* Prices may differ from that shown
I purchased 2 Jane matrix light car seats for my twins and it has been 4 months of constant struggling with the seatbelt installation, it's very time consuming and annoying, the 'push' button on the seat which tightens and loosens the straps is very hard to pull and push (especially with the babies in the seats) this item on the twin two pram chassis is wonderful but as car seats it's rubbish! I spent so much money on this and it's just not worth the hassle. Rather buy seats that clip on directly than seats that you have to fasten with seatbelts. The seatbelts are too short for the car seat so you really have to pull them and it's very frustrating!
We recently bought a Jane Matrix Cup for my second child. I already knew that you need two to three prams or pushchairs: one for the early months: one for the next eighteen months, and another one, if you're unlucky, because the second one wore out. The breakpoint is when the baby can sit up unaided (around six months). When you hit that point, Maclarens are the easiest: cheap, light, one-hand operation. But a baby is not a toddler, and a new baby is not a crawler/cruiser.
In my experience the process of shifting babies from house to car (or vice-versa) always occurs five minutes after they have fallen asleep. Young babies are sometimes (usually) very touchy about being moved, and the process of upending them and strapping them into seats that make them flop forward, head askew, is unpleasant and worrying.
When I saw the lie-flat car seat from Jane I was immediately drawn to it. It's proved to be a very effective way of shifting our baby without disruption. She has survived tens of journeys without waking up unnaturally. It does lie flat: the base is very slightly sloping upwards from toe to head, but it's flat, and the slope is minimal. The straps that hold the baby in are not fixed by velcro any longer: they are a three-point click-lock webbing harness: very secure indeed. When our Jane rolled down some steps and part tipped over before I grabbed it, our daughter was completely unscathed, being fully surrounded on all sides by the car-seat, and well strapped in -- flat.
Downsides of the carrycot/car seat are: 1) to secure it flat on the rear car seat means you have to use two seats. We have quite a big car (Saab 95) and it fits fine across the middle and one side seat, leaving good space for an older child or adult to sit alongside. But I can imagine with a smaller car it might take up the whole seat. 2) Securing it takes a bit of getting used to, but once you have the knack, is straightforward. 3) it's heavy and it's big: the shell is very thick compressed foam (like a giant bike helmet) so the interior space is quite narrow. Our daughter is quite small, and I think the seat might not last very long or be suitable for a very big baby. 4) When put upright, it does need quite a lot of space between rear seat and the front seat back. I would say that in any largish car it'll be fine, but if you think group A or B for hire cars, it would be a problem.
More generally: contrary to some of your reviews, I have been amazed by the design quality and the build quality of the Jane. It's like a fantasy of German Mittelstand engineering: a Miele of prams (but Catalan, of course). It makes Bugaboos look flimsy and badly-specified. Everything just works. The changing bag has poppers to shorten the strap to go over the handlebar at the perfect height. The hood of the carry-cot and the hood hoop of the carriage conspire with the cot cover to make a fine sun-blocking combination -- no parasols etc. The foot-brake is fine, the hand-brake absurdly high-tech (ventilated disc!). Try the following test: fill the changing bag with thermos flasks and full botles, hang it on the handlebar, and take the carrycot off. The carriage does not tip back at all: rock steady.
We've used it for walking in a forest: tangly exposed roots, rutted paths, muddly paths etc. It really feels safe and solid and easy to walk with. The big front-wheel pivots with great ease: it must have very good bearings.
The whole thing is big, and it's heavy. But, to be fair, any of the travel systems has that feel and characteristic. It does have a sizeable footprint and it takes a lot of space in the boot. But overall, for the convenience and security of the flat seat, and the general solidity -- it's great. Just be prepared for the fact that you will buy a light pushchair when the baby gets bigger, and will probably find the Jane only comes out for walks or runs.
Oh, and one last thing. Supermarket trolleys it will not fit in. But that's a short period (say up to six months) before the baby can sit in the ones provided by many large supermarkets' trolleys. And during that period it's the easiest time to use a sling or a Baby Bjorn (or Bjorn Again, as my wife calls it), when shopping or the like.
