The Joie i-Anchor is a good value i-Size car seat, meaning it can be used as a rearward facing seat from birth right up until 4 years old. It can also be used as a forward facing seat from 15 months to 4 years.
Research has shown that rearward facing car seats can be 5 times safer than forward facing seats in a frontal collision. So being able to keep your child rearward facing until 4 years old makes this model stand out in the UK car seat market.
I was pretty excited to get a car seat which my 6-month-old baby, Theo, can use until he’s 4. At first glance it looks snug with lots of padding and is upholstered nicely. And an added bonus, it has that yummy new car smell.
The i-Anchor is big. It touches the back of the front passenger seat when installed. I am usually a passenger in our car and let my husband do the driving (yep, cliché).
With the car seat installed in our 5-door Skoda Octavia VRS, it allows me a fair amount of room in the front, but that isn’t saying much because I’m 5’2”!
Was it easy to install?
The ISOFIX base (sold separately) fitted perfectly in our car and is really easy to install. The car seat attaches on top effortlessly and it feels safe.
You can insert the car seat using your seat-belt buckle as well as the ISOFIX base but, with the seatbelt buckle, it doesn’t feel super sturdy and I really had to try hard to get it to fit in. I wouldn’t recommend using it without the ISOFIX base.
But remember, here at MFM we always think it’s better to get an expert to show you how to safely install a car seat in your vehicle before you buy it.
How was it when you strapped your son in?
The straps are quite flush with the seat and you can’t easily pull them out of the way, so it can be a bit of a job to put Theo in place and buckle him up in one smooth motion. I have to sort of put him down and then pull the straps out from underneath him.
Once he’s in, though, the straps are snug and comfortable and there is a very convenient release catch near the buckle that makes loosening and tightening them very straightforward.
The design of the buckle itself is a bit fiddly, though, and I have yet to fully master buckling him in without getting them the wrong way around at least once!
Click here to buy the Joie i-Anchor on Amazon
How many recline positions does it have?
It has 7 recline positions, which can be adjusted when your child is in the car. Theo uses the seat in its most reclined position.
While he doesn’t seem to mind, I think he looks too upright in it. And we at MadeForMums have had a few mums say that the seat doesn’t give their little one a supported position when sleeping in the seat.
But Joie explain how this can be fixed on our MFM forum.
Does it look like it will go all the stages with your child, from newborn to 4 years?
It does, but rearward facing leg-room may become a problem when Theo gets older. He has plenty of room at 6-months-old, but not sure just how much he’ll have at 3-years-old.
Have a look at the 10 best extended rear-facing group 1 car seats.
How portable is it to get in and out of the car?
My last car seat, the Maxi Cosi Pebble, was an infant carrier – it was detachable from its ISOFIX base and had a carry handle – so when Theo fell asleep in the car I could easily carry him into the house and up to his bedroom without waking him.
But the i-Anchor is meant to stay in the car, and there is no handle, so when I reach my destination I have to unbuckle Theo and lift him out of the car seat to carry indoors. He wakes up every time. It’s so frustrating!
You can remedy this with an alternative seat – the Joie Gemm Infant Seat – which is an infant carrier that fits on the same ISOFIX base and can even fit on some buggies. Buying that extra seat feels like a bit of a waste of money since the i-Anchor is designed to be used from birth but if, like me, you think helping your baby sleep longer is practically priceless, the Gemm may be worth getting, too.
Is the car seat easy to clean?
Yes, the covers are very easy to remove and are machine washable.
Is the i-Anchor value for money?
It’s expensive, but car seats are. The fact that the ISOFIX is sold separately is the thing that makes it feel so pricey (the seat didn’t fit on our previous ISOFIX mount). Together, the seat and the base come to almost £300. But it’s the only one you’ll need for four years, which makes it decent value.
What’s in the box?
- i-Anchor child car seat
- i-Anchor ISOFIX base
- Fabric newborn insert that can be used until your child is 6kg.
What extra accessories can you buy?
If it can live up to its promise of being the only car seat I’ll need to buy in the next four years, it’s a fantastic product. So far, it looks sturdy, seems cosy and its conformity to the new iSize standard makes me feel reassured. Once Theo is old enough, I won’t miss not being able to use it as a carrier.
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