review photo
Not that long ago now I approached Joie Baby by email because I really really wanted to become one of their “Ambassadors”. I was super happy when I got an answer back stating they would be happy to work with me and let me review one of their car seats!

The seat I was sent to review was the lovely Joie I-Anchor and through this post I will go into detail about the seat and what we thought about it.

Update for 2015:
A car seat can not legally be two regulations and as such Joie iAnchor is now only iSize (R129) and can not be installed using the adult seat belt on the base. You can now only use the seat with isofix. (The base still fits all three infant car seats from Joie and can be installed using seatbelt when the infant car seats Juva and Jemm are used.) Check your Joie iAnchor for the regulation label. Old stock such as the one in this review, was approved and also tested for use with both isofix and seat belt as it covered two regulations, BUT new stock will only have the R129 sticker on the actual car seat, and on this stock, you can not use the seat with seat belt install!

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]Update for 2015:Joie iAnchor The Review! #iAnchorsafe #Joiebaby #iSize @Joie_Baby[/tweetthis]

My models:

xanthenocushinfront

20140630_190700 20140703_190437 Riva2

About the car seat:

The Joie I-Anchor is one of the three current i-Size car seats on the market. It is installed on a base and is both rear facing and forward facing.
It is a Group 0+/1 (0-18kg) car seat, making it usable from birth to approx 4 years old.
Rear facing it can be used from birth (40cm) to 18kg and 105cm (approx 4 years old) and forward facing it can be used from 15 months and 71cm to 105cm and 18kg.

It comes with a newborn insert that you should ideally use up to 9kg. The insert’s head-hugger can very easily be taken off, and the wedge located in the pocket of the insert can be taken out, making it nice and snug still after the baby is too big for the whole insert.

Xanthe showing off the insert without the head-hugger and wedge.

Xanthe showing off the insert without the head-hugger and wedge.

Joie Quotes:

First with i-Size R129
The FIRST UK government certified i-Size ECE R129 child seat – the i-Anchor child seat also meets both the NEW i-Size ECE R129 & CURRENT ECE R44.04 standards.

Ready for newborn on
Designed for the first ride home as the only i-Size seat suitable from birth – and usable up to the first day of school — up to 18kg and approximately 4 years old.

Side Impact Certified
First ever standardised side impact testing to i-Size standards – along with specialised multi-layered foam – for better head, neck and all over protection of even the tiniest riders.

Backwards is better
Meets i-Size required rearward facing travel up to 15 months and exceeds i-Size requirements allowing rearward travel up to 18kg/4 years.

Fits-all install
Quick and instant install with the iAnchorFIX® base utilising your choice of either ISOFIX or a vehicle seat belt – or both ISOFIX and vehicle seat belt together [– for a rock solid installation].

On-the-go adjustment
Fully adjustable with 7 on-the-go recline positions and one-hand headrest and harness height adjustment.

Easy to install!

The i-Anchor is definitely one of the easiest car seats I have installed. As it’s on a base, it just clicks right on and the base can be installed using isofix, seat belt or both.
As I don’t have isofix in my current car (sob) we used the seat belt function.

baseinstruction

A close up of the instructions right on the base itself. SO easy!

base

The whole base in its glory. The blue belt locks click down on the belt to lock it in place.

green

When the green is on we are good to go! This is the foot prop that goes from the base and down to the floor. This would have been easier to see if it was located on the top of the little “box” and not in front.

 

The car seat has 7 adjustable recline positions, and the lever makes it very easy to adjust. You can do this while the child is in the seat, which I always find as a big plus!

With the ease of one button you can take the seat off the base.

green2

The green lights indicate that the car seat is correctly fitted on the base. The lever (1-7) controls the recline positions and the smaller button with the arrow pushes down to release the seat.

 

RF instruction

The instructions on the seat is quite clear and easy to understand.

 

Easy adjustable headrest by pushing this button.

Easy adjustable headrest by pushing this button.

 

What about the covers?

I don’t know about you, but my kids do eat in the car! hehe
This means that from time to time I do need to take the covers off the car seats and wash them. Doing so can be time-consuming so I was very happy to find that the covers on this car seat is really just about as simple as it gets. It’s all about the buttons….

Two hooks holds the headrest cover at the top.

Two hooks holds the headrest cover at the top.

Like so.

Like so.

 

There are two hooks at the side of the headrest. They can be hard to get to.

There are two hooks at the side of the headrest. They can be hard to get to.

 

There are push buttons at the top and one at each side of the seat.

There are push buttons at the top and one at each side of the seat.

