At the start of November, I wrote a review of the CuddleCo Doona showing how easy it makes life when out and about. During our day out with the next-generation car seat, I highlighted some of the benefits of the Doona, particularly when you don’t have much boot space and when you’re quickly popping in and out of the car, e.g. to the shops, baby classes, doctors etc.
Having used the Doona for a couple of months now having been sent it to review, I wanted to write a follow up post to provide a more detailed account of life with a Doona, particularly as we’ve recently got a new 5-door car – or DADventurer Mobile as I like to call it – as we struggled a bit with the Doona in our old 3-door Corsa.
Below you’ll find my comprehensive review of the Doona and the Isofix base.
The product is described as:
This fantastic Doona car seat converts from a group 0+ car seat into a compact stroller! Ideal for nipping out and about with baby it means there is no need for a travel system frame in the boot of the car. The Doona is the next generation infant car seat that combines the highest standard in safety and a revolutionary integrated travel system that has already won multiple industry awards. Perfect for todays’ busy parent, the Doona surpasses every safety standard both in its primary function as a car seat and when converted with just a click of a button into a stroller. With a deep double walled side impact protection, orthopaedic inner cushion, and anti-rebound technology, the Doona is also larger than most of its peers meaning that your infant can remain in the safest form of car seat for longer. Easily secured using your 3-point seat belt, the Doona can also be installed with a Doona ISOfix base (sold separately) for added safety and convenience. The Doona is the world’s first infant car seat with integrated wheels meaning that in less than ten seconds you can be out of your car with your precious little one and on your way in safety and style. The Doona is the world’s first car seat to offer style, comfort, mobility, and safety all in one package.
- The only car seat with integrated wheels
- Easy instant fold
- Compact storage
- One touch brake
- Chassis suspension for a smoother ride
- Swivel wheels
- Orthopedic designed inner cushion
- Inner cushion anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic with humidity and thermal regulation
- Rocking function
- Includes seat protector
The Isofix base has been designed especially for the Doona and is installed into your car using the Isofix anchor points to re-assure you that the seat is secured correctly without the need to additionally secure it in place with a seatbelt. Simply click the Doona car seat into position and un-clip from the base to lift the seat from vehicle.
- Compliant with EU regulations
- Adjustable foot beam
- Isofix and foot-beam indicators
- One click vehicle installation
Sometimes words aren’t the best way of describing or demonstrating a point – with that in mind and before you read on, have a quick watch of this video that I – or should I say, the missus – filmed of me using the Doona. In less than one minute, I had managed to fit the Isofix base securely, turn the Doona from a stroller into a car seat, put the car seat into the car, take the car seat out of the car and turn it back into a stroller. I’d normally be ridiculed for performing from start to finish on camera in less than one minute, but as I’m sure you can appreciate, speed and ease is of the essence when dealing with a product such as this!
See, how quick and easy is that?
Let’s continue by taking a look at the Doona – I really think that the idea is fantastic. Integrating two products into one usually creates more hassle than it’s worth, but the Doona does both jobs very well, i.e. a car seat and a pushchair. The Doona is not perfect, but it definitely makes life easier for a parent, particularly when on short journeys or when space is at a premium in the car. Travel systems like our iCandy Cherry – in which you can attach a cot, pushchair or car seat into a frame – are great ideas, but one of the ball aches is that you always need to put the chassis frame somewhere. This usually is in the boot, and when you have a small car, you can’t fit anything else in there, which creates problems if going shopping or travelling to visit family and friends.
The Doona solves this issue because it is essentially a car seat on wheels. There is no need to take a travel system frame or a separate pushchair with you because the Doona incorporates everything in one. This means that the only space taken up by your precious bundle of joy is the seat that they sit in. The Doona is also very easy to use – it can be transformed from a car seat into a pushchair by simply lifting a handle at the back which releases the wheels – it is then turned back from a stroller into a car seat by lifting the same handle and tilting the seat so that the wheels recline. This process takes just seconds, can be achieved when the baby is still secured in the Doona and can be completed before you can even utter the words “travel system”. To get an idea of how awesome the Doona can be, check out my previous post on our day out with the Doona car seat.
The Doona also comes with some extra goodies in the box which were a nice addition – there was a rain cover, snap-on storage and a vehicle seat protector. The rain cover is pretty easy to attach once you’ve figured out which way it goes – it fits snugly over the Doona and attaches via four clips to keep it in place. The rain cover can then be opened and closed via a zip to access your sprog, as well as held back via Velcro to keep the cover door out of the way. The snap-on storage is very handy as the Doona obviously doesn’t have any storage space – it is like a slimline rucksack which attaches to the side of the sunshade to provide you with ample space to stick baby essentials like nappies, wet wipes etc. We didn’t use the vehicle seat protector as we have the Isofix base, but the theory of the protector is that it lines the rear seat of the car when you put the car seat into it.
