Doona Stroller Car Seat: Is It a Must-Have? (Spoiler: Absolutely Not) – Anna in the House
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen or heard of this “awesome car seat that converts to a stroller.” I get it, doona is incredibly trendy in the usa right now.
lots of celebrities are wearing it (which the company is promoting a lot), so people are easily convinced to have one too. They are also great with their marketing campaigns, which is why influencers love the doona too.
Reading: Doona car seat reviews
If you read my other reviews you know they are not filtered, not sponsored and regardless of whether I like the product or not, so I will be looking at different aspects of doona fashion here as well. (probably too much you might need to know) 😉
However, as another fashion brand, uppababy, has shown us before, trendy doesn’t always mean cool, even despite its high price tag. or safe, as in the case of a popular item, the dock-a-tot, which is heavily promoted all over the US registries, but is not safe to sleep on and is therefore banned in canada.
Before anyone asks, doona is also banned in Canada because the angle of the car seat is not adjustable and therefore considered unsafe by Canadian standards. don’t even try to sneak it across the border – it’s subject to a bunch of fines and voided insurance.
Doona is also not a non-toxic car seat, which I actually found out later and adds to its downsides; I explain more in the cons article.
is the doona stroller worth it?
I’ll be real. It didn’t cross my mind to buy the doona with the first baby because I automatically ruled it out due to the price and the fact that it’s a car seat and baby shouldn’t be in it for long periods of time.
A year and a half later, many friends tried to talk me into buying a doona because it’s convenient. I think the convenience is often worth paying for, if your time and patience are limited, especially with two kids, I started researching the doona more and more.
The more I did research, the more I realized that doona is a product that was designed with the good idea of not having to lug around a car seat, but that was often misunderstood by consumers.
many of you wonder if doona is a good stroller for new york and the answer is: absolutely not.
can doona be your only stroller for the first year?
I think whether or not you should get doona depends on where you live, but there are also several things to consider for the sake of your baby’s health.
most importantly, doona shouldn’t be your only stroller for your baby because it’s not a stroller. It’s designed to be used as a car seat, in and out of the car for quick trips, but you shouldn’t be carrying your baby in the duvet for walks or around town.
I found so many reviews saying “we just use it to roll the baby around the house because it’s convenient”; every pediatrician in his right mind would cringe at this. it is very unhealthy for babies under 4 months who must have limited time in the car seat. the official recommendation is 2 hours in the 24-hour cycle, but less is better and newborns under 4 weeks should spend a maximum of 30 minutes a day in a car seat).
it’s all due to the angle of the car seat which can cause cardiorespiratory problems in babies younger than 6 months if they’re in car seats for long periods of time, so this is one of many studies done by people with a lot of more knowledge than me . however, it can also cause problems with older children, especially when the car seat is not in use in the car.
I am aware that in the usa. uu. It’s pretty common for babies to roll around in their car seats everywhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe or good for babies. Many people naively brush it off as gossip, but babies die every year from prolonged periods in their car seats. not only can it block your airway, but it’s also very bad for your spine in the long run, so keep this in mind. (Also applies to sleeping in baby swings.)
the risk of sudden death syndromes increases because oxygen saturation levels (the amount of oxygen in the blood) are lower when children are in child car seats, many parents say “my child he slept in a car seat and he’s fine” – sure, deaths are rare, but reduced oxygen can lead to other problems down the road.
In Europe, it’s well known not to put babies in car seats and bassinets are a good option; This is why doonas are approved, but not very popular, because they are just a car seat. (And frankly, the choice of car seats is much better and much lighter in Europe.)
In fact, when I did a poll on my own social channels about which car seat I should buy, I got a ton of messages from people telling me why doona isn’t a good idea. it’s something people just know. (ironically, I know something similar happened to a fairly popular European photographer/influencer who said that he had never seen so many people advocating against a product; the product was a shambles and he ended up getting a babyzen yoyo instead) .
I know some friends who took their doonas to the supermarket in the uk and were asked by strangers why they are destroying the health of their babies and putting them at risk. rolling babies in a car seat, whether it’s a duvet or anything attached to your stroller, is considered crazy.
this brings me to my next point: is doona safe?
is the doona car seat safe?
