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Hands-on Gear Review

Doona Review

Top Pick Award
Price:   $500.00 List
Pros:  Innovative, stroller capability
Cons:  Price, hard to carry
Bottom line:  Fills a niche for safe vehicle transportation of baby for parents who frequent taxis and Uber
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Doona

The Skinny

The Doona infant car seat in a unique product that can transform into a stroller. While this product experienced difficulty in some of our tests, we feel it fills a niche for some parents that have been struggling with city life and surviving babyhood. The Doona is a simple way for parents to transport baby from apartment to car to on the town strolling. Where previously some parents might have forgone the car seat to avoid carrying a heavy inconvenient carrier, they can now safely install this product in a cab and then push baby when they reach their destination with no unnecessary lugging. This car seat's special abilities make it an award winner in our minds, and while it arguably isn't the best choice for every family, it is tough to beat it for the urban family on the go.


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Score Product Price Our Take
76
$300
Editors' Choice Award
A great all-around seat with good crash test results
71
$280
Editors' Choice Award
Easy to install and use seat made with quality materials, but has limited stroller options
68
$300
Top Pick Award
Impressive Top Pick seat that is easy to use and install
68
$200
Editors' Choice Award
Crash test results and ease of install with a nice price make it a good choice for most families
67
$400
Top Pick Award
The best option for safety conscious parents with a higher budget
67
$320
Compelling high quality seat with additional safety features that is harder to use and pricey
66
$200
Comfortable seat with nice features, but is harder to use.
65
$160
Best Value Award
Best Value that is a good bang for the buck
62
$270
Not a bad seat, but there are better options that cost less.
60
$500
Top Pick Award
Fills a niche for safe vehicle transportation of baby for parents who frequent taxis and Uber
60
$220
Nicer than the other Gracos, but not nice enough for the price
59
$230
An easy to use seat that is average
57
$150
Uncompelling performance with disappointing test results that is harder to use
57
$210
Easy to use LATCH, but disappointing overall performance
56
$100
Difficult to install seat that is fairly poor quality

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief
BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
April 11, 2017

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The Doona infant car seat is a different kind of seat with stroller capabilities  giving parents more opportunities to move baby from home to destination without toting a heavy carrier.
The Doona infant car seat is a different kind of seat with stroller capabilities, giving parents more opportunities to move baby from home to destination without toting a heavy carrier.
The Doona infant car seat was the first product made by the Simple Parenting™ company and was named after the founder's nickname for his daughter Danielle. The founder, Yoav Mazar, had a goal of taking his little one everywhere without fussing with a stroller and traditional car seat. This inspired his creation of the Doona. Simple Parenting's main goal is to improve and simplify life for parents and babies with innovative products. Simple Parenting works to identify the parts of everyday parenting where a new product could improve daily life. Then they work to create a solution for the problem that makes life easier.

Performance Comparison


The comparison chart shown here presents the overall scores for each seat tested in this review, including the Doona (in blue). While the Doona didn't rank in the top four we were impressed with its innovative design and ease of use this niche product offers for busy parents on the go that frequent public transportation.


The sections below provide additional details on the Doona's performance in our tests compared to the competition.

The dense foam inside the Doona shell seems thicker than some found on competing seats  but overall the Doona didn't perform as well as the competition in crash tests.
The dense foam inside the Doona shell seems thicker than some found on competing seats, but overall the Doona didn't perform as well as the competition in crash tests.

Crash Test


The Doona earned the lowest score for crash tests in this review with a 3 of 10. In our evaluation of the crash test results, the Doona had the worst combined test results. The Doona meets the Federal minimum requirements for safety, and is therefore considered safe. There is nothing discovered in our crash tests to indicate that the Doona is not safe or meeting the requirements set forth in the federal guidelines.


In our tests (identical to those performed by NHTSA), the Doona result for the chest sensor in the dummy was 60g. This is the maximum allowed by law, with the competition surpassing this maximum with lower (better) results anywhere between 4% and 25% below this maximum.

The charts below show the Doona test results (in black) compared to the competition that have the best crash test results for each sensor (in green), both for chest and head. The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 has the best result for the chest sensor during testing with 42.2 g recorded (compared to the Doona's 60 g, where lower is better).


The head sensor (HIC) score for the Doona was 603 where 1000 is the maximum (lower is better). Only 2 seats had higher scores for this sensor.

