Gear Guide: Doona by Simple Parenting – The Next Generation Car Seat
Your baby is naturally most comfortable in your arms. In fact, they may be so comfortable, that you find that the only way you can get anything done is by “wearing” your baby. However, doctors typically recommend that babies sleep lying flat on their back, to allow baby’s body to freely move; and encourage bone and muscle development. Furthermore, if you’re driving (or even just riding in the car), it just isn’t safe or legal to baby-wear.
So, you buy an infant car seat to safely secure and restrain your baby while in transit. Then, you buy a stroller because who really wants to lug that car seat around whenever you get to your destination. But what if you could buy one piece of baby gear that offers a safe, practical and comfortable solution for carrying your baby inside and outside of the car? Doona was designed to do just that!
Is it a car seat? Is it a stroller? It’s both! Doona is the world’s first infant car seat with a complete and fully integrated mobility solution designed for infants 4-34 lbs.
If you’re in the market for an infant car seat, then you’ve likely picked up your fair share of car seats and attempted to predict how heavy that car seat will be once your baby is buckled in. What often seems like a fairly light weight piece of baby gear, quickly turns into a “ton of bricks” as your baby grows; and you won’t realize it until long after you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on an infant car seat and stroller system.
Thus the reason we were so excited when we saw the Doona infant car seat. No more dragging your baby’s car seat around. No more sore arms or backs. No more leaving the car seat in the car because it’s just too much of a hassle to bring along (obviously, you’d still bring your baby with you). And, no need to waste valuable trunk space with an additional frame or stroller. Within seconds, Doona transforms from an infant car seat to a simple stroller.
It’s genius, right? But you certainly wouldn’t want to carry Doona as it is heavier than any other car seat we’ve handled, weighing in at 16.5 lbs. That said, whether you live in the city or the suburbs; if you have a new baby on the way, you will instantly fall in love with Doona‘s innovative design.
Obviously, Doona was designed to achieve maximal protection for your baby in the car. However, due to the nature of the product, and inspired by the position of a baby resting in her mother’s arms, Doona was designed to fully support your baby even when used outside of the car by quickly and easily converting into a stroller.
Doona has 3 use positions:
1. Car Seat Mode
Suitable when travelling in a private vehicle, taxi or airplane. Interestingly enough, it can be installed with or without a base.
The LATCH Base features:
- A height adjustment mechanism and easy-to-read level indicator to ensure proper seat angle adjustment and positioning.
- A quick and simple installation and easy release (much easier than many other car seats we’ve installed in the past).
- Integral belt locking clips that enable snug and effortless vehicle seat belt installation.
- An installation indicator that confirms that Doona is safely locked in position.
Unlike typical car seats, Doona’s unique structure enables positioning the handlebar against the back of the seat of the car, thus providing the baby with exceptional Anti-Rebound protection. In case of a collision, the Anti-Rebound handle will absorb the impact and prevent the Doona from rotating quickly towards the back of the seat, thus dramatically reducing rebound injuries.
2. Pull Along (Resting) Mode
With the handlebar in the middle position, you can maneuver Doona easily while walking or sitting next to it.
Actually, you must have Doona’s handlebar in this middle position to move from car seat to stroller. The baby’s position in the Doona allows he or she to interact freely and maintain direct eye contact with you, thus facilitating key brain development.
3. On-the-Go Mode
Use the on-the-go mode when you leave the vehicle and wish to walk around with your baby.
You’ll notice that the telescope handlebar will not extend when in center position, nor will extend if pushed all the way back (behind the canopy). It will only extend when it’s all the way forward in push mode.
The low setting is perfect for an older sibling (as seen above), while the extended position is just right for mom and dad. Doona is designed such that you always maintain eye contact with your baby.
Unfold in 2 steps
Fold up using a rolling motion
Doona is quite easy to fold and unfold. Using the red insert in the back of the seat (as seen below) with the handlebar in the center position, you’ll press down and unfold the seat into the stroller position.
Folding Doona back into a seated position is not as easy, on purpose. To fold up, you press down the red brake button, adjust the handlebar to the center position, and move the seat forward in a rocking motion as you press down on the back button (be sure to watch their video to fully understand this process).
While an older sibling is not likely to bring the car seat up into strolling position, Doona’s design and engineering team didn’t want to take any chances of a curious toddler pressing buttons. Therefore, they developed multiple fail-safe mechanisms to prevent misuse and assure safe operations. In addition to unintentional folding, the fail-safe mechanisms also prevent:
- Sudden extension of the Doona handle while in carry mode
- Rotation of the extended handle while Doona is in “on-the-go” mode
While it may seem complicated, we promise that the whole operation is way simpler than trying to unfold a stroller and lock in a car seat.
