REVIEW: Joie i-Anchor Extended Rear Facing Car Seat

In my post about why I choose extended rear-facing car seats, I explained that Baby J's new car seat is the Joie i-Anchor. This car seat is part of the i-AnchorSafe system, which is held with the i-AnchorFIX base. It’s suitable from birth and children can travel rear-facing up to 18kgs, which means that the average child will be able to sit rear-facing until they are about 4 years old. In this post I'll be telling you about the Joie i-Anchor car seat in more detail and giving you a closer look - including my tall 3 year old sitting in the seat!


ABOUT THE JOIE I-ANCHOR CAR SEAT

The Joie i-Anchor car seat is part of the i-AnchorSafe System. The i-AnchorFIX base fits to the car using ISOFIX and holds the i-Anchor car seat in place in both the rearward and forward facing positions. The i-AnchorFIX base also holds the Joie i-Gemm infant seat, which is compatible with most Joie pushchairs and other pushchairs using Maxi-Cosi car seat adapters.

The car seat conforms to i-Size regulations which require children to sit rearfacing until 15 months, and even exceeds those requirements by allowing children to rearface until they reach 18kgs. This means that the average child can travel rearward facing from birth until they are about 4 years old. 

It has removable infant support layers to offer a custom fit for any sized child and also offers additional side impact protection for smaller babies. The head and body supports can be adjusted at every stage for a perfect fit.

The specialised multi-layered foam technology offers 3 layers of protection to the head area during side impact while deep padded sides and head area offer ultimate side impact certified protection for 
our child’s developing body. It has a reinforced steel inner seat shell to keep the seat strong and resilient in the event of an impact, and it also has energy absorbing areas to protect the child from injury. The rebound bar offers even more security when rearward facing.

The headrest and five-point harness system are adjustable simultaneously and the base has seven recline positions which can be adjusted on the go without the need to reinstall the car seat. The base also has a support leg which gives further security and stability, and the car seat can be released from the base with the press of a button.

The Joie i-Anchor is available in four great colours: Salsa red, Caribbean blue, Liquorice black and Steel Grey, which is what I have.


USING THE JOIE I-ANCHOR CAR SEAT

Installing the Joie i-AnchorFIX base and i-Anchor was surprising straightforward. Having never used a car seat with ISOFIX this was a new experience for me and I was a little worried that I would do it wrong, but Joie have made it easy with their colour indicators and click system. It took me just a few minutes to get it all set up. 

There are three points on the system that have colour indicators: on the anchors where the base fits to the car's chassis, on the support leg, and on the base where the car seat attaches. At all three points the indicators are red and once you have securely clicked them into place they turn green. This removes any element of doubt and ensures that you will always install the car seat correctly.

First I installed the base by simply pushing the anchors into the ISOFIX fitting points on my car until they immediately made a click and the indicators turned green. The base felt pretty solid already, but using the support leg gives further stability. With the support leg I simply squeezed the buttons on either side to release the leg and pulled it down to the floor of my car. Again it made a click and the indicators turned green to show it was in the correct place. 

Finally I placed the seat onto the base and straight away it clicked into place and the indicator turned green. The base and seat felt sturdy with barely any give when I tried to push it from side to side, we were ready to go!


Putting Baby J into the seat  - and Little N when he tested it - is really easy. It is a spacious seat so there isn't a battle to get him in, and because it is installed using ISOFIX there are no long seat belt straps to hoick him over. I loosen the harness then put him in, click the harness shut and then use the "one pull motion" to tighten the harness securely. The soft, padded covers on the harness mean he is snug and comfortable as well as safe. The car seat cover is attached with little elastic loops at the top and bottom and poppers down the side, so this can be removed along with the harness covers for washing.