There is no denying that Doona is safe if used as a car seat and exclusively as a car seat and not as a stroller. If you plan on rolling around with it all day then no, unfortunately , it is not safe (explained above).
It’s an approved car seat, so whether you buy it directly from their website or from an approved retailer (eg magic beans or buybuybaby), you can be sure your baby will be safe in it.
Why do I insist on an approved retailer? Simply because last year there were fake Doona 4-1 car seats on Amazon and these car seats were not safe. they had nothing to do with the original doona car seat. Unfortunately, as a former Amazon seller, I know all too well how easily Amazon regulations can be circumvented, so I’m not surprised that fake doonas have found their way onto Amazon.
Is doona the safest car seat on the market? unfortunately, it isn’t. In case you didn’t know, to comply with federal safety standards, a car seat is strapped to the center of a bench seat, which then projects rearward to simulate a 30mph head-on crash (and let’s be real, that’s pretty slow). For more detailed ratings, you can consult independent crash test reports from reputable sources, including consumer reports.
doona actually performs well below average in terms of head injuries (which makes sense for young babies because the head can wobble with little lateral cushioning), and doesn’t quite get there. to the top 10 car seats in the US market in terms of safety. Rates terrible compared to other car seats on the market.
doona stroller pros
The biggest advantage of the doona is that you don’t have to take it out of the car. you just pop the wheels and seconds and boom, you can roll with it.
Once you know what you’re doing, it’s easy to use. naturally, it also has a rest so it doesn’t get away from you.
The stroller has a push-pull mode, but I honestly don’t know when you’d need to carry your baby behind you in a car seat.
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doona has fantastic washable cushions and a water-repellent canopy that offers upf 50+ sun protection. The fact that everything is washable is great because it’s not the case with all car seats.
however, I have to say that many more experienced people mention that despite the extra padding, the car seat offers less side protection. Since I naturally don’t have the resources for reliable crash testing, I just can’t comment on it, but I’ll link some here in case anyone wants to see the results.
The included head support is also washable, which is great for spit-ups, but I feel like it’s too tight for older babies and doesn’t offer enough protection for newborns.
there is also a removable insert for babies up to 11 pounds.
this one is pretty obvious: for $599 with the base but without accessories, the doona isn’t cheap.
Add a bag (either $40, 60, or $90 depending on size), sun protection ($45), rain cover ($40), and a travel bag ($100) if needed and you’ll get over $800 for possibly less than a year of use absolute madness.
disclosure not to sound like a hypocrite: it’s true that i paid $399 for the cybex cloud q car seat for my second child, but unlike doona, i think it’s worth it in some circumstances like mine (i described it in my cloud review q). in the case of the doona stroller, I think it’s not worth the price considering all its disadvantages.
The problem with expensive infant car seats in general is that if you have a big baby they may not last long. doona says the maximum height is 32″ or 31 pounds, which is pretty standard for all infant car seats. I honestly say that although it says maximum, it does not mean that it is comfortable up to 32 ″. I think it went through 27″, it’s pretty tight and it pushes you.
Some parents claim to use a doona up to 15 months, but in the case of my firstborn, we switched him to a convertible car seat at 8 months because he was already 30″ tall and looked painfully uncomfortable even a month early. in a quilt, baby’s feet hang unsupported more than 28″, so I’ll say you shouldn’t stretch it all the way.
I know a few people whose babies were not only tall like mine, but plumper as well, so they only wore the doona for about 6 months. It’s like a snoo baby bassinet – some parents swear by its value (it’s $1000 and can only be used up to 4 months), others think it’s utter insane, but hey, if you can afford it, it’s your money’s worth.
Most child car seats in the United States are filled with toxic chemical flame retardants due to an outdated 1972 federal flammability regulation. Doona too, unfortunately.
The fabric used in the sheet is sprayed with a flame retardant. this is not used on the infant height adjustment pillow or head support.
