will keep it anchored in place.

If using in baby or toddler mode, you will use the seat’s buckle to keep the child in place. For junior mode, you’ll rely on the car’s seat belt.

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Here the car seat has been set up in ‘infant’ mode. Used this way, you use an independent buckle to strap the child in.

Here’s the clever thing. If using in junior mode, the seat’s straps and buckle can be hidden away in special compartments. You don’t have to remove them; they’re out of sight but available for use if you find yourself giving a lift to a younger child.

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Hiding the buckles away in the back of the car seat so they can be used later.


Other features

To expand the seat for older children, you pull on a handle just above the head. It’s a typical feature I’ve seen on other seats. There are also elasticated pockets on either side of the seat for storing drinks bottles, pens, snacks etc.

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The elasticated pocket for storing snacks, drinks bottles and other items.

The children’s verdict

Our kids love the seats. They say they are much more comfortable than other seats they’ve used. What more of an endorsement do you need?

The parent’s verdict

The seats have a solid construction. Our three and seven year old are at different stages and this product has met their needs.

You do need to make sure you have the seat set up in the correct mode for your little one(s). As I’ve said, the instructions aren’t entirely clear on this point so expect some trial and error while you figure it out.

The Joie every stage car seat has worked well for us. The quality seems good and that has to be the most important thing for a safety product like this. It’s well worth considering if you are investing in car seats for your children.

The Joie every stage car seat is available from Halfords, John Lewis and Argos (amongst other retailers). Expect to pay around £200. For further information, visit the Joie website joiebaby.com.

Disclosure; I was supplied with Joie car seats for review purposes. Toughts and opinions entirely my own.

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3 Comments

  1. April 1, 2016 / 4:36 pm

    How fortuitous; I was just having a chat about car seats. Ever since posting a picture of George sleeping in a booster on Instagram I’ve been riddled with guilt. According to the manufacturer’s guidelines of his all stages seat, he could move straight to a booster at the age of 4 (dependant on weight), but it clearly lacked any protection of any sort. I’m now considering putting both him and his soon to be 8 year old sister in some form of high back chair. The concept of an 8 year old in a high back car seat looks like overkill, but looking at some of their sleeping positions, their spines necks or both will shatter in even a slow speed crash.

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 2, 2016 / 5:25 am

      I think the benefits of a high back chair with the head protection cannot be overstated. Well worth investing in such seats if you possibly can.

  2. Shaker
    July 11, 2018 / 11:33 am

    Hi John,

    I’m thinking of purchasing this car seat for my 1 year old and plan to sit her forward facing. I just wanted to ask whether you are able to recline the seat whilst the baby is in it (for example if she falls asleep sitting up and I want to recline the seat for her whilst I’m driiving) – or would you have to set the recline position before you place the child in the seat?

    Thanks 🙂