 

The cover is pulled out from under the surrounding plastic of the harness adjuster and in the front just under the seat the cover is hooked to the plastic rim.

The cover is pulled out from under the surrounding plastic of the harness adjuster and in the front just under the seat the cover is hooked to the plastic rim.

 

There are two "flaps" inside the seat.

There are two “flaps” inside the seat.

Once the whole cover is off it looks like this, the two blue pads on the headrest are memory foam!

nakidseat

Regretfully the strap covers can not be taken off. =/

 

I did this without once looking in the manual, and surprisingly it didn’t take long at all! It was extremely easy and quick, though I didn’t time it! hehe
But far quicker then one of my other seats.

 

How does it feel in the car – Rear Facing?

Getting the kids to laugh is a must during photo shoots! haha

Getting the kids to laugh is a must during photo shoots! haha

This is where I would have to give a tiny bit of negative critique.

All though my kids and the others modelling for me have never once complained, I do feel that Joie is selling itself short by not giving more leg room when installed rear facing.
I felt that during the install I had to use a bit of force and fiddling to get the seat on the base in the rear facing position due to the rebound bar being on the actual seat.
This was solved by adjusting the setting to a lesser reclined position, but then I would have to use a little bit of force to get it down to the last two clicks as the seat was then digging into the seat back of the back seat.

I sort of feel that the design of the seat was considered far more in detail for the forward facing install, then for the rear facing one.

The base I felt is also prone to buckle crunch when installed with the seat belt, and we drive a Ford Mondeo, this has never been a problem before.

Legs everywhere! :D

Legs everywhere!

None of the kids ever complained about the leg room, and I used this seat as my 2nd main seat through out this month. My 3,5 year old daughter preferred this seat over the BeSafe (you can see her legs in the far left picture) which just shows that kids are bendy little people and more often than not enjoy resting their legs everywhere.
The leg room was less of a problem for the young children, and though I would never consider leg space to be a problem as this is not dangerous in any way, I do wish it had slightly better leg room as it would help the install and I think since a lot of other parents are concerned about leg room in ERF seats, it is something Joie should consider next time.

The recline of the seat I think is fine, though I do wish it was slightly more reclined when installed rear facing. Especially since some cars have “sloped” back seats and this would affect the recline in a negative way.

The seat is very compact giving the front passenger quite a lot of leg room, so an excellent seat for people (like my husband) who are very tall, as it gives the front passenger quite a lot of wriggle room.

Quite a lot of space between the car seat and the front driver seat.

Quite a lot of space between the car seat and the front driver seat.

 

How does it feel in the car – Forward Facing?

For this experiment I have only used my daughter who is 3,5 years old as she’s the one closest to the 4-year-old mark. I must highlight that rear facing will always be safer than forward facing no matter what.
She used the seat forward facing on a few occasions in town for shopping trips and such, she is on a daily basis rear facing and this was done purely for the purpose of this review.

20140703_202511

 

When used this way I find that the design has been more thought through. The i-Anchor has an extremely good recline forward facing. The seat is really comfy and nicely padded and she loved it.
It has nice high sides and really does “cocoon” the child in the seat, which I really like.

recline FF

 

She had really nice room and used in this position she was on the tallest setting on the headrest because the straps need to come either just at or just above the shoulders when forward facing.
Never the less I do think this seat would last her to the full 4 years it promises.
Caitlyn is also quite tall for her age (105cm) and has a long torso, she is on the top percentile, so for a more average child in hight it would really go a long way.

The seat being on a base also lifts the seat up a bit giving her a nice view out the window. It’s not as good as what she’s used to rear facing (3 way view) but she was quite content.

20140703_202956

 

One of the things that bothered me in forward facing mode, was that her legs are too close to the front seat. You need to ideally leave 55 cm of room between the car seat and the front seat, and that was not possible in our setting, making her legs vulnerable to injury should we have an accident.

 

So what’s the verdict?!

All in all I (and the family) think this is a fab seat!

There are the few bits I can complain about, but I don’t think I would ever be completely happy with a car seat, I don’t think I would ever find one that had everything I wanted. haha

All in all the positives outweigh the negative by far and I would fully recommend this seat to other parents!

It’s so simple to install, not only with isofix but also with seat belt, minimizing the misuse by far. The green/red indicators are easy to see and the instructions are easy to follow.

