Clek Foonf Car Seat Review 2021 | Tadpole•
Posted on May 18 2021
Clek Foonf is one of the safest convertible car seats on the market in 2021. Its steel magnesium frame, crumple zones inside the base, anti-rebound bar, and easy LATCH forward-facing install mechanism make Foonf as secure as it can be inside a vehicle. Installing the Foonf is the easiest thing in forward facing mode and can be trickiest in the rear facing position because of the additional pieces that need to be attached prior to rear-facing installation. Once you’ve set it up correctly though, Foonf provides one of the tightest installations in both positions.
We'll break down all you need to know about the Clek Foonf convertible car seat in this article including its main features and installation. Foonf is available for sale at Tadpole with a complimentary car seat fitting and/ or install. You can schedule a car seat appointment with one of our certified car seat technicians here.
What is the Foonf Car Seat?
Foonf is a convertible car seat designed for children weighing at least 14 pounds and 25 inches in height who are able to sit up on their own. You could use the Foonf for an infant weighing as little as 5 pounds and 19 inches in height but only with the addition of Clek's infant-thingy which is a mat designed to improve fit to car seat for smaller babies. Clek Foonf has an extended rear-facing weight limit of 50 pounds after which you can turn your child forward-facing and continue to use the seat in the forward-facing mode until the child is 65 pounds or 49 inches in height - whichever comes first.
Overall, Clek Foonf features innovative safety design, uses quality materials, and is one of the narrowest convertibles at only 17 inches wide. If you plan to fit 3-across at some point, Clek Foonf is highly recommended.
Foonf features a five-point harness with five positions for the straps and six height positions for the headrest and two crotch positions to help ensure a proper fit as your child grows. Harness requires rethreading manually, meaning that you will have to detach your harness straps from the latch plate in the back of the seat and then loop the straps through the desired hole and attach them back to the latch plate. Clek recommends always having your straps at the harness slot that is right below the headrest position you're currently using.
Foonf currently comes in two fabrics (Jersey knit and C-Zero Performance) and ten different colors, all available at our store in Boston or via our online shop. The company will be releasing their new and improved Mammoth fabric this July 2021, with the new Merino fashions featuring an all-natural blend of Merino wool + TENCEL that offers improved durability and remains free of any added flame-retardants.
Is Clek Foonf Comfortable?
Foonf is very sturdy but less cushion-y compared to some other convertibles like the Nuna Rava or Cybex Sirona S for example. Foonf is still reasonably comfortable and well padded but if you’re looking for a cushier car seat for a newborn, or smaller infant, you might want to feel out the fabrics and the design in person to make sure it meets your specific needs. Foonf is one of the taller car seats out there which could potentially prevent car sickness since sitting more upright - and seeing more of the horizon - is believed to help children with nausea.
When in the rear-facing mode, Foonf’s anti-rebound bar adds a couple of extra inches of space where baby’s feet go which some parents find to be a little more comfortable for taller toddlers. This extra foot space makes the Foonf stick out a bit further in a vehicle however, so we advise you to do a car seat fitting if possible, something we at Tadpole are happy to help with by using our floor models to test them with your baby and inside your own car.
Foonf recline level has three positions which offers less flexibility when compared to some other convertible car seats i.e Rava which offers 5 recline positions for the rear-facing and 5 for the forward-facing mode. Headrest on the Foonf looks and adjusts the same way your car’s headrest does (via little button on the side and by pushing it up/down) and is padded enough to cocoon the child's head and provide it with a strong side impact protection.
Is Clek Foonf Really Safer?
Safety is where Clek Foonf excels the most. Foonf is designed to provide maximum protection to the child via Clek's revolutionary REACT safety system which according to Clek reduces forces by up to 40%, setting a new standard in child seat safety. Foonf’s REACT (Rapid Energy-Absorbing Crumple Technology) safety system is inspired by automotive safety technology.
“Like the crumple zones that protect us in the cars we drive, the crumple zone system integrated into every Foonf child seat absorbs energy from a collision preventing it from being transmitted to the child, “ says Clek president, Chris Lumley.
Foonf is also engineered with advanced rear-facing and side-impact safety systems. In the rear-facing mode, Foonf features an anti-rebound bar for improved fit and enhanced safety performance. To protect the child in a side-impact collision, Foonf is built on a metal substructure with strategically positioned energy-absorbing foam layers in the sides of the seat and in the adjustable headrest.
Foonf easy-to-use rigid LATCH install mechanism for the forward facing install makes for the securest install we’ve seen. This is because the metal on metal connection is the strongest connection you could ever get when it comes to LATCH and one that would be the strongest to hold the seat anchored in place in case of an impact.Another thing that sets Clek apart is that they are the only car seat company that publishes their crash-test results. If you’re new to crash testing, the most important thing to understand is that all car seats on the market must pass the
Federal safety guidelines outlined in the FMVSS 213, and by doing so the car seats that pass are considered safe. Clek goes further by running and publishing their own crash testing data which shows that their car seats not only pass but exceed these federal safety guidelines. If you’d like to learn more about Clek’s crash testing you can read more about it here.
Is Clek Foonf Easy To Install?
