Foonf is a funny word, yet if it is uttered in a room of Child Passenger Safety Technicians or Advocates, one will be met with many head turns, pricked ears, and immediate attention. I waited a very long time for my Clek Foonf, and was thrilled to be one of the first to have hands on experience with this car seat.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Rear facing weight range, United States: 14-50 pounds and sitting unassisted
- Rear facing weight range, Canada: 14-40 pounds and sitting unassisted
- Rear facing height range: 25″ through 43″, so technically 43.99″
- Forward facing weight range: 20-65 pounds (2+ years recommended)
- Forward facing height range: 30″-49″
- Shell height: 27″
- Lowest harness position: 10″
- Highest harness position : 17″ (5 harness positions)
- Lower anchor weight limit: 25 pounds rear facing and 30 pounds forward facing (2014 models, 2013 are different-please read your manual to verify)
- Expiration: 9 years
- Two buckle slots: 4″ and 6″
- Three recline positions
- Push button lower anchor connectors for rear facing
- Rigid lower anchor connectors for forward facing
- Steel reinforced frame
- Anti-rebound bar (ARB)
- Crypton odor, bacteria, and stain repelling fabric
- Mobile Video Manual for Clek Foonf
The Clek Foonf is, hands down, the most unusual car seat I’ve ever worked with. When the box showed up on my doorstep, I quickly realized getting it up my stairs was going to be no easy task. The Foonf comes set up for forward facing, so I had my work cut out for me to get it ready for our rear facing models!
Height and Weight Limits
One of the best qualities of the Foonf is the 50 pounds rear facing weight limit. At the time of its release, it had the highest limit of any US seat. There are now other seats that boast an amazing 50 lb. rear facing limit. Canadian versions of this seat only have a 40 lb. rear-facing weight limit. It is important to note that the Foonf has a standing height limit of through 43 inches (so 43.99 inches is ok), so it is likely that most children will outgrow the Foonf rear facing by height well before they reach the 50 lb. weight limit. The Foonf also uses the one inch rule as well, so through 43″ or when the head is within one inch of the head rest when fully extended. Not sure why high rear facing height and limits are important for many children, Why Rear Facing has the answers!
The Foonf has five harness positions, ten headrest positions, two crotch buckle positions, and two harness lengths. All harness positions can be used when rear facing as long as the harness is even with or below the shoulders and the requirements above are met. They can all be used when forward facing as well as long as the harness is above the shoulders, unless you are doing a lap belt installation. When installing the seat forward facing with a lap belt, only the top two harness positions may be used. The headrest can be in any position that is comfortable for the child as long as it is above the harness slot the child is currently using and keeping in mind the 1 inch needed above the child’s head when rear facing.
There are two crotch buckle positions. The proper position is the one closest to the front of the child’s body without being in front of it. Either can be used for rear facing or forward facing as long as it’s in the proper position. The 2014 models come with a dual position crotch buckle. The longer buckle position is for use in the outer buckle position. It can be used rear facing if the child is able to use the farthest out position according to the manual. My two-year old is petite, but still has quite a bit of room before she could use the farthest out position. Be sure when switching crotch buckle position you are putting the buckle through the correct opening in the seat cushion as well. The Foonf comes with a crotch buckle pad that must be used for children under 22 pounds There are also two loops at the end of the harness to adjust harness length. The shorter one is for smaller children and the longer one for older children. You can use whichever you prefer.
Rear Facing Usage
To get the seat ready for use when rear facing, there were a few things that needed to done. First, the ARB must be added. It is required at all times when rear facing. Some people have complained of difficulties getting the ARB on and off the seat, but it was fairly straight forward for me. Clek has even addressed the issue on their website with a video on how to properly install the ARB. The ARB has a cloth cover over that likes to slide and bunch. You can see how mine is off-center already. No big deal.
Next you have to add the rear facing recline wedge. This is what controls the recline when rear facing. You simply slide the wedge into the holes on the base and it’s locked into place.
This is the recline indicator for the Foonf. The ground must be level within the appropriate range. The dark blue is appropriate for all age ranges, while the light blue is reserved for those one year and older. My vehicle has very sloped seats so if my child were under one year old, I’d be pushing the recline level and may need some additional recline help. Clek does allow the use of noodles if needed. I also find that propping the ARB higher on the vehicle seat helps recline the seat as well. This will leave a gap under the seat but this is not a concern with a properly installed seat. There are three recline positions on the Foonf, either two or three may be used rear facing in the US. Only the third can be used rear facing in Canada.
The Foonf can be installed rear facing with either lower anchors or seat belt. The seat cushion of the seat must be removed to access the belt path for installation. I’ve learned to love the ability to remove the seat cushion. Who knew kiddos could get that many crumbs in a car seat! Neither installation was difficult though so choose your preference and keep kiddo’s weight in mind. The newest manual (2014 version) states a 25 lb. weight limit for the use of lower anchors when rear facing. For 25-50 pounds, the seat belt must be used instead.
This seat does also have built-in lock offs for both forward facing and rear facing. This is great if you have an older vehicle or switch vehicles often and don’t want to figure out how each of the seat belts lock. If you do want to know more, Lock It Up! has the information you need. Clek has clarified you may use neither (if your vehicle belt locks), both, or just one lock off depending on what you feel gives you the tightest installation. Remember you’re looking for less than an inch movement side to side at the belt path.