The Doona has a push button LATCH anchor that is easy to attach and remove; tightening the strap is more difficult and cost the product points.
The Doona has a push button LATCH anchor that is easy to attach and remove; tightening the strap is more difficult and cost the product points.

Ease of Install - LATCH


The Doona earned a 7 of 10 for ease of installation using the LATCH anchors. Studies indicate that some injuries children sustain in car crashes could potentially be avoided if the car seat is installed correctly. This makes ease of installation so important. If a seat is easy to install we believe there is a greater chance that parents will attach it correctly, potentially leading to fewer injuries. The Chicco Keyfit 30 and the UPPAbaby Mesa earned 9s


The Doona has push button anchors that work well and are easy to attach. Where the Doona lost some points is the ease of tightening and loosing of these straps to get a secure installation or to remove the base from the car. The easiest products to install using LATCH all feature some kind of unique LATCH feature that makes tightening and loosening easier. The Doona does not offer any such special component, but once installed it feels secure.

The Doona earned its lowest installation score for installation using the vehicle belt.
The Doona earned its lowest installation score for installation using the vehicle belt.

Ease of Install - Belt


The Doona earned a 6 of 10 for ease of install using the vehicle belt. This installation score is the lowest for the Doona. The UPPAbaby Mesa and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 both scored higher for this kind of install.


The Doona has a color-coded belt path and a belt lock-off that should make installation easier. However, threading this belt and using the lock off aren't as simple as they should be.

The belt lock-off on the Doona isn't as easy to use as some of the competition.
The belt lock-off on the Doona isn't as easy to use as some of the competition.

Some testers felt the lock-off was very difficult to use, while others only found it marginally harder than the competition. Either way, it isn't as simple as some of the others we looked at.

The Doona has a European belt path and comes with a seat protector to protect your car from the dirty wheels of the stroller component of the seat.
The Doona has a European belt path and comes with a seat protector to protect your car from the dirty wheels of the stroller component of the seat.

Ease of Install - Without the Base


The Doona earned an 8 of 10 for ease of installation without the base, this is its highest installation score and the one that helped it win an award.


The Doona uses the European belt path that utilizes the shoulder strap of the vehicle belt around the back and the lap belt across the foot of the carrier. The belt path is color coded and easy to thread.



The carrier feels secure when installed. Because this method is so quick to accomplish, we think parents that primarily use public transportation will be more inclined to install the seat properly, even when it isn't required that they do so. The fact that the seat has wheels and can be turned into a stroller instantly, makes it a great option we think city dwellers will be drawn to.

The real win for the Doona is its ability to turn from an infant car seat into a stroller in a snap.
The real win for the Doona is its ability to turn from an infant car seat into a stroller in a snap.

Ease of Use



The Doona earned a 6 of 10 for ease of use where the high is only 8. Ease of use includes the daily functions of a product and this particular car seat has a stroller function that makes it unlike any other car seat we tested.


The stroller functionality of this product makes it easier to use than the standard infant carrier because it can be pushed instead of carried. This is a huge advantage over regular seats that must be attached to a stroller if you plan to push them. For big city parents, that do not ordinarily use a car of their own, this product is a game changer in navigating the city with ease and we think it might increase the chances of a baby being strapped into a taxi or Uber when they might have otherwise chosen not to.

The Doona has a rethread harness height adjustment  which takes more time to alter and requires an open seat to accomplish.
The Doona has a rethread harness height adjustment, which takes more time to alter and requires an open seat to accomplish.

Harness


The Doona harness has a similar buckle to the Chicco options and along with the chest clip is easy to use without requiring extra thumbs or force. The harness height adjustment is a rethread style with a T splitter in the back. This means you will need to remove the shoulder straps from the splitter and unthread them from the seat back and rethread them in the new position before connecting them to the splitter again. This isn't difficult, but it is time-consuming and it requires baby be removed from the seat. We worry parents will forgo making the adjustment when it is necessary because they are in a hurry. The harness has only three height options and one crotch strap position. This means it will be more difficult to fit for all babies. Tightening and loosening the harness is one of the easiest in the group.

While the Doona handle has a variety of possible lengths thanks to the stroller capabilities  it will rub the canopy when used at its lowest height.
While the Doona handle has a variety of possible lengths thanks to the stroller capabilities, it will rub the canopy when used at its lowest height.

