Before I had a baby, I was the proud owner of a lovely red SLK-Class, and the last thing I thought about when purchasing it was how many people it seated. But then I had my first baby followed shortly thereafter by my second, and seating soon became a priority in my automobile selection. With two car seats, we settled on an E-Class, but if anyone wanted to travel with me and my husband, they were typically out of luck, as our mammoth car seats took up most of the back seat. Then came the news that I was pregnant now with my third, and I started to relegate myself to the fact that the only option I had left to drive was either a mini-van or a full-size SUV.
Unfortunately, neither option held much appeal to me as I love the handling and performance of my E-Class, and my husband (as is the case with most men) isn’t very keen on the idea of a minivan. So for the last 6 months I’ve weighed my options, until one day I asked myself the question “Are there any car seats that would comfortably fit three across in a standard sedan?” My search began, and that’s when I was introduced to the newer car seat brand Clek. Their car seats are slimmer than most other car seats, meaning three across seating is possible, but what impressed me equally as much was the safety that Clek car seats offered despite the slimmer size.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the number one killer of children 1-12 years old in the United States – a scary thought considering the U.S. has such strict child safety laws. The main cause of the high death rate in car crashes comes from improper installation, both from the car seat being installed improperly or the child not being secured properly. Another main cause of injury in crashes is how the car seats distribute force. The faster a child stops, the more likely they are to be hurt. Clek has addressed both these elements in their car seats, offering guides to ensure your child is properly secured as well as developing a unique crumple construction to reduce the force placed on your child in the event of a crash. Whether you have a younger child (ages 3 and under) and choose the Clek Foonf or an older child (ages 4+) and pick the Clek Oobr, you can rest assured that they’re going to be protected in the unfortunate event an accident does occur.
The Clek Foonf
The Clek Foonf is Clek’s traditional car seat for kids up to the age of 4 (or longer, depending on their size). In addition to its narrow size compared to other car seats (under 17 in. at its widest point and 13 in. at the base), one of the things that sold me on Clek is their REACT Safety System for when your child is forward-facing. REACT works much like the crumple zones in your actual car – when a crash happens, rather than bringing your child to an abrupt stop, it allows momentum to happen over a longer period of time through a series of controlled events. An aluminum honeycomb absorbs energy from the collision, resulting in less force transferred to the child. There’s also energy absorbing foam in both the headrest and frame, further reducing force in a crash.
Another problem with car seats is improper installation. Clek has worked to eliminate this problem, making installation simple and straight forward. For example, when facing forward, the Clek Foonf has a Rigid-LATCH system that easily clicks into your cars lower latch anchor and that’s it – the Foonf is perfectly seated and installed. When the Foonf is installed facing the rear (which is recommended until your child’s second birthday), it employs a smartly designed belt installation with base along with an anti-rebound bar for that virtually guarantees easy and correct installation.
Strapping your child in is equally as simple thanks to a few well thought out features. The biggest pain with car seats undoubtedly is the dreaded twisted straps. On the Foonf, extra wide straps have been used to prevent twisting, while the seat belts can be easily tucked into the sides of the seat when your child gets in, preventing them from getting stuck underneath your child as they’re getting in (if you’re a new parent, trust me, not having to untwist straps when your child is seated is very important). Once they’re in, pull the belt snug and ensure chest strap is in place and you’re done. The entire process is quick, simple, and virtually error-proof.
When you’re ready to move your child out of the Foonf, Clek offers the Oobr, a child booster seat that really redefines what a booster seat is. Using the same Rigid-LATCH System as the Foonf, installation is quick and perfect every time. Because your child is raised up, proper belt placement over your child’s hips and shoulders is made easier, while the belt guides further encourage proper seat belt positioning.
The Oobr’s doesn’t just protect your child by guaranteeing proper installation though – it was also designed to take impact from front, side and rear collisions much like the Foonf. Fitting children up to 57″ or 100 lbs., the Oobr notes a magnesium back frame, a structural headrest with deep side wings and an energy absorbing foam layer, which again helps absorb energy in the event of a collision. The result is a booster that keeps 4 year old+ kids safer in front, rear and side collisions because it both supports them and help absorb energy at the same time.
Clek Foonf and Oobr Conclusion
As much as the Foonf and Oobr have been designed for safety, they’ve also been designed with comfort and style in mind. Both designs are available in a multitude of colored fabrics in either white or black bases, including three designs by iconic lifestyle brand tokidoki all in materials that are stain, moisture and bacteria resistant. Put it all together, and the Clek Foonf and Clek Oobr are not only among the best, safest and most stylish car seats currently available, but they also solve a problem that myself and so many other families are facing – how to avoid the dreaded mini-van and seat three across. Thankfully, as long you have any standard sized sedan, chances are three Clek car seats will fit. Even if you’re only planning on having two chlidren, I still highly recommend them, as the car seats save so much room over standard convertible and booster car seats that you still have a functional way to include a third adult in your backseat as well.
After using Cleck seats for my family, they’re easily one of the smartest, most intelligently designed car seats I’ve ever used, and I can’t recommend them enough.