Quick Summary: If you are after a compact and lightweight infant carrier to use from newborn, the Mountain Buggy protect™ is definitely one to take a look at. Although their first venture in to the tricky world of car seats, Mountain Buggy have proved that they have looked in to what their customers want and need. While compact, the seat is a generous size and can be used until your child is 13 kg or 74 cms in length, and with the newborn insert in place it's a really cosy place for the smallest of babies to travel.
- Lovely newborn insert
- Simple to fit
- Belted and ISOfix base available
Whats not so good?
- Nothing to keep harness open
Mountain Buggy are renowned for their versatile all-terrain pushchairs and have been around since 1992. Ready to make their mark on the car seat scene, they have completed extensive research to create their protect™ infant car seat. We take a look to see if it is ready to rival other infant carriers on the market in our Mountain Buggy protect review.
As a rear facing infant carrier, the protect™ can be installed into your car in 1 of 3 ways - with the car's seat belt or using a base (sold separately). Mountain Buggy offer 2 different bases, ISOfix and BASEfix, meaning you can still use a base without the need for ISOfix points.
To fit the protect™ using the standard car seat belt, it's really simple and standard for most infant carriers. Just pass the lap belt over the top of the car seat, under the blue brackets and buckle. Then stretch the shoulder part of the seat belt around the back of the car seat and under the blue belt guide. Tighten the seat belt and your little one is safe and ready to go - the car seat seems very secure fitted this way and doesn't allow any movement.
The blue colour indicators are a great way to highlight exactly where you need to feed the seat belt and makes it easier to fit correctly. As with the majority of infant carriers fitted with the car seat belt, I find it a little tricky to slide baby in and out with the seat belt fastened as it is right over their lap. You could unfasten each time you use, but this would be time consuming.
The protect's ISOfix base secures to the ISOfix anchor points in your car and makes it a two second job to get the car seat in and out. The base is very simple to use - once flat on your car seat, you slide the 2 ISOfix arms out by squeezing the grey buttons on each side and guide them on to your ISOfix points. A quick tug of the base from left to right confirms that it is firmly in place and as close to the back seat as possible. Once connected, there is a green indicator to show that it is fitted correctly. The base has an adjustable support leg to stabilise the car seat and reduce any movement and again changes from red to a green indicator once fitted correctly. Because it is adjustable, the leg pulls down to the correct height for your car using a button at the back.
I found the base to be quite slim and it didn't take up any more room than it needed to - great if you have limited space on your back seat or have need of the other seats. It's then just a case of clicking the protect™™ on to the base - this gets easier with practice as it needs to be in just the right position. To remove the seat from the base, there are 2 grey buttons to the rear of where the car seat sits. Slide the first one which will allow you to pull and lift the car seat. Using the ISOfix base does seem to hold the seat in a slightly more upright position, but my daughter seems very comfortable when on the move.
The BASEfix base is great as still offers you the convenience of getting the car seat in and out easily, even if you don't have ISOfix points. It is added to the car with the seatbelt, meaning you don't have to undo the seat belt each time you want to remove it from the car.
Before releasing their protect™ infant capsule, Mountain Buggy have gone the extra mile to do their homework on car seat technology and safety. They have used their new knowledge of car seats to add features to the protect™ to ensure your little one is very safe. As with all modern car seats, the protect™ is tested and approved to the current Child Safety Standard ECE R 44/04.
Designed with high winged sides that are cushioned with EPS foam, the protect™ will ensure that your little one is safe in the event of a side impact. The 5-point harness is nicely padded so will keep baby comfy while still secure. With the newborn nest offering adjustable energy absorbing head and hip foam inserts as well as a removable lumbar cushion, every age will be kept comfortable and safe.
By making things simple, they have helped the parent to make sure that their child is travelling in a car seat that is fitted correctly, safely and securely in the car.
Day to Day use
Babies need to be kept comfortable, if they're not, then they'll soon let you know about it. The material is so soft to touch and for the newborn stage, a newborn insert is included. At 4 months old, my daughter was a little squished with the insert in so I did not use it, but it is great for those first few months and helps to keep baby in an optimal position when travelling. It also offers the extra head support that a small baby will need. Once you don't need it any more, you can remove the foam inserts from the support, leaving just the shaping. It is also completely removable once no longer needed and this is done by unhooking the harness at the back and sliding out the insert.
The harness is 5-point and pretty easy to adjust to suit the size of your child. To adjust the shoulder harness height, you have to flip the car seat over, unhook from the splitter plate and thread through the correct hole. There are 4 options for height and 2 for the buckle.
When fastening, the harness locks into the buckle with an audible click, so there's no mistake if it isn't in properly. It can be a little tricky to get the buckle clips into the buckle as they need to be held together first - you'll probably only be using one hand for this and one to hold the buckle. When testing this car seat, I did miss having somewhere on the seat to hold the harness open while I placed my child - especially with the harness being 5-point as it can be difficult to keep it all out of the way with one hand. By holding the adjuster button at the front of the seat and pulling the shoulder straps, you can loosen the harness. Tightening the harness once your child is in place is just a case of pulling the adjuster strap at the front. There is plenty of padding on the harness and crotch pad to sit between your child and anything uncomfortable.
The protect™ comes with a multi-position sun canopy. Though quite a small hood, it should still be sufficient to keep your child sheltered while in the car. If you're using it on your pushchair or outside, you might need to use a shade or parasol for additional coverage.
Though infant carriers are supposed to be mobile, they are usually very heavy, especially with a little monkey in place who is only going to keep packing on the pounds! Checked against other well known brands of car seat, the protect™ weighs as much as 1kg less at only 3.9kg. This makes the world of difference when carrying your child in it. The curved ergonomic handle also makes this easier and has 4 positions, upright for carrying and in the car, 2 middle positions and then far back which makes it stable when placed on the floor. The base of the seat is also curved if you are somewhere that you can rock baby in the seat.
An important feature for many parents is the ability to add their car seat to a pushchair chassis to create a travel system. Although it isn't recommended to keep baby in a car seat too long, it's very handy to be able to clip baby's car seat on to your pushchair, and not disturb them from sleeping, while you nip in the shop or are on the school run. The protect™ can fit onto any of the Mountain Buggy pushchairs using the correct adaptors, which are available separately. It can also be used with other pushchair brands as the protect™ utlilises the style fitting as Maxi-Cosi carseats.
If you are after a compact and lightweight infant carrier to use from newborn, the Mountain Buggy protect™ is definitely one to take a look at. Although their first venture in to the tricky world of car seats, Mountain Buggy have proved that they have looked in to what their customers want and need. While compact, the seat is a generous size and can be used until your child is 13 kg or 74 cms in length, and with the newborn insert in place it's a really cosy place for the smallest of babies to travel.
The protect™ is great when used in combination with any of Mountain Buggy's pushchairs once you have purchased the correct adaptor. The simple click and go system from base to pushchair making shopping trips a breeze.
My only gripe while using the car seat (and it is quite an annoying one) has to be the lack of a place to keep the harness out of your way whilst you place your baby in the seat. Each time I have used it, I have had to pull the harness straps out from under my baby's bum once she is sat in it. This means that some adjusting is then needed to get her back into the right position.
I think that the Mountain Buggy protect™ is great value, especially with the affordable bases. These can sometimes be as expensive as the car seat itself. It's great to have the option of a belted base as well as the ISOfix base for people who may have an older car.
I really like this car seat, not only do babies look super comfy, it's safe and secure when in the car too. It should also last for a decent amount of time before little one is ready for the next stage car seat.