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2020 Clek Fllo Review

Ten Year BlueInnovators in carseat coolness, Clek doesn’t disappoint with its second addition to the convertible seat lineup: Fllo. Fllo will always be the princess to Queen Foonf, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t mighty in her own right. Both have abundant safety features to keep your child’s crown safe. Read on to find out what makes Fllo majestic in her own right.

Weight and Height Limits

Rear-facing: 14-50 lbs., 25-43”, able to sit upright alone, head is at least 1” below top of headrest

Infant-Thingy(sold separately) allows minimum rear-facing limits to drop to 5 lbs. and 19″ (must follow Infant-Thingy manual for use)

Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., 30-49”; age 1 minimum, age 2+ recommended

Fllo Overview
  • Retails for about $70 less than Foonf; the Fllo is typically $379 or less at Amazon.
  • Optional steel anti-rebound bar designed to limit rebound in the aftermath of a crash (required in Canada)
  • Available Q-Tether: rear-facing Australian-style tethering prevents rotation of carseat toward vehicle floor
  • Built-in lockoffs for both rear- and forward-facing
  • Approved for use with Ford Motor Company inflatable seat belts
  • Rigid sub-structure: Fllo has a steel sub-structure that prevents twisting in a crash
  • Structural headrest: headrest is lined with energy absorbing foam and connected to seat frame with steel rods
  • Energy absorbing foam both inside and outside the frame of the carseat
  • Designed for extended rear-facing: designed to accommodate rear-facing kids to age 4
  • Recline adjustable based on child’s weight
  • Adjustable crotch strap: crotch strap has 2 different lengths and 2 different positions to accommodate bigger kidsEACT
  • EACT Safety System: The Energy Absorbing Crumple Technology Safety System is an aluminum honeycomb that sits under the child, designed to absorb crash forces.
  • Narrow footprint: Fllo is one of the narrowest convertibles currently on the market
  • Crypton Super Fabrics: 5 Crypton covers that are waterproof, wipe clean, and resist bacteria; Crypton is also GREENGUARD Select Certified and free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants
  • FAA-approved
Fllo Measurements
  • Harness slots: 10”, 11 ½”, 13”, 14 ½”, 17”
  • External widest point: 16 ½”
  • Shell height with headrest: 26”
  • Shoulder width: 13”
  • Crotch strap depth: 4”, 6”
  • Seat depth: 12”
  • Seat weight: 25.8 lbs. without anti-rebound bar; 28.9 lbs.— with anti-rebound bar

Clek has a vehicle seat protector available called the Mat-thingy. It is approved for use with only Clek carseats and is a thin rubber mat that protects the seat bottom and “waterfall” only.

2020 Clek Fabrics and Fashions:

Clek is known as much for their luxurious and kid-friendly fabrics as they are for the safety features on their carseats. Here’s a brief run-down of each type of fashion:

tokidoki for Clek: These are fun, soft jersey knit prints that change by year and feel like pjs. Like the other Clek fashions, they are free from brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. Available in tokidoki reef rider (not a Crypton fabric). $389.99 at AlbeeBaby

Reef Rider

Noire Crypton: This is a soft, “flatter than fleece” fabric that cleans up with a wipe of a washcloth. Crypton fabrics are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants and this one is GREENGUARD Select certified. Available in Noire, but discontinued so once it’s gone, it’s gone. $299 at Amazon

Noire

Standard C-Zero Plus: This fabric feels more like a soft terry cloth and also cleans up with a wipe of a washcloth. This is a Crypton fabric and in addition to being free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, it’s fluorine-free and is GREENGUARD Gold certified. Available in Shadow (discontinued) for $379.99 at BuyBuyBaby, Capri (discontinued) for $379.99 at AlbeeBaby, and Flamingo for $389 at BuyBuyBaby. New for 2020 are the beautiful Ten Year Blue for $389.99 at AlbeeBaby and purple Prince for $389.99 at AlbeeBaby.

Shadow Capri Flamingo Ten Year Blue Prince

Tailored C-Zero Plus: This sophisticated Crypton fabric feels like soft suiting material. It’s free of fluorine, brominated, and chlorinated flame retardants and is GREENGUARD Gold certified. Available in Thunder for $409.99 at BuyBuyBaby and Slate (discontinued) for $399.99 at AlbeeBaby. New for 2020 is the Pitch Black (available in March on all Clek carseats).

