A Group 0+/1/2 car seat that can be used from newborn until 7 years (25kg), including rear-facing to 18kg or around 4 years, the Joie Stages ISOFIX is the ISOFIX version of the brand’s Stages car seat.
Marketed as ‘a travel champion born to grow from birth to 7 years’. At £300, it’s about average price-wise for similar car seats in its class, like the Jane Gravity (£349.95),Diono Radian 5 (£295) or the Britax Duo Plus (£229.99), but it comes armed with plenty of extra benefits.
It boasts a host of safety features, including a specialised Tri-Protect headrest, providing security in the form of three layers of protection inside the side wings, including patented Intelli-Fit memory foam, plus Guard Surround Safety™ side impact panels.
It also offers peace of mind as it’s rearward-facing for longer than many car seats, and it’s been safety tested above and beyond the regular safety criteria, including the new R129 i-Size regulation.
What’s the difference between the Joie Stages and the Joie Stages ISOFIX?
The main difference with this version are that it’s ISOFIX compatible and comes with an in-built ISOFIX base. ISOFIX car seats have two arms or connectors on the back of the seat that hook, or anchor onto small metal bars fixed to the frame of your vehicle.
This new seat has 7 recline positions instead of the previous 4 and the headrest includes a patented memory foam, making it super comfy and secure.
5 things you need to know about the Joie Stages ISOFIX
As a Group 0+/1/2 chair, what’s the best age child for this car seat and why?
The seat is suitable from newborn to seven years old. We tried it with our three year old who weighs around 15kg and she’s been very happy in it.
She’s really comfortable facing forward, but struggled to fit in it when it was rearward facing. Although the manufacturer says the seat can be used rearward facing for children aged up to four, or 18kg, I think it would be difficult for older toddlers to fit in it comfortably in the rearward position.
As mentioned earlier, it comes with an ISOFIX base and is pretty straightforward to install. The ISOFIX connector arms have 10 different positions and allow you to securely fix the safety base to the chassis of your car, using its ISOFIX mounting points, and you simply attach the car seat on top of the base.
The colour-coded indicators let you know when the base and seat have been installed correctly, giving you peace of mind.
It can only be installed using ISOFIX, so check your car has the fixings first!
The 5-point harness can be used in the rearward and forward-facing mode, up until the age of four. Once you transition into the Junior mode, you would need to use the car seat belt instead.
What do you think of the design?
The design is great in general. I love all the extra safety and comfort features like the padded headrest and side-impact panels. The fact it has a 7-position headrest means it’s really adaptable as your child grows, and the ‘Grow Together’ headrest and harness system means you can adjust both simultaneously, without having to rethread the straps, which is a bonus.
There’s also ventilation built in to the back of the seat, non-slip padded covers on the five-point harness and a 7-position reclining feature, which all add to the overall comfort.
Does the Joie Stages ISOFIX feel sturdy?
Yes, it feels very sturdy and safe. It has steel located throughout both the seat and the base, which the manufacturer says enhances the energy absorption of the frame, making it safer in the event of an impact.
How is strapping your child/ren in?
It’s straightforward, you just need to make sure the two buckle parts of the harness are lined up so you can clip them into the buckle holder together.
Tightening the straps is easily done by pulling the strap at the bottom. Loosening the straps with the child in the seat is a bit more tricky – you really need to do it before you put the child in the seat to be able to adjust the straps effectively, but this isn’t always feasible if you’re in a rush.
What did you think of the 5-point harness, how easy is it to use the no re-thread feature?
The five-point harness feels very safe and secure, and the soft, padded strap covers are a nice touch that again adds to the comfort factor. The no re-thread is a great idea and means you can easily adjust the headrest and straps to fit the child as they grow, without having to unthread the straps each time.
What’s the headrest like?
The headrest is fully padded and looks really comfortable. My daughter clearly found it comfy as she slept easily in the car seat with her head nice and secure.
How many positions does the headrest have?
The headrest has seven positions, so it really is adaptable and will grow with your child as they get bigger. You simply squeeze the head support adjustment lever while you pull or push the head support until it snaps into position. When it’s adjusted to the fourth position or higher, the side wings extend to give more shoulder space.
How many seat positions are there in forward and rear facing and how easy is it to recline the seat?
There are seven recline positions for both rearward and forward facing. This means it offers a nice deep recline for sleeping children.
To recline the seat, you simply press the recline lever and push or pull the seat into one of the seven positions.
Do you think the side wings provide good protection?
They certainly look like they do. The AutoAdjust side wings widen as the headrest is raised, to accommodate your growing child.
Again, this makes the car seat very adaptable as your child transitions from one stage to the next, and does give you peace of mind that they are fully protected.
What do you think of the size of the car seat?
The car seat weighs 14.27kg and measures 44-51cm wide by 55.5-80.5cm in height and 57.5-72cm in depth. For us the size is good and it fits in our car no problem, and as it stays fixed in the car, attached to the ISOFIX base, there’s no hassle with having to lift it in and out.
Will your children fit in it rear facing until they are 4 years old (18kg), do you think?
My daughter is 3 years and 3 months old – she was not a fan of the rear-facing mode, but that’s only because she’s now used to sitting forward-facing.
I think it would be difficult to fit an older toddler in the seat facing rearwards, but for younger children and older child who are used to riding in a rearward-facing seat, this car seat would be comfortable.
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