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UPPAbaby Knox Convertible Car Seat Review


UPPAbaby has rolled out the new Knox Convertible car seat, which originally began shipping in the Spring of 2020.

The KNOX is UPPAbaby’s first convertible car seat that changes direction from rear-facing to front-facing when the time comes. Designed as an upgrade from the MESA infant car seat, it comes with UPPAbaby’s patented SMARTSecure locking system.

The KNOX car seat has been voluntarily recalled due to concerns over the safety of the seat. We’ve got all the information, plus a features overview, in this UPPAbaby Knox Convertible car seat review. 

UPPAbaby Knox in Rear-Facing Mode with Tether

Knox Car Seat Pulled From Market

Our editor spoke with an UPPAbaby representative on 06/15/2020 and received a confirmation that the Knox car seat is no longer for sale.

UPPAbaby had some concerns over the safety of the car seat after reports of lateral movement, even if the car seat is properly installed and secured. Although no injuries have been reported, UPPAbaby decided to err on the side of caution and voluntarily recalled the seat (read more about this “ghost recall”).

Here’s exactly what UPPAbaby had to say:

As always, we conducted extensive testing and received high performance ratings on all regulatory standards for the KNOX. However, we discovered that despite secure installation, the KNOX can exhibit lateral movement when in use in the rear facing position. We have not received reports of injuries and have no evidence that this poses a safety risk. Given that we are unsure of the potential implications of this movement, we decided to stop sale of the KNOX car seat for the time being. 

UPPAbaby does not know when the car seat will be available. In the meantime, they still sell their Alta booster seat and the Mesa infant car seat

There is always the chance that the seat will be redesigned, retested, and re-released, so let’s keep looking at the features of this convertible car seat. 

Safety 

The UPPAbaby KNOX car seat comes with complete protection against car crashes with a Universal Tether, Energy Response Headrest, and SMART SIP Absorbing Pods. Memory foam and EPP foam lines the Energy Response Headrest for shock absorption after a side collision.

SMART Sip absorbent pods on the sides also diffuse impact during a side crash. They work like a crumple zone to take on the energy during a car accident and direct it away from your baby. 

A Universal Tether keeps the seat from flying forward during accidents to the front and rear of your vehicle. It is a rear tether and it helps avoid neck and head injuries during impact, reducing the risk of head and neck injury by an impressive 38%. It works with your vehicle’s rear anchor similar to the way a load bar would. 

Installation

Installing the UPPAbaby Knox was also easy. Personally, I find this important for my own peace of mind when somebody else is putting the car seat in the car. The Knox also has an indicator that turns from red to green when the connectors are correctly adjusted to the base. You buckle the seat in using the vehicle belt of your car. 

Instead of struggling to feed the seatbelt through, you lift up the padding of the seat. There is a slot for the lap belt portion and the second part goes into two hook-like devices. The indicator will change color once the shoulder belt is tight enough to keep the car seat secure. 

The MESA has an NHTSA five-star rating for safety and ease of use. We can only assume that the UPPAbaby Knox will have the same level of safety. 

Additionally, the Knox also has a LATCH system that can be used instead of the seat belt. The LATCH system is tucked away into compartments in the seat. However, UPPAbaby recommends that this be used with the vehicle seat belt. 

Grows with Your Little One

Even though this grows with your little one, it is not designed to be used by infants. The Knox is recommended for use after your child is 14 pounds. You’ll need to buy a secondary car seat to use first or purchase the UPPAbaby infant insert. 

The Knox has a stabilizing nine-position harness connected to the seat. You don’t have to rethread anything and it easily grows with your child, repositioning the belt as you move the headrest. It also provides a thick, comfortable surface for your baby to stay comfortable on whether you are on short car rides or a long journey. 

UPPAbaby’s MESA infant car seat was an infant only, rear-facing only car seat. If you are expecting, purchasing the KNOX eliminates the need for an infant seat, although you may need to wait a bit until the baby reaches 14 pounds or use another seat during that short time period.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. UPPAbaby believes that all-in-one car seats can’t provide the same safety and support for your baby as those designed to accommodate stages. 

The Knox will accommodate infants up to 40 pounds in rear-facing mode.

