Simple Parenting Doona Review

4.0 / 5
Simple Parenting have created a first in the world of car seat technology - a car seat hybrid with fold-down wheels!

Quick Summary: For the time that baby spends in their Doona, they will definitely be kept comfortable, thanks to the high quality fabrics and plush infant insert. It comes at the higher end of the car seat market, at around £400 if you are purchasing with the ISOFIX base to make things even easier.

Whats good?

  • Converts to a stroller
  • Plush infant insert
  • Easy to adjust harness
  • High quality fabrics

Whats not so good?

  • Very heavy if not being pushed
  • Will drop dirt onto car seat unless seat protector is used
  • Could be tempting to use for longer periods of time

Table of contents

Ever wondered why you are lugging your infant carrier around just to make sure you don't wake baby? Well the Doona strives to achieve the ultimate in practicality to avoid this back breaking situation by simply deploying the fold down wheels at the base of the car seat.

The Doona is great for parents with nippy little trips to make. You can cut minutes out of your daily school run or quick shopping trip by removing this clever 0+ infant carrier from the car, extending the handle and popping down the wheels as opposed to building your usual travel system.

We tested the storm colourway and the fabrics are a lovely deep grey with an embroidered Simple Parenting logo on the back of the seat. The fabrics have a high sense of quality about them.

First things, first - the Doona is impressive in its own right as a 0+ rear facing infant car seat, without the added party tricks of the fold down wheels.

Having passed the required safety standards of the European ECE R44 car seat regulations, the Doona has all the features that we have come to expect of a good quality infant car seat and more. It is suitable for newborns from a tiny 1.8kg all the way up to children of 13kg, approx. 12 months old. It has an impressively long seat length to see your baby in a rearward facing carrier for longer until your baby is approximately 81cm tall.

The newborn insert of the Doona has obviously been designed with safety and comfort of the baby in mind. The newborn insert is made of gorgeously soft natural fibres and has a wedge inserted into it so to make sure that the baby is in the flattest possible position when travelling. The insert is so soft and cosy and blends beautifully into the soft padded fabrics of the car seat itself. When your child is able to sit unaided, simply pop the insert out and use the Doona without it.

The harness system on the Doona is simple to use and feels nice and strong. The harness cord is easily adjusted to suit your baby's personal size and the shoulder straps can be threaded through three separate slots to adjust the height. This can be a little fiddly but once it is sorted and at the correct height for your baby, it stays there for a little while, so it isn't too much of a bother.

The Doona boasts side impact protection in the form of a doubled walled shell, which is also BPA and PVC free giving us peace of mind that baby is shielded and safe whilst travelling.

Built into the Doona is a carry handle that is strong and also doubles as a rebound bar to protect your child in the event of an impact. The handle can be adjusted to different positions using the clearly coded buttons on either side of the handle hinges.

Though small, the sun canopy is sufficient enough to provide coverage from a draft or sunlight. There are additional accessories you can buy to protect baby in strong sunlight and rain, and the accessories are of just as great quality as the car seat. We especially liked the handy rain cover with zip access.

As a rear facing car seat, the Doona can be installed using the car's 3 point seatbelt or you can choose to purchase the Doona ISOFIX Base separately. The instructions for installing the seat into a car by seatbelt are clear and the path of the seatbelt is clearly coded in blue.

The ISOFIX base makes life with the Doona even simpler and is installed by connecting the base to the ISOFIX anchors of your car. One advantage of the ISOFIX base is that the seat can be clicked in and out of the car in an instance, rather than threading the seatbelt through and around the seat for every trip that you make.

Installing the Doona is quick and simple whichever option you choose.

The magic and main novelty factor of the Doona is the addition of integrated drop down wheels that are built into the bottom of the car seat. To start, press and pull upwards on the lever at the back of the car seat. As you lift the seat and give it a little flick action, the wheels pop out and click into place. Then you just need to adjust the handlebar into the on-the-go mode and to a height comfortable for you. Ones to make life even simpler, Simple Parenting have made sure it is just as easy to pop the wheels back up. Adjust the handle back to car-seat-mode and then press and pull upwards on the same lever at the back of the seat and push downwards on the seat, so that the back wheels begin to fold neatly back into the base of the car seat.

As well as its unique abilities to be turned into a car seat on wheels in the first place, the Doona has other benefits to its name. Firstly, it saves space. If you are only nipping out of your car for a quick trip into the shops or on the school run, then there's no need to carry your pushchair in the boot aswell. This leaves all of your car boot space for any other luggage you might need. Secondly the Doona steers really well and feels surprisingly sturdy in its alter-ego form. To put the brake on, there's a red pedal on the right near the back wheel, and taking it back off there is a yellow pedal to the left to push down.

The Doona is as light as a feather to push when its wheels are deployed, however when carrying the seat, we really noticed how heavy it seemed. Lifting the seat without the use of the wheels might be slightly difficult with a larger baby. The Doona actually weighs 7kg unladen. To put this into perspective, the average unladen weight of other 0+ infant carriers on the market is around 5kg. Of course, you are unlikely to be carrying it far, thanks to the wheels that allow you to push it instead.

The one thing we did find with the Doona, was that the wheels pick up bits of mud and gravel as you travel around (as any stroller would!). If the weather is wet or the ground conditions aren't fabulous, then the wheels do drop dirt onto your car seat. As well as using the included vehicle seat protector, we'd advise you to purchase the additional wheel covers that are designed specifically to keep the grit and grime of daily use dropping on to your seats! 

Simple Parenting advise that you should take guidance from health care professionals regarding car seats and that you do not use the Doona for long periods that exceed the recommended time for an infant to be in a car seat.

Our verdict...

If you can cope with its slightly heavier than average weight and plan to use the nippy wheels to take the strain, then the Doona is a really innovative car seat. If you live an ‘on-the-go' lifestyle and are nipping in and out of the car frequently, it could be a life saver.

Though it can help on short trips, we must stress that the Doona isn't a pushchair replacement. It's recommended that small babies under six months only spend around 30 minutes at a time in their infant carrier. Older babies then come under the 'two hour rule'. We would suggest transferring your baby from the car seat to a lie flat pram or pushchair for longer journeys out of the car.

For the time that baby spends in their Doona, they will definitely be kept comfortable, thanks to the high quality fabrics and plush infant insert. It comes at the higher end of the car seat market, at around £400 if you are purchasing with the ISOFIX base to make things even easier.

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