Finding the best Joie R129 car seat for your family
A car seat is an essential piece of parenting kit that needs to be exactly the right fit for your child, your vehicle, and your family
From your very first car journey with a newborn right through to regular road trips with your tween, you’ll need a car seat to ensure they’re travelling safely.
Your child’s age and height are crucial when choosing the best car seat:
- Newborns and babies up to approximately 15 months can travel in infant carriers, which sit rear-facing in the vehicle and usually fix onto a pushchair frame to form a travel system.
- Older babies and toddlers up to approximately 4 years will require a larger seat, ideally one that rear-faces for as long as possible.
- Older children up to around 12 years old will need a child car seat or a booster seat.
You’ll also need to ensure the car seat is compatible with and fits into your car, including checking whether your vehicle has ISOFIX fixing points.
To help you find the car seat that suits your family, we’ve teamed up with Joie to present some of the key products from their impressive lineup, with advice on which ones may work for your family.
Infant carriers (baby car seats)
This comfortable and cosy first car seat will grow with your baby thanks to its removeable inserts and adjustable protective headrest to accommodate baby up to 75 cm long.
The i-Snug™ 2 is also easy on parents as it’s lightweight (a mere 3.35kg), has an ergonomic carry handle and a curved base that allows you to rock the seat and your baby to sleep.
The seat is i-Size certified so is guaranteed to fit in any i-Size approved vehicle and is designed to fit on several different Joie bases, including i-Base™ Advance and i-Base™ Encore
It’s the ideal choice for families who already own or are thinking of buying a compatible Joie pushchair, as the i-Snug 2 can form a handy travel system – and for families who need to use it without ISOFIX as it can also be secured using the vehicle belt without the need for a base. Fitted correctly, this is just as safe as using ISOFIX.
An indispensable travel companion for families who want a smooth transition between pushchair and car for their newborns, the Calmi™ R129 is a lie-flat car cot that doubles as a carrycot when attached to the Signature Finiti™ and other Joie prams.
The innovative design won a Silver award in the 2023 MadeForMums Awards thanks to its totally flat base which provides the best position for sleeping, breathing and spinal development.
The calmi™’s safety features are impressive: it sits laterally across the back seats to keep your baby’s head protected in the event of a side impact collision. Like all the car seats on this list, it complies to the R129 safety standard (more on that below).
Out of the car, the generous hood effectively shields babies from harmful UV rays, rain and noise. At 3.6kg, it’s surprisingly light for a carrycot and the low weight plus the easily accessible release buttons on the side of the cot make for quick and fuss-free transfers from car to pram and back again.
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About R129 – the most up-to-date European safety standard for car seats
ECE R129 is the latest, safest standard for testing car seats. It introduces a more accurate fit for children by using their length rather than weight or age as a guide.
It also promotes longer rear-facing by requiring children to travel rearward until they are at least 76 cm tall and a minimum of 15 months old.
Additionally, R129 has introduced more rigorous side impact testing standards, which will improve protection of children’s heads and necks. R129 makes use of the latest dummy sensory technology designed to more accurately simulate a child’s fragile body. This means R129 car seats are designed to be better, safer and stronger.
In summary, R129 safety regulation provides better side-impact protection, requires rear-facing for longer, and makes it easier to find the best-fitting car seat for your child according to their height. All the seats in this list have ECE R129 certification.
Rotating car seats
When you can’t cradle your baby in your arms, this cosy spinning seat with a deep recline will keep them safe and secure during every car trip from birth until around 4 years old thanks to a 6-position headrest and harness system that can be worked with just one hand, even when the car seat in installed.
Offering a 3-piece infant insert that ensures both the harness and buckle are properly fitted to your child for a custom fit, a 5-position recline in both rearward and forward-facing positions and a 5-point harness with soft, padded covers, the i-Harbour™ fuses supreme comfort with superb safety features and is great for parents who want extra reassurance that their child is both comfortable and supported. For extra peace of mind, i-Size certified car seats provide protection in the event of side impact collisions whilst offering a safe and secure fit in compatible vehicles.
It’s designed to hold children rearward facing until they outgrow the seat at 105 cm tall but can also transition to be forward facing when your child is 76 cm tall, and a minimum of 15 months old, if this is something your family requires. Paired with the i-Base™ Encore, the seat can rotate a full 360°and is easily removed and installed in different cars – making this a great option for a multi-car family as you can buy several bases to use with just one seat.
