Blog Reviews

Our Review of the Doona Car Seat

I am really excited to do this review, because it’s rare that I’m blown away by something these days. I think it comes with age doesn’t it? Bill finds a pretty pebble on the floor and it’s the best thing he’s every seen, but when you’re a grown-up mother of two, the best thing you can usually think of is sleep!

But this is one of my favourite baby products that I have used with Daisy in the past six months, and I will honestly be a bit gutted when she grows out of it.

If you hadn’t already guessed, this is the Doona™ – the next generation car seat. And I think it can own that claim quite well actually.
Now, we all know that, when we are pregnant, one of the key things we need to buy before the baby arrives is a car seat. In fact, they don’t tend to let you leave the hospital without one, for safety reasons. And I think we can all remember how it feels to finally leave hospital with a car seat holding the most precious cargo you could imagine.

And then there’s that first car journey home, where your other half will drive as slowly possible, wincing at every bump in the road, while you sit lovingly in the back, gazing at your tiny baby.

And that’s just the beginning isn’t it?

But the one issue with car seats is that they are heavy things, and can be difficult to use out and about. You usually need to make sure yours will adapt and work as a travel system, which means, as well as the car seat and all of your baby items, you need to fit the chassis of your pram in the boot as well. Which doesn’t leave room for much else if you’re planning a shopping trip or going away for the weekend.

And this is where the Doona™ comes into its own.

So what is the Doona™?


The Doona™is a car seat that is not only approved and safe for your baby to use, but it also comes with inbuilt collapsible wheels, which convert it from a traditional car seat, into a mobile one. So you can take baby from car to wherever you like – it’s with you from A to B.

Not only is it extremely functional, and designed with the needs of parents in mind, but it’s also gorgeously designed, and you know it’s a Doona right away when you spot one, even when the wheels aren’t in use.

The specs 

The Doona™also features a five point harness, is made from approved baby-safe materials, complies with the highest EU, US and even some local standards. And, in frontal collisions (the most common type of crash) it scored a high, five-star rating.

If you would like to know more about the safety of the Doona™ I would recommend visiting the Doona™ website as they have a lot of safety information available to put your mind at ease.

Suitability (EU)

Rearward facing infant car seat
Group: 0+
Infant Weight: 1.8-13Kg (approximately 28 pounds – so that could be from around nine months to a year or even more, depending on your baby)
Product weight: 7kg

Installation

You can secure and fix it to your car by using the seat belt, as with many standard car seats, or the Doona Isofix Base, defending on whether or not your car has isofix points.

This is really simple to do, either way, and we’ve had no issues fitting the Doona™into our car – we have a Ford Focus if that helps! It fits easily with plenty of space.


Comfort 

The Doona™ was developed over several years, with the key focus of making sure that baby was comfortable and safe, both inside, and outside of the car. The Doona™ is designed to achieve maximum protection for baby when in the car, performing to all safety regulations. It also has a design that is inspired by the position of a baby in its mother’s arms, making it much more comfortable for quick trips out and about in the stroller function. It also comes with an infant insert, to make sure your baby is safe and secure from birth onwards. This supports your baby’s posture by mimicking a natural position – which is useful to know when they seem so fragile in those early days.

While the key thing about the Doona™ is the ability to go beyond the car, it’s worth noting that, as with any stroller, car seat or other such device, medical professionals agree that a baby should not be restrained for long periods of time. So this wouldn’t be the choice for a long day trip out, unless you were planning on taking the baby out for a break, regularly.

Colour options

It comes in seven colours (which I’ve included below), and despite being a total grey lover, I decided to go with Sky, as it was the colour that stood out to me the most, and I liked that it was nice and bright. Someone also once told me that paramedics prefer bright car seats in the case of a crash as they can identify a car seat straight away and help the baby or child. Not the nicest fact in the world but worth noting all the same.

Usability 

So, is it easy to get those wheels up and down with no issues? Yes. Surprisingly actually. 
The handle of the Doona™has three positions:
  1. Anti-rebound – while in the car.
  2. Upright – as a carrier. 
  3. Push – extended handle, while the wheels are down and in use. 
You just set the handle to the upright position, and release the white lever at the back of the Doona, and, in one simple motion, the wheels come down and click into place. You can then move the handle into push mode and off you go. To collapse the wheels, move the handle back into the upright position, compress that same lever as before, and use one foot to guide the wheels backwards and up into the Doona body unit. Simple. 
You can see a rough example below of these various stages. 