Handle


The handle on the Doona is not like any other seat because it is adjustable for use as a stroller. This handle rotates in three positions so it can be used as an anti-rebound bar during car seat installation, a carry handle for the carrier, and a push handle for the stroller. When strolling, the handle can be moved from an angle to upright depending on your needs. In certain positions, the handle can rub on the canopy and you'll need to tuck the canopy under the handle. Moving and adjusting the handle is a two-handed operation and it moves smoothly.

While the carrier portion of this seat is harder to connect to the base  it does have a visual indicator that helps parents determine when it is fully connected.
While the carrier portion of this seat is harder to connect to the base, it does have a visual indicator that helps parents determine when it is fully connected.

Carrier and Base Connection


The Doona carrier attachment to the base is somewhat different than most of the infant products we tested. You need to have the foot of the seat close to the foot of the base because it is deceiving where the seat connects to the base. The attachment is smooth, but it can take some practice to do it smoothly every time without false starts. The product has a visual indicator that turns green when it is connected properly. The Doona comes with a seat cover for the vehicle presumably to protect the seat from potentially dirty wheels.

The user's manual can be stored on the back of the carrier  but it feels a little like it might fall out while strolling as the tabs that hold it in place are smaller.
The user's manual can be stored on the back of the carrier, but it feels a little like it might fall out while strolling as the tabs that hold it in place are smaller.

LATCH Anchors and Manual Storage


The LATCH anchors on the Doona store on the underside of the seat base. The user manual can be stored on the back of the carrier/stroller or on the bottom of the base. The back of the carrier is preferred because it means you keep the manual with you even when traveling without the base, but it does feel like it could potentially slip out of the tabs and get lost.

The design and construction of this seat are thoughtful with quality materials that work well together and fit the shell nicely.
The design and construction of this seat are thoughtful with quality materials that work well together and fit the shell nicely.

Comfort/Quality


The Doona earned a 7 of 10 for comfort and quality. This is only one point below the high score for the metric. The Cybex Cloud Q, **Peg Pergo Primo Viaggio 4-35*,* and the Chicco Fit2 earned an 8.



The Doona has durable feeling fabric that is soft, but not as soft as others. It has thick padding and a nice shell. The fabric fits the shell and padding nicely and the canopy is a good size and fits the carrier well

The Doona is a hefty seat with additional weight added for the stroller components of the carrier. However  the convenience of being able to push this carrier as opposed to carrying it make the weight more acceptable since the amount of time you'll need to spend toting with one hand is significantly less than a traditional product.
The Doona is a hefty seat with additional weight added for the stroller components of the carrier. However, the convenience of being able to push this carrier as opposed to carrying it make the weight more acceptable since the amount of time you'll need to spend toting with one hand is significantly less than a traditional product.

Weight


The Doona earned a 5 of 10 for weight and size. This product weighs 16.8 lbs, making it the heaviest in the group by far. However, because it isn't a standard infant car seat the added weight is likely the stroller components that allow it to be pushed.


We gave the Doona a slight bump in score for the weight that we wouldn't ordinarily give a car seat this heavy. Why? The rest of the carriers must be carried and therefore the weight is of significant importance as parents may be lugging the carrier and baby. The Doona has the distinct advantage of being pushable and we are assuming parents won't carry the seat when they can push it. This means you will really only be lugging the 16+ lbs when you put it into and out of the car as opposed to all of the time.

Accessories


Simple Parenting offers a variety of accessories that focus primarily on adding storage to the stroller, comfort additions, and different bases. Of these we think the following are interesting options worth considering:
  • ISOFIX Base — The ISOFIX base
    The Donna ISOFIX base
    helps take some of the struggles out of car seat installation and it might increase potential safety with the additional load leg. The ISOFIX base has stiff LATCH connection points that don't require tightening and a load leg that adds stability and might potentially increase safety during an accident.
Doona rain cover
  • Doona Rain Cover — This rain cover completely encases the infant car seat and keeps baby dry and out of the wind. While ideal for strolling, it can be a great addition to just the car seat carrier for transporting baby into and out of cars in bad weather.

Manufacturer Video


Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz

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Most recent review: April 11, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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Top Pick Award
Unbiased.