Clek Infant Thingy: Absolutely Outstanding

20150414_130615_resizedClek continues to blow us away with exceptionally well-designed and executed products, and the latest addition to their family of funkily-named products (totally a real word) is the “Infant Thingy.”

Not a stand-alone infant seat, the Infant Thingy is an add-on to Clek’s previously reviewed and loved Foonf and Fllo and enables use of either of those seats from birth.  Disclaimer #1: I do not have a newborn of my own anymore. Disclaimer #2: I didn’t drive around with a doll pretending to be my newborn while testing the Infant Thingy although the thought did cross my mind. Not creepy at all, right?

Are you reading this in confusion, wondering how on earth a person is supposed to use an infant/child, aka convertible seat, from birth? Don’t you have to use an infant-style seat instead? No my friends, no you do not. Many choose to, and for those really tiny babies who need a low birth weight seat I would continue to suggest that you do to ensure best fit on the tiniest humans, but for the average 5lb+ newborn do consider a Foonf or Fllo plus Infant Thingy right off the bat.  This means you probably need some kind of baby wearing plan but that’s not a topic we’ll cover here.

 

20150412_090534_resizedHere’s what you need to properly use an Infant Thingy:

1. An infant, or one on the way, who is between 5-22lbs and 19-33″ tall.

2. A Clek Foonf or Fllo to put said Infant Thingy in.

3. A vehicle in which a Foonf or Fllo properly installs.

4. A strong desire to say fun-sounding words like Foonf, Fllo, and Thingy.

 

 

 

 

The Infant Thingy comes only in black, but it coordinates nicely with all of the colours I had handy to contrast it with. There are a few solids and prints missing from this spread – see the full range for Fllo and Foonf.

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Some important things to note:

  • 2015 models of Foonf and Fllo will ship with an extra set of lower harness slots (6 instead of 5), positioned just at the top edge of the Infant Thingy when installed in the seat (all seats pictured here are older and have only 5). Some seats, produced during the transition phase, might have an extra slot in the shell of the seat but not in the fabric cover. That’s okay, just use the lowest slot apparent in the cover.
  • 2014 and 2013 seats can still be used with the Infant Thingy, it just means the harness will fit the baby a bit differently, and that’s okay too.

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  • The long-standing rule that when rear-facing the harness must come from at or BELOW the child’s shoulders is tossed out the window when using the Infant Thingy for a very small baby. Clek has assured us that it is absolutely fine to use the Infant Thingy even if baby’s shoulders are lower than the lowest harness position on your seat. For real. Once baby’s shoulders do reach that level though we revert back to AT or BELOW for choosing which harness slot to use.

When using the Infant Thingy the manual for it trumps the manual for the seat, such as the instructions for harness position as above. If there is a point of confusion Clek’s fabulous customer service team is always available to answer your questions.

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When using any seat it’s extremely important to make sure you’re reclining it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For newborns it’s absolutely critical to make sure you’ve reclined the seat as much as is allowed to protect the baby’s airway.  Thankfully both Foonf and Fllo are reasonably compact even when at the most reclined level. The car seat head rest is removed when using the upper head support attachment piece of the Infant Thingy, because that’s what the instructions say to do.

 

When I first began putting the Infant Thingy into my Foonf (shown in pink in all photos here) I realized that if you don’t read the manual you’re going to probably make some errors.  Not that it’s complicated – not at all – but don’t think it’s just some comfy fluff to pad your baby’s derriere. Like all things car seat reading the manual is really important.

You need to put the head support pad on right way up. If you do it upside down it will gape and not sit nicely at all, possibly compromising baby’s airway. Simple to fix though – pop the plastic tabs back through the harness slot and flip it around.