Accessories 

The  Doona™ comes with a range of accessories to make using it even more convenient to use. We have the Snap On Storage, Rain Cover, and Seat Protector. The Snap On Storage for me personally is a genius idea. 
If I know I’m not going to be out long, I toss in a couple of nappies, some wipes, a toy, a muslin cloth and a change of clothes and I don’t have to lug about my changing bag as well and I’ve got my hands free to concentrate on pushing the Doona™or keeping an eye on Bill (who is four and obviously walks!). It can actually hold up to 3kg of items – and we’ve had my phone, camera, wallet, toys of Bill’s bottles, snacks, you name it. It fits on really easily and blends into the design too, which is a perk. I also keep the Rain Cover in here when we are out and about.
Which brings me on to that – I love that it has a Rain Cover that fits properly. It’s so useful for those drizzly days and it’s really well made – not the sort to tear over time. And it has a bag to keep it in as well. We always have ours to hand so we are never caught out. The Doona does have a canopy attached anyway, that could offer a little protection if you were caught in a drizzle while getting back to the car, but I would really recommend getting the Rain Cover as well. 
And then there’s the Seat Protector. This is useful, but it can slide about a bit in our car, so I wonder if that could be a tweak for the future – just to make sure it’s properly fixed to the seat so it can protect them better. I would suggest that you could just lie an old blanket underneath instead, but I wouldnt’ want to risk that in case it lessens the effectiveness of the  Doona’s™ installation and safety. So in that case, it’s worth buying if you have a nice new car and are precious about the seats! 
I can’t comment on the other accessories available, as we’ve not used them, but I think it’s great that there is so much choice. 

Our experience

We have had it for over six months now and it’s been an absolute life-saver for us. And I’m aware that sounds dramatic – and it is, this is me we are talking about here – but I’d like to explain.

Example one – hospital 

When Daisy first came home, we didn’t really get the chance to sink into family life, close the door on the world, and enter a bubble like we had hoped and intended to, after so long of waiting. We were on a limit as to how far we could travel by car while she had a breathing tube in, and the furthest we could go is hospital. Which is just as well, as we went there a lot.

The hospital where Daisy was born (and where Bill was born) can be notoriously bad when it comes to parking. And no matter how early you arrive for your appointment, you can guarantee you will spend ages looking for a space. And you end up flying through the hospital doors, a blur of baby, muslins and dummies, rushing to get to the right department on time.

But with the Doona™, even if I only had minutes to spare, I was able to just lift Daisy out of the car and let the wheels down, and I was good to go. There was no faffing with the boot, fiddling around with the chassis and adaptors, and I just went on my way.

It also meant I was able to fit easily in waiting rooms, and wasn’t taking up too much space, and I was even able to collapse the legs and go up and down stairs without hanging around for the busy lift.

This was outside the hospital on one of those many trips! Look how tiny she was!

Example two – school run

There have been quite a few times where I have had to go out and about before the school run (usually to hospital ironically), so instead of walking to collect Bill with our pram, I would instead have to find a parking spot and park up and take Daisy with me. 
You spend a lot of time rushing to school and then waiting about for the children to be ready, so while I could have carried Daisy or popped her in a sling, she was able to stay comfortable, dry (if it was raining) and asleep too. So I didn’t have to disturb her, and it was so much easier than what I would have to do otherwise. Plus – the Doona™ is incredibly compact and those wheels are nippy and move really well – which surprises me – so I find navigating in and out of the crowds of parents and children much easier than I do with a pram. 
This was a nursery run actually – before Bill started school – but you get the idea!

Example three – public transport 

The amazing thing about the Doona is that it is so public transport-friendly. I have yet to go and visit work – which is based in Manchester – but it’s something that I want to do soon. And when I do, I will be taking the Doona™, purely because I can always collapse the wheels and sit her next to me on a seat, rather than lurk by the doorway of the train, which can get very busy. Plus, it’s compact enough to get around Manchester easily and I can manage the stairs up to work with no problem too. Definitely taking the lift up to our floor though because I don’t think I want to carry her up three flights of stairs! 

Example four – visiting family 

I know that this applies to most car seats really, but when I do go out and about and visit family, and someone suggests an impromptu walk, or to sit outside, I love the fact that I can say: “Yes! Why not?” Daisy can get out and about with me, and I don’t have be prepared with an entire pram in the boot of the car all the time. Plus, it means Daisy can also be brought inside if she has fallen asleep in the car, and I can put her at eye level; raised up off the floor and out of the way of pets and bigger children too. 

What’s the verdict?

So, I think it’s clear that I love the Doona™. And I’ll be honest actually, I didn’t expect to love it this much when I was offered it to review, back when I was pregnant with Daisy. I thought it may just be useful now and again, but it has proved me wrong. I will be sad when Daisy grows out of it – I really will. I was talking to Mark about this review and he says, hands-down, it’s his most favourite baby item that we have used so far. So you get both of our approvals on this one! 
In terms of cost? Well, the Doona™ will set you back £299.00, and the accessories range from £9.99, to £99.00 as well. That’s a lot. But then a decent 0+ car seat will cost you from around £100.00, regardless, and they don’t have the additional functionality and flexibility that the Doona™offers. And, if you bear in mind that the Doona™removes the need for a travel system, you could save money elsewhere, depending on the type of pram or pushchair you buy.
I’m not saying I wouldn’t gulp when I passed over my debit card exactly, but if you tried to take it off me now, you’d have a fight on your hands! 

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