We were first introduced to Hauck’s rear-facing-only infant seat at the ABC Expo in Las Vegas, and we’ve been anxiously awaiting its release ever since. Now the wait is over, and the Hauck PROsafe35 (and the similar iCoo iGuard 35) are available in the United States. Hauck is a German company that has been in business for over 90 years. They are an established manufacturer of juvenile products in Europe where they offer carseats, strollers, high chairs and portable cribs. The PROsafe35 is Hauck’s first foray into the US carseat market. Let’s see how it measures up!
PROsafe35 / iGuard 35 Specifications
- Weight range: 4-35 lbs
- Height limit: 32″ and at least 1″ of shell over the head
- Harness heights: 5.5″, 7″, 9″, 11″ (all measured without infant insert)
- Crotch buckle positions: 4″ and 6″
- Interior shell height: 21″ (1″ of clearance would allow a child’s bum-to-head height of 20″)
- Interior seating width: 9″ at bum, 11″ in shoulder area
- Interior seating depth: 10″
- Exterior width at handles: 19″
- Exterior width at widest part of base: 14.5″
- Exterior width at back of base: 13″
- Weight of carrier: 10 lbs.
- Seatbelt lock-off
- Premium LATCH connectors
- Two acceptable recline angles, one for babies under 22 lbs. and one for larger babies
- Lots of EPP foam to help absorb energy and enhance side-impact protection in a crash
- Innovative recline feature in the base
- 5-position aluminum handle that offers an anti-rebound position
- Reversible (“warm” and “cool”) infant insert for use with babies 4-22 lbs. (With foam wedge 4-11 lbs)
Installation/Fit to Vehicle
The most unique feature of the Hauck PROsafe35 is the innovative recline lever that also serves as the seatbelt lock-off. It’s very important to have an infant seat reclined to the proper angle, and most infant seat bases have some form of built-in recline mechanism. With many seats, though, you need to do a lot of fiddling. You set the base on the seat, but if it’s not at the correct angle, you have to move the base out of position and guess at how reclined to make it, then put it back in position, hoping you guessed correctly. If not, you have to remove the base again and keep guessing until you get it right.
The Hauck recline lever allows you to adjust the angle while the base sits right on the seat. You simply put the base where you want it and open the red lock-off mechanism. Then you push the larger portion of the lock-off toward the back of the vehicle seat and gently raise the base to let the recline foot drop. If you need to reduce the recline, just push the lever again while letting the base drop to the correct angle.
Because the lever doubles as a seatbelt lock-off, if you’re installing with a seatbelt you can tighten the belt and close the lock-off/recline handle as soon as you find the right angle. A seatbelt lock-off is always nice, especially in infant seat bases that can be prone to tipping when the shoulder belt is locked at the retractor. It also helps to guarantee that the seatbelt actually gets locked!
The video below demonstrates how the recline mechanism works.
The PROsafe features premium, push-on style LATCH connectors, which make for an easy installation and uninstallation. I’m a big fan of efficient, visible LATCH storage, and this seat delivers. The LATCH connectors store in the base, in their own little compartments under a small lid that also holds the user manual. (Normally the manual would store in the cubby, but I took it out so you could see the LATCH connectors.)
When storing LATCH, you do need to make sure the LATCH strap routes underneath the red tabs as noted below.
The recline indicator is located on the top of the base, making it easily visible while installing. There are two acceptable recline positions, one for babies under 22 pounds and one for babies over 22 pounds. When you have the proper recline, a little “paddle” aligns with the appropriate marker. My only complaint is that the indicator lines are so precise, it can sometimes be hard to tell if the paddle is completely aligned or not. I also wish there were a bit more of a range, at least for older babies.
I tried the PROsafe in a variety of different Hondas: a 2010 Odyssey, a 2014 Civic, and a 2016 Pilot. I also installed it in a 2005 Toyota Matrix.
In all four vehicles I needed the recline foot fully extended to achieve the proper angle for larger babies. I needed a pyramid of three pool noodles to achieve the newborn/smaller baby angle, though. It’s not uncommon to need noodles with rear-facing seats, but it would have been nice if the recline foot alone was sufficient.
Seatbelt and LATCH installs were easy and straight-forward in all the vehicles. The lock-off (used with seatbelt installs, but not LATCH) sometimes needed a little effort to open and close, but not anything excessive.