Thunder Slate

Carbon: Carbon has been on the Liing rear-facing only seat, but is graduating to the bigger seats. It’s a soft, comfy jersey made from a polyester-spandex blend. Available in March.

100% Merino Wool: Merino wool is naturally flame retardant and soft. It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Available in Mammoth for $439.99 at AlbeeBaby. New for 2020 are the navy Twilight and Full Moon, both available in March.

Mammoth

Installation

Anti-Rebound Bar

Clek Fllo - ARBThe steel anti-rebound bar (ARB) is used for rear-facing installations and is optional (though required in Canada). It prevents rotation into the back of the vehicle seat in the split seconds after a crash has occurred. Using the ARB does increase the amount of front-to-back space you’ll need for your rear-facing installation by about an inch and a half. Think of it as a kickstand that keeps your Fllo from falling into the back seat in a crash and it sticks out some. This, in turn, leads to more legroom—not a bad thing if you have a leggier or older child who needs the room. In fact, my models had room to fold their legs up criss-cross-applesauce and still didn’t touch my back seat. If you need the Fllo more upright, don’t use the ARB. You’ll still be pleased with the amount of rear-facing legroom. Or tweak the location of where it hits the back seat. There’s not just one way of installing it.

Be sure to remove the ARB when you turn the seat forward-facing. Some caregivers leave it on thinking it’s a good footrest, but in a crash, crash forces can cause your child to bend all the way forward and hit it, causing severe injuries.

Legroom created by ARB Legroom without ARB Clek Fllo to front seat difference without ARB

Q-Tether

In addition to the ARB, Clek just introduced the Q-Tether as another method for managing energy in a crash. It’s not a new concept: the Australian-style of tethering has been around for decades, but Clek is making it more mainstream by making it an accessory for all unexpired Fllos (and Foonfs) on their website.

The Q-Tether limits the ability of the Fllo to rotate down toward the floor of the vehicle in a frontal crash, performing similarly to a load leg or to using a Euro belt path which is found on more and more rear-facing only infant seats, including Clek’s Liing. When forward energy is limited, rebound energy, which is typically 1/3 the energy of the initial crash, is reduced as well. What does this mean for your child? The less bouncing around in a crash, the safer she’ll be.

Installation with the Seat Belt

As I was thinking about how to write this portion of the review, I had to decide whether or not to compare the Fllo to the Foonf. As a parent, you may not be in the market for a Foonf or have never used one. On the other hand, they’re very similar so if you already have a Foonf and you want something like it but don’t want to sell a kidney to get it—just know that the installation of both seats is very similar. I’ll try to take it easy on the comparisons, but still give you a flavor for how they’re similar and different. If you’d like to read my complete Foonf review, it’s here.

Installation with the seat belt for rear-facing was easy and like the Foonf, I really preferred installing the Fllo with the seat belt rather than with LATCH. It was easier for me to pull the shoulder belt tight while pushing the carseat down than for me to pull the LATCH belt tight. For rear-facing, whether you use the seat belt or the LATCH belt, open both lockoffs and route the belt through them. The belt-tensioning lockoff handles are long and provide extra torque for closing.

2016 Clek lockoff

Finding a rear-facing recline angle is taken to an art form for the Fllo. It has 2 recline level lines based on weight but as long as you’re anywhere in between them and your child is comfortable, you’re golden.

Clek Fllo - rf level lines

The anti-rebound bar affects recline angle, as does where you place Fllo on the vehicle seat. A tightly rolled towel can be used to get a proper angle as well, but absolutely NO POOL NOODLES are allowed. And don’t forget to flip that recline foot forward for rear-facing and back for forward-facing. Yeah, you will time and again. But don’t. When Fllo is reclined to the max recline angle, my front passenger seat had to be moved all the way forward. There’s no way it could be installed behind the driver in my 2011 MDX, but that’s also true of just about every rear-facing convertible seat I can recall installing in this vehicle. In my 2016 Tesla Model X and 2018 Tesla Model 3, the Fllo does take up more front-to-back space than the Foonf by a couple of inches, but the front passenger space is more generous in the Model 3, so I didn’t feel as cramped (or that the airbag would be going off in my face if there was a crash).