My husband and I bought a Carerra travel system with the Matrix car seat for our first baby and we really regretted it. The Matrix sounded like a good idea in practice, like many of the other reviewers we liked the idea that it lay flat, which is healthier for newborns, but in reality it was not as practical as a normal car seat. Firstly, it was far too heavy and as our son gained weight it became too difficult to lift the combined weight of him and the Matrix, so I stopped using it when he was 5 months old. Also, the quality was poor, and the catches for securing it in the car in lie-flat mode broke twice! Also, one of the connectors for securing it to the Carerra base also broke, and even before that it was too fiddly to connect to the chassis - one click it is not!
I bought a Matrix car seat, coupled with a Carrera base, two years ago for our first son. We used it both as a pram and as an occasional car seat for about nine months. We were fairly happy with it during this period.
I should perhaps point out that, unlike I suspect many of the people who are reading this review, I don't actually own a car. I hire when I need one - I live near to central London, and at least to date the cons of living with parking shortages etc have outweighed any advantages. Compared to most people who have cars this means: I use a variety of cars, not just one; I often insert or remove seats; etc
With the latter in mind, the original idea was to have something akin to a pram where the carry bit could be used as a car seat if required. I know virtually everyone seems happy on using a standard car seat on a pushchair base; but I was, and still am, worried by the 1.5 hours max per day you are supposed to use standard "sit up" seats.
Once you decide you want a flat, carry-cot style seat, the choice is between a carry cot proper or some hybrid like the matrix. After some dithering, I chose the matrix because it appeared to have a longer shelf-life, and my original idea (something from Bebe Confort) was seemingly late to market/unobtainable.
So what happened:
* We used the Matrix for about 9 months. At the end, we'd often raise the back (more seat like) when in pram mode. Alex is not short, and towards the end his feet stuck out the end, but not really a problem except perhaps in the rain.
* Having your baby facing you is a great feature, and worth looking out for on a pushchair. They are much less lonely, and to be honest are less fussy seeing where they have gone instead of where they are going they you or I might be.
* The Carrera base actually went first. Our then new nanny (I think) managed to close the base without pulling the correct button first - whatever it broke. We switched to a Maclaren buggy.
* About that time I tried using the Matrix in the standard car seat mode (ie. baby sat up). I used it once, if I remember correctly. At that point the sheer size of the seat became apparent - in the typical cars I drive (Golf sized) there is literally not enough space on the rear seat.
* So the great feature of the Matrix - converting from a flat bed to a seat - turned out to be most useful in pram mode, and of not much use as a car seat.
* If you, like me, did not want to leave a car seat permanently in a car, something like the matrix is probably preferable to a standard car seat when used as a base. I suspect most parents who use car seats on pushchair bases routinely ignore the 1.5 hour limit on small babies in the standard car seats. What this means for the babies' spines I don't know, but I didn't want to risk our baby's.
* The alternative to something like the matrix is probably a normal lie-flat system, coupled with a standard car seat. That would be OK if you did not drive around that much.
* We've now a new born. At this point another inpracticallity of the Matrix becomes apparent - although one that is true for virtually all car carry-cots as far as I can tell. In none of the cars I've used can you fit the Matrix using the middle and one outer belt - you end up using both the left and right belts in the back. This makes it impossible to install both the Matrix in flat-mode, and a standard car seat at the same time.
* As a car seat, it is virtually unusable if you have more than one children - unless perhaps you have a really big car.
Would I buy one again? Not sure, but we are still using it in pram mode for our new son.
I had been looking forward to buying the buggy/car seat for my baby for a long time, and in many ways I still think I made the right descision.
After reading lots of information about babies being in car seats for too long to young, a lay flat was a must. I had looked at the Mama's and Papa's however I think the price for the Jane was more reasonable and after reading a review on safety of car seats the Mama's and Papa's didn't come out great. So I went for the Matrix with the four wheeler Carrera Pro.
My baby always looked comfy, laying down and it was great to not disturb her getting her in and out of the car. although the velcro strap in the lay flat position was really noisy when opening and would wake her everytime. The fastenings were really tricky at first and there were a few occasions when trying to get it in and out it took me a good ten minutes in the beginning.
