Child car seats: Discontinued Don't Buy child car seats Joie Stages (2012 model)

Joie Stages

Joie Stages (2012 model), £130

Which? test score: 26%

Sold by: Argos, Halfords, Kiddicare, Mothercare

Type: Belted installation only

The Joie Stages car seat is actually still on sale. But it has been updated so much since we tested it back in 2012 that it's very different to that model. Confusing though, it still carries the same name. It was this older model that we tested back in 2012 and this older model that we're highlighting as a 'discontinued' Don't Buy child car seat. 

We think that the fact the model still on sale carries the same name as the Don't Buy model is confusing to consumers.We have suggested to Joie that it updates the name to make it more clear to consumers which product they are buying. 

Don't Buy car seat model vs. new Joie Stages car seat

The Don't Buy rating applies to the older model only. There are three ways to tell if you have the older model:

  • The red and blue label on the side of the seat will say 0-13kg for rear-facing, whereas the newer model will show 0-18kg for rear-facing
  • The old version does not have a belt-locking clamp included, or a sticker illustrating how to use the clamp
  • The car seat cover is a different colour and design to the new version

Poor car seat for side impact, poor fitting

The Joie Stages child car seat we tested has passed the regulatory tests required by ECE R44/04 to be sold as suitable for children from birth up to 25kg. 

Any child car seat marked as approved to ECE R44/04 is better than no car seat at all and will provide some protection in a crash.

However, we’ve downgraded the total test score for this car seat to a Don’t Buy with 26%, because of:

  • poor side impact safety when used as a Group 0+ seat installed with with the adult seat belt
  • poor results for fitting this car seat in the car when fitting it as a Group 0+ seat.

In our tests, parents frequently got the lap belt wrong when trying to install this car seat into a car in Group 0+ mode, and there's a good chance you will install this car seat incorrectly. 

An incorrectly fitted car seat could mean the car seat does not perform, so the seat's score is limited because of this.

Poor crash test results

The older version of the Joie Stages gets a poor score of 26% as a rear-facing Group 0+ seat. 

Front-impact protection is excellent but the side-crash protection is poor.

The seat performs better when you turn the seat forward-facing for Group 1 and 2, although it's only average for safety in both of these modes, scoring 55% and 58% respectively.

Because there's no way of knowing what kind of crash you might be involved in we have to take into account all crash test results.

Which? car seat crash tests are more demanding

We believe our child car seat crash tests are more representative of real life crash situations and that choosing a Which? Best Buy child car seat will give your child the best crash protection money can buy.

Our more stringent tests differ from ECE R44/04 in several key ways:

  • Our front crash test is carried out at a higher speed than ECE R4/04 - about 40mph instead of 30mph.
  • We include a side impact crash test, which ECE R44 does not require.
  • We test child car seats in a real car body, not on a sledge with a car bench seat fixed to it, so the position of the seat belt anchorage points and car seat characteristics are more realistic.

Response from Joie

Joie says 'The 2012 model was a Group 0+ rear-facing seat and bears very little resemblance to the current product on sale today due to the four points below:

  • Introduction of extended read-facing capability, it can now rear face to 18kg
  • Introduction of belt locking clamp, used for rear-facing from birth until 18kg
  • Introduction of new seat cover/insert material composition
  • Introduction of new poly energy absorbing construction'

What do I do if I own the Joie Stages car seat?

Which? advice is to check which version of the seat you own. If it's the older model, we'd recommend you consider replacing this due to the poor crash test results for side impact crashes when used in Group 0+ mode. We'd also recommend you have the car seat fitting checked to make sure it's correct. 

Please remember that any ECE R44/04 or R129 approved child car seat is better than no car seat at all – which is illegal. 

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