Here goes my first attempt at writing an article myself…. bare with me!
I just discovered the foonf, and you might be asking what that is, well let me tell you. It is apparently a new design for car seats! I’m both excited and skeptical to be honest. To be sure Car seat safety is one of my most near to heart issues, and in the beginning I wouldn’t have said that at all, but it has grown on me.
The foonf (you can see it for your self here) is a very sleek design, and has really narrow sides to make installation of three seats possible which I have to say is an awesome feature since I myself am wanting a third child and have yet to find any car seat design that will jive well with the two I already have and the PT Cruiser I love driving. Foonf is only 13 inches wide at the base, which lets be honest really doesn’t even matter. Based on the pictures I’m seeing you are not going to fit anything under the seat portion of the car seat so that 13 inches seems cool but doesn’t make a difference. Here is the exciting part though, at it’s widest part the foonf is only 17 inches across. How does that compare with other seats you might ask?
The only seats I had to compare personally were my own, A Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 seat and a Cosco Scenera (the cup holder for this one has been missing for ages so I didn’t include it in the measurements I took. So here is how they compare.
Graco’s Nautilus 3-in-1 was 15″ at the base, and was similar to the foonf in design so I really don’t think that this base measurement is any help at all in comparing the seats when the foonf is forward facing like the Nautilus (the Nautilus is a forward only seat).
However because the Nautilus has built in cup holders on both sides it was significantly wider than the foonf at 19.5″ at the front of the seat, and 18.5″ at the back.
Cosco Scenera measured significantly better on the comparison as the widest part of the base of this seat accounts only for a very small portion of the seat and could easily be maneuvered to allows space for another seat in my opinion. The widest part of the base was 15″, however as I mentioned that is a very small part of the seat measuring that large, and the majority of the seat is only 10″ at the base.
The widest part of the Scenera also was comparable at only 17.5″ and therefore still in my book a very good seat. (and much cheaper but we’ll get to that later.)
Sticking also only with the seats I have and am familiar with I wanted to check the ratings on my seats, since there isn’t much to say about the new foonf aside from that which you can find on it’s own website.
Car-Safety.Org Car seat Buying Guide has some interesting information, so I’ve use that information to review my own seats.
5-point harness– reduces the chance of your child flying out of it’s seat.
both the Scenera and the Nautilus as well as the foonf have this.. in fact to be honest I wouldn’t even consider purchasing a seat without it.
Wide, twist-free straps– reduces the chances of your child getting a contact burn in the case of a crash when belts are twisted.
I’ve seen people concerned with this on the Scenera and actually tried to find out whether the Nautilus would have this problem before purchasing it, but here is what I found. the Scenera (I’ve used it for two kids close in age and under it’s life expectancy) has gotten worn out a little in the strap area… not to say they are not in tact, but the fibers are not as tight and stiff as they were when I first purchased it. I feel the straps are as safe as they were before, but I do find I have to be careful to pay attention to make sure they do not twist. That being said it has never actually happened that either of my children have been put in with twisted straps.
The Nautilus still has all it’s tightness in this area and the straps are the same width as the Scenera, but it is newer. however I’ve actually found that the twisting is more likely in this seat than in the other. The reason has nothing to do with the seat it’s self though, it is user error. My son is nearly 4, he climbs into his own seat puts his arms in the straps and connects the chest plate without assistance while I buckle my nearly 2 year old daughter in, this is great help but you can see that if I were doing all the work myself his straps would probably never get twisted, however he is 3 and learning responsibility. I simply check them before buckling his lap portion of the belts EVERY time, to be sure they are not twisted, and the problem is solved.
foonf- to be honest I have no idea how the foonf meets this standard. From the pictures on this site I think the straps look pretty much the same as both my other seats.
Two-piece chest clips– All three seats have this feature and none look really to be any different than the others. Though I will say that the Nautilus seems a bit less ideal than the Scenera on this particular area, because it occasionally doesn’t latch properly and I have to check it.
Front harness adjustments– I love this part, it is my passion, and also my downfall as a friend. TOO MANY OF YOU DO THIS WRONG! your children’s straps should be ‘tight!!!!!’ if you don’t know what I mean watch this video clip! (I used a winter safety video because it shows both the proper way to tighten a seat and that even if you do it right if your child has a huge coat on you’ve done it wrong)
Built-in locking clips– those little funny metal things that are included in almost every car seat you buy… these actually have more to do with your vehicle than your car seat, so I’m not going into this, but please if you use one, or plan to use one due to an older vehicle make sure you install it correctly because if that little thing comes off it then becomes a hurtling projectile in your vehicle that anyone can be hit with.