Although the weight is up to 9kg in the lay flat position my baby was too long for it much earlier than anticipated, and so I had to put in the upright. I also found this quite hard and time consuming getting it in and out, so in the end I left it in the car all the time. It was also getting very heavy with baby getting bigger.
As far as the buggy goes I was really quite disappointed at first and although it has grown on me, if I had my time again I would probably not opt for the Carrera. Lots of little things have let it down, I have been disappointed with the break, quite hard sometimes to get to opperate properly. Most pushchairs these days have handles that are at an angle which is a more comfortable position for your wrists the Carrera does not. It also doesn't seem to have the same quality others do.
To sum up even with faults I would by the Matrix Car seat everytime for safety etc. It is after all the most important thing. However I think I would choose a different buggy, like on a review before, no one buggy is suitable for everything you need I just think there are much better buggies on the market. Jane seem to have mastered the Car seat but still have a lot of work to do on the buggy.
The four stars are for the car seat definately not the buggy.
Having researched for a suitable car seat and pram system, the Jane Matrix came top by far. The determining factor was the fact that the car seat lies flat and as a newborn baby with their spine still soft, I thought this would be the most comfortable.
I also went for the weight of the whole system and the frame -which was easily transportable in and out of the car.
I have a few friends who have the Jane and the only problems are 1) The car seat does not seem to fit babies upto 9 months (my daughter is 6 1/2 months and we need to buy the next size up), 2) The car seat can be tricky when placing on and off the frame of the push chair (the connectors are not as sturdy).
Overall a recommended system.
My wife and I bought the Powertrack 360 Matrix Travel system. We phoned round lots of shops and got prices and advice from loads of people. We found a small shop in a small town called Banchory gave us some excellent advice and we went to see what they had on display. We were very impressed with the advice and service they provided and they tried all the system in our car and made sure both myself and my wife were happy with the end result.
The Matrix is an excellent car seat both in the lie-flat and the upright position. We have a 5 Door Golf and it was very easy to fit. The 360 pushchair fits perfect in the boot of the car and there is still room for some shopping.
We also spoke to some another couple who were in the shop when we were there who said the Jane pram they owned, had some small problems with the brakes requiring extra adjustment after they had used it and the front forks had loosened of a bit. This was not a problem as the bloke at the shop fixed their problems within 10 minutes.
We were also very happy when we picked up our Travel System, as it was all assembled and demonstrated fully for a second time before we went home. It was also explained that if we ever wanted to return for more demonstrations it would not be a problem. We have had friends who got given their Travel System in a box from another shop and did not get this kind of service.!!
I would certainly recommend the Jane Powertrack/Matrix Travel System as I have not been dissappointed.
We bought this system after reading good reviews. Initially we thought the seat was excellent and for the first few months, it worked great, putting the little one in the lay flat position. It was, I'm sure, better for him and we could also see him more easily. However, as he got older, we had an incident where he had worked out how velcro works and started to undo the chest strap - the only restraint mechanism in the lay flat position. The clips attaching the belt to the seat in lay flat are not easy to operate and can be frustrating to start with; my wife had trouble getting the belts tight enough to hold the seat firmly. After 8 months, he had outgrown the lay flat position and we used the upright position only. I have to say that it didn't always feel as stable as you'd expect in this posiiton and you could imagine the seat toppling over in a side impact. At 12 months, we've abandoned the seat and moved to a forward facing seat. Seeing how rigidly fixed in this is makes me realise that the Matrix was not that secure. In addition, when fixing the new seat, we realised that the matrix has frayed the seat belt and this being an MOT failure, we now need to spend around £150 to get this repaired. The cause is one on the metal seat belt loops on the side of the seat was not rounded off properly. We shall pursue this matter with Jane. In summary, we liked the idea of the lay flat position but it isn't the easiest seat to use and we have reservations about the security in the upright position. If you buy one, check the metal brackets, if they are not finished properly, reject the seat.