Chemical flame retardants do not adhere well to the products in which they are used. that means they are released into our environment as airborne particles, dust, and direct transfer. Since kids spend a lot of time rubbing their car seats, it’s a big factor.
Those flame retardants are toxic and linked to various diseases and have not been shown to have any benefits.
There’s no denying that doona weighs 16.5 pounds. while it seems like you never need to carry it around because it has wheels, that’s not the case. you may still have to carry it up the stairs, or just get it out of the car and pick it up again.
The base is also 10 lbs. you will never carry the base unless you want to check it at the gate if you are flying with a baby.
Speaking of flying with a baby, if you decide to take your doona on the plane, you’ll usually have to carry her down the aisle, so assuming your baby is a standard size and 50th percentile, you’ll be carrying 16, 5 lbs. car seat. & in the case of a 4 month old as an example, about 16 pounds of a baby on top. it’s a mission.
although technically cabin-approved strollers or doonas will fit in the aisle, only once (out of 150+ flights) have I been able to carry anything airline-approved up to my seat (probably because I was flying solo with a baby while having a cold and seemed very desperate, haha!).
a million other times I’ve flown, I’ve been told to fold everything up before getting on the plane and take it with me because the flight attendants insisted it wasn’t legally allowed to carry a baby in a stroller or car seat down the aisle for the safety of the other passengers. .
There’s no storage option because it’s not a stroller, it’s a car seat. This means you have to carry your diaper bag and other extras yourself instead of just putting them under the stroller.
You can get a mini storage compartment, but it’s tiny: it fits a bottle and a diaper, and you still have to remove it before putting it in the car. it’s a pain in the ass.
On the other hand, it’s not really designed to function as a stroller, so the lack of storage space isn’t surprising, but it may be important for people to note.
even if you only use it for short trips out of the car to aim, it makes things difficult, because then you need to roll your sheet and cart, which is pretty inconvenient. I know some people put car seats inside the cart (which, again, isn’t considered safe due to the angle), but you can’t even do it with a sheet because the wheels take up a lot of space in the cart and don’t leave much room for you to go shopping.
the wheels are small because they have to be small; otherwise the car seat would not fit. While the wheels are a bonus, keep in mind that when it’s muddy or snowy outside, you’re putting all this dirt inside your car, not the trunk.
The doona also has no damping system, making it a tough ride on uneven surfaces.
Your car will get dirty quickly, including the inside of your car door. they do have a car protector but it does make the base slide a bit so some people aren’t comfortable with it. They also sell hubcaps, but who really has time for that?
the handlebars are painfully low. unless you’re 5’10, the handlebars will feel low and uncomfortable because again, this is a car seat and not a stroller, so it cannot be extended for security.
if you’re taller, you really slouch and feel weird. some parents laugh that to tall husbands it looks like you’re pushing a toy stroller and frankly I have to agree. on uneven ground it is a pain to push a stroller with a handlebar that is too low.
parent-facing seat only and does not recline
Because this is an infant car seat, the seat can only face the parent when traveling in stroller mode. the orientation of the seat is not ideal for small babies. however, once they are older, curious babies can get frustrated that they can’t see what’s going on when they walk (I know mine was after 6 months) so it’s frustrating.
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doona is also angled to the level of the car seat (45 degrees), so child cannot sit upright. It is sure to frustrate most curious babies and toddlers. unless your child is a baby unicorn and sitting upright and looking up at the sky, then it’s not the most fun experience.
no option for a double
If you’re planning more kids, you might think the doona might be worth it because you’ll be reusing it. Sure, though, doona is a unique option: no backboards, no extra seats.
if your kids are less than 2.5 years apart, your toddler may not walk to walk (or walk but not where you want them to walk), so it gets messy.
other things to consider about doona
some things that may not be cons or pros, but may be important to think about and decide if this is a scam or just something you might be willing to monitor.
especially if you live in new york or other cities where you don’t need a car, you might want to consider doona so you can get around easily and safely in taxis. yes and no.
doona is a piece of cake to put in a car with a dock, but naturally you won’t have to lug a 15 pound dock around town with you, so you’ll have to install it “European style” with a seatbelt . which is not just a click and takes a few minutes.
