Doona Car Seat Reviews: Unique Stroller and Car Seat Combo

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
October 31, 2019
Child 953703 1280

Many parents have trouble with correctly installing an infant car seat into their vehicles. In an accident, improper installation could result in a child sustaining severe injuries. The LATCH system was invented to help correctly install car seats quickly. While reading Doona car seat reviews, you will see mention of the LATCH system, so this information will help explain it.

What is the LATCH System?

LATCH is an acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, which is a way to quickly install a car seat without re-installing it with seat belts every time parents need to take their child somewhere.

Infant and toddler car seats that use the LATCH system have a base that remains in the car, while the infant carrier comes out.

Most infant, forward-facing, and convertible car seats now use the LATCH system and have since September 1, 2002. A LATCH system does not require the use of the car’s seat belts, so when installing a car seat, parents can tuck them out of the way. 

The infant or child car seat always goes in the middle of the backseat, unless you’re using more than one at a time. Then they can go side by side.

The safety seat has straps and hooks built-in it, and the base of the car seat has anchors and other attachments that make using the seat belts unnecessary.

In order for it to work properly, the car design must also include LATCH. If for some reason, it doesn’t, then the vehicle’s seat belts can secure the car seat base to the backseat.

One of the only reasons that a vehicle would not have LATCH is the vehicle’s age. It’s a requirement that most vehicles manufactured after Sept. 1, 2002, have a LATCH system in place.

This system makes it much easier to install a car seat into the car correctly, so the infant or child is safe and secure.

LATCH Weight Limits

When buying a car seat, no matter what type it is, parents need to be aware of the weight limits for LATCH. 

The weight limits exist because there is some concern that the stress on the lower anchors from the weight of the child and the weight of the car seat base may not be able to secure the car seat during an automobile accident safely.

Due to the heavier weight limits for children and heavier car seats, there are now weight restrictions for the LATCH system.

For rear-facing seats, car seat manufacturers can allow the lower anchors to hold up to 65 pounds, which is a combination of the child’s and car seat weight. The weight limit for forward-facing seats is a combined weight of 69 pounds.

Car seat manufacturers have the leeway to set the LATCH weight limit lower, so it is essential to read the information on the box before purchasing a car seat.

Once a child is in a forward-facing seat and has outgrown the LATCH weight limit, they can use the car’s seatbelt to secure them into the car seat.

What Is the Doona Car Seat and How Does It Work?

The Doona car seat is an infant car seat that converts into a stroller when it comes out of the car. It has a base that latches into the backseat of a car, and then the foldable stroller is snapped into the base to act like a car seat.

The design of the wheels allows them to fold into the back of the car seat so that it can face the back of the car.As a car seat, it can hold babies from four to 35 pounds with a maximum height of 32-inches.

Surprisingly, despite having wheels on it, the car seat only weighs 16.5lbs. The base of it weighs 10.3 pounds. It has a five-point harness that keeps the baby safely in the seat or stroller. The adjustable handle also acts as an anti-rebound bar when it’s in the car.

The bar lowers to press into the car’s backseat because it is a rear-facing car seat and, if there is an accident, the handle can absorb the energy from the impact. The handle keeps the car seat from moving forward and hitting the backseat and possibly injuring the baby.

The car seat is also safe for air travel according to the Federal Aviation Administration.The car seat has an expiration date of six years after the date of manufacture, so if it reaches that date, parents should discard it.

Due to the expiration dates, parents shouldn’t buy used car seats as their expiration dates may have already passed and the car seat could pose a hazard to their child. Along with the anti-rebound bar and harness, the car seat also undergoes testing for side impacts.

child on car seat

Image via Pexels

The Doona car seats exceed compliance testing in the United States, European Union, and Asia. It has a five-star rating after passing a front-end collision test, which is the most frequent type of auto accident.

It also underwent a test in freezing conditions and high-speed collisions.It is manufactured with three levels of protection to help absorb the energy from side impact collisions. The car seats have a double-wall construction with two layers of plastic to absorb impacts.

It is then surrounded by expanded polystyrene, or EPS, foam. The third layer of protection is the head support, which consists of memory foam.The head support, which stays in the car seat, is anti-bacterial because it has bamboo fabric.

There is also an Infant Insert for newborns that weigh between four and 11lbs. Once the infant weighs more than 11lbs., they no longer need the insert. It is also antibacterial due to bamboo fabric.

What Makes Doona Car Seats Unique?

The Doona infant seat is the only stroller that folds into a car seat. Other similar products require a stroller frame in which to place the car seat.

The infant seat design deliberately features double-wall construction that allows the wheels of the stroller to fold up, so the seat fits securely into the seat base.

Along with having the approval of the FAA to use during flight, the system also has the approval of the TUV, which is a global testing and certification company.

The official name is TÜV SÜD America, and they test and certify products for use all over the world. Like the FAA certification, the TUV certifies the Doona travel system for travel, its baby safe materials, and breathable fabrics.

The Doona system also has a two-year manufacturer’s warranty. The warranty is for manufacturing or material defects, and the effective date for it is the date of purchase.

The only things the warranty doesn’t cover is:

  • ​Normal wear and tear from use
  • ​Damage from excessive stress on the unit
  • ​Damage due to improper or inappropriate use
  • ​Damages due to airplane travel
  • When it is used for anything other than its intended purpose

If the car seat ever sustains damage in an auto accident, then the driver’s insurance company will usually pay to replace it.

Public Perception (Other Doona Car Seat Reviews)

​Other Doona car seat reviews usually give the travel system high marks, and the testimonials from parents who use it show that most of them are quite happy with it as well.

Some parents who have fast-growing babies may get disappointed because their child can quickly outgrow it, but they usually like it anyway.

However, not everyone is completely enamored with this car seat. Independent reviews online show that the Doona car seat doesn’t always make the grade with professional reviewers as it does with most parents who bought it.

One website that tests and reviews baby products rates the Doona system with an overall score of 60 out of 100. Their lowest scores were for its results in a crash test, in which it only rated a three, and weight/size, which they gave a five.

Despite the lower ratings, they do like the car seat system for urban dwellers because it can be installed easily into taxicabs if the parents don’t own a car or don’t want to get out their car for an appointment or short shopping excursion.

via GIPHY

Another site that rates baby products gives the Doona system a four-star rating. While they liked the ease of converting the car seat into the stroller and then re-folding the stroller into the car seat, they didn’t like trying to fit it into cars without a base.

The main complaint is that the seat belts were too short for it. Also, they felt the handle needs to be longer for taller people.

Due to its construction and design, the site also likes that it has three layers of protection for the baby inside of the car seat, including the infant insert for newborns.

Their review noted that the fabric lining of the seat makes a cozy environment for the child in case they wish to nap while out with mom or dad.Overall, the Doona car seat system gets good reviews from independent review sites and great reviews from parents who own the system.

How It Compares

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There doesn’t seem to be any other models of strollers that directly convert into car seats like the Doona car seat system. Most of the options are stroller frames in which car seats fit into or car seats with separate strollers that forms the travel systems.

So, if you’re looking for another stroller that converts into a car seat to compare the Doona system to, you won’t find it. They don’t seem to exist.

What We Think

​Instead of buying both a car seat and stroller, then Doona car seat seems like an excellent idea because you have both items that you need in one package.

However, keep in mind that the car seat is an infant seat, so it is only for babies who weigh less than 35 pounds and under 32-inches long. For some children, it might last them a year, but others may grow out of it faster.

It might be too expensive for some parents.

Due to the uniqueness of the car seat/stroller combination and the positive reviews from parents and independent reviewers, we recommend the Doona travel system to parents.

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