The base is NOT allowed to hang over the edge of the seat cushion at all so keep that in mind if you have shallow vehicle seats. If you encounter this issue try ditching the ARB and/or installing the seat more upright to get 100% of the base over the vehicle seat.

Clek Fllo RF with ARB Clek Fllo RF without ARB

Clek Fllo bottom Clek Fllo recline foot rf

For forward-facing, the seat belt is routed through a single red lockoff on the side opposite of the buckle. Make sure to get that final, solid “snap” up on the lockoff to be sure it’s locked. It can be a bit quirky and feel like it’s locked when it’s not.

Don’t forget to attach the top tether to an approved vehicle tether anchor! Using the tether isn’t required when installing the Fllo with a 3-point lap/shoulder seat belt, but it *is* required when installing forward-facing with the lower LATCH connectors or using just a lap belt. Tethering provides such an enormous safety benefit that you should always try to position the forward-facing carseat in a spot with a tether anchor if possible. As with most tall carseats, I removed my vehicle’s head restraint so it didn’t interfere with my installation and push the carseat forward. You may be able to turn your vehicle head restraint around so you don’t have to worry about losing it.

Clek Fllo FF lockoff Clek Fllo FF Clek Fllo FF 2

Installation with LATCH

  • Rear-facing LATCH weight limit: 35 lbs.
  • Forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 40 lbs.

For rear-facing installation, the Fllo has one flexible LATCH strap and the connectors are the deluxe push-on style connectors. There are designated storage areas under the seat pad to store the LATCH connectors and a spot on the shoulder harness access panel to store the tether strap when not in use.

Clek Fllo LATCH storage

If you install the carseat with the lower LATCH connectors for forward-facing, you must switch to using the seat belt when your child reaches 40 lbs. Clek requires use of the top tether in conjunction with LATCH for forward-facing use.

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:

Clek does NOT allow center LATCH installation where the seating position is not designated as a LATCH seating position and where lower anchors are spaced more than 11” apart.

Inflatable Seat Belts

Clek has determined that the Fllo CAN be installed with inflatable seat belts found in some Ford Motor Company vehicles.

Fit to Child

The Fllo does very well fitting a wide range of kids from 14-65 lbs. Because of the clean, modern lines, it’s a roomy seat for the biggest kids and they appreciate it. For the littlest kids under 22 lbs., the harness has a second set of loops with which you can shorten it for a snugger fit. Just be sure to tuck the harness ends behind the metal splitter plate so it won’t catch as you’re tightening it.

The harness adjuster is smooth as silk, so it’s easy to loosen and tighten for each ride.

You can see in the pictures that there’s plenty of room for my 4 year old rear-facing models and loads of legroom. My 3 year old forward-facing model had another harness slot to go before outgrowing by height.

Quinn is 4 and weighs 44 lbs.
Addie is 4 and weighs 43 lbs.
Sullivan is 3 (only a few weeks from turning 4) and weighs 48 lbs.

Quinn in Fllo rf side Quinn in Fllo rf Quinn in Fllo rf straight

Clek Fllo Addie RF Clek Fllo goofy Addie RF

Clek Fllo Sullivan FF

Cover Padding and Maintenance

It’s hard to believe there’s any padding on the Fllo because of the clean lines and narrowness of the carseat, but it’s there. Somehow Clek has managed to make the Fllo have not only one of the narrowest outside measurements on the market, but it also has roominess on the inside AND it’s comfortable to boot. I asked my models how comfy the seat was. They loved it because it was roomy and “comfy” and they loved that they could buckle themselves in. I couldn’t get any more out of them—hey, they were 4 and 5. I love that they can practically eat the cover because it’s free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. And you know some kids like to gnaw on covers ;).

Keeping the cover clean should be easy. With the Crypton fabric, spills should wipe up fairly easily. The fabric on the seat cushion is removable and the seat back cover is as well. To remove the seat back cover (“jacket”, if you want to be cool), you’ll need a standard sized Phillips head screwdriver and a little fearlessness to know that you aren’t going to break the sides as you yank them off, then snap them back on again. It’s time-consuming and something you’ll only do because the Fllo has been doused in something truly foul. Of course, you’ll follow the directions that Clek sends you. Fortunately, Clek has their Fabric Cleaning + Stain Remover Kit, which includes a product for cleaning protein-based messes and one for dye-bases messes. The cleaning kit works well and leaves the fabric very fresh-smelling.

