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Cybex has always been a fan favorite for Magic Beans staff, as a company with a mind for safety, engineering, and aesthetic. It’s rare that a company really focuses so intensely on all three of these, and the new, long-awaited Cybex Cloud Q Infant Car Seat reflects all of these values.
Cybex really upped the ante this past year with the US introduction of the world-famous Cybex Priam Stroller. It’s a real attention-grabber, with mélange fabrics, a minimalist aesthetic, and yes, even the option of substituting skis for wheels! It brings a touch of German class to the US stroller market (despite being inspired mostly by an American architect).
The Cloud Q is Cybex’s newest attempt to capture the hearts and minds of suburban and urban families throughout America, with one very unique feature: it reclines so that your baby can lie flat when he’s not in your car! But before we get to that, let’s give you a little background.
Cybex was previously popular at Magic Beans mostly for the Cybex Aton Q Infant Car Seat, which is one of the highest-end items to still get great ratings on Consumer Reports, as well as one of the most beautifully designed and well-engineered car seats out there. As with the Priam and those skis, the Aton Q has some real one-of-a-kind features, including those unusual little arms that can telescope out of the sides of the seat: they’re called Lateral Side Impact Protection (or LSP).
This is the only side-impact feature on the American market that is not foam-based, and it works like this: you pull out the telescoping arm on the side closer to the car door, and in the event of a side impact, the LSP transfers crash forces into the car seat’s shell and channels those forces away from your baby.
The Aton Q has also won high marks for additional safety features like European Belt Path Installation. This installation method is the best way to install your seat without the base, which you’ll need to do if you’re riding with your baby in a taxi, Zipcar, or Uber. The Aton Q’s base also feature a load leg, which reduces downward rotation, stabilizing the car seat in the event of a forward collision. The load leg is more common on European seats, but it’s a feature you’ll only find on Cybex and Nuna infant car seats in the US.
Finally, the Aton Q uses the same installation technology that Britax’s famous Clicktight system is based on. When installing the base into your car, it uses a belt tensioning plate. So whether your car requires seat belt or allows LATCH installation, you’re guaranteed one of the tightest installs imaginable, and that makes it one of the safest installs! You can watch me demonstrating this system on the Cloud Q infant car seat here:
The reason I focus so intently on the Aton Q in a blog about the new Cloud Q is that the Cloud Q is a very similar seat when it’s in your car: the exciting difference happens when you take it OUT of the car, and stretch it out to recline.
The reclining feature is great for so many reasons. Most representatives for the car seats that we sell will tell us babies should be in their infant car seat no longer than 2-3 hours at a time without breaks. This is because, while the infant car seat is an indispensable piece of safety equipment, the more-upright position that it places your baby in isn’t ideal for their breathing, and also may not be ideal for spinal development.
With the reclining seat on the Cloud Q, you can enjoy all the convenience of toting your baby around in her car seat and popping it onto your stroller without worry: just push the button and it flattens out! It allows baby to rest in a comfortable, near-flat position, eliminating the risk associated with the cocoon or egg-shaped seats most babies are stuck in. While it doesn’t offer the unfettered comfort of an open bassinet, it definitely gives some parents peace of mind, if only because they can keep their baby in the harness while lying flat. The flattened position also increases ventilation for a breezier ride with less possibility of overheating. You can see the Cloud Q in the flat position on a variety of our favorite strollers here:
On top of this, they made some improvements the Aton Q has needed for a while now. A few European car seats have piggy-backed on the popularity of Maxi Cosi in the US by using their adapter, but the trickiness of those adapters (which I mention/illustrate in the previously mentioned video review) is that they require leaning over the handlebar and using two hands, sometimes requiring bigger than average hands to get a good grip on the buttons. They changed the area the buttons are located to be more helpful for smaller-handed people, as well as making the whole motion much more fluid.
The Aton Q has also always been known as particularly small, which has been partially addressed in this new iteration. The length has been drastically increased (which required an XXL canopy!), bringing it closer to the Doona or the Nuna Pipa, which are both nearing 32” in length and accommodate babies longer due to this length. Unfortunately, adding the mechanism that allows it to lay flat has also inflated its weight to near-Doona levels, and the Doona has wheels it has to account for! But that’s a compromise you may want to make, depending on how you’ll be using the seat.
In the video, I also mentioned an update to the install without the base. To elaborate, the Cloud Q still uses the European method of clipping the shoulder belt behind the shell of the car seat, but Cybex made updates to the handlebar to help make the install sturdier. The bar is actually required to go forward and not backward now, acting as an anti-rebound bar that sits up against the seat and reduces forward momentum with nearly the same stability as the load leg.
All of this being said, who is this seat really for? If you’re doing a lot of city strolling with a new baby, a stroller bassinet is ideal since it keeps baby in that ideal lie-flat position, and since the Cloud Q functions like a bassinet, this will let you skip that extra purchase (which I would argue makes it worth the extra cost). It’s also going to be excellent paired with strollers that don’t ordinarily come with bassinets – for instance, if you love the Bugaboo Bee3, you can substitute the Cloud Q for the optional bassinet.
Finally: even if you already have a bassinet, the Cybex Cloud Q Infant Car Seat will still be a great addition to your rotating roster of baby gear! It’s an all-in-one seat that keeps baby safe, snug and comfortable whether you’re on the go or just taking a walk around your neighborhood. Come see it at Magic Beans today!