Installation with lower anchors is pretty straight forward. For rear facing, the Foonf has a flexible lower anchor connector strap with push on lower anchor connectors. The strap goes over the closed lock offs and pushes on to the lower connectors. The nice thing about the Foonf is it has a tightening mechanism on both sides of the lower anchor connector strap (most seats just have one). This makes it really easy to get a good, tight install quickly. Again, you’re looking for the same less than an inch of movement side to side at the belt path. You can also see here how high the Foonf sits, especially rear facing. It can create quite the blind spot when driving and make it hard to get older toddlers in rear facing in smaller vehicles.
Fit to Child
Until recently, the Foonf was not able to be used before a child was 14 pounds, 25 inches long, and sitting independently. With the release of the Clek infant-thingy, the Foonf can now be used with babies as small as 5 pounds and 19″. Here is our Huggable Images newborn doll. She is 7 pounds and the length of an average newborn baby and shows proper fit using the infant-thingy in the Clek Foonf.
Two Years Old
This kiddo is two years old, weighs 25 pounds, and is and 32.25 inches tall, so she’s definitely on the petite side for her age. She’s using the second harness position, the closest crotch buckle position, and recline position three. You can see how much growing room she has and how much leg room this seat offers. This seat fits well behind both driver and passenger in our Town and Country.
Forward Facing Usage
Installation on the Foonf forward facing is a bit different. Your options are lower anchors, seat belt, or both assuming your vehicle doesn’t specifically prohibit it. For forward facing installation, the belt path for the seat belt is quite open, so there’s no need to worry about fitting your hands in there. Just like rear facing, the Foonf has lock offs for forward facing as well. When using the seat belt with a forward facing install, the lock off must be used. You can use either recline position one or two for forward facing, whichever gets the seat flush with the vehicle seat. Clek recommends the use of the tether whenever possible. It requires a tether to be used when installing the seat with a lap belt though and you must always use recline position one if not using the tether with a lap/shoulder belt. Using the tether is always the safest option.
The Foonf has rigid lower anchors for forward facing; this makes installation quite effortless if the child is below the lower anchor limits. The newest manual (2014 version) states a lower anchor limit of 35 pounds when forward facing. From 35-65 pounds you need to add the seat belt to the lower anchor install if your vehicle manual does not prohibit this type of installation. To use the lower anchors, simply pull the adjustment handle at the front of the seat and pull the rigid lower anchor connectors all the way out. Then line up the connectors with the lower anchors of your vehicle and push the seat until you hear an audible click. The indicator on the connectors then turn from red to green. Attach the tether to the vehicle’s tether anchor and you’re ready to go. The tether must always be used when installing with the lower anchors.
Fit to Child
This kiddo is 5.5 years old, weighs 49 pounds, and is 45.5 inches tall. She’s using the farthest out crotch position. She is right at the highest harness position so she has pretty much outgrown this seat even though she is within the stated height and weight limits of the seat. Other parents of long torsoed children can empathize. She found it comfortable though.
When installed forward facing with the lower anchors, the Foonf uses revolutionary technology called REACT. REACT stands for Rapid Energy Absorbing Crumple Technology. 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 fabric cover of the Foonf is made of Crypton odor, bacteria, and stain repelling fabric; making it easy to wipe down in case of everyday spills. If a simple wipe down with a washcloth and gentle soap won’t cut it (such as the motion sickness we had), the Foonf can be disassembled for thorough cleaning. Contact Clek customer service for an email set of instructions on how to fully disassemble the seat if needed. It’s quite the lengthy process, so I don’t recommend doing so unless in the most extreme of circumstances. Foonf Spa Day has some great information on basic cleaning and moving the crotch position.
Another great feature of the Foonf is it’s super narrow. The base of the seat measures only 13 inches, which the widest part is 17 inches. This can make it ideal for a three across when needed and the higher base helps if you need to buckle in boosters next to it. Need more help with three across, Your Guide to Three Across may help.
Important Information: Where to find
FAA Approval The Clek Foonf is FAA approved. However, at 38 pounds with all the pieces attached, it’s not the easiest to travel with. The Clek Weelee below can help though if you need to take your Foonf on a trip!
Expiration The Clek Foonf has a 9 year expiration. The sticker with the date of manufacture can be found on the back bottom of the seat, just above the FAA stickers.
The Foonf is FAA approved and one of the available accessories for the Foonf is called the Weelee. It is Clek’s universal travel bag designed to protect your car seat from damage while traveling. While checking a car seat as luggage, or gate checking, is never recommended, the Weelee bag makes it easy to transport such a heavy seat through a busy airport. It then folds compactly to fit in an overhead compartment on a plane.
Another accessory includes the Clek Foonf Drink-Thingy Cup Holder. It comes in black or white and works on both the Foonf and the Fllo. It can be used both rear facing and forward facing. You just have to be mindful of the shoulder belt if using the seat belt for rear facing installation. It’s also dishwasher safe. My favorite words when it comes to anything that holds food!
Also available to purchase is the new, dual length crotch buckle. This comes standard on all 2014 models, but can be used on the 2013 models as well.
- High rear facing weight limit
- Water-resistant fabric
- Rigid lower anchor connectors for forward facing
- Narrow enough for three across
- Anti-rebound bar
- Dual length crotch strap
- Sits up very high in the vehicle
- Can be difficult to assemble
- Crotch buckle is uncomfortable for some kids
- High price
The Foonf has proven quite useful in tight spaces and for families who want to keep their children rear facing as long as possible.