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Similarly the routing of the hip strap OVER the hip support flap needs to be done with care, otherwise you’ll get bunching and a poorly fitting harness on baby.

hip strap routing

 

Lastly, if your baby is small enough that you need to remove harness length to ensure proper tightness, route it as shown relative to the splitter plate (on the back of the seat). The extra loop of harness length will slide more easily along the underside of the seat as you tighten it for a small baby. How tight is tight enough? Until it passes the pinch test with no excess slack in the webbing.

splitter plate routing

 

It’s very easy to adjust the crotch buckle on Foonf or Fllo to maximize fit on your baby. With use of the Infant Thingy only you may use the longer or shorter crotch buckle length on the inner slot of the car seat. This means you can lengthen or shorten the crotch buckle as needed for a smaller or larger baby.  Those of you with 2013 Foonfs can purchase a two-length crotch buckle straight from Clek; everyone else: your seat came with this nifty feature.

Note that when a child is under 22lbs — also the maximum weight limit for use of the Infant Thingy — you MUST use the circular belly pad with Foonf and Fllo. See the two lengths of crotch buckle shown below? Adjust as needed for best fit on your baby.  With my newborn doll (fits perfectly into ‘newborn’ sleepers), I had no trouble at all getting the harness tight enough with the harness shortened and crotch buckle in the shorter setting, with room to adjust smaller for an even smaller baby.

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When do you remove the head support and put the Foonf or Fllo’s head rest back on? You can’t use both at once, there simply isn’t room. Remove the head support — a cushy pad several inches thick — when the top of your baby’s head reaches the top of the head support.

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As baby fills out you may choose to discontinue use of the Infant Thingy before it is outgrown, and provided your child meets the minimums for use in the Foonf or Fllo alone (25″ and 14lbs and able to sit unassisted) that is completely appropriate.  There is overlap between minimum use for Foonf and Fllo, and maximum use for the Infant Thingy. This is lovely, because all babies are shaped and proportioned differently.

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The smallest baby I know (7 weeks old, 11lbs) fit really nicely in the Infant Thingy + Foonf; with how much more I could have adjusted the harness I have no doubt a much smaller baby would fit easily.

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Update: we found a smaller baby! 6 days old, 7lbs 14oz, and 20.5″ long.  Delicious.  If you happen to know one even smaller, and the parents are cool with sharing a photo we’d love to add it in for future readers.  Please get in touch.

Newborn in Infant Thingy

 

 

Foonfreview21This 6 month old (from our original Foonf review) fits beautifully in the seat (and would in the Fllo as well) at 15lbs and 28″ long.  She could use the Infant Thingy as she’s well within the weight and height limits, but doesn’t need it. Your mileage may vary but I likely would not purchase the Infant Thingy for a child of this size.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, are you sold on the awesomeness that is the Infant Thingy?

  • cushy pad with the same fabulous Crypton fabric on most Foonf and Fllo seats for easy wiping up of spills (if you are expecting your first and are unfamiliar with the messes that babies can make let me tell you, this is a very nice feature)
  • excellent harness fit with small babies
  • overlap between maximum use of Infant Thingy and minimum use without it – customize use to your baby’s shape and needs
  • fits perfectly in the seats it is designed for – meaning you can truly use the same seat from birth, through extended rear-facing to age 3-4+, all the way to booster readiness, for the vast majority of kids

Where can you find the Infant Thingy?  It’s almost ready for sale directly from Clek (Canadians shop here and Americans shop here), and from Clek authorized retailers near you, for $69.99. In the market for a Foonf or Fllo? Available at the links above, and also at Amazon.ca, and Shop.ca.

Would you like to WIN an Infant Thingy?  Contest is over – congrats to Julie K.! Thank you to all who entered!  You need to already own a Clek Fllo or Foonf, or be in the market to purchase one.  Contest open to residents of the US or Canada. See the fine print in the widget below for all of the details.  Huge thanks to Clek for giving us a sneak peek at the Infant Thingy, and for providing the one shown in this review. Disclaimer #3: I love this so much I almost want another baby so I can use it. Almost.

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