I have to warn you: If you do not want to amaze other parents with your car seat, steer clear of this product. If you are not interested in making each car trip infinitely easier and more efficient, turn back now. Otherwise … read on.
The Doona Infant Car Seat is one of those products that makes you smack your forehead and wonder why no one thought of it before. The Doona is a car seat that, at the push of a button, unfolds wheels to turn it into a stroller. It was originally available only in the U.K. but, as my due date approached, so too did the Doona’s U.S. release date and luckily, the Doona made its stateside debut before our baby made his!
The Doona is first and foremost a car seat. Normally, being mobile with a car seat requires either carrying the heavy seat with a growing baby by hand or carting around a separate stroller base. The Doona stands apart because, unlike other car seats, it has integrated wheels, which means you can save your workout for the gym and you don’t have to lug around an additional piece of gear.
Taking the Doona in and out of the car is a breeze. That’s because the Doona is sold with a base, which makes installation in the car quick and easy. The base includes a car seat release mechanism that turns to green when the seat is properly in the base. You can remove the seat from its base with a single hand, leaving the other free to press a button behind the seat to lower the wheels, thereby effortlessly converting the car seat into a stroller. The car seat handle (which functions as an anti-rebound bar in car seat mode) extends to become the handle in stroller mode.
I don’t have to sacrifice ease-of-use for comfort while strolling—the Doona glides easily in stroller mode and the front swivel wheels make maneuvering a breeze. The wheels, which fold back behind the seat when being used as a car seat, are made of sturdy plastic and are easy to replace. The Doona has a one-touch brake system that allows you to lock the seat in stroller mode by simply stepping down on a pedal; however, the pedal is a bit small and slightly difficult to fully engage. Also, while in stroller mode, the car seat is a bit lower than it would be in a caddy, but that has not been an issue.
The Doona’s wheels make it heavier than most car seats, at 15.4 pounds, but the weight is not an issue since I do not have to carry the Doona anywhere—I can simply push it. When dining out recently with friends, we could skip searching for a high chair; we simply popped the Doona out of the car and rolled into the restaurant, while our little guy continued to sleep soundly.
The Doona has been rigorously tested and is approved for use as a car seat and stroller and has passed both European and U.S. safety standards. The seat includes a memory foam headrest, so our baby not only rests in comfort but I also know that he is well protected. It also features side impact and anti-rebound protection to further protect him. Handy picture labels show how to fit the harness for maximum comfort and protection. We use the included infant insert, designed to snuggly cuddle infants weighing 4-11 pounds, but can easily remove it when our little guy grows.
Not only is the Doona practical and easy to use, but it also looks good! The seat is available in black, turquoise, gray and red. A number of stylish coordinating accessories are available, including a lightweight tote that clicks on to the Doona’s front handle in stroller mode (Essentials Bag, $55), and a larger bag that attaches to the back of the seat in stroller mode (All-Day Bag, $80). Both include a changing mat, ample pockets for bottles and other necessities and quick release Doona connectors to keep the bag securely on the stroller and out of your way.
The Doona does not have a built-in basket, but the Doona folks thought of this too and offer a large mesh bag that snaps on to the front to provide additional storage in stroller mode ($30). I especially like that it’s easy to remove the snap-on storage bag, and all of its contents, in one fell swoop.
Doona offers additional protection from the elements with a rain cover ($30), sunshade extension ($30) and insect net ($20). The Doona is also air travel certified, so you can take it onboard (simply roll the Doona on the plane, fold the wheels away, and install it right into the airplane seat), or you can opt to get the light car seat travel bag ($40) to check the seat to your destination.
Be warned, though … you will get a lot of envious looks from people as you easily launch from the car to the street in the Doona. When we left the hospital with our boy tucked into the seat, we received numerous comments from hospital staff members who were clearly in awe of this transformative product, and with good reason—the Doona makes life immensely easier by making car trips simple and fast.
Long story short, the Doona is easy to use, good looking, exceptionally versatile, and, in some cases, literally show-stopping.
To buy: Amazon.com