Seat belt routing path– this is the area in your car seat that your seat belt of latch belt will go through to connect with your car. Scenera loses on this one. Being that it is a convertible seat it has two routing areas, but one of these areas is INCREDIBLY hard to locate, and I have seen the seat installed incorrectly before, and it took me a long time to figure it out myself. Nautilus being a one direction only seat was much easier to figure out, but if you are using the vehicle seat belt instead of the latch system it can be a little hard to do as well. Based on the pictures alone (as I have not seen the foonf myself) I really can’t say what you would do if you needed to install it with a seat belt forward facing. If facing rear there seems to be a routing area, but forward facing I really can’t tell if there is a way to use the seat with a car safety belt. edit: this blog suggests that there is indeed a way to use the lap/shoulder belt to install the foonf forward facing
Size– We’ve already talked about the width of the seat, and it seems rather ideal on all but the Nautilus, but what about height? The Scenera is a pretty short seat, and should easily work in most cars, however when it is rear facing small cars have a problem… this seat sits rather low to the seat which makes the top of the seat jut out right into the seat in front of it. I’ve found this is the one thing I HATE about rear facing seats and have yet to find any seat that doesn’t cause this problem in small cars. (I’m a tall woman, and my husband is pretty tall too, so sitting with our child safely behind us means our knees in the dash of the car) When forward facing the Scenera causes no problems at all, however the highest shoulder harness slots are only 14.5″ tall… which worked just fine for my son until we moved him to his Nautilus so his sister could use the Scenera, but had we wanted to use it until he was old/big enough for a booster, we would have been disappointed.
Nautilus is a bit taller, but has none of the issues with rear facing since it is not a rear facing seat… the top of the nautilus adjusts upward to protect your child as they get taller, and could be a problem if you put the seat in the center of your car, but otherwise is completely fine.
foonf was checked out on this blog, and I really like all she had to say about the seat, it is really tall but doesn’t seem to have the rear facing problems that the Scenera has, and again if the seat isn’t in the center of the car it shouldn’t be a problem, if it is, then my best suggestion would be to start practicing your ability to use your side mirrors truckers do it and make most of their deliveries without incident.
Tether strap with easy adjustment – Another looser for the Scenera! Don’t ever move this seats straps without a really good reason! Maybe it is just mine, but it is very hard to adjust these straps… once in place they are golden, but getting them there is a nightmare. Nautilus is amazing, and just a tiny touch of the button (well covered by a plastic shield so your child can’t bump it) will give the extra room you need when your child outgrows the current setting… but oops you got it a little too loose? don’t worry just give it a tiny tug and your good to go.
I took this quote from the car seat blog I have listed above under the comments “I’m almost positive that the prototype model with played with at ABC had a smooth one-pull harness adjuster. But since it was a prototype I don’t want to make any promises.” comment number 19
Rear-facing tethers and anti-rebound bars– The foonf has an anti-rebound bar, but I know very little about them.
LATCH- All three of these seats have this feature. The Scenera seems more difficult to attach in the rear facing direction because the base of the seat is wider at the front and can get in the way of the LATCH straps, but does fine when forward facing.
nautilus releases and tightens easily and had no issues like the Scenera.
foonf- I couldn’t find any information on this, but it does have the LATCH system and features a narrow base so my assumption would be that it doesn’t have this problem, but I really can’t say for sure.
Head impact protection– Scenera really has no special padding anywhere on the seat. Nautilus has generous amounts of padding and side impact protection, (and it isn’t related to head protection but my son says it is ‘hard’ on his bottom, so even with the padding he isn’t comfortable, but was perfectly comfortable in his Scenera with no padding). Foonf has a ton of padding in every direction so it seems.
Increased weight limits– Scenera starts at about 8lbs and goes up to 40lbs. once 35lbs is reached the seat must be turned forward though. Nautilus does not seat a child under 20lbs, but will stay with a child until they reach 100lbs. I know some adults who could still use this thing! Foonf starts at 15lbs for rear facing and goes up to about 40lbs, but then forward facing it will go to 60-70lbs, but if I understand this article right after 48lbs you have to change the way you install the car seat.
Adequate room for tall children- Nautilus reaches from 27″ to 57″, the Scenera does not specify a child’s height but the tallest harness slot is 14.5″. The Foonf has it’s tallest harness slot at 17.5″
“Wings” for sleeping and protection– Each of the seats I’ve been looking at feature this.
Recline– Scenera does not have recline settings, but can be used at the 45 degree angle rear facing, and at one setting for forward facing. Nautilus boosts 3 settings for a recline, but I have actually not even checked into this feature on our seat.. perhaps I should! Foonf also boosts recline settings for both forward and backward settings.
Now that I’ve done all that work, and linked all those pages, I’ve come to these conclusions…
1. While I’ve always stood by my Scenera because it was cheap and rated well, perhaps it is not the BEST ever…
2. The foonf sound pretty awesome, especially when you consider the new ‘crumple’ technology they have put into it, but I’m rather disappointed that it isn’t an all in one seat, frankly if I’m going to buy my kids a car seat that costs nearly $500 dollars it better last them FOREVER… It is pretty cool though that it works from 6 months all the way up to I don’t know until your kid no longer fits under 17.5″ shoulder harnesses, and may be worth the money when you consider it will fit three to a car!
3. My nautilus cost me a bit, not as much as a foonf, but a bit, my son isn’t entirely impressed with the comfort, but otherwise we’ve been happy with it and it will last him the rest of his car seat days.
4. I’m happy with the choices I’ve made, and the value I’ve gotten.
5. I kinda want to see if the foonf has a major break down and gets recalled a bunch of times before running out to get it for my next baby…. do you hat me for wanting to see how many other kids die before biting into the craze?