I bought the Jane Carrera Matrix system because I liked the lie flat car seat option and the pushchair was lighter than most other travel systems. The only other contender was the Mamas and Papas Pliko with the Navetta carrycot, which seemed to have the same features for a similar price. I think I picked Jane because it was a bit different. However, I wish I'd been aware of some things before buying.
Size. The Matrix is huge and this can be embarrassing when trying to squeeze into a room full of Mums and babies for postnatal classes or taking the baby to a restaurant.
When used as a rear facing upright car seat, I have to put the front passenger seat of my VW Golf really far forwards to make room for it in the back. And as a lie flat car seat it takes up virtually the whole of the back seat.
And I wish I had thought through the supermarket scenario. If I had I would have realised that I still needed to buy a standard car seat anyway, as the Matrix is way too big to fit into a trolley.
Brakes. I am not at all impressed with these. They are flimsy and the brake lever flips up as soon as you try to move the pushchair. I can only get them to really lock by holding the lever down with my foot and sort of grinding the wheels backwards and forwards. And going downhill there is no hand control for the brake so you have little control over the speed you are going! The 3 wheeler version has a far superior brake system, I imagine because of the terrain it is expected to cover.
Really stupid design feature - velcro strap that holds baby in makes such an unbelievably loud noise when you undo it that your baby is guaranteed to be startled awake when taking him out of it.
We slept our son in the matrix for the first few weeks, which was useful when travelling.
Although I am mostly pleased with my choice, on balance I wish I had bought the Mamas and Papas Pliko system with the Navetta carrycot and the prima vaggio car seat. With almost identical feat
ures, at least both carrycot and car seat would fit on the pushchair chassis.
By the way, as it is Spanish, do you know it's pronounced "Hannay", not Jannay, or Jane??? Most retailers have not worked this out yet though.
Update January 2004:
I got fed up with the brakes not working properly and contacted Jane who put me through to the technical department. After lengthy discussions about the design of the brakes, they suggested I lift the back wheels off the ground when pressing down the brake lever. I have found this to be a satisfactory solution, as the brakes mostly lock without fail when I do this. I was very impressed with their customer service, and felt they genuinely tried to help me out, without fobbing me off with excuses.
By the way, my baby is now 6 months old and we are now buying a Maclaren Volo, which I think is the lightest stroller you can get. We are fed up with going to visit Grandparents,etc. and using up valuable boot space with the Carrera, although I will still use it for trips to the shops, etc. as it has proper suspension and lots more padding. I wish I had the Jane three-wheeler now, as we have a dog and our baby is too big for a sling, so I am confined to walks where there are clear paths. However, visits to local shops would be a nightmare with 3 wheeler, so in an ideal world you need both!
Update October 2005
Got the pushchair out of the loft to use for our second baby. I decided to send it to Jane for a service, as the brakes still worried me. They charged me £65, said they replaced a snapped brake cable, but it is now even worse than before, with the brakes not really locking at all. I now only use it if I have to, preferring to use my double buggy - an Instep Nipper, which is fantastic, really well made, unbelievably light, lovely suspension, fits through all shop doors, and the newborn lie flat option is great, very supportive and padded. They do a single version, which I expect is just as good. Highly recommended. Practical Pushchairs.co.uk did the best deal when I bought it, currenty £249 (£165 for single).
We have a Carrera (chassis) with a Matrix car seat and so far it has lived up to all of our expectations and more. This combo is very versatile: *The car seat doubles as a carrycot so baby can lie flat even on the pram chassis. Many other baby prams do not lie fully flat. *The flat car seat means baby can sleep in comfort when on long journeys. No bent spine or neck for junior! *For short trips you don't need to move baby from the car seat to the pram thus reducing the risk of waking him when you've just spent ages trying to get him to sleep, plus it is less disruptive to any routines you may be trying to establish. *When upright, the carrycot roof flips over the seat and can be used as a sunshade thus avoiding fiddling with parasols (which are nigh on useless and you have to keep adjusting them each time you change direction of travel). *Compact, which avoids space in the car (plus you don't have to cart around a separate pram cot attachment like M&P's) and when storing later for baby no.2. It is also a bonus when shopping because it is easy to manoeuvre unlike many 3 wheelers which seem to have the turning circle of double-decker buses and reduces the likelihood of banging into fellow-shoppers and clothes rails. *When all around you are parked M&P buggies you'll have no trouble spotting your buggy in the crowd! And finally it just looks cool!
