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Capsules are used for newborns in the first six months or in the first year of baby’s life, if they still fit into the seat. An infant capsule is rearward-facing (as opposed to forward facing car seats and booster seats) with an inbuilt harness. This is the Australian legal requirement and car safety standards for babies under six months.
They are also used as carriers and may be attached to a pram without moving the baby when getting in and out of the car. This is very convenient for a tiny sleeping baby, as well as for the new parents in their early days of parenthood. It allows parents to do leisure or other activities, with the peace of mind of their baby’s comfort and security.
One thing to bear in mind is that most sleep safety experts and infant health groups claim that babies should not nap in their car seats outside the car, and should spend as little time as possible in the car seat.
Whenever you make a pause, baby should be taken out of the capsule and placed in a vertical position for several minutes. Although these types of car seats provide ultimate protection rating and positioning of the newborn, still, the time spent in them should be limited in a couple of hours at most.
It can be very difficult to make the right choice when there are so many options available on the market and each one of them sounds good enough. Once reading this article, you will know what to look for and how to make a sound decision.
So, here’s a handy list with the best baby capsules on the Australian market. At the end of this article we’ve also put together a buying guide on how to choose a baby capsule, and the most important features to look out for.
1. Maxi Cosi Mico Plus
Improved baby capsule for extra comfort and safety
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Our top choice for the best baby capsule to buy today is Maxi Cosi Mico, one of Australia’s most popular capsules. It's an isofix compatible model , which has experienced several improvements in its extendable UPF 50+ sun protection with side mesh inserts for continuous air flow and magnetic harness holders enabling easier placement of the child.
It has a Cool Baby bamboo wicking fabric which keeps baby cool and comfortable in the heat and draws moisture from the baby’s skin. The “Air Protect” side protection shields baby’s head from impact, and the improved ISOFIX fitment makes installation a breeze.
This capsule comes with a lifetime warranty, which certainly justifies its higher price. Another great feature is that it is compatible with a large range of strollers, such as Bugaboo, Joolz and Stokke.
It comes in a wide range of colours to choose from, which we find very attractive, especially when pairing it with the pram. Another great feature is that it has a lifetime warranty and accident exchange service.
Its main drawbacks are probably the deep infant seat without an included support wedge and the weight of 7.8 kg.
2. Baby Jogger City Go
City baby capsule in the mid-price range
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The Baby Jogger baby capsule is a safe place for baby’s journeys, with an easy-install 6-position adjustable base. Also, it has a possibility to be fixed with either the ISOFIX Compatible Connection System or belt lock-off for the seatbelt.
It is easy to use with the tether strap so that it attaches in the vehicle without much effort. It’s then even easier to adjust the headrest and harness with one-hand, and ensure a safely secured and properly positioned baby.
This capsule itself weights 4.74 kg and the base 2.9 kg. For the parents fond of travelling by plane, it is good to know that it is well approved for aircraft use.
The Baby Jogger City Go capsule protects the infant from the sun’s rays with the extended UV 50+ canopy. Parents find this all season capsule to be a good bang for their buck. It’s suitable for babies born in the cold winters who need special protection from wind, rain and snow, as well as those born in sunny and hot days.
The only negative feature is that it is compatible only with Baby Jogger Prams, though some parents find it as a suitable and convenient match since it offers many great options at a good price. This company offers a range of baby strollers, prams and similar products with high quality and durability.
3. Cybex Cloud Q Infant Carrier
Ideal capsule for premature and small babies
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One of the best baby capsules on the market is definitely the Cloud Q Infant Carrier. Its special feature is the ergonomic lie-flat position for use outside the car which is an innovative travel system, complemented by a telescopic linear side-impact protection, which stabilises the child’s car seat in case of a crash.
Another extraordinary characteristic is the 11 position height-adjustable headrest, which makes this capsule ideal for premature and very small babies. Its lie-flat feature provides a safe way to keep baby sleeping while we drive.
Also, it has an extendable, UVP50++ sun canopy that protects against sun, wind and rain. The capsule can be conveniently fitted in the car using the Q-Fix ISOFIX base, or with a seatbelt.
Its drawback is mainly the 6.8 kg weight without the base, due to the extra layback features, which might be difficult for the parents to carry around.
Although the price is a bit higher in comparison to the other capsules in the market, its utmost performances show that it is a premium infant carrier offering outstanding safety in and outside of the car. It is also a confirmed winner in the Group 0+ according to a 2015 German testing.
4. Recaro Performance Coupe
Stylish and comfortable capsule with excellent performance features
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This stylish capsule, with chrome frame and woven luxe fabric weighs only 4.5 kg. One of the most extraordinary features it possesses is the memory foam seating, providing health benefits and great sleep for the newborn.
Also, the side impact protection significantly reduces the risk of injury in a collision. It has 5 different height position adjustments with a one-handed pull and it is very suitable for parents with an active lifestyle.
The Recaro Performance Coupe provides a high level of protection by positioning the shoulder pads to appropriately fit the child’s neck, head and shoulders. It provides superior comfort and resists harness twisting while ensuring proper chest clip positioning.
It is a long lasting capsule with an extra-large extended canopy which is very easy to use and has satisfying comfort and quality.
We find that the LATCH system is a little complicated, so it might take longer than usual for some parents to perform the first installation. When taking into consideration this product, future parents must also know that it is not exactly suitable for a premature baby and it may not fit correctly in a small vehicle.
