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!
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.
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.
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].
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.
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.
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….
Once the whole cover is off it looks like this, the two blue pads on the headrest are memory foam!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*** 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.***
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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, giveaways and advice. She’s a mum on a mission to change the law and raise awareness. She is also a breastfeeding advocate and gentle parenting promoter who loves cloth nappies, baby-wearing, BLW and co-sleeping/bed-sharing.