A car seat that turns into a stroller? Chloe Collyer puts the innovative Doona Infant care seat to the test.
Buying a car seat can feel like a minefield, add to the fact you generally need to have one before your baby is born to leave the hospital, I’d be lying if I didn’t feel intimidated by the task. My original plan had been to get a 360 degree seat, but as the research continued, the Doona seemed like a really interesting proposition. The Doona is a one-of-a-kind car seat and stroller in one, where the wheels just fold up and down to switch between the two modes, which sounded perfect for nipping out and about.
When it’s folded, it looks like a car seat. And when it’s unfolded, it looks like a small stroller. I’m still so entertained by this; it is just so clever. The bulk of the Doona is black, but there are a range of colour options for the hood and strap pads, and all have the signature yellow accents on the wheels. They have started to broaden the range of colours, and I was like a moth to a flame with the gold limited edition.
As it is also a car seat there’s no storage built in like you would expect on a standard buggy, but there are plenty of accessories you can buy – from insect nets to clip on storage bags – to adapt it for however you want to use it. When using the Doona as a buggy we’ve only taken short trips so haven’t needed any extra storage, and have found the built in sunshade gave enough coverage.
The Doona is small and nippy as a buggy and is perfect for travelling light. It is a 0+ car seat suitable from birth to 13kg which will easily take you to roughly a year old, so we took it with us to hospital when our son was born, knowing it would be easy to wheel him to the car and he would be safe on his first journey home.
Lifting the Doona, complete with baby, was a doddle for my partner, but I first tried to lift it into the car 6 weeks after an emergency c-section and it felt a lot heavier than I expected. It was a bit of a struggle at first, but once I got the hang of it, it became easier and easier.
It is so simple to use. The buttons are colour coded so you’re not searching around trying to work out how to make it move or fold, and it also has simple illustrative instructions in case you need extra guidance. Even the brakes are straightforward, you press down on the green to go, and the red for the brake.
We’ve used it for longer trips in car seat mode, but with the transformation into buggy it’s perfect for those quick trips out. As this is a car seat with no lie flat option as a stroller, in line with safety guidance, I’ve not kept Arlo in it for longer than two hours without lifting him out for a stretch and a break.
We’re using the isofix base in our car which was easy to install with very clear instructions, but that is optional, the Doona can be safely installed using your car seatbelt as well. With the isofix, the Doona clips on easily and has a traffic light system on the base so you can be sure you’ve installed it correctly, which gave us real peace of mind especially for that first trip back from the hospital. Now that our little guy is a couple of months old we’re getting out and about more so we’re looking forward to taking the Doona on holiday with us, confident in the knowledge that not only is it approved for air travel, but we can safely fasten the Doona into any car using the the seat belts.
My son is currently two months old and seems very happy in it. He’s still comfortable in the newborn insert and every journey we’ve taken he’s asleep within minutes, plus on the odd occasion that he’s woken up he seems very content to stay in it and stare out of the window. The built-in sunshade has been a godsend on hot days, and protects him from the sun streaming into the car.
As a buggy it’s not the smoothest ride over uneven surfaces, but as it’s unlikely you’ll be using your Doona to go on long off roading walks, or traipsing over cobbles, it’s perfectly comfortable for him for short trips. It’s most at home when whizzing round the supermarket, I can do this using one hand to easily steer the Doona without disrupting the little guy.
As a new mum, I would take anything that would give me added peace of mind, and I felt I especially needed this when it came to my choice of car seat. Even though it’s a multi-tasking maestro, with safety features including double walled side impact protection and secure fix into the car the Doona meets European standards for car seats, strollers and reclined cradles and was ticking my boxes. It has a 5-point harness and ergonomic insert so I felt like my baby’s safety had been at the forefront of their mind when designing the Doona as well, making me one happy, and slightly more relaxed, mama.
Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller: The Verdict
It doesn’t replace a buggy for us in the long run because your baby can’t be kept in it for an extended period of time, but it’s an incredibly useful piece of kit. We put our original plan of getting a 360 degree car seat on the back burner as this ticks all our boxes for a car seat. It’s easy to use with high safety standards, plus as a stroller it’s light, a space saver and perfect for both a quick trip out and for our upcoming holiday plans.