The i-Spin™ 360 is a bestselling rotating car seat that will hold your child safely and comfortably in a rear-facing position from birth to around the age of 4. It offers the added security of an integrated ISOFIX base with steel-reinforced connectors, installation indicators that show you the seat is properly fitted, plus a multi-position load leg to provide extra stability.
Six recline settings and excellent cushioning encourage passengers to snuggle into a restful sleep, while integrated air vents help keep them cool and side panels in the seat automatically engage when the harness is tightened, providing additional impact protection.
This seat boasts several smart features that make it particularly useful for families with lots of different carers. The 360 spin allows the seat to be rotated towards the door so your baby can be fastened into the 5-point harness, then spun back into the correct position.
It also has a lock that can be engaged to prevent the seat from being accidentally spun to a forward-facing position when it should be rear-facing. This ensures your child rides rearwards at all times – and with all caregivers – until you’re ready for them to be forward facing.
Toddler and child car seats
This is a great fit for families whose car doesn’t have ISOFIX points, as it meets the highest R129 safety standards when installed with a 3-point vehicle belt. This is easy to do using the large, colour-coded belt path opening at the shell of the seat.
Designed to hold children from birth to around the age of 4 years (105 cm tall), the comfy seat has a total of 4 recline positions and is well padded, with extra cushioning to cradle tiny riders. The grow together™ multi-height headrest and harness system adjusts simultaneously with just one hand to accommodate babies as they grow into toddlers
Reassuring safety features include a Tri-Protect™ headrest featuring Intelli-Fit™ memory foam, a secure 5-point harness that can be tightened with just one pull and side impact protection for the head, body and hips. The seat can be used rearward facing or forward facing from 76 cm tall and a minimum of 15 months.
The i-Plenti™ is ideal if you’re looking for a car seat that will grow with your child from toddler to tween.
Key features include a reinforced steel shell that provides rigid side impact protection, durable plush fabrics, and side wings that automatically widen when you raise the headrest to give your passenger more shoulder space. This versatile seat could be the only one a toddler needs after outgrowing an infant car seat as it’s suitable for children from 76 to 150 cm tall (15 months to approximately 12 years old).
Used as a child seat, stand-out features include a built-in 5-point harness that fits children until they’re 105 cm (around 4.5 years old), keeping them more secure for a little longer. Magnetic buckle holders keep the harness out of the way when you’re loading your child into their seat, making it perfect for wriggly toddlers.
The seat features ISOFIX and top tether installation (instead of a load leg), which saves space in the footwell in small vehicles.
For children over 100 cm tall, the i-Plenti™ can be used as a high-back booster seat by storing the harness inside the seat and following the colour-coded seat belt guide to securely buckle up using the vehicle belt.
Car seat jargon buster
Infant carrier – These car seats are designed to transport babies from birth to around 15 months, and usually combine with a buggy chassis to form a travel system (often using adapters).
i-Size – An enhancement of ECE R129 that makes it easier to confirm your car seat's compatibility with any i-Size approved vehicle, reducing the risk of installing your car seat incorrectly. While all i-Size car seats meet the ECE R129 testing standards, not every R129 car seat is i-Size certified. To qualify as i-Size, a car seat must fit within a specific box on your vehicle seat. i-Size certification doesn't make the car seat fundamentally safer, but it does provide a better fit and a more intuitive installation. Joie’s i-Size certified car seats have an ‘i’ in front of the product name.
ISOFIX – An internationally standardised car seat fitting system that allows connectors on your car seat to click directly onto metal anchor points in your vehicle. ISOFIX provides a firm and simple installation and can be much easier than a vehicle belt installation to get right. Most cars manufactured in the last 10 years have ISOFIX anchor points.
Tether – A fabric strap that secures the car seat to a tether point in the vehicle, effectively anchoring the seat to the vehicle for extra stability and preventing it from tipping off the seat in the event of an accident.
Harness – Safety straps that are built into a car seat and restrain the baby or child in the seat, while the seat is attached to the vehicle using ISOFIX connectors with or without a tether, or the vehicle seatbelt.
Booster – A car seat designed to raise an older child’s seating position so that the vehicle’s belt can safely restrain them. These types of seats don’t have to be attached to the vehicle using ISOFIX connectors.
Gabrielle Nathan has been a journalist for 20 years, writing lifestyle features for publications including Red, Women’s Health, Wildflower and Condé Nast Traveller. She has been writing about parenting since 2012, the year she became a mum.
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