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2017 Peg Perego Nido Infant Seat Review

The last time Peg Perego brought a new infant seat to the market we were pleased to see an anti-rebound bar and a parent-friendly seat belt lockoff integrated into the base. And now with the new Peg Perego Nido, they have upped the ante again. Not just an anti-rebound bar and a lockoff, not just anti-rebound handle position and European routing for baseless installs, but now the Nido can be added to the short list of American rear-facing-only seats featuring a load leg! Every part of the Nido is carefully thought out for safety and comfort and it more than lives up to the Italian word “nido”, or nest, as a safe and comfortable place for your baby when your family is on the go.

Nido Overview

  • Premium base with load leg, anti-rebound bar and Right Tight System (seatbelt lock off)
  • European routing for baseless install with anti-rebound handle position
  • No re-thread harness, which is adjusted with a squeeze handle on the back of the seat
  • Pagoda hood with zip away extender that covers the entire seat and has airflow vents
  • Bubble recline indicator with three different ranges based on weight
  • Opening in the back of the seat that allows parents to see the recline bubble indicator with the carrier clicked into the base to ensure proper positioning
  • Dual stage infant cushioning to improve fit for smaller infants
  • Side impact protection head wings with EPP foam
  • EPS foam along the entire shell
  • Made in Italy

Height and Weight Limits

  • 4-35 pounds
  • Height less than 32 inches and at least 1 inch of headrest above baby’s head at the top harness height

     

Nido Base
The base on this car seat is where it first starts to separate itself from the pack. We’ve seen rear-facing-only seats with load legs before and we know that they vastly improve safety by decreasing rotational forces in a crash. We’ve also seen rear-facing-only seats with anti-rebound bars that attempt to reduce rebound into the vehicle seat during the second phase of a frontal crash. But we haven’t seen both a load leg and an anti-rebound bar on the same base…until now.

The Nido base has a solid anti-rebound bar that goes against the vehicle seat back and a load leg at the back of the base. The load leg can be adjusted to 10 different heights and the Energy Management Foot at the end of the load leg is designed to crumple upon impact to help absorb some of the energy from a crash. There is an indicator on the base to show whether the load leg is fully engaged as well as red/green indicators to show whether the car seats is completely clicked into the base.

The base also features the “Right Tight System”, which is a seat belt lock off that provides a secure installation without requiring the belt to be manually switched into a locking mode. The anti-rebound bar, load leg and “Right Tight System” combine to create a base that is entirely unique and exceptionally well designed for safety.

Measurements

  • Width at widest point (outside of handle): 17.25″
  • Baseless length with handle upright: 27″
  • Baseless length with handle in position for car: 28″
  • Length of seat with base: 28.5″
  • Lowest and highest harness heights without cushions*: 7″ and 10″
  • Crotch buckle position without cushions: 4.5″
  • Weight of car seat: 10 pounds
  • Weight of base: 11 pounds
  • Length of base: 24.5″ at the load leg projection in the center
  • Width of base: 14.8″

*The measurement of the harness and crotch buckle is just about impossible to accurately get with the dual stage padding. The curvature makes it not very clear, but it is definitely smaller than the 7” lowest height without the cushions.

Installation
Both the lower anchor and seatbelt installation use the “Right Tight System” to maintain tension on the belt and I found both methods to be equally simple in our vehicles. The use of the load leg is not required, but the manual notes that the load leg “guarantees a more stable installation and less rotation of the seat in a frontal collision.” So, definitely use that if you can. The other thing worth noting is that Peg Perego recommends that the car seat handle be at the top edge of the car seat when in use in the car, rather than in the upright carry position that is common with many rear facing only seats. This does make it occupy about an inch more of front to back space, so it may be tough in a smaller car.

Seatbelt Installation
The seatbelt installation is very straightforward and the manual is very clear for all of it except one piece, which I will get to shortly. The Right Tight lock off is easy to open and close (seriously, probably the easiest seatbelt lock off I’ve ever opened with the belt fully tensed) and holds the belt securely. I had a loop in my seatbelt that looked like it would be an issue with the base belt guides, but scooting the base very slightly to either side completely eliminated any worry about that. I was able to install this seat without breaking a sweat, which is impressive since I’m 8 months pregnant and it was 90 degrees outside. (Okay, maybe I was sweating, but it was 90!).