J is always happy and comfortable in his seat and inevitably falls asleep during car journeys, even if they are only round the corner! There are seven recline settings on the Joie i-Anchor, however they are only really usable in forward facing mode. In the rear facing mode the seat doesn't really recline, it seems to stay in virtually the same position. It's absolutely ideal most of the time, except for when J falls asleep, because his head drops forward. I need to get a little neck cushion or something to help keep his head up. In forward facing mode this wouldn't be an issue at all as the multiple settings do make a noticeable recline.


The number one question that people always ask me about rear-facing car seats is: "does he have enough room?" The answer is yes, of course! I wouldn't put my children into car seats that they are too big for because that would be uncomfortable and, more importantly, unsafe! The Joie i-Anchor designed to fit children until they weigh 18kgs, or are 105cm tall and my boys are well within those limits. Baby J has plenty of room for his legs and as you can see, so does Little N who stands at 98cm tall. 



The other question I get asked is: "do his legs get squashed?" You can see that Little N sits with his legs in a relaxed kinda frog-legged position when he is in the Joie i-Anchor, but his legs are certainly not squashed and can move them about. I mentioned in my last post that some friends worry that their child's legs could get broken in an accident, but there have been no reported incidents of a child injuring their legs in a rear-facing car seat. If you want to know more about this, I talked about the increased safety of rear facing car seats in my last post



I love how easy it is to remove the Joie i-Anchor from my car. We often travel in Ian's car so need to move the car seats over. There is a large button on the i-AnchorFIX base which releases the car seat with a simple press. Then, you simply push the two buttons on either side of the base anchors to release the base from the car. Ian's car has sport seats, they're like bucket seats so there is a bit of a dip on them so that did make it tricky to get the base out the first time we tried it, but we have now got the knack of it! 

If you hadn't already worked out, I am so happy with J's new extended rear-facing car seat. The Joie i-Anchor ticks all of the boxes for me, with the exception of J's floppy sleepy head. It's really competitively priced too, with the i-Anchor seat costing £175.00 and the i-AnchorFIX base costing £115.00. Babies'R'Us currently has the base on offer for just £49.99!

I'd love to know what car seats your children have, especially your toddler/preschoolers! Let me know in the comments below.



*We were kindly sent the Joie i-Anchor car seat and i-AnchorFIX base to review.

6 comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! i've been searching high and low for a blog review on an extended rear facing car seat. My 18 month old son's current seat just seems so unsafe and I've decided to take the plunge and buy a new, safer one.

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    1. I am so glad that you found it helpful, Ali! Do let me know what you decide to go for, I am always interested to see what other parents choose x

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  2. I have this seat in my mums car. I can't remember reading you can't recline the seat in rear facing mode? Even on it most recline, it's still upright & his head flops forward. I unpoppered the wedge cushion from the baby support & put that in too (14 months) but I don't know if it's made it any better. I have a nuna rebl which was twice the price but no head flop

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    1. I didn't word it very clearly! The recline just doesn't really recline in rear facing mode, the seat stays virtually upright, but in forward facing mode the it reclines really well through the settings. We're only using it in rear facing mode so have to contend with head flop, but I tried the settings in forward facing mode to see how it compared.

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  3. My son is currently in a BeSafe izi Plus which rear faces to 25kg. :) We also had the Joie iAnchor car seat, the Joie Stages car seat, Britax Two Way Elite, BeSafe izi Combi x3 and Axkid Minikid. :)
    My son is now 3 and still RF in his izi Plus with lots of growing room. My daughter is now 5 and in a high back booster, but she was rear facing until she was 4 years old. She had a BeSafe izi Combi x3 until she got the Britax Two Way Elite then she had the Axkid Minikid for a while, then she used the BeSafe izi Plus and now she is as I mentioned in a HBB.

    Great review of the iAnchor. :) There is a new version out now called the iAnchor Advance and in that they did some very nice changes to the seat, like the recline and where the rebound bar goes. :)

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    1. Thanks Therese, you truly are a fountain of knowledge! I weighed N yesterday and he's 15kg exactly and 99cm so he's going to be good in his Joie seat for a while yet :) x

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