 

thankyou

 

 

http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54493-256-30B462DBC56D538492F19D5672D8C28F

 

*** This is a review in cooperation with Joie Baby.
The thoughts, feelings and content of this post is my own and I was not paid for this post.***

342_iAnchor_Blog_Ad_EN

 

 

***

This post is linked up to:

#magicmoments
#youaremysunshine
#triedandtested
#madmidweekbloghop
#PoCoLo

Therese has completed the ‘Advanced Child Car Seat Training Course’ at TRL (Transport Research Lab) and is a CPD accredited car seat expert. She blogs about in-car safety, car seats, tips, reviews, give-aways and advice. She’s a mum on a mission to change the law and raise awareness. She is also a breast feeding advocate and gentle parenting promoter who loves cloth nappies, baby-wearing, BLW and co-sleeping/bed-sharing.

41 thoughts on “Joie I-Anchor – The Review!

  1. It’s pretty rare that I chip in on this blog but thought I’d offer up a quick opinion as well…

    As you can see from the photo of my back (whilst sitting in front of Henry) I had a lot of room with this seat installed, comfortably more so than with any other rear facing seat we’ve tried (with the possible exception of the Two Way Elite). Usually with a rear facing seat and as a taller person who obviously needs more seating space than the average driver, I’d have to compromise a little personal comfort with a rear facing seat but not this one at all. All in all, I was very happy with the fit.

    I’m also quite a fussy with car seats, and I HATE flimsy seats when my children are involved. No such problem here, the seat felt very solid and well constructed as well as very comfortable (as attested to by my daughter preferring it and actively choosing it over any other offering in the car at the time…

    Easy to install, easy to use and easy to reverse if that’s your thing, I was very happy with the seat in either configuration and would also happily recommend it…

    • Sadly you wont find the seat outside the UK and Ireland apart from some parts of Asia I believe as it’s not a world stocked seat yet. I do hope they will be available in more countries though! Joie do some fab seats!
      And very cost effective, which gives even more families the chance to rear face for longer. http://erfmission.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
      ERFmama would like you to read…News! iSize from BeSafe themselvesMy Profile

  2. Thanks for an honest review! It actually looks like a really comfortable seat, especially with the memory foam. But I can see how the leg room could be an issue. Thanks for sharing!
    Kelly Michelle would like you to read…5 Reasons Why Life is BeautifulMy Profile

    • I was a really comfy seat indeed. My daughter didn’t want to use BeSafe izi Plus, and wanted this one, which just goes to show that leg room isn’t something they tend to think about as much as we parents might think. hehe
      ERFmama would like you to read…Joie I-Anchor – The Review!My Profile

  3. Great review sounds like a good car seat system. And love all the photos too. Helps visualize it all. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    Jenny would like you to read…Me & Mine {July}My Profile

    • Thank you!
      They are pretty awesome I must admit hehehe.
      But only two are mine (Riva and Xanthe is a good friend’s)
      We really like the seat, and Xanthe liked it so much that it’s now on loan to her full time.

  4. Thanks for this review! From the photo of the instructions/warning that you posted, it looks as though the seat can only be installed with ISOFIX up until 15 mths, is that right?

    • Hi Lauren.

      No, it has a requirement that with ISOfix the child must remain rear facing until a minimum of 15 months as this is the new rules of iSize.
      You can use the seat rear facing with isofix until the child is 18kg.

  5. A great review you did of this seat – you’re such a car seat pro!! I agree – it is incredibly easy to install. I didn’t even try it in the forward-facing position, just because we have no intention to put Fraser forward facing, and I really wanted to hammer home to importance of rear-facing. However, I think was important of you to cover the forward facing feature of this seat. I didn’t have problems fitting the seat in with the rebound bar like you… It is great to see that people have been introduced to Joie Baby through this post, where they had never heard of them before. I love the brand, and had also not heard of them until recently. (o:
    Fiona @ Free Range Chick would like you to read…Joie iAnchor ReviewMy Profile

    • Thank you so much for such positive feedback! x

      In our current car (we have a Renault Megane Scenic now) I don’t have the problem with the bar, so it is purely dependent on the back seats. The Ford has sloped seats, whilst my current car has straight ones, and that did make a huge difference. http://erfmission.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
      I really like Joie Baby as well, also because they are so pro-rear facing, and clearly label their car seats and boxes with this information, it’s brilliant!! http://erfmission.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
      ERFmama would like you to read…Axkid Minikid is here!My Profile

  6. Hi! Thanks for the great review. We want to get the I-anchor for our 9 month old daughter. She’s still in her infant carrier and we think she’s highly sensitive to car rides. She either poops or spits or both and we wonder if it’s related to rearward facing. So my question is, do you think we can use this seat forward facing before 15 months in case she’s still unhappy? Thanks in advance..

    • I’m sorry she’s feeling unwell, poor baby, but no, it wouldn’t be related to rear facing. Travel sickness has nothing to do with direction of travel.