Ease of Use

Crotch Strap Adjustment:

  • Rear-facing: use inner crotch strap slot; either length allowed
  • Forward-facing: outer crotch strap slot; longer length required

There are two crotch strap positions located approximately 4” and 6” from the back of the seat. The strap adjusts by turning it sideways and sliding it forward or back. There are 2 separate crotch strap lengths sewn together to the buckle (picture below); this way you don’t lose a buckle when your child grows larger. It’s a rather ingenious design. The longer crotch strap length can ONLY be used for a child in the outer slot position. Make sure you don’t put both strap anchors into the slots at the same time. Yes, it can be done. No, don’t do it.

Foonf crotch strap

Drink Thingy cupholder (optional accessory, sold separately):  May be used on either side when Fllo is installed rear-facing using LATCH. When installing using the vehicle belt, the cupholder may only be attached on the side of the seat the buckle is closest to. When using the Drink Thingy with a rear-facing seat, install the seat first, then attach the Drink Thingy according to instructions.

9 Year Expiration and Crash Guidelines: The Fllo has a 9-year expiration; the date of manufacture sticker is on the lower back of the seat.  Clek specifies to replace the carseat after any crash.

Airplane Certification: The Fllo is FAA-approved for use in aircraft. The sticker with the RED text stating that it is approved for use on aircraft is on the bottom of the seat and if you’re using it rear-facing, the rear-facing foot will be covering it. That’s a good thing to note if you travel with the seat so you can be prepared to show airline officials if they ask.

Clek Fllo FAA sticker

It also is a heavier restraint, so if you do travel with it, you’ll want to use a luggage cart or the Clek Weelee to avoid having to carry it. *A note about the Weelee: *I* fit in the Weelee! This is not your ordinary carseat storage bag for sure.

  weeleeweelee with foonf

Fllo vs. Foonf
fllo vs foonf

If you click on the 4 arrows in the upper right corner which are visible after clicking on this graphic, you will see the graphic in full size. Alternatively, you can right-click and save it.

 

Clek Fllo back-2 Clek Foonf back-2 Clek Foonf Fllo sides

Fllo Advantages
  • 50 lbs. rear-facing weight limit to hold the heaviest kids
  • Anti-rebound bar
  • Approved for use with Ford Motor Company inflatable seat belts
  • Steel sub-structure
  • EACT Safety System: aluminum honeycomb designed to absorb crash forces
  • Structural headrest lined with energy absorbing foam and connected to seat frame with steel rods
  • Available Q-Tether for rear-facing Australian-style tethering
  • Tall top harness slots
  • Smooth harness adjuster
  • One of the narrowest convertibles currently on the market
  • Deep seat pan for kids with long legs
  • 9-year lifespan
  • Crypton fabric allows for easy cleanup of messes
  • Excellent customer service
  • Recycle through Clek’s recycling program
Disadvantages
  • Heavy seat: Fllo weighs close to 29 lbs. with the ARB
  • Assembly: Like the Foonf, using the Fllo rear-facing takes a methodical approach.  This isn’t a carseat you can pull from the box and think you can assemble and use without reading the directions.
  • Must manually adjust harness height. I’d like to see a no re-thread harness adjuster on a carseat in this class.
Conclusion

As you can see, there are advantages to being a princess. Princess Fllo has the flexibility of the flip foot instead of Foonf’s recline base, which reduces visibility problems for drivers, and the option of using the anti-rebound bar (required in Canada). Need 3-across? Not a problem since Fllo is so narrow on the outside and roomy on the inside (and won’t cost the price of a used car to get it). The Crypton fabric seals the deal, especially if you have messy eaters. Fllo doesn’t have rigid LATCH connectors like Foonf, but the deluxe push-on style LATCH connectors are easy to use and when stored, you don’t even know they’re there. Now your coach can truly travel in style with your prince or princess on board!

For additional information see Clek’s website:  http://clekinc.com/support/fllo/

Thank you to Clek for providing the Fllo for our review. No other compensation was provided and all opinions expressed in this review are those of CarseatBlog.

 

Updated February 2020