I was laughing at doona’s new york marketing video about “how easy it is to put it in a cab”; It sure is easy if you just put the car seat in the car without strapping it down since the video ends before the lady installs it in the car #marketingtricks.
so is doona a good travel car seat?
I think once again that it depends on your preferences and the place you are going to travel to.
if you’re traveling through the United States or Mexico, then it could be. it’s easy to get around the airport, if you buy a seat for your baby it’s faa approved for onboarding, and so on.
however, if you’re traveling to canada or europe, it’s unfortunately not a good choice, as it’s simply not approved for use there, so you’re subject to fines and insurance voiding in the event of an accident.
It’s also important to note that non-US airlines don’t always allow car seats on planes (and often need to be reserved in advance), and in most cases, only forward-facing car seats are allowed. after takeoff and landing because rear-facing infant car seats limit the recline of the person in front of you.
Honestly, I’ve flown thousands of flights around the world and I’ve never seen a single person use a car seat on a plane outside of the United States. it’s just not a common thing to do.
I’ll also be brutally honest: unfortunately, if you live in an American city and don’t have a car, things get complicated with babies. If you need to run all day with a baby and want to take ubers/lyfts, you need to have a car seat, but it’s also bad to keep babies in car seats all day. basically you’re screwed either way if you want to keep your bub as safe as possible.
For toddlers and older children, there are folding booster seats or folding car seats, like the wayb pico, which are easy to transport, but not for infants. The closest to it is the Cosco Scenera Next (if you’re buying one, get the convertible version because, frankly, it’s more of a bucket seat with no head support), but it’s still not a small portable seat.
most places in the united states require by law to have a child in a car seat when in a car or taxi (nyc does not require this, but naturally you want to keep your small safe) . In cities where public transportation is available, you can use a bassinet and take public transportation.
I never took a car seat with me on my solo European escapades and was able to get around on the metro, trams and public buses with no problem and never had to use cars with the baby, just like everyone else around me. But, in the US it can be tricky as there is often no other way to get somewhere other than a taxi.
This is something I never considered with my children, since the first was born in the spring and the second was born in the winter, but in the Mexican winter, so I never had to deal with newborns surrounded by snow or cold weather.
As a parent, you want your children to be comfortable, especially when they are young for the first few months. If you’re expecting a winter baby, it’s natural to think of a snowsuit or outdoor sleeping bag to keep a baby warm and cozy.
unfortunately, none of them work with a car seat. Winter clothing increases the space between the car seat straps, so it is recommended to undress the baby before strapping them into the car seat.
It’s not a problem if you just get in and out of the car; You can cover your small breasts with a blanket, but if you thought of walking around New York with it, then you would have to have a child covered. with a blanket without winter clothes (that’s a lot of fun if you have a kicker baby :p) or without restraints and undress him before you get in a taxi. is not an ideal solution.
troubles in the summer
car seats get hotter than strollers.
My firstborn spent his first year in Europe, so the temperatures were moderate, but I still felt like my son was always sweating when he was in the car seat.
however, now that we live in utah from may to september, temperatures range from 90 to 105 degrees. even in the air-conditioned car, baby is melting in an infant car seat. I absolutely can’t imagine keeping a baby in a car seat when it’s 80+ outside.
p.s. Throwing a cover over your car seat actually increases the temperature inside.
While the doona may be a good car seat solution for some people, it shouldn’t be your only travel system during baby’s first year.
if you can afford doona, a standard stroller, and then the next car seat after a year, then it might be worth buying if you think you’ll get enough use out of it.
if you want the safest car seat available, then doona is not the answer, as although it passes, it performs poorly in crash tests.
if you usually take your baby in your own car, I’d go with a more typical travel system, or really skip using an infant car seat and get a convertible car seat that will last you years.
However, if you’re looking for a stroller for New York, have a smaller car (such as an electric vehicle or compact car), are your second child, or plan to have another one very soon, then I think you’ll be better off spending the money. on something else.
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