This blog doesn’t mention the small changes made for 2016 on the Clek convertible car seats, but you can hear all about them here in our coverage of the ABC Kids Expo at our Youtube channel! These changes in no way affect any of the features Mike describes here.
One of the most difficult conversations we have in our stores regularly is the difference between the two Clek convertible car seats: the Clek Foonf and the Clek Fllo. Clek is by far the staff favorite, and one of the companies that feel like we’re all truly passionate about.
First of all, there’s a few reasons you should go Clek, regardless of model. One of the key factors for me is that they publish their safety testing results, which is vanishingly rare among any manufacturers. These seats perform so well in their testing, which includes speeds up to 45 mph as well as side impact testing, that they follow their hearts and publish them for the world to see.
In the US car seat environment, companies aren’t required to share this information, nor are their testing strategies as inclusive or in-depth. To quote the website of Evenflo, another competing manufacturer, the typical testing standards are as follows:
“(US) Car seat safety standards require a frontal impact test with a 30 mph velocity change.This approximates the crash forces generated in a collision between a vehicle traveling 60 mph and a parked car of similar mass, or the energy produced in a fall from a three story building. There are currently no provisions in the U.S. and Canadian standards for side impact testing.The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is in the early stages of developing a child side impact test standard.”
In contrast, you can see what tests were performed on the Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat and how they came out here, and the results for the Clek Fllo here. The trust in their own products to speak for themselves speaks volumes!
More things to love about Clek:
- They have the most comprehensive installation guidelines possible, complete with a Youtube channel loaded with step-by-step videos you can watch here!
- They have a recycling policy, where they will take back any car seat that has been in an accident so that the whole piece is properly recycled to ensure minimal impact on the environment.
- The company was born from a car part manufacturer and has therefore been intimately acquainted with the safety mechanisms in place in cars themselves, for better compatibility.
- They’re based in Canada and manufactured in North America, ensuring high manufacturing standards (and shrinking their carbon footprint through less shipping).
Most of that is just in praise of the company and their rigorous efforts to make these seats top quality – I haven’t even gotten to their safety features, which is what I know you REALLY want to hear about! To get down to the basics, the Foonf and Fllo convertible car seats are built to react to collisions in a similar manner, but mostly differ in the rigidity of their construction, or, to put it in layman’s terms, how armor-like the car seat will feel.
The primary difference between the two seats is that the Foonf has a rigid LATCH system, and their entire safety system, called REACT, is built off of it. This is how they describe how REACT works on the Clek site:
“In a collision, the vehicle comes to an abrupt stop, but the child continues to move at the same speed. The less time that it takes for the child to come to a complete stop, the higher the forces exerted on the child. The REACT Safety System allows that sudden change in momentum to happen over a longer period of time through a series of controlled events. Foonf is designed to ride down the collision crumpling the aluminum honeycomb and absorbing energy from the collision resulting in less force transferred to the child.”
The Fllo uses the EACT system, offering a different range of motion and slightly less reduction of momentum in the event of a forward collision. You can read about why Clek decided to create this slight variation on the well-loved Foonf in our interview with Clek founder Chris Lumley! The short version: it’s great for families who plan on solely installing their car seat in the middle seat, which rarely has LATCH anchors. So instead of building the safety system around the rigid LATCH system, it’s tailored for installation with your safety belt.
On top of this the Fllo is also a wonderful option for those with smaller cars and those who travel frequently. The seat weighs a mere 28 pounds compared to the beastly 38 pounds of the Foonf: this makes it better for grandparents, or people who don’t drive frequently with their baby but will need to use the seat in a taxi or a Zipcar on occasion. Its got a simple, lightning quick install and a lower price point, plus the trusted Clek name!
A few features that both seats have in common:
- Both are only 17” across, the narrowest on the market, making them great for plane rides and fitting 3 across! (The other brand that we carry that can fit three across with some seats is Diono: you can read an in-depth comparison of their seats at our blog here.)
- Both seats are equipped with a fully steel reinforced headrest that offers added protection/stability to the frame.
- Both seats also have an anti-rebound bar, which acts as a stabilizing device, reducing forward momentum, while also helping to facilitate extended rear-facing for children until 43 inches. This allows for a child’s entire stay in this seat to be rear facing, which speaks for itself when tested.
- Both seats have top-quality Crypton-treated fabrics and the anti-rebound bar. The fabrics are treated with a hospital-grade stain prevention solution that doesn’t allow liquids to set, forcing them to stay beaded up on the surface and requiring just a few wipes to clean. Watch what happens when cola gets poured on Crypton fabric:
The Foonf was developed to bring rigid latch technology to the US, and that technology is peculiarly special. You may have heard of the recent law that states the upper weight limits of LATCH technology, but Clek has a way around this: Clek’s rigid LATCH is saved from obsolescence because rigid LATCH allows you to BOTH seat belt install as well as LATCH install simultaneously, which is not an installation method that is recommended for most other seats.
If you don’t know what rigid LATCH is, check out these images. One is clearly tethered to a belt, the other fully steel and built into the car seat itself. Rigid LATCH connectors require no tightening at all and just click in with a quick push. The release mechanisms are even on the front of the seat, requiring no finagling into the bite of the seat trying to reach a sequestered LATCH that has been pulled so tight it is hard to even click the button to remove it!
There’s always options at easier price points for most families, but the effort put into these seats and the no holds barred approach to both safety and luxury gives you amazing bang for your buck!