Joie have released some of the most popular and safe child car seats on the market over the past few years. Their forward thinking and longevity of their car seat designs is music to parents ears. With their Every Stage and Stages car seats performing so well, it was only a matter of time before an upgraded, ISOFIX version came to fruition. Here's what we thought of it...
What's in the box?
• Every Stage FX ISOFIX car seat
The RRP of the Joie Every Stage FX is £250
The Joie Every Stage currently comes in one colour choice - Ember!
• Car seat group: Group 0+,1,2,3
• Child weight: 0-36kg
• Child's age: Birth-12y approx.
• Weight: 13.92kg
Joie have mastered the art of producing Extended rear-facing (ERF), as by now most of us are aware that facing the back of the car is by far the safest way for a child to travel. Constantly changing child car seats can be costly and sometimes confusing as all children grow and develop at different rates, but the Joie Every Stage FX can be used from birth all the way up to 12 years old to eliminate this brain teaser. What's more, it rear-faces from birth right up to 18kg, which is around four years old before you turn the seat to the forward facing position where it can be used until your child reaches 36kg (around 12 years old).
The previous model of the Every Stage was installed via seatbelt only, great if you have a car without ISOFIX anchors. But this new model installed into our car in the blink of an eye thanks to the addition of ISOFIX fittings in the base of the seat.
BUT here's the complicated bit! The seat does not rotate on it's base and the ISOFIX anchors are fixed at the back of the seat, therefore if you plan on using the seat from birth to 4 years in the rearward facing position, you still need to install it using the car's standard 3 point seatbelt. It's not until you turn the seat to a forward facing position that you can gain the advantage of quickly installing it with the ISOFIX points and the extra top tether for extra security.
This means a thorough read of the instructions is needed before you're ready to roll with the Every Stage FX in your car. We would of course really loved if the seat was installed using ISOFIX in the rearward facing position aswell, to make installing the seat safer and less of a fiddle.
In the rear-facing position, the recline on the Every Stage FX is great. You will notice the clearly labelled arrows on the base of the seat indicating which recline positions are applicable to rearward or forward facing travel. In the rearward facing position, your baby is totally horizontal which is great for newborn and you can then tilt the seat up slightly as your child grows.
As the Every Stage grows with your child all the way up to 36kg, the harness is fully adjustable and also fully removable to allow you to use the seat with the car's seatbelt for Group 2/3.
Once your child reaches 15-18kg, they are ready to travel in the ‘Junior' mode with the car's own seat belt securing them, rather than the five-point harness. Rather than the fiddly task of unthreading the harness, it just hides away behind the seat cushioning within the carcass of the car seat. This is a great idea for most parents as small parts are very easy to lose and should you come to need the harness again for another child, it's always right where you need it!
Because the Every Stage FX is suitable from birth to 12 years, it also has the addition of a fab and easily adjustable headrest. Firstly we have to point out how supportive and deep the headrest is. We have tested the seat out with children of all ages and all children found the headrest extremely comfortable. From a parent's point of view, the extra depth adds extra safety and support in the awful event of a collision. There are 10 headrest positions to choose from operated by the simple and clearly coded grey button at the top of the headrest itself. When you adjust the headrest it also automatically adjusts the harness height for you.
Just as with the previous model of the seat, once you reach position six, the AutoAdjust™ side wings expand to give a bit more room for older children.
To offer a better fit for small babies, Joie provide an infant insert that is to be used up to 9kg. Not only does it give greater comfort, but it also increases the side impact for their little heads and necks. Even without the insert, the whole car seat is cushioned with soft, plush fabrics to keep any child comfortable. There are even handy mesh pockets at each side to keep snacks or toys close to hand! We found these great for storing dummies etc, so they were always close by to avoid a tantrum on a long journey.
As well as all of the really useful practical features, there's some great safety features on the Every Stage FX that we loved too. The side impact protection is a pop-out system that provides added security for the head, body, and hips if your car is hit side on. It works by absorbing the kinetic energy before it hits your child's body. There is also the Guard Surround Safety™ panels of the seat itself which provide extra side protection.
The Every Stage FX is a solid seat that easily meets the needs of parents and child from birth all the way up to 12 years old. This not only makes it extremely handy but it makes it brilliantly cost effective too.
Installing the seat wasn't as easy as first thought as you need to make sure you have the seat set up in the correct mode for the weight of your little passenger and the seat is only able to be installed using the ISOFIX and top tether in the forward facing position. Ideally we would of loved it to be able to be installed via ISOFIX in the rear facing position too.
The ease of harness adjustment and safety features such as the side impact shields give peace of mind that your child is as safe as possible when travelling in the seat and the comfy nature of the plush fabrics mean baby and child are always sitting comfortably too.
We give the Joie Every Stage FX 4.5 out of 5 stars