Disclosure - we were given the Joie I-Anchor car seat free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and our own.
We were really pleased to be able to write this Joie I-Anchor car seat review and I'd love to share our experience of it with you all. The Joie I-Anchor is suitable from birth until 4 years old and comes with a newborn insert to make it comfortable and cosy for your newborn. It was the first UK government certified i-Size ECE R129 child seat and it also offers side impact certification.
A couple of months ago it became apparent that the baby was growing out of his baby car seat. He is a chunky little fellow and his head had reached the top of his seat too which meant it was time for a new one. He was 12 months old.
Current infant car seat laws
I'm sure it's not just me but I have found the changes in the law relating to car seats really confusing. So this is the gist of it.
You can have your child in a height based (i-size) car seat where they should be rear facing until they are 15 months old.
Or you can have your child in a weight based car seat where they should be rear facing until they reach 9kg.
You can use either system for now, but at some point in the future weight based car seats will be a thing of the past as the new i-size regulations take over completely.
Extended rear facing car seats
I had read a LOT about extended rear facing car seats and I knew this was the safest way for Baby S to travel. Babies heads are much bigger in proportion to their body than an adult's which means their head and neck are particularly vulnerable in a crash. A rear facing seat helps ensure their head is not thrown forward in a crash, potentially causing head and neck injuries.
The choice of extended rear facing car seats is frustratingly limited. Our car doesn't have iso-fix points either which narrows down the options even more considerably.
The Joie I-Anchor features
The Joie I-Anchor solved all my problems. It comes in two parts - a base and a seat. The base can be fixed into the car using a seatbelt or isofix points. This is brilliant for us as it means if we change our car in the next few years to an isofix one we will still be able to use this seat. The seat then just clips onto the base much like our old infant carrier car seat. In fact you can use this base for the Joie Gemm and Juva if you need a more portable car seat while your baby is very young.
It was really easy to install. You simply run the seat belt underneath the blue parts and clip into place.
The leg is adjustable and should be firm to the floor. A green indicator will show when it is correctly positioned.
You then just clip the seat onto the base. Again, two green indicators show if it is positioned correctly and securely.
You use this seat rear-facing until at least 15 months and in this position you need to put on the bumper bar. Once your baby is over 15 months you can turn the seat around and take off this bar to have them forward facing.
Baby S is 15 months and he has plenty of room rear-facing so I plan on keeping him this way for as long as he is comfortable as it is the safest position. It is nice to know though that I could easily change him to forward facing when I want to without having to buy another new car seat.
The seat has 7 recline positions and the headrest is height adjustable to grow with your child. I love this as it looks so supportive of his head and it is always going to be the perfect height.
Joie I-Anchor negatives
I usually travel with him in position 3 or 4 and he is quite upright and he likes to look out of the window! If he falls asleep in this position though his head lolls forward which I don't like. If we are going on a long journey where I think he might fall asleep I just put it into fully reclined to solve this problem. It can be reclined when he is in the seat, although I still find the recline quite stiff.
My other criticism of this seat is that the buckles are a little fiddly. They sit quite close to the seat and there are no little hooks to keep them out of the way while you put the baby in. This means I have to pull them from underneath him after sitting him in the seat and they sometimes get twisted. This is just a tiny niggle though. I love how cushioned and comfy the straps are and that they are really easily adjustable so I know he is nice and secure in the seat.
Joie I-Anchor Washable covers
The covers are removable to go in the wash which is a necessity given this seat will last your little one until they are four years old (through those awful potty training months!!).
I am absolutely delighted with this seat. Baby S is really comfy in there and I am happy that he is as safe and protected as he can be. I think it offers top quality safety at a very reasonable price.
Since I wrote this post it has come to my attention that other people have found issues with the head lolling issues I mentioned in my review. We still use this seat as it fits in our car well but if you have issues you might want to check out this facebook group.
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