The seat fit easily in my Honda Odyssey, and even fit in the middle seat, which is exceedingly narrow, without any side overhang. I was really impressed with how compact it is side to side, even if not so much front to back. I was able to install the seat easily in every weight recline range by simply adjusting the incline on the base with the turn knob. I was concerned about cars with less well shaped seats since the manual does not say what to do if you can’t recline the base enough, so I called Peg customer service.

The customer service rep I spoke to (hi Cindy!) was friendly and was happy to inform me that Peg allows a rolled receiving blanket or up to 3 pool noodles, cut to the right length, under the base. I don’t think that using a blanket or noodle is inherently a downside, but the fact that it is not mentioned in the manual is a bit more problematic to me. A first time parent may not have any idea that blankets and noodles are commonly used for this purpose and may have a harder time installing the seat for their newborn.

Lower Anchors Installation (LATCH)
The lower anchors installation was similarly straightforward, also using the Right Tight and the load leg. I did find the load leg was a bit tough to lengthen from the angle I was installing from, but I was able to do it without uninstalling the base and it’s not a thing you’d be adjusting basically ever, so it’s not something I find terribly concerning. The lower anchors are nicely stowed in a hidden compartment on the back of the seat and the tightening the lower anchor strap couldn’t be more simple to manage.

Baseless Installation
To install without the base, the handle must be moved to the anti-rebound position since the belt guides are on the handle itself. If your seatbelt is long enough, you’ll then lock the belt, route the belt around the back of the seat and through the slot on the back of the car seat and tighten until it has less than an inch of motion at the belt path. The baseless belt guides and slot on the back for the European routing are nicely color-coded in light blue, so it’s pretty clear where the belt goes. If the seatbelt is not long enough for the European routing, you’ll still use the anti-rebound position and thread the lap portion through the guides on the handle and lock the belt, but once the slack is fully removed, the shoulder portion just lays against the vehicle seatback.

If the angle of the seat is too upright, the manual in this area does specify that a rolled towel or pool noodle can be used to maintain adequate recline.

Center LATCH with Non-Standard Spacing
I was so excited to see that lower anchor “borrowing” was spelled out in the manual. Usually I have to go on a bit of an internet goose chase for this information, but not this seat (major stars to Peg). Per the manual, if the center seat does not have lower anchors, the inside anchors of the outboard seats can be used if they are spaced less than 22 inches apart. I would add also that you need to double check your vehicle manual in case your vehicle forbids lower anchor sharing, as some do.

Inflatable Seat Belts
This was another delightful surprise in the manual. There is a section that explicitly addresses inflatable seatbelts and I’m happy to say that the Nido IS compatible with inflatable belts. To install using an inflatable belt, follow all the same steps as a standard seat belt installation, except that once the slack has been removed from the belt, you will close the Right Tight compartment without routing the shoulder belt through the guides, letting it rest on the vehicle seat back, similar to what you would do in a baseless (non-Euro routing) installation. Even though installation with an inflatable seatbelt is allowed, we would recommend installing the base with lower LATCH anchors instead if that is an option.

Fit to child
I’m hoping to replace this picture with an actual newborn in about 6 weeks, but since I don’t yet have one around here, I had to resort to a baby doll. This baby is 20” long with a 7.5” torso, which is a generously sized torso for a full term newborn. The fit is great. The straps are slightly below baby’s shoulders with the dual stage cushioning, and baby’s head is within the head wings. The harness tightened easily to fit the baby.

I’m less confident about the fit on a preterm baby. While the seat is rated for down to 4 pounds, this bear, with a 6.5” torso, did not have as nice of a belt fit. It’s a little challenging to tell if it’s the shape of the bear or if it’s the real fit of the seat, but the straps were slightly above bear’s shoulders. It’s giving me a bit of pause about whether this seat will truly fit a 4 pound infant. I imagine it would depend greatly upon the baby’s distribution of height (torso v. legs).

I don’t have a great mid-sized model, but I do have an adorable end range one. This is my nephew Asher, he is 18 months old, 25 pounds and 31 inches. I expected him to be on the top harness slot, but was pleasantly surprised to see that he was actually on the 5th of 6th and had a solid 2 inches of growth left in the seat (obviously he’d pass the 32” mark before that). There was ample harness length to load and unload him, so I feel very confident that this seat will accommodate bigger babies up all the way up to the 32” height limit.

All in all, the fit is great. I can’t promise that a 4 pound premie will truly fit, so it may not be the best bet if you know you’re having a preterm infant, but for an average newborn and up to the 32” height limit, the fit is fabulous.

