If you're looking for something that will stand the test of time, the Every Stage is the seat for you. At only £199 at the time of review, it's excellent value for money, but is it actually any good?
In short: yes. The Every Stage feels completely secure when it's attached using the standard three-point seat belt (front or rear facing position). The multi-position Guard Surround Safety panels provide extra side impact protection, and the long “autoadjust” side wings look very protective from shoulder to hip.
What's in the box?
Every Stage car seat, manual
- Suitable from birth to 12 years old
- Easy to adjust height and size of car seat
- Can be used in the rearward facing position until your child is four years old or 18kg
- Can't be installed using Isofix points
- Can’t be used with a travel system
- Five point harness
- Extra side impact protection
- Six recline positions (Two rear facing, four forward facing)
- Easy to adjust side wings provide extra comfort and protection
What are the specs?
Suitable from: Birth to 12 years
Weight: 8.86 kg
Dimensions: l54cm x w48-52.6cm x h65.5-85.5cm
Website: Joie Baby
Available in six different colour combinations, all using red, black and/or grey.
How safe is the Joie Every Stage?
The Joie Every Stage carries the orange ECE R44 approved label which means it complies with European safety standards, as all car seats should. This includes standardised crash testing for frontal collisions at 50km/h (30mph).
In independent crash tests undertaken by Which? the Every Stage scored poorly in the Group 1 front facing mode. In all other modes, including Group 1 rear facing, the scores were satisfactory.
The seat can only be secured with a three-point seat belt, so there's a higher risk of installing it incorrectly than if you're using Isofix points. Joie have recently released an Isofix version of the Every Stage called the Joie Every Stage FX (£279 from John Lewis) which some parents might prefer if they have Isofix points in their car.
How easy is it to fit this car seat?
A multi stage car seat is almost always more difficult to fit than those with a shorter life span because the set up will change as your baby grows. Joie has a number of helpful installation videos on their Youtube channel which show clearly how the seat is attached in the various positions. If you're not sure that you've installed the car seat correctly, you may want to get it fitted by an expert.
How comfortable is the seat?
The seat fabric feels luxuriously soft and is well padded in every mode. It’s clear that this seat is built to last. The adjustable headrest and straps meant our mini testers were cosy in all the different positions. There are also number of little mesh pockets for children to store things in – which we think is a nice touch.
You could be looking at it for 12 years, so it's important that the design doesn’t make you want to scream. Luckily, Joie seems to have taken this into account. The Every Stage has a timeless look that will age well and blend into almost any car interior. There's a choice of six colours, so you can personalise it to your tastes (or your child's if you're really brave).
Is the seat covering machine washable?
It is possible to wash the seat cover in the machine, but it's not a quick job as the cover is quite difficult to remove from the seat.
How many recline positions are there?
There are two recline options in rear facing mode and four recline options when the seat is forward facing.
It is simple to recline with your child in the seat.
How easy is it to adjust the size of the car seat?
It's very easy to adjust the headrest and harness height, one button adjusts both at the same time, so you won't have to fiddle with the straps too often.
Switching from rear facing to forward facing involves removing the seat and re-threading the seat belt. It's a bit of a chore, and you'll need to refer to the instruction manual, but theoretically you'll only have to do this once.
How long can the Joie Every Stage be rear facing for?
The Every Stage car seat can be used in the rear-facing position up to a weight of 18 kg (around four years), which is great, as it's recommended that your child stays rear facing as long as possible.
How big is the Joie Every Stage?
At its largest the Every Stage is l54cm x w52.6cm x h85.5cm so we'd recommend measuring your back seat to make sure the fully extended car seat will fit without blocking your rear view. Many 3/4 group car seats are just booster seats rather than full backed, so if your car is on the smaller side you might want to look at some other Child Car Seat options before making your choice.
Once you’ve made sure you have room, adjusting the size of the car seat is amazingly straightforward. Even the sides adjust at multiple points so you can really customise the size and shape.
Is it good value for money?
Overall, the Every Stage is a true family car seat. It suits newborns, toddlers and bigger children, and it's relatively easy to convert between age groups. What's more, with its 12 year lifespan it costs the equivalent of just £16.60 a year, making it truly good value for money.
What Mumsnet users say
“We've just bought my 11 month old DS the Joie Every Stage. He can stay rear facing until 4 years and then forward facing until 12 or he is tall enough to no longer need a car seat. It was £160 from Mothercare which I thought was cheap seeing as we won't need to buy a different seat in a few years.”
“The Joie Every Stage is fab. It lasts until they no longer need any kind of car seat (12yo/145cm ish).”
“We had a Maxi Cosi Pebble Plus – used it with Isofix in our main car and with the seat belt in our second car. Once that was outgrown we got a Maxi Cosi 2 way Pearl for our main car and a Joie Every Stage for the second car. If I had my time again I'd have just gone for the Joie Every Stage from birth and not bothered with the Isofix seats at all.”
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