Joie i-Level Review

4.5 / 5
Joie describe the Joie i-Level car seat as a ‘carrier meets carry cot', so we're keen to have a look and see what their latest infant carrier offers.

Quick Summary: The Joie i-Level is an infant carrier that has a feeling of total quality about it. The beautiful fabrics and plentiful padding making sure that your small baby will be completely comfortable and cocooned while out and about.

Whats good?

  • 157° recline feature offering a safer and healthier angle
  • Padded and comfortable
  • Easy to fit
  • Great price point

Whats not so good?

  • Large size so may not fit in some smaller cars if you have other passengers
  • Can't be used with vehicle's seat belt
  • Slim headrest space

With the introduction of the i-Size regulations has come a host of safer, higher tested car seats. Car seat manufacturers have also acknowledged the fact that young babies are safer in the car in a more reclined angle and created infant carriers that allow them to travel in this position. The Joie i-Level allows your baby to travel in a near flat position in the car AND when used as part of a travel system!

Things we love…

The Joie i-Level is an infant carrier that offers an area of real comfort for the child with extra padding throughout. It comes with a plush infant insert that you can use from birth upto around 60cm, or whenever they get too big for it.

Fitted to the car with the included ISOFIX base, the i-Level is simple to use and we really liked the clear and easily accessible green indicators, ensuring that you have done everything correctly.

The best feature of this infant carrier is the three position tilt, the furthest being 157°. Whether you are travelling in the car or using the car seat on a pushchair chassis, you can make sure that your baby has the best position for their airways, as well as allowing proper spine development. This means that you don't have to worry as much about them being in their car seat, like you would with an upright one. It's easy to adjust through the positions, with a single button on the back of the seat.

As an infant carrier that you may use as part of a travel system, it's great to see such a large hood to offer protection to baby when out and about. It also has an additional zip section to come down even further. Made from a thick material, it shouldn't lose its shape and is UPF 50+ rated.

The Tri-Protect™ headrest has three layers of protection inside, as well as Guard Surround Safety™ filled with Intelli-Fit™ foam. The headrest adjusts simultaneously with the 3-point harness, meaning they move smoothly up and down together. No rethreading of the harness is a big plus!

Looking at other car seats on the market that offer a near lie flat position, especially in and out of the car, the i-Level is very competitively priced. The price of £250 also includes the ISOFIX base, whereas other car seats may need you to purchase this in addition.

Things to look out for…

With the hood on the i-Level being so big, it does make getting to the harness and headrest adjustment tricky. You need to reach right underneath the folds to alter it. This isn't a job that will need doing often though, and could be remedied by removing the hood if you don't need its protection out of the car.

After testing the car seat with a 10 month, 25 lb baby, we did find the padded headrest quite narrow. Although perfect to keep a small baby's head secure, it was a little snug around our tester's head, even though he had plenty of room everywhere else in the seat.

The fact that this car seat reclines means that it does take up more room on the back seat. Whether you choose to place it behind the driver or passenger seat, you'll have to adjust your front seat further forwards to accommodate.

As the i-Level meets the i-Size standards, it can only be used in the car with the ISOFIX base. This could make it difficult if you ever have to use a car without ISOFIX anchors, or are travelling in a taxi.+

Our verdict...

The Joie i-Level is an infant carrier that has a feeling of total quality about it. The beautiful fabrics and plentiful padding making sure that your small baby will be completely comfortable and cocooned while out and about.

With the reclining function, you can feel reassured that as well as being comfortable, your baby is kept safe and healthy too.

It's a good sized car seat, with a range of seven different headrest and harness positions, so should last most children a good amount of time, in line with the i-Size requirement of 15 months rear-facing. The only part that could do with being slightly wider, is the headrest for older children.

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