Nuna REBL plus - Turning Safety Around
The rise of the 360 degree rotating car seat has seen parents of youngsters jumping for joy, predominantly because, for the first time in years, their backs will permit it after taking a break from the awkward, yoga-esque routine required to lift and buckle their children into the old-school, rigid seats of yesteryear. That's not to say that non-rotating car seats are without their benefits, there's many great models from highly trusted brands that have a lot to offer (particularly i-Size infant carriers such as the BeSafe Izi Go Modular, or for older children the Maxi-Cosi 2wayPearl) however it seems that the market is starting to turn (no pun intended) in favour of this new parent-friendly design, and it's not hard to see why. Swivel car seats are used in conjunction with a base, which not only allows for rotation, but generally offers better stability due to the support leg which props the base against the floor of the car and prevents rotation of the seat. All of these bases come equipped with ISOFIX bayonets, so if your vehicle is fitted with ISOFIX anchorage points, the base can slot directly into the seat back and click into place, providing an additional level of security. If your car seat is designed for relatively long-term use (more than a year or so) the swivel function often serves as a way to transition your child from rearward to forward facing positions without the need to reinstall the seat unit, as well as allowing you to rotate the seat towards the door for loading and unloading, saving you time as well as a premature trip to the chiropractor.
The Nuna REBL Plus is one of the more generous i-Size swivel car seats, accommodating babies right the way from birth to 4 years of age (approximately 40 - 105 cm) thanks to the included removable newborn insert that provides additional cushioning for your tiny passenger. Once your little one reaches 60 cm you can remove the insert, and adjust the headrest of the seat accordingly - the REBL Plus maintains a super snug fit throughout the entirety of its use and is made with well padded, highly durable fabrics that remain soft to the touch. A second airy seat cover is included for use in the summer months, during long journeys, or if the original cover is in the wash, which is a great bonus as usually these come at an additional cost. Speaking of which, although the Nuna REBL Plus is an upgraded version of the original REBL, the R.R.P is actually lower, costing £350 on average as opposed to the £400 customers paid for its predecessor. Due to the additional safety features, the REBL Plus passed the ADAC crash tests, as well as scoring well in the other tested categories in areas such as ergonomics, pollutants, service and cleaning, gaining approval from the club's rigorous car seat testing procedure and proving itself to be an incredibly safe car seat that goes above the required safety measures for the UK.
Nuna began by strengthening the entirety of the new REBL Plus' shell, with a 20% thicker steel wall and 35% stronger steel frame when compared to the original REBL - that's a huge amount when you think about it! Nuna have teamed this newly reinforced shell with a smart side impact protection system that features energy absorbing foam designed to protect your child should you ever find yourself in an accident. Not only this, the REBL Plus exceeds the UK i-Size standard by giving you the option to rear-face your little one all the way to 4 years old, widely recognised as the safest direction of travel for young children. If you or your child decide that it's time to transition to a forward facing position, all you have to do is rotate the seat 180 degrees, thanks to its 360 swivel function, without removing it from the base. This feature is particularly helpful for long legged children who find extended rear facing uncomfortable, however it's really important to remember that in the UK it's a requirement to rear face your little ones until at least 15 months, so whether they like it or not they have to stay put until then!
All these extra safety features do mean that the REBL Plus is a relatively heavy car seat that's best for use in one car, as lifting the seat between two vehicles can be a bit of an undertaking, however once it's installed the bulkiness acts as a reassuring reminder of the seat's sturdiness and ability to protect your child.
To help keep your kiddo comfy, the REBL Plus features 7 recline positions which can easily be adjusted with one hand, and such smooth transitions that you don't have to risk waking a sleeping baby (we all know how that ends). Some users are even claiming to be able to recline the REBL Plus from the driver's seat without disturbing their dozing passenger (although please don't attempt this move while driving!). The padded fabrics on the seat lining and harness straps ensure that your baby isn't constantly awoken by uncomfortable edges and restraints that prevent them from sleeping, while the harness straps have a grippy back to keep them exactly where they should be.
Another great aspect of the Nuna REBL Plus is its longevity. As it's able to take your baby right the way through to toddlerhood, you're spared the trouble of shelling out more money every 1 - 2 years for a new seat, making the £350 retail price suddenly seem incredibly reasonable. And should your little one gain a sibling at some point down the line, the REBL Plus can begin its life cycle again as your 4 year old moves up to their next seat.
The Finer Details
No re-thread 5-point harness makes fastening your little one into their seat super easy, while the 5-point harness ensures less strain is placed on your baby should you find yourself in a collision. Harness holders on the side of the seat keep the straps out of your way during loading and unloading.
Built-in ventilation panels allow for airflow to your baby on warm days. Teamed with the included alternative airy seat cover, you can ensure your little one stays cool during summer drives.
ISOFIX indicators remove the likeliness of human error when installing the car seat, giving clear signals when the base and seat are properly fitted. Additionally, there is a crumple zone within the support leg that is designed to absorb force away from your baby in the event of an accident.
True Lock installation makes for quick and easy installation, clicking into place in moments, while 9 ISOFIX anchor points ensure you can get a snug, custom fit that's perfect for your vehicle.
If you're a little unsure about whether the Nuna REBL Plus is suitable for your car, or you aren't certain where you are able to position the seat, you can find a complete car list of compatible vehicles here. If you're still not sure, contact the retailer or your vehicle manufacturer. Baby & Co offer free car seat fitting, and will be able to tell you ahead of time if the seat is compatible with your vehicle model.