      The answer is no you can not use this seat forward facing before 15 months. That would be against the law.

      I would keep her rear facing longer because that is the safest way for her to travel at her age.

      • Oops, I didn’t know it was against the law http://erfmission.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif I live in Turkey and we don’t have such a regulation -yet! I was just asking from the design point perspective. I guess not then. Thanks for the answer anyway..

        • It is against the law of the seat. The seat is an i-Size seat, and i-Size does not permit forward facing before 15 months.

  7. Thank you so much for this brilliant review! I would love to ask your opinion on some car seats if possible. Unfortunately in South Africa we don’t have access to the range of car seat overseas. We can get besafe (although it is super pricey) and recaro although they are not widely stocked and I’ve yet to see them in real life. There is also maxi cosi, Joie and a brand called bambino. If I could ask your opinion that would be fantastic! Have you reviewed any other seats? I would love to read what you have to say. Thanks so much again

    • Hi Alexa, thank you so much for your comment. I’m sorry for the late reply – for some reason it didn’t show up in my notifications.
      You can view all my reviews in the Reviews tab at the top of the blog.

    • So far I have found the following EXTENDED REAR FACING seats available in South Africa:

      1 -Joie Stages: R2999 from BabyCity or you can buy direct from Bambino int

      The Joie Stages does not need a base however only offers a belted installation. no isofix connectors

      2 – the NEW Joie i-Anchor that is i-SIZE compliant.
      iAnchor car seat (R3599.99) and iAnchor Base (R2499.99).
      Also at from BabyCity or you can buy direct from bambino

      The new Joie I-Anchor ‘system’ is a base with a seat. The base can be installed with either the isofix or car seat belt. You can’t use the seat without the base.

      3 – Volvo car seat (Britax Multi Tech II rebranded for Volvo) Great seat option for bigger kids as this will rear face to 25 kgs.

      4 – Maxi-Cosi 2way pearl
      Not sure on price.
      available at Baby City / Toys R Us / A-Zee Baby Works / Kids Emporium / Baby Boom

      5 – Besafe izi KID or IZI plus – from BornFabulous Price tag is high on these – R7000 up But they are great quality so well worth that price.

      Fun side note. I did chat to a rep at Graco and they are going to launch a ERF seat some time this year..

      • That’s nice to see you have them available in SA!

        If it’s the Graco that they had for show in Cologne, it’s only rear facing to 13 kg. So not ERF, such a shame… I really thought they would do better…sigh.

  8. I’ve recently upgraded to the Joie iAnchor from a MaxiCosi Group 0+ infant carrier (which also has a belted base).

    And bought a spare base for the grandparents car (or when we get a lift in another car).

    In terms of group 1 ERF seats that can be installed with belt only it’s much simpler to install in the car than the alternatives on the market (no extra straps to install)

    Although this is not claimed in the instructions, from the design it’s clear that the seat can be set up with a two-point seat belt, which makes the iAnchor a possible choice if you have a classic car that does not have 3 point belts (and 2 point belt retrofit for classics that don’t have belts at all is a common enough process, since older cars generally will have a strong points lower down where the belts can be attached safely and easily). If used in a classic car, it would be sensible to check the floor under the “foot” of the base is strong enough and well connected to the frame of the car since this is critical to the seat operating correctly in ERF or FF modes

    There are some less good points, though.

    * As the review above shows, legroom is not great in ERF mode
    * I’ve found that in one of my vehicles that the only way to attach the seat to the base is with the recline set all the way to one end–the rebound bar gets in the way otherwise.
    * The seat is fairly heavy, and doesn’t have a good handhold other than the attachment bars on the bottom or the harness
    * One of my vehicles has rear doors which slide to open backwards. Because the seat installs quite close to the car’s own seat (see legroom point above) and the doors overlap the opening a bit it’s a slightly awkward wriggle to get the young’un into and out of the seat.
    * The harness buckles tend to slide to the bottom of the belt when you are putting the young’un in, and then you need to fish them out again to buckle up. I think I can fix that with some elastic bands tied round the belt; Joie could fix that with some plastic sliders on the harness belts
    * with a 3 point belt, you can get bunching under the clip closest to where the upper part of the belt heads upwards as you snug the belts up. Annoying, and means the seat takes a little longer to fit properly. The belt routing needs a minor redesign to move the belt “turn point” away from the lock down clip to resolve this. (This was less of an issue on the Maxi-cosi base that I used before upgrading)

    • Hi Miles and thank you for your comment!

