The Combi Shuttle infant car seat isn't a perfect car seat, but it fills a niche for an anti-rebound infant car seat in the mid-price range. You may find the puzzle buckle and occasionally tricky release mechanism annoying at times, but the ease of installation plus the possible reduction in injury from the anti-rebound bar may make up for those minor issues. If you want a reasonably priced infant car seat with some premium features that can be used as a travel system with Combi strollers, this could be a contender for your car seat short list.
- Anti-rebound bar is attached to car seat and can be used without base.
- LATCH installation and removal is easy thanks to push-button connectors.
- Wide belt path and built-in seat belt lock-offs.
- No-rethread harness.
- Car seat may be difficult to remove from base sometimes.
- Puzzle buckle is tricky for some parents.
- Only one crotch buckle position.
- Anti-rebound bar may catch baby's feet when taking baby from seat.
- Infant car seat for babies under 35 lbs and 33".
- Stay-in-car base with bubble level indicators and flip-down angle adjuster.
- Anti-rebound feature on car seat.
- Fits on most Combi strollers as a travel system.
The Combi Shuttle infant car seat has some fantastic features, such as the anti-rebound bar on the seat itself and the many harness height positions. However, those are balanced by some drawbacks - namely the puzzle buckle system and the tricky release mechanism that sometimes makes removing the car seat from the base difficult.
The Combi Shuttle is unique in that it's the only infant car seat with an anti-rebound bar on the car seat itself. Rebound is what happens after a frontal crash, after the car seat has moved forward and down toward the front seat. The car seat then has to offset that motion by popping back up toward the rear of the vehicle.
Less motion generally means less injury, which is where anti-rebound bars come in handy by preventing the car seat from rebounding completely into the vehicle seat. It's cool that the Shuttle has this feature on the car seat, because sometimes parents want to install without the base. The downside is that once your baby gets very big, you might feel that the bar is in the way. Long-legged babies may be particularly difficult with that feature. The other potential issue with the anti-rebound bar on the car seat is it may not touch the vehicle seat back in some vehicles. The anti-rebound bar does its best work when it's against the vehicle seat and ready to prevent that extra motion. If there's a gap, it will still prevent some of the extra motion, but there will be more travel until it can do its job. If your vehicle seats are adjustable, you should be able to angle them accordingly. Non-adjustable seats may pose this problem.
Seat belt and LATCH installation are easy in most vehicles. The push-button LATCH connectors are easy to use, and the built-in storage spots for the connectors is convenient. The belt path is wide and easy to navigate, plus there are seat belt lock-offs that make installation with the base a breeze in almost any vehicle.
You can also install this car seat without the base using a seat belt, but only if your baby weighs less than 22 lbs.
The bubble-style level indicators on the sides of the base make it fast and easy to tell whether or not the car seat is installed at the correct angle. You'll want to be sure to read the instructions to use these indicators properly, though. While you're trying to get the bubble between lines on many level indicators, this one wants you to have the bubble on one line for 22 lbs and below, and another line for 22-33 lbs.
The puzzle buckle can be annoying to deal with, and is definitely not a one-handed buckle. You have to put the buckle pieces together before you can insert them into the bottom buckle.
Sometimes when the car seat is removed from the base, it hangs up a bit. You may have to wrestle it from the base for a second occasionally.
You must keep the carry handle in the upright position when you're in the car. That's good, because when the harness is at its highest, the headrest moves, too, and you won't be able to push the handle back fully at that point.
Average size newborns will likely fit in this car seat, thanks to the extra padding that is included. There's no minimum weight listed. A newborn-size doll does fit with its shoulders just even with the lowest harness slots, but smaller babies in the 5-pound range may not fit at first.
On the flip side, the 33 lb weight limit should get your baby well past the first year, and the shell height should also accommodate babies to one year and beyond. That's a nice first step in keeping your baby rear-facing as long as possible.
If you're looking for a travel system, this car seat attaches to many of Combi's strollers. Many travel systems have bulky strollers, but Combi has several that are fairly lightweight and convenient.