Foonf is one of the easiest forward-facing and one of the trickiest rear-facing installs. Let’s start with the easy, forward facing first. Foonf is the only car seat in the US which features a true rigid LATCH system for the forward-facing configuration which makes the installation practically foolproof. Rigid LATCH not only allows for an effortless install but also provides the strongest— metal on metal— connection between your car seat and your car which will keep your Foonf tight and safe inside your vehicle. Due to the LATCH weight limits, you must use the seatbelt for the forward-facing mode once your child reaches 48 pounds. This is why we always like to install the Foonf with both LATCH and vehicle seatbelt as to avoid forgetting to switch from LATCH to seatbelt once your kid surpasses the LATCH weight limit. Adding the seatbelt is pretty straightforward and takes a few extra minutes of work to secure the seat belt through the belt-path and in between the forward-facing lockoff. One thing that occasionally comes up with the seatbelt is that the lockoff clip could be hard to close once the seatbelt is tightened so you might have to push really hard to close the clip over the seat belt which once it’s closed provides an additional level of safety installation wise. As with any forward-facing install, you must use the top tether to secure the seat from the back of its headrest to the back of the trunk usually (check your manual for the exact location of your car’s top tether anchor points). Top tether limits the forward motion of the seat and thus, the movement of the child, in case of an impact minimizing potential car crash injuries to the child.
When it comes to rear-facing installation, Foonf can feel intimidating at first because of the extra pieces that need to be attached to its base. Foonf uses the anti-rebound bar and a recliner wedge which both need to be assembled onto the base separately and securely, prior to the install. To learn how to attach the wedge and anti-rebound bar onto the Foonf, you can watch our instructional video below.
Once you have your Foonf ready for rear-facing, we recommend installing it with a vehicle seat belt rather than the flexible rear-facing LATCH hooks because 1. ) seat belt installation creates a tighter fit and 2. ) you won’t have to switch from LATCH to seatbelt once your child is over the LATCH rear-facing weight limit of 40 pounds.
To properly install Foonf with the vehicle seatbelt, you will need to open up both lock off clips (colored in blue) which are located underneath the seat cushion, and then route both shoulder and lap belt together, flat underneath both lock offs while insuring the belt goes underneath the tiny black tabs designed to keep the seatbelt without any twists. This could be a little tricky to do since you have to balance keeping your seatbelt straight and tight (but not too tight) at the same time. To learn more about the installation step by step refer to our Foonf rear-facing installation video below.
The downside to this seat and its rear-facing installation is similar to some of the other seats whose belt path is under the seat bottom and requires the seat to be dismantled. While the forward-facing install does not require lifting up the seat cushion to reveal the seatbelt path, you will still have to open it up in order to move the crotch buckle to the forward, ie. most outward position to ensure the proper fit to the child. Rear-facing is once again a little more convoluted, and it does require putting on additional parts, so you'll need to allow some time and space for that if you’re planning to do it yourself.
Overall, installing the Foonf requires attention to detail and could be finicky to perform depending on your vehicle and angle of the seat which is why we always recommend testing the seat out first prior to purchase, especially if you own a smaller vehicle or need to fit 3 seats across. On the other hand, a nice thing about the Foonf car seat is that if installed properly, it will provide you with the most secure fit and feel no matter whether rear or forward facing. As with any car seat installation, always make sure your car seat doesn't move more than 1” at the belt path (and more than 1” back to forth in the back for the forward facing installation featuring the top tether).
Is the Foonf Easy to Clean?
Foonf fabrics are not supposed to be removed and are recommended for spot cleaning only. Clek’s C-Zero Plus Performance fabrics are however said to be resistant to spills and stains, but it’s always questionable how well these will perform over time. Their high-performance fabric is GreenGuard Select Certified and also said to provide permanent protection against moisture, and odor-causing bacteria. Clek’s C-Zero Plus fabrics as well as their Merino wool collection (re-launching this July) are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants.
The way to clean your Foonf of harder stains is to try lightly brushing or scraping off the residue and then wiping the surface with water. If a spot still remains, apply a mild detergent to fabric with a light water mist and work on the area using a soft brush, or edge of spoon, from outside of the spot towards the middle. Allow the solution to work for approximately one minute and then remove with clean water or blot with a clean soft towel.
How Long Does the Foonf Last For?
The Clek Foonf has a 9 year expiration. The sticker with the date of manufacture can be found on the back bottom of your seat, above the FAA stickers.
Clek warrants to the original purchaser that their seat will be free from defects in material and workmanship for one (1) year from the date of original purchase. During the Warranty Period, Clek will repair or replace the product if it is found by the manufacturer to be defective. To make a claim under the Clek warranty, please contact Clek directly at 1-866-656-2462.
After your child outgrows the seat, Foonf lives on. Clek is one of the rare eco-friendly manufacturing companies that has formed a strategic partnership network throughout North America to manage the disassembly of their seats and offers recycling of the individual components via their Car Seat Recycling Program.
For any questions regarding the Foonf in general including the car fitting or installation questions, feel free to contact our experts at 617-778-1788 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tadpole is located at 58 Clarendon Street, in the South End, Boston, MA and is dedicated to providing parents with relevant safety information about children’s car seats and their installation.
Written by Anica Vujanic, owner of Tadpole and an active Certified Passenger Safety Technician.
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