My husband and I chose a Jane Matrix/Carrera travel system for our baby born in January this year. Having looked at other travel systems we felt Jane provided the most secure, compact and flexible system for our and our baby's needs. We were very impressed with the fact that the Matrix allows the baby to be transported in a flat position but seated as the flat position is far superior for a new born and better for longer journeys. We have nothing but praise for the people at Jane who designed this system and with our baby now at 5 months and nearly 18lb he is still secure and comfortable when the Matrix is flat in the car, I find this really reassuring as when he is tired I know he is getting a proper rest. Another benefit of the Matrix is being able to take it from the car and click it straight onto the chassis (wheels) and we then have a smart compact pram unlike other travel systems which are huge and the car seat just sits on top of everything else. Also when the time comes we have all the components to add to the chassis to make a buggy. We are happy in the knowledge that the system we bought will take us through several stages of our baby's growth and development. One point to make in response to another review is that when the Matrix is in the car seat position and not in the car the handle should be moved down to the back of the seat to act as a stabiliser.
We loved the idea of our newbaby being able to lie flat in the car seat and this product cannot be faulted for the comfort and security it gave her for the first few weeks. We always like the idea of being able to move the baby without waking her too and being able to put this car seat directly onto the chassis, no bulky seat unit was a big plus too. However that is where the usefulness of this product come to an end. The seat in the upright position is very easily tipped backwards which when you see the number of parent who place them on raised surfaces is quite frightening. There is also the width of the seat, it's very narrow - our baby is 12lbs and already at only three months old it's a tight squeeze, there's just no way a child of 9 months will be comfortable in this. With hindsight - which is a wonderful thing I would have gone for the Mama's and Papa's lie flat carrycot/car seat on the Pilko, purely because the baby could have slept in it too unlike the Matrix and then just bought the Powertrack at a later date to use as a pushchair. We are on our third child now and the conclusion I have reached is that there isn't one pram that will take you from Birth to Three years - whatever the manufacturers claim.
The Matrix by the Spanish manufacturer Jane, is a unique infant carrier that can be used both in the traditional upright position and also horizontally in the rear of the car. This car seat is much larger than most infant carriers and can be used for up to 18 months. ( 9 months in the horizontal position) This means that, unlike some infant carriers, you will not be in the position of having your baby outgrow their infant carrier before they are ready to move to a forward facing car seat, a common problem. The seat addresses the growing concerns of health professionals over the use of infant carriers, paticularly as part of a travel system. Lying flat is the best way for young babies to be transported, it promotes correct neck and spinal development, and aids digestion, reducing "sickiness". A recent report from the US showed that infants who spent 1 hour in an upright infant carrier showed lower blood oxygen levels and decreased respiratory efficiency. The Matrix can be used with a variety of chassis to create the perfect travel system. The Matrix is not cheap at around £100, but as it will last much longer than other types, you may actually save money in the long term. The Matrix comes with clips that attach to the cars rear seat belts, and these can be left in place at all times and do not interfere with other people using the seat belts when the Matrix is not in the car. The Matrix simply attaches to these clips, or can be used in the upright position in the front or rear seat of the car. The Matrix can be fitted using all three of the rear seats, or using just two seats, although this is dependant upon the size of your car. In the upright position, the Matrix has another great feature, the carrying handle can be moved to an "auto" position that is designed to prevent "infant carrier rotation". (This has been seen in crash tests on infant carriers, where a severe impact can lead to the car seat rota
ting into the seat of the car itself. ) Last but not least these car seats performed well in a recent Which? report which used tests more stringent than the current legally required tests. They also look stylish, are easy to clean, have plenty of padding, including a headhugger and padded straps. The only niggle is that fitting the Matrix clips in the back seats does take a little practice, my advice is not to leave buying the car seat until late in pregnancy to allow yourself time to be totally comfortable and familiar with it.