Product Type: Jané Rebel child car seats
Newest Review: ... of journeys without waking up unnaturally. It does lie flat: the base is very slightly sloping upwards from toe to head, but it's flat, an... more
Reflections on matrix
Jané Matrix Car Seat
Member Name: hank
Jané Matrix Car Seat
Advantages: Good base for new-born pram, good as flat seat
Disadvantages: Bulky compared with other car seats, not so good for more than one children.
I bought a Matrix car seat, coupled with a Carrera base, two years ago for our first son. We used it both as a pram and as an occasional car seat for about nine months. We were fairly happy with it during this period.
I should perhaps point out that, unlike I suspect many of the people who are reading this review, I don't actually own a car. I hire when I need one - I live near to central London, and at least to date the cons of living with parking shortages etc have outweighed any advantages. Compared to most people who have cars this means: I use a variety of cars, not just one; I often insert or remove seats; etc
With the latter in mind, the original idea was to have something akin to a pram where the carry bit could be used as a car seat if required. I know virtually everyone seems happy on using a standard car seat on a pushchair base; but I was, and still am, worried by the 1.5 hours max per day you are supposed to use standard "sit up" seats.
Once you decide you want a flat, carry-cot style seat, the choice is between a carry cot proper or some hybrid like the matrix. After some dithering, I chose the matrix because it appeared to have a longer shelf-life, and my original idea (something from Bebe Confort) was seemingly late to market/unobtainable.
So what happened:
* We used the Matrix for about 9 months. At the end, we'd often raise the back (more seat like) when in pram mode. Alex is not short, and towards the end his feet stuck out the end, but not really a problem except perhaps in the rain.
* Having your baby facing you is a great feature, and worth looking out for on a pushchair. They are much less lonely, and to be honest are less fussy seeing where they have gone instead of where they are going they you or I might be.
* The Carrera base actually went first. Our then new nanny (I think) managed to close the base without pulling the correct button first - whatever it broke. We switched to a Maclaren buggy.
* About that time I tried using the Matrix in the standard car seat mode (ie. baby sat up). I used it once, if I remember correctly. At that point the sheer size of the seat became apparent - in the typical cars I drive (Golf sized) there is literally not enough space on the rear seat.
* So the great feature of the Matrix - converting from a flat bed to a seat - turned out to be most useful in pram mode, and of not much use as a car seat.
* If you, like me, did not want to leave a car seat permanently in a car, something like the matrix is probably preferable to a standard car seat when used as a base. I suspect most parents who use car seats on pushchair bases routinely ignore the 1.5 hour limit on small babies in the standard car seats. What this means for the babies' spines I don't know, but I didn't want to risk our baby's.
* The alternative to something like the matrix is probably a normal lie-flat system, coupled with a standard car seat. That would be OK if you did not drive around that much.
* We've now a new born. At this point another inpracticallity of the Matrix becomes apparent - although one that is true for virtually all car carry-cots as far as I can tell. In none of the cars I've used can you fit the Matrix using the middle and one outer belt - you end up using both the left and right belts in the back. This makes it impossible to install both the Matrix in flat-mode, and a standard car seat at the same time.
* As a car seat, it is virtually unusable if you have more than one children - unless perhaps you have a really big car.
Would I buy one again? Not sure, but we are still using it in pram mode for our new son.
Summary: Not as flexible a car seat as it first appears. Good for a pram.
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