Next I tried installations without the base. Sometimes installing carriers without the base is tricky and it can take a lot of work to get the carrier tight (and still maintain the proper angle). Other times, though more rarely, it’s a snap. I was pleased to find that the ProSafe was closer to the “snap” end of the spectrum. The bottom of the carrier is fairly large and flat, which lends a lot of stability to the install. The manual says a pool noodle can be used to add stability to a baseless install, but I really don’t think that’s likely to be necessary. The belt guides (only the lap portion goes through) were easily accessible, and I didn’t have any difficulty getting the installation nice and tight, and at the proper angle. (When installing without the base, there is only one acceptable recline angle, indicated on the side of the carrier with a line that needs to be parallel to the ground.)
With and without the base, the seat did take up a bit more room than the rear-facing convertibles I usually have installed in the same position in the Civic and Odyssey, but it’s typical for infant seats to take up more room than convertibles for older children. Even so, I only needed to move the front seats forward a little bit and still had plenty of room to sit comfortably.
The handle can be locked into any of five positions in the car. Since there’s a position that sits toward the seatback, I would choose that one for anti-rebound purposes.
It should be noted that borrowing LATCH anchors in the center is allowed only when doing so is specifically indicated by the vehicle manufacturer and when the space between anchors is less than 22″. Hauck also does NOT allow the use of inflatable seatbelts when installing with or without the base.
Fit to Child
The Hauck PROsafe35 has several different adjustments that need to be made based on the child’s weight: The infant insert, crotch strap, harness loops, and harness height all have particular rules regarding weight. Not to worry, though: The seat is very well labeled, so many of the requirements are posted right on the parts themselves, and everything’s in the manual.
There are two positions for the crotch strap: one for babies under 22 pounds, and one for babies heavier than that. It’s important to note that the metal anchor at the end of the strap must always be routed back up through the unused slot. Regardless of which crotch strap/buckle position you are using—it can’t just dangle down. Luckily, in this case, the anchor plate moves easily through the slots.
There are two parts to the infant insert: the fabric and the foam. The insert with the foam must be used for babies 4-11 pounds. The fabric insert without the foam can be used for babies 11-22 pounds. The insert is made of two different kinds of fabric, a slick gray on one side and a fuzzy white on the other. This means you can choose which fabric you want against your child, based on weather or preference. Because the foam wedge contours the insert, though, the insert should only be reversed when the wedge is not used (after 11 lbs).
There are also two sets of loops on the harness. The sewn-in upper loops are for smaller babies, 4-11 pounds, who are using the lowest harness slots in the shell. The loops at the end of the harness are for babies over 8 pounds who are using the three higher sets of slots. There are labels sewn onto the straps to indicate which loops to use based on baby’s weight.
When a seat is rated for use from 4 pounds, we need to be sure it will fit not only a newborn but a preemie as well. Unfortunately I didn’t have any real newborns on-hand, but I did have the Huggable Images newborn and preemie-sized dolls. The PROsafe fit both of them nicely. On the preemie, the straps were just below the baby’s shoulders, and the newborn doll fit magnificently. The manual allows for a rolled washcloth to be placed between the baby and the crotch strap if necessary, but I don’t think that would be necessary with most newborns, and probably not even with a preemie.
I was able to track down an almost-newborn, a 5-week-old who weighs just over 11 lbs, meaning we needed to make some adjustments from the very-newborn settings. I moved the splitter plate to the longer set of loops, moved the harness up to the second set of slots, and removed the foam from the infant insert. I worried that he might be too short for the second set of slots, but they were well under his shoulders. He fit in the seat perfectly.
So, we know that the PROsafe fits small babies well, but what about larger ones? The ProSafe did great with that, too.
Here is a 6-month-old who is 25″, and 13 lbs. She’s just at the third set of harness slots (from the bottom). I initially had her at the second slots, but those were too low, causing the harness to slip off her shoulders.
This next child is 12 months old, 30″, and 23 lbs. This is usually around the time parents decide to switch to a convertible seat, but you can see she has plenty of room to stay in the seat for a while, both with room over her head and some space around the shoulders.
Ease of Use/Maintenance/Other Observations
Overall, the PROsafe35 is an easy seat to use. There’s not much that’s odd or complicated about the seat. The only exception is the recline lever on the base, which might be difficult for a parent to figure out on his/her own, but illustrations in the manual make clear how to use it. Once you understand how it works, using it is a breeze.