One of our biggest concerns as parents is that the products we’re placing our babies in are safe and secure. Doona shares those concerns and has taken extra care to make sure that this infant car seat is 100% safe.
“Baby products are tested to meet the most stringent standards. This is especially true for Car Seats and Strollers which must protect a baby during transit. Due to its unique “hybrid-like” functionality, Doona was tested and certified as an Infant Car Seat, a Stroller, a Reclined Cradle (EU), a Hand-held Carrier (US), and approved for aircraft both in Europe and in the US.“
Doona Newborn Insert
In particular, Doona applied that focus on safety when designing the included newborn insert.
Specifically designed for newborn babies, the Doona Infant Insert provides young babies with the highest levels of safety and comfort. This insert will support your baby’s posture, by mimicking the same natural position your baby held in the womb and again in your arms, thus granting parents and babies the freedom to travel together.
The newborn insert features:
- 2 pieces: headrest and seat piece that can be easily removed when no longer needed (designed for babies 4-11 lbs)
- Bamboo Charcoal Fiber textile that is anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic, and humidity and thermal regulating
- Side impact protection made of memory foam that will mold to your child’s head and become a harder surface in the event of an accident
- Near-flat ergonomic position
- Additional padding adjusted for newborn infants
- A central anchor point that prevents the insert from involuntary shifting
Take out the newborn insert when your baby has outgrown it and this infant car seat will easily accommodate your child up until they are either 34 lbs or 32 inches long.
Once you’re done with the newborn insert, you’ll notice that Doona’s unique double wall structure, which enables the folding of its wheels into the Doona body, delivers an additional significant safety benefit. The two layers of durable, impact-absorbing plastic, along with additional layers of EPS foam and textiles provide enhanced side-impact protection which better protects the baby in case of an accident.
As if that weren’t enough, all materials used by Simple Parenting are carefully tested and approved under the most strict European standards and the REACH regulation, including SVHC (Substances of Very High Concern). Not only are the materials used free of any hazardous chemicals, they are also tested for their durability and quality to assure the safe and continuous use of the products.
Accessories and Color Options
With the same values of simplicity, innovation and safety in mind, Simple Parenting developed a wide range of accessories to help parents with their various baby-care needs. We had the opportunity to see three of these accessories in action.
Seat Protector and Wheel Covers
Simple Parenting realized that by putting wheels on a car seat, parents might worry about getting their seats dirty. Therefore, they included a seat protector with the Doona infant car seat and latch base.
While the wheels don’t even touch the seat when in the car, we find both the seat protector and wheel covers that easily connect to one another (sold separately) offer a little piece of mind. If it’s raining, using the wheel covers will also prevent the wheels from dripping all over the place.
The seat cover is made of non-slip, water-repellant, easy-to-clean material designed to prevent stains and soiling of vehicle upholstery. Meanwhile, the wheel covers easily snap to Doona’s wheels.
We were quite used to attaching an infant car seat into a stroller system and fulling extending both canopies into their full position to block the sun from our babies. So, when we first saw Doona’s average size canopy, we were a little concerned. That was, until we took advantage of the sunshade extension.
The sunshade extension attaches quite easily to the canopy. It then snaps onto the sides of the seat and clips to the handlebar to increase baby’s shaded area and improve sunlight protection. It also features:
- Additional protective layer that provides enhanced UV protection (UPF>50) – this layer can be pulled back and tucked into the top of the sunshade
- Adjustable connectors that allow use in different sunlight conditions
- Included compact carry bag
Other accessories include an insect net, rain cover, two types of “diaper” bags, a travel bag (great for air travel) and snap-on storage to make up for the lack of under-carriage storage. But all accessories must be removed before the car seat is installed back in the car.
Doona is available in five color options. We kept it traditional by choosing “Night,” however, if you can handle bold color in your baby gear, we really love “Sky” and “Love.”
Features to Love
Do you love Doona as much as we do?
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
Photo Credit: Ashley Sisk
Tags: accessories, baby gear, car seat, car seat safety, Doona, easy install, easy operation, gear guide, infant car seat, infant stroller, innovative baby gear, must have, new generation of car seat, parenting, parenting made simple, Safety, simple, Simple Parenting, stroller, sun protective
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