A Peek at the Nuna Pipa: review and giveaway!

imageNuna what Say it with us, it’s fun! Nuna Pipa (NEW-nuh PIP-uh). See You’re smiling, aren’t you!

Nuna is a Dutch company making their debut in the Canadian car seat market but are already well established with other sleek and attractive Euro-styled baby items, so the name may be familiar.

The Pipa advertises a five-second installation and in many vehicles that is in fact true. “Yeah right,”you say! Watch here for a video tour and see it in action.

Seat Specs:

  • Rear-facing only seat to accommodate children 4-35lbs and up to 32″ tall and whose head is at least 1″ below the top of the carrier
  • Three harness positions:
    • Lowest harness position with low birth weight insert: ~5.5″
    • Highest harness position with all inserts removed: ~8.5″
  • Two crotch buckle slots with multiple positioning options. Note: measurement indicates approximate depth to crotch buckle location: ~3″ (with ability to shorten for small babies and both inserts in place) / 4.5″ with single insert in place / 6.5″ / 7.5″
  • Flexible seat padding options:
    • low birth weight under-bum pillow that tucks tidily away; reduces space between baby’s crotch and crotch buckle for an excellent newborn/preemie fit
    • full-body insert in plush fabric; machine washable
    • optional harness pads
    • optional crotch buckle pad

Seat Features:

The Pipa features a long list of premium ease of use features that are sure to delight the most imagediscerning parent. Look for photos below this list of highlights.

  • True Lock installation with rigid UAS makes for a quick and easy installation with lower anchors (note – vehicle must have lower anchors in the seating position of choice)
  • Included funnel guides for UAS installation (photo below)
  • Dream Drape for privacy and protection from the elements (and touchy feely strangers)
  • Well-placed mesh ventilation and peep holes to keep an eye on babe from any direction
  • Elegant fabrics in sophisticated colours and textures that are well-fitted, snugly sewn, and machine washable. Currently available in two fashions: Graphite (shown here) and Night (black).
  • Allows a European belt routing when installed baseless (more on that later in the “fit to vehicle” section)
  • Lightweight carrier with comfortable handle
  • Compatible with many strollers with either Nuna or Maxi Cosi adapters
  • Seven year useful life period from date of manufacture, or date of purchase with original receipt
  • Available online and in store at boutiques across Canada for $399.99; extra bases also available

True Lock installation with rigid UAS is truly lightning fast in many vehicles. A red/green indicator button makes it clear whether the installation is complete. The included optional funnel guides (black plastic casing on split image) make a UAS installation easier for vehicles with buried lower anchors by exposing them. They work particularly well on flatter vehicle seats.

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The Dream Drape tucks away ingeniously into the seat’s canopy and when zipped up looks tidy and neat. Best used for the smaller occupants who don’t have the ability or awareness to kick it out of place, or for an older child who is sleeping. It might also be handy to keep curious older siblings out of baby’s space when seated next to each other in the car. The lower tabs are magnetic and attach easily and snugly to the outer edge of the carrier with no velcro or buckles to fuss with.

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Well-placed mesh ventilation in the canopy and Dream Drape allows one to keep an eye on sleeping babe from all angles.

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Elegant fabric in attractive colours and textures make for a stylish ride. Featured throughout this review is Graphite (grey), also available in Night (black).

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Ergonomic handle makes for an easier time carrying baby. There is sufficient clearance between the raised canopy and the handle to easily fit a hand. If you prefer to carry in the crook of your elbow lowering the canopy is likely necessary.

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Easy carrier release located on the base (not the carrier like many other seats). Not a pro or a con per se, just different.

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Fit to Child:

The Pipa fits a broad range of children, providing a customizable fit with flexibility in crotch buckle positioning, included inserts, harness pads, and crotch buckle pad. As always consult the manual to know when and how to adjust these features. The Pipa fit my newborn/preemie doll (approximately a 5-6lb, 18″ baby) beautifully. At the other end of the fit spectrum a 24lb 11 month old was nearing both the standing height and clearance above his head. Like most seats the Pipa will be outgrown first by height, but with the 32″ limit and tall shell it’s a market leader for longevity.

The largest child I tested at 24lbs and 31″ tall, this 11 month old had ample harness length left (sometimes a concern at the top end of a seat), and no issues at all with crotch buckle length or ease of buckling. If this was his seat I’d be advising his parents to get shopping for the next seat to continue to rear face him in. Shorter-torsoed kids will last to the full standing height but it’s important not to exceed any stated limit for a car seat.

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At 3 months and 14lbs, 5 months and 18lbs, and 9 months and 20lbs these cuties demonstrate nicely just how great the fit is in the Pipa for differently shaped babies. The parent testers liked the feel and fit, and huge thanks to them and their offspring for giving the Pipa a go. Use of cloth or disposable diapers will affect whether any inserts are needed at smaller sizes but you can see with the youngest baby that she already fits without it. That bodes extremely well for the teeny tinies who sometimes don’t fit well in seats.

