The Doona infant car seat is 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 their baby from an apartment to a car to strolling around town. 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 unique 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.
Pros: Innovative, stroller capability
Cons: Price, hard to carry
Manufacturer: Simple Parenting
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Our Analysis and Test Results
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 experience inspired his creation of the Doona. Simple Parenting's primary goal is to improve and simplify life for parents and babies with innovative products. Simple Parenting works to identify areas where a new product could enhance daily life. Then they work to create a solution for the problem that makes life easier.
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 considered safe.
In our tests (identical to those performed by NHTSA), the Doona result for the chest sensor in the dummy was 60g. This result 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 has the best crash test results for each sensor (in green), both for chest and head. The Cybex Aton 2 has the best outcome for the chest sensor during testing with 44 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).
Ease of Install - LATCH
The Doona is above average 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 reality 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 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 the straps to get a secure installation or remove the base from the car. The easiest products to install using LATCH all feature a unique LATCH feature that makes tightening and loosening easier. The Doona does not offer any such special component. However, once installed, it feels secure.
Ease of Install - Belt
The Doona is more challenging to install using the vehicle belt than much of the competition.
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 isn't as simple as it should be.
Some testers feel the lock-off is challenging to use, while others find it only marginally harder than the competition. Either way, it isn't as simple as some of the competition.
Ease of Install - Without the Base
The Doona has its highest installation score without the base, which 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. The fact that the seat has wheels and can turn into an instant stroller makes it a great option we think city dwellers will desire.
Ease of Use
The Doona is about average for ease of use compared to the competition.
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 functionality 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 don't ordinarily use a car of their own, the Doona is a game-changer to navigate the city with ease. We think it might increase the chances of a baby being strapped into a taxi or Uber when they might otherwise choose not to.
The Doona harness buckle and the chest-clip are 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 design 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 process isn't complicated, but it is time-consuming, and it requires you to remove the baby from the seat. We worry parents will forgo adjusting when it is necessary because they are in a hurry. The harness has only three height options and one crotch strap position, which means it will be more challenging to fit on all babies. Tightening and loosening the harness is one of the easiest in the group.
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 you can use it 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.
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 the connection point is deceiving. 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.
LATCH Anchors and Manual Storage
The LATCH anchors on the Doona store on the underside of the seat base. The user manual stores on the back of the carrier/stroller or 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 Doona earned one of the higher scores for comfort and quality.
The Doona has a durable feeling fabric that is soft but not as soft as others. It has thick padding and a nice shell. The material fits the shell and padding nicely, and the canopy is a good size and fits the carrier well
The Doona struggles in weight and size in large part because it includes stroller components. 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 for pushing.
We gave the Doona a slight bump in the score for the weight that we wouldn't ordinarily give a car seat this heavy. Why? The rest of the carriers must be carried, so 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 assume parents won't carry the seat when they can push it. This design means you will only be lugging the 16+ lbs when you put it into and out of the car as opposed to all of the time.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz