Did you know that the guidelines on car seats recommend that you shouldn't leave a child in one for longer than two hours?
Did you also know that recent research suggests that babies under 4 weeks should be left in one for no longer than 30 minutes?
Honestly, I had no idea about that first recommendation until I was pregnant with Oscar which meant that I quite happily let a snoozing Zach while away the time in his. Little did I know that there were risks involved in this – a baby's heavy head lolling forward can block their airways and cause, well – we all know what.
When Kiddy UK got in touch to see if I wanted to review their Evoluna i-Size car seat, I did a little research that informed me that they had conquered the problem of upright car seats with their innovative lie flat technology which offers a sleeping position for an infant in the car enabling the infant's head, neck and body to stay inline, which helps to maintain an open airway. It also comes with an Isofix base that for me is doubly important. This looked to me like the perfect car seat for my newborn.
The car seat arrived pretty early on in the pregnancy and we had it sitting around the house for a good few months. It's important to note that the delivery box is very big, housing both the Isofix base and the car seat in one box so if you are buying one, you might want to hold out until nearer to your due date if you are tight for space.
We opted for the racing black version of the Evoluna and it looks very sleek. It does come in a multitude of colours and I found it really hard to choose. The seat features a deeply padded inlay and head support which cradles Oscar brilliantly in the correct travelling position. There are also padded shoulder and crotch pads along with a three point harness which has 5 shoulder height positions to ensure a perfect fit. It is safe to say that Oscar is super comfy and super snug when he's in it. The only niggle here that I do have is the positioning of the button that needs to be pressed to lengthen the straps. It took some digging to find it and when it's in lie flat mode, it is very difficult to reach.
One of the best things about the car seat is the hood. It is huge and comes down almost completely to cover Oscar from the elements – which at this time of year is just fantastic. I also seperately bought the windshield to give him extra protection. This connects really easily and keeps him lovely and warm.
The Isofix base connects to the car really easily. We had some initial trouble with the metal parts that secure the seat into place but we simply had to grab a flat headed screwdriver and push the metal parts open. Once this was done, it was all perfectly fine. The base slots into the Isofix connectors on the back seat and there is then an adjustable leg which ensures a firm grip onto the floor of the car, stopping any dangerous rotation in the event of an impact. There are also colour indicators which turn green when the base is secured correctly. It is worth noting that you cannot use the car seat without the Isofix which means that if you want to switch it to another car, you'll need to move the Isofix too (or buy a spare base!).
The main seat is on the large side which is expected with the mechanism it has to lie flat. This does mean that it's likely to last longer that smaller ones (remember that babies now need to stay rear facing until a minimum of 15 months). It also means that it is pretty heavy but it's safe to say that my arm muscles are getting stronger and I don't notice quite how heavy it is now. Of course, as Oscar grows, my arm muscles will need to keep up!
When using the lie flat technology, the seat gets even larger and takes up more space. This does mean that it's pretty important to make sure that it will fit in your car. We have a Seat Ibiza 5 door and it fits perfectly in the upright position but if it lays flat we have to put the front passenger seat almost completely forward meaning the passenger has barely any leg room. Of course, safety is more important than leg room but for long journeys, it could be very uncomfortable.
It is the manouevering of the handle that changes the seat from upright to lie flat. There are two grey buttons on either side that you press whilst pushing the handle towards the back of the seat which then lengthens the whole thing out. Generally Oscar is already asleep when I do this and he very rarely wakes up. The only thing that does sometimes disturb him is the click of the handle when it locks into place but if done gently, I find he doesn't even stir. The seat cannot be carried by the handle in lie flat mode so you do have to move the handle back up and into upright position in order to transport it by hand. Again, this very rarely disturbs Oscar so it hasn't been a negative for us.
The car seat is compatible with a number of prams. The current list is available on the website and you can even see what it will look like! We have the Uppababy Vista 2015 and it is so easy to attach using the adaptors that came with the pram. It just slots on and from there you can once again pop it into lie flat mode. It means that I can happily sit in soft play or wander round the shops without worrying that he has been in it for too long. And when we are done, it is nice and easy to pop him back into the car again! I find that with having two children, I am in and out of the car a lot more nowadays so it's really useful to have such an easy way of transporting Oscar. The only slight negative is that the release buttons on the seat are in a slightly awkward place and you have to release one side and then the other. Once you get used to it though, it becomes less of an issue.
The Evoluna i-Size is one of the more expensive car seat options on the market with an rrp of £359.99 although it's important to note that the Isofix is included in this price. This price may be off putting for some but for me it reflects the sheer quality of the product. Overall, we are really chuffed with the seat. The only downsides of the heaviness and the size are totally outweighed by the fact that this is an awesome bit of kit. I feel like Oscar is super safe and secure when he is in it and it's a weight off the mind that I can happily leave him to sleep in it when it's in lie flat mode.
We were kindly sent the Kiddy Evoluna i-Size for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.