      I have to just start off asking you if the iAnchor you bought was the older product one (the one that is currently sold in Mothercare with a free base) or one of the newer batches? The reason I am asking is because iAnchor is now an iSize car seat only, it is no longer both regulations as a car seat can not be both at the same time.
      This means that it can only be installed using isofix and not seat belt. When the base is used with any of the infant car seats, this does not apply.

      The older batch that Mothercare are selling off with a free base however, have both stickers on them, look on your iAnchor car seat (not the base) and make sure that your seat has both ECE R44.04 and R129 stickers on it. If your iAnchor only has the R129 sticker, then I’m afraid the car seat can not be used installed with seat belt on the base, and the base must be installed with isofix only.

      Next is the type of seat belt. The car seat base should never ever be used installed with a 2 point seat belt. It is only tested and approved using 3 point seat belt, so using 2 point seat belt can have potential fatal consequences in the event of a crash, as you risk the car seat not performing at all!

      When it comes to the car seat harness and digging for it, I have a solution for you! It’s called ‘lulaclips’ and you can find them here: http://lulaclips.com/theproduct.php

  9. Can i ask are there any other differences between the new and older i-anchor seats other than the new now being i-size only? I’m thinking having the option of belt installation could be useful if travelling in a different car without isofix. Also can i clarify the seat fitting in a Renault scenic, the approved car list only covers 2009 on and states the seat isn’t able to be fitted. I’m assuming this is due to underfloor storage?

    • No there aren’t any other differences. Joie is coming out with a new version of the iAnchor called the iAnchor Advance and this has a better recline.

      The seat is only covered from 2009 yes the X marks are because of the underfloor storage, but Joie has tested the seat with extended leg into the box and also Renault is happy for us to extend the leg into the box, or for you to fill the storage compartment with an approved filler. So there is no problems with the iAnchor in a Scenic.

  10. My seat is one of the older batch that is dual marked with R44.04, so it is still legal to be used in belt only mode. And thanks for the tip on the belt clips you mentioned.

    It seems that the law is in a “transition” state towards R129 probably and pragmatically because there are still many cars out there that don’t have the ISOfix points that are required for compliance for R129. (Which website has some explanation on this which I won’t repeat here.)

    Joie is probably being a bit cautious legally in relabelling the seat as R129 only since R44.04 is on the way out and would not want to imply that R129 is possible on belts. It would be interesting to see the latest boxes and manuals to see if they say **clearly** that ISOfix must be used all the time and the belt capability for the base are only to be used as a supplement to the ISOfix, because otherwise there will be a risk of miss-selling the seat and people using it illegally (in a downgraded mode that actually would achieve a similar safety result to other R44.04 belted seat options, so not as safe as R129, but on a par with a large % of seats and cars on the road today).

    It’s an important point you made about not using seats on 2 point belts, since 3 point belt is how the seat would have been tested for certifications (and hence 2 point belt usage could presumably be unlawful as well as unsafe), and 3 point belt would be critical for many seat designs for correct operation. I didn’t consider that point properly when I wrote my original review.

    However, from an engineering point of view, the 3rd (upper) belt point in the on the Joie iAnchorFix really does not seem to add anything extra in terms of restraining the seat motion in any direction, as long as the lower part of the belt is correctly snugged down in the clips with no slack as per the instructions. Because of the way the belt clips on the base (two clips, one each side), all the tension and restraining capability is on the lower two anchor points, and the base would have needed to move at least a few inches in any direction for the arrestor mechanism in the 3rd point retractor to operate (and bring the 3rd anchor point into the equation for stopping the seat), and even if you can fiddle the top belt to “prelock” the arrester there is likely to still be be some slack in the top belt. For the top belt to become tensioned by the arrester due to seat movement, the lower part of the belt bridging the lower 2 points would have to be really quite loose (a sloppy improper installation) and I think if the lower part of the belt is that loose all bets are off, safetywise, even on a 3 point belt since the seat is not installed as designed or tested for certification.

    ***To be clear, I am in no way suggesting that any seat be used illegally or improperly on 2 point belts, just observing that the 3rd point may not add much to the mechanical solution, safetywise, on some seats, and understanding which parts of the belt are the effective parts is important so you can assess for your self that the installation is safe beyond what the instructions say***.

    The above analysis would not be true of all belted bases, for example the different design of the Maxi-Cosi easybase series (one belt clip in the centre) means the 3rd point could add a bit to restraining the seat motion in a sudden stop or accident.

    And belted seats which don’t have a removeable base definitely do need the 3rd anchor point (especially if they don’t have a front leg which normally engages the floor when installed),

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