I mentioned that the Doona isn’t perfect, but let’s be honest, what product is perfect? There were a couple of niggling things that we found when using it which it is worthwhile mentioning. Firstly, because it comes with the integrated wheels, it is slightly heavier and bulkier than the car seat we are used to – this isn’t a massive issue, but as the baby grows and gets bigger, that bit of extra weight and bulk of the seat can make putting it in and out of the car a little bit of a hassle. Secondly, the seat is quite low to the ground when it is being used as a pushchair – this didn’t particularly bother me, but the missus wasn’t a massive fan as she found it more difficult to communicate and tend to the little one if she needed to. Thirdly, as the Doona is made of plastic, it feels a bit rickety and flimsy at times, for example, on uneven ground. Finally, we found it a bit difficult to tighten the straps / harness on the car seat – despite plenty of muscle power (mainly from the missus), it always felt like it was a little bit loose for our liking around Baby L.
From an aesthetics perspective, the colour of our Doona is red – or ‘Love’ as the makers like to call it. In addition to this colour, it is also available in beige, black, blue and grey, although these are also known by names which invoke emotion. The rest of the Doona has a black body with grey cushioning and handle bars, whilst the wheels have yellow inners – almost a bit like Tim Westwood managed to get his hands on the car seat as part of a Pimp My Ride episode. I quite like the colour and look of the Doona, although the missus thinks it looks a bit cheap – she puts this down to the fact “it is made mainly of plastic and the colour is a little wishy washy”. As with everything though, a lot of this comes down to personal preference and how much style and design matter to you.
Let’s continue by taking a look at the Doona Isofix base. We already have an Isofix base for our Maxi-Cosi car seat, so I have some experience of fitting and using them which is handy for comparison purposes. Personally, both Hay and I always prefer to use an Isofix base rather than securing the car seat with a seatbelt. I can’t speak from a scientific perspective, but I’m led to believe that Isofix bases are safer than seatbelts as they secure directly to the car’s chassis. There is also less margin for error when using an Isofix compared to a seat belt as you are normally given a visual indicator that everything has clicked in properly.
I found the Doona Isofix to be pretty simple to fit – I’d even go on to say that it is easier to attach than the Maxi-Cosi. As the video above shows, all you need to do is secure the two attachments at the back of the base onto the Isofix bars which are located in the gap of the car’s rear seat. There are two indicators on the Isofix attachments which are red when they are not clipped in properly, then green if everything is in place as it should be – these are really useful and provide that added assurance. The next step is to pull down the leg of the Isofix base so that it reaches the floor of the car – again the indicator goes from red to green to indicate it has been fitted correctly.
A downside when comparing to the Maxi-Cosi Isofix base is that there is no check system – if something isn’t fitted properly, an audible alarm will sound on the Maxi-Cosi. However, the Doona base is considerably cheaper so something like this wouldn’t necessarily be expected to be included. As mentioned, I did find the Doona easier to fit than the Maxi-Cosi, mainly because the attachments which fix to the car work as one whereas the Maxi-Cosi attachments are independent which means more faffing.
The Doona car seat costs £299.99 and can be purchased directly from CuddleCo or from other online and high-street retailers. With car seats ranging anywhere from £30 to £175 and pushchairs going for anything between £20 and £100, the Doona isn’t particularly cheap at £300. However, what you do get is an all-in-one solution which safely houses your baby from birth through to 15 months (13kg) and takes the faff out of buying multiple bits of baby kit.
The Doona Isofix base is priced at £99.99, and again can be purchased from CuddleCo or other retailers like Amazon. With other Isofix bases ranging from £80 to £180, the Doona base looks to be well priced. Spending an extra £100 on an Isofix base is obviously an added cost, but in my opinion, it provides the parent with much more reassurance knowing that the little one is securely attached, as well as making it quicker and easier to get the baby into the car.
I’m a big fan of the Doona. I think the concept of an all-in-one car seat and pushchair is genius and am surprised that it has not been done previously. It has made our life much easier when going out for little trips to the shops, supermarket or baby classes. If you’ve avoided clicking the link to my previous review when we went out for the day with the Doona car seat, now is a good time to do so as it shows how much it can help day to day life! There are a couple of things I’d like to change, namely the wheel stability, weight and shoulder straps, but I think the product is 95% there to being something that revolutionises baby transport.
It is worth highlighting that the Doona is not a substitute for a pushchair or pram though – it is ultimately a car seat and all of the advice states that babies should not be kept in a car seat for a considerable length of time (20 mins to 2 hours depending on who you talk to). So, the Doona is great for short trips, but shouldn’t be used as something which houses your little one for long periods of time. With this in mind and the fact that it lasts for 15 months and costs £300, the Doona does feel a bit on the pricey side. Particularly if you consider that most people would need to get something else to transport the baby as a maximum of 2 hours is not that long of a time before needing to take the baby out of the car seat.
DADventurer Star Rating
Doona Next-Generation Car Seat – 4 out of 5
Doona Isofix Base – 4.5 out of 5
N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion of the product. The Doona and Isofix base were sent to me by CuddleCo with the purpose of writing an honest product review in exchange for the product.