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Fit to Vehicle:

Fit to vehicle varied widely. I loved the Pipa very much in vehicles with lower anchors (anything 2003 or newer), and with vehicle seats that are not extremely sloped. In most of the test vehicles I tried it installed really well, sometimes in as little as seconds. In others I needed to adjust the recline angle but was still relatively simple. If you are considering the Pipa it should be for its strength for use with rigid UAS. It is light weight (9.4lbs fully decked out with canopy and all infant padding), and really compact front-to-back.

If you do not have lower anchors in the seating position where you want to use it, if your vehicle seat is extremely sloped, or if you have a tight three-across seating situation I would strongly urge you to try this seat before you purchase it. Take the time to visit a boutique store and install it. The seat belt installation is challenging, and can not be used at all with seat belts “forward of the bight,” meaning seat belts that anchor forward of the natural crease between seat back and seat bottom.

Despite the seat belt challenges, the successes were many. In all vehicles the front seat was either all the way back, or sufficiently back that my 5’8″ self could very comfortably sit in the passenger seat. If you are significantly taller or like to lean your seat way back (not safe for you – don’t do that!) you might not find it quite as roomy as I did.

Huge thanks to Acura of Barrie, Barrie Mitsubishi, Moffatt’s Mazda, and Georgian BMW for allowing me to test fit in your showrooms on a cold and blizzardy day!

2012 Honda Civic

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2016 Mazda 3 sedan (red) and Mazda CX-5 (black)

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2016 Acura MDX behind the passenger and centre (this vehicle has centre UAS).

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2016 Mitsubishi Lancer

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2016 Mitsubishi RVR (white) and Outlander (black)

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2016 BMW X5 was ultimately successful but required some effort and technique to achieve the correct recline (yellow noodle is there for that purpose). Initially the base ‘hovered’ as shown in the first picture. Don’t despair – it weights down once the carrier (and baby) are in place, and is simply an artifact of the rigid UAS.

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A similar “hover” was experienced in a 2012 Ford F-150 extended cab but again, with the weight of the carrier in place it settled down and was an excellent fit, leaving lots of room in the passenger seat AND being narrow enough to tumble the 60 side of the 40/60 split. The amount of overhang shown here is permitted, just. Be wary if you have very shallow back seats.

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Fit in a 2012 Odyssey was terrific, both in the 2nd row captain’s seats and the 3rd row outboard seats. The UAS installation is demonstrated in the video tour here. Pictured below is a baseless installation with Euro routing. This routes the shoulder belt around the back of the carrier, tucking into the bracket made just for this purpose, and enables a snug installation even baseless. While extra bases can be purchased, a baseless installation is a handy skill to learn.

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If you have a lap belt only, or your lap/shoulder belt isn’t long enough to route as shown don’t fret – traditional routing is also approved. Already a compact seat, a baseless installation means the Pipa will fit in even the smallest of spaces, and makes this 2012 Civic look enormous!

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Should you find yourself wanting to do a seat belt installation there is a large, easy to open and close lock-off for this purpose. It clamps the belt and holds it tightly. I had difficulty achieving a tight installation at the appropriate recline, while keeping the seat belt flat in the lock-off in the vehicles I tested. While doable, it’s not easy to accomplish, and is not where the Pipa shines. If you must use a seat belt in your vehicle it would be worthwhile to consider other options unless you can try in advance and know the Pipa will work for you.

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Final thoughts:

We first laid eyes on the Pipa at a trade show last year…and we’re so glad to see it finally here! It’s aimage
very good option in many vehicles and features some lovely finishing touches that we like a lot.

Pros:

  • lickety split UAS installation that truly couldn’t be easier — provided the seating location has lower anchors and the vehicle seat isn’t crazily sloped
  • beautiful finishing details on fabric and inserts
  • long lasting for height and weight
  • fabulous fit to child

Cons:

  • challenging seat belt installation may result in it being incompatible in seating positions without UAS

If I knew for certain that this seat worked where I wanted it to in my vehicle (and a baby was in my future…alas, I am done!) this seat would absolutely top my list. It’s lovely in many circumstances but where it isn’t…it really isn’t. Consider it for your family if you can be sure ahead of time that it works in your vehicle, or better yet, try it for yourself. It will be well worth the time and effort to do so because if it is an option for you…it’s dreamy.

Big thanks to Nuna Canada (here on Facebook) for providing the seat used in this review, but as always, all opinions are our own.

HUGE thanks to Nuna Canada for offering up another one for YOU! Enter to win a Nuna Pipa in Night (black) by using the Rafflecopter widget below. Please note that comments are moderated, meaning yours won’t show up immediately.

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