Cover, Inserts and Cleaning
As with all the Peg Perego seats before it, the Nido cover is basically a work of art. The last Peg infant seat I used, I actually had strangers stop me to compliment the seat and I have no doubt that the same will happen with this one. It’s gorgeous and well padded, but the fabric is still breathable enough to keep baby comfortable. The Nido is available in 6 different colors.

The seat comes with a 2 stage insert. The stage 1 insert is for use for small babies “up to about 8 pounds” or until baby’s torso fits between the crotch buckle and shoulder straps. This cushion provides extra support on baby’s back, which helps prevent head slump and associated breathing difficulty. The other major feature of this cushion is a bolster that goes between baby and the crotch buckle, which should help prevent baby from slouching down and will help maintain baby’s head within the side impact protection head wings. The stage 2 insert only goes under baby’s bottom and does not have an explicit weight limit, but it’s extremely well padded and reminds me of the insert on the Primo Viaggio SIP 5-65 convertible seat.

Now real talk, I hate removing the covers from car seats. I hate it. I dread it. And this seat looked daunting. There are a lot of corners and I knew that there was foam everywhere (breaking the foam is my top undressing car seat fear). I followed the directions in the manual and had the whole seat undressed in literally 2 minutes. Putting it back together was similarly simple and when I was finished I couldn’t tell the difference. The fabric can be washed, but no bleach or solvents should be used and it needs to be left out to air dry. And don’t iron the fabric, which I can’t imagine anyone would do, but just in case you were considering it, don’t.

FAA/Lifespan/Crash Replacement
This car seat is FAA approved for use in an airplane. The seat should be installed in the same manner as a regular baseless installation for a lap belt only, using the anti-rebound position of the handle.

The Nido can be used for 7 years from the date of manufacture. The manual advises that in the event of a crash, you should call their customer service to determine whether you need to replace your seat.

Stroller and Base Compatibility

Since the Nido is relatively new, I went directly to Peg to ask which strollers would work. The Nido is compatible with newer Peg strollers and they informed me that the adapters for the previous infant seat, the Primo Viaggio 4-35 ARE compatible with the Nido, which is awesome. So the Nido can be used with the Uppababy Vista and Cruz (and Peg actually makes the adapters for these strollers!), Bugaboo Chameleon, Baby Jogger City Select, BOB strollers, Bumbleride and more. If you can find an adapter for the previous model, you can use the Nido with it.

Nido Advantages

  • The most obvious advantage is the base. It has a load leg, an anti-rebound bar and the Right Tight seatbelt lock off. It’s basically a unicorn in the world of rear facing only bases.
  • Enormous, I mean, ENORMOUS, canopy with air vents and Peg has improved the design so there’s more room between the canopy and handle, making it easier to carry than the previous model.
  • Extremely high-quality padding, including dual stage cushioning to improve fit for smaller newborns.
  • No re-thread harness with 6 height positions.
  • Side impact protection head wings that adjust with the no re-thread harness.
  • EPP and EPS foam throughout the entirety of the seat.
  • Anti-rebound handle position.
  • European belt routing for baseless installation.
  • Peg’s customer service is absolutely awesome.

Disadvantages

  • Getting the proper recline for a 4-11 pound baby may be difficult and may require adding a rolled baby blanket and/or pool noodle(s).  This important instruction is omitted in the manual but was confirmed by customer service.
  • I found the load leg adjustment to be not as easy as the rest of the install. The squeeze button was challenging to engage at certain angles.
  • It’s a tall seat so it takes up a considerable amount of front-to-back space in the vehicle.
  • The handle position that is recommended in the car (handle back; resting just below the top of the shell) increases the front-to-back size even more and is an additional step that many parents may forget.
  • Carrier is on the heavy side at 11 lbs.
  • It’s at the top end of the price spectrum for infant seats at around $350.

Conclusion
The moment I saw Nido, I knew it would be something special. It’s beautiful on the outside and the safety features (load leg! anti-rebound bar! anti-rebound baseless install with Euro routing! foam everywhere!) are absolutely unparalleled in the US market. The Nido lives up to its name as a nest for baby in the car and it gets strong praise for its thoughtful design from this mom and Child Passenger Safety Technician.

The Nido is available at Amazon for $348 and an extra base can also be purchased at Amazon for $129.99.

Thank you to Peg-Perego for providing the Primo Viaggio 4-35 Nido used for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are my own.