5. Britax Safe-n-Sound Unity Infant Carrier
Excellent for small vehicles and compatible with many strollers
This infant capsule has a high performance fabric with Bamboo Charcoal heat and sweat regulating ability and offers a comfortable and quality trip for baby. It can be compatible with many products available on the market and it is very good for small cars.
This is an excellent baby capsule for low birth weight and premature babies due to the included insert, shoulder pads and crotch pads for additional support. Travelling parents should also know that it is suitable for aircraft use as it weighs just 4.4 kg.
Another great feature is its ISOFLEX installation, which is easy to use and connect, as well as the EPS foam and high side walls providing maximum side impact protection. Also, it has a large sun canopy for perfect sun protection when outdoor.
The rotating carry handle allows us to smoothly convert the capsule, without disturbing baby.
Though parents mostly praise this capsule, if your child is a term baby, she will outgrow it pretty quickly.
6. Maxi Cosi Citi Newborn Baby Capsule
The lightest baby capsule on the Australian market
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The Maxi Cosi Baby Capsule is the lightest on the market and it weighs only 3.2 kg and parents are especially happy with this fact. It is easy to install into your vehicle and compatible with several strollers, which creates a flexible travel system and easy baby transport.
The European styling fabrics are easy to clean and can be thrown in washing machines pretty easily. There is also a removable padded infant insert for baby’s comfort and pull up hood with UPF 50+ rating that protects the baby from the sun.
The ergonomic handlebar enables easy carrying of your infant while comfortably seated in this quality and stylish capsule.
The Lifetime Warranty and Accident Exchange Service are also to be taken into consideration when purchasing a capsule. We believe it’s worth the money, and mostly like the safety this very light carrier provides.
The only issue we found is the difficulty in adjusting the headrest for tiny babies and premature babies. For that reason we recommend this capsule for parents of term babies.
7. Safety 1st One Safe Baby Capsule
Budget friendly and lightweight baby capsule
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The last baby capsule is also a light weighted one, only 3.5 kg. It includes harness pads and head hugger for extra comfort and it has a removable and machine washable cover.
It is compatible with selected Safety 1st, Maxi-cosi & Bertini strollers. Great feature is also the 5-point adjustable safety harness and the ergonomically designed carry handle, as well as shoulder harness protectors.
It is often described as a well cushioned and very comfortable place for baby’s naps while driving around or having a walk.
We love that it is a lightweight and extremely safe carrier, with a great design, easy to clip in and out of the base. We also love that it removes fast from its base, with small effort and the fact that it has an affordable price. It also has a high rating for safety which is the most important feature when choosing a good capsule.
If we had to be picky, we’d say that the removable canopy is somewhat inconveniently attached to the handle, but that is not a huge concern. Other than that, we believe the Safety 1st to be the best affordable baby capsule for Australian families.
How to choose a baby capsule
Parents that have decided to provide absolute safety travel experience to their baby should definitely buy a capsule and enjoy the comfort and security of their newborn.
What they also must remember is that a baby cannot be left unattended in the car seat, and the time spent in the seat should be limited.
There are several factors to be taken into consideration in order to choose the best one for the whole family.
Safety and Australian standards
The capsule should have a label indicating that it meets the mandatory safety standard AS/NSZ 1754 (either 2004, 2010 or 2013). One of the most important aspects is the safety that the capsule provides for the baby. The seats that are tested and assessed by the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) are found to be a reliable source in satisfying not only the minimum safety requirements, but also the overall performance of the car seat. Therefore take a close look at the ratings in different areas of concern prior to making your final decision.
Compatibility and Installation
You should make sure that the baby capsule fits in your car, and there is enough place for the driver, so don’t forget to check the compatibility of the car seat with your vehicle. Nevertheless, not only with your vehicle, but also, check the compatibility with the stroller you will be using for the capsule itself or for the pram in future.
Also, the installation might be ISOFIX or non-ISO, and you may use only one of these methods, even though some carriers offer both options. This is an important feature and preference, so make sure you know which type of carrier you are buying and the possibility to install it in your car. Parents find some capsules difficult and complicated for installation and usage afterwards. Make sure that you know the drill prior to start using it.
Adaptability and Ease of Use
Check the handle, is it easy and pleasant to use, ergonomically designed or not? Whether there is a possibility for smooth adjustment in multiple positions? It is important to try all these things so that you know if it fits your needs. If you are planning some plane trips, make sure to check the aircraft certification of the capsule.
As you may see, in the list we’ve placed special attention on providing this information since it is easily overlooked. Your baby will grow up so quickly that, if you do buy a heavy carrier, it might be quite difficult to move around and transfer it.
Although newborn babies tend to sleep while they are driven, still the areas where babies reside should be clean and hygienic. Therefore make sure that the baby capsule material is easy and practical for cleaning, preferably machine washable.
Value for Money
Bear in mind that this product will only be used for several months, and afterwards you will need another car seat (here's a selection of convertible car seats). Therefore make sure that the whole travel system fits your budget and it is affordable for your family. It is important to know the products and their main differences so that you make a decision without any extreme burden to your budget.
Last, but not least, the stylish features of the carriers are very important to the new moms and their lifestyle. Therefore take your time in choosing the most harmonious composition of safety features accompanied with your colour and design preferences.