I found that in general the harness tightened smoothly, although did run into one snag (so to speak). When the loops at the end of the harness are used (for larger babies), the sewn-in loops for smaller babies get hung up in the harness slots when tightening. I was able to un-stick the harness by giving an extra tug or two, but I can see how it could cause confusion or frustration. I don’t think it would normally be necessary to loosen the straps far enough to bring the sewn-on loops through the front of the shell in the first place, but sometimes people do loosen the straps a lot, so it’s something to be aware of. I brought this to Hauck’s attention, and they are already looking for ways to fix the issue.
One of the nicest features of the seat is that the carrier drops into the base and snaps in place effortlessly. (You can see a demonstration of this in the video posted above.) With some seats, you need to make sure to set the carrier into the base at just the right angle, but the design of the PROsafe base guides the carrier in no matter how you approach it. You still want to make sure you hear a click and pull up on the carrier to make sure it really is secure (as you should with any seat).
The PROsafe’s cover is one of the easier ones I’ve removed and replaced. The cover is largely contoured to fit around the seat, with a couple large plastic tabs to hold things in place. I’m sure it took me less than a minute to remove the cover, and not much longer to put it back on.
The cover can be machine-washed on cold and laid flat to dry. The harness and canopy need to be spot-cleaned.
And can we talk about the canopy for a moment? Many, many years ago, I needed to take the canopy off my oldest child’s infant seat. That was such a harrowing experience—plastic snapping, fabric bunching—that I’ve been afraid of canopies ever since. This canopy, though, has restored my faith in them. The plastic “bow” releases with a squeeze of tabs, like a chest clip. Then the plastic just slides out of the fabric. When you want to replace it, there’s plenty of room for the frame to just slide right back in, and you can easily click it into place. Amazing. My only complaint is that the canopy can’t be rotated all the way to the foot of the seat.
The PROsafe35’s manual is well organized, and the illustrations are clear and informative. There’s also a lot of other good safety information included in the manual, like a warning not to put children in bulky clothes, and not to have items in the car that can become projectiles. Very thorough!
The Hauck PROsafe is approved for airline use without the base. Most people choose not to travel with the base anyway, but it’s important to note that the base cannot be used on an airplane. If the seat installs baseless as easily on a plane as it does in the car (and I’m sure it does), this shouldn’t be a problem.
The PROsafe has a 7-year lifespan and must be replaced after any crash. The seat also has a two-year limited warranty, which is twice as long as most other seats.
- 35 lbs. weight limit and tall shell to accommodate older babies and toddlers
- 4 lbs. minimum and great fit on small babies, including preemies
- Anti-rebound position on handle
- Easy-to-adjust recline
- Easy to attach and detach carrier from base
- Premium push-on LATCH connectors
- Lockoff for simplified installations with seatbelt
- Easy to install without base
- Canopy and cover remove (and go back on) effortlessly
- Cover is machine washable
- Reversible newborn inserts
- Convenient LATCH storage
- Clear labeling on the seat and in the manual
- 2 year limited warranty
(In all fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems but I list them here to inform potential consumers of possible issues)
- Pool noodles may be necessary to achieve the proper recline angle for babies under 22 pounds
- Potential for harness to get caught in slots when using the outer loops (only if you loosen harness so much that it brings the sewn-on portion of the webbing through the front of the shell)
- Recline indicator requires very precise alignment
- Limited stroller compatibility
- Made in China
The Hauck PROsafe35 isn’t the flashiest seat in the world…and that’s what I liked about it. It’s straightforward and very easy to use. It feels sturdy and well made, fits a wide range of babies, is incredibly easy to dock the carrier into the base and it looks attractive (hey, that’s important sometimes). It reminds me of some seats available at a higher price-point, and is at least on par with others in its price range.
You can visit the PROsafe35 website for more information. The PROsafe35 is available on Amazon for around $199. It is also available as part of a travel system with the Hauck Twister stroller. The similar iCoo iGuard 35 infant carseat (featuring premium fabrics) is paired with the iCoo ACROBAT stroller to create an ultra-premium travel system for those parents looking for something high-end and unique.
Thank you to Hauck for providing the PROsafe35 used for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.