It has an infant extension available that attaches directly to the seat. This add-on has more head support for your infant. With these adjustments, UPPAbaby’s newest car seat truly does grow with your child, protecting them during travel from infancy until early childhood.

When your baby outgrows the rear-facing specifications of 40 pounds, you can switch to forward-facing mode. The Knox is rated for 25 to 65 pounds and up to 49 inches in height for the forward-facing position.

Style

Adding variety to their line of products, UPPAbaby’s KNOX car seat will be available in four different color schemes:

  • Jordan charcoal black melange with a citron accent. This model will be made of a fire-resistant Merino wool.
  • Bryce white and grey marl
  • Jake black melange
  • Lucca teal melange

A Closer Look at the Inspiration for the UPPAbaby Knox

In business for over thirty years, UPPAbaby has innovated products on the baby market. The husband and wife team that created the company both have experience in sales and product development. Their family life inspires them in their designs that focus on strollers, car seats, and accessories. UPPAbaby challenges the idea that these baby products are bulky and cumbersome. The company uses the newest technology to make lightweight, safe, and useful merchandise selections, keeping both parents and babies happy. UPPAbaby products are a hit among celebrities, and they have won multiple safety awards.

Since the company prides itself on innovation, we assume that the UPPAbaby Knox Car Seat will rival its other best-selling car seat, the UPPAbaby MESA. According to the National Highway Safety Commision, parents do not install 75% of car seats correctly. Designed with their patented SMARTSecure system, the MESA’s retractable connectors have an indicator that changes from red to green as the car seat connects securely to the base. This UPPAbaby car seat’s upholstery is fire-resistant Merino Wool, a breathable material that keeps your baby comfortable. EPP foam in the adjustable headrest with side impact protection is durable and flexible and keeps the head secure. The MESA also attaches to your UPPAbaby VISTA or UPPAbaby CRUZ stroller, making travel even easier.

Pros

  • Loaded with safety features including Universal Tether, SIP pods, and an energy response headrest
  • EPP foam and memory foam makes this comfortable for your little one to lay on 
  • No rethread harness
  • Installation was easy and secure
  • Indicator lets you know when the seat is installed properly
  • Comes in several colors

Cons

  • Need to purchase an infant insert or use a smaller car seat until your child is 14 pounds

Car Seat General FAQs 

Are all the safety features necessary? 

One thing you’ll notice if you compare car seats today to those designed 10 or 15 years ago is that there are abundant safety features. There is a reason for this. Even with all the safety features available, car accidents still remain the leading cause of death for children ages 3-14. Statistics show that in 2017, there were nearly 800 deaths in children under age 12 from car accidents. Additionally, more than 128,000 were injured. 

Car seat manufacturers have started creating new, innovative safety features because even one preventable injury or death is too many. Babies, toddlers, and even older children are still developing and their bones cannot protect them as well as an adult’s body could in a crash. With all these safety features, energy is directed away from your baby, keeping them safe in an accident. 

Safety features come in many forms. Tethers and LATCH systems stop your little one’s car seat from becoming a projectile in an accident. Crumple-zones like the UPPAbaby Knox Convertible car seat’s SIP pods work to absorb energy and layers of EPP and memory foam add both safety and comfort to seats. Finally, finding something that has an easy install will give you peace of mind when your baby is out with your spouse or relatives that they can also easily install the car seat properly. 

When can I turn my baby around? 

You should wait to turn your baby around until they outgrow the safety recommendations for rear-facing mode. Even though it was once recommended that babies sit rear-facing until at least age one, it is now recommended that parents wait until they are two or older before turning them around.

Even though this isn’t reflected in state laws currently, the guideline to wait longer should be followed because it provides better protection for your precious cargo longer. 

Some parents make the decision to turn around sooner because they are worried their baby’s legs are cramped or that they are uncomfortable. Keep in mind that your baby’s legs have been folded for months. It is safer for them to remain rear-facing.

Additionally, if you have never set them in forward-facing mode, they are used to this position. Keep them here until they no longer have an inch of space between the top of their head and the top of the car seat or once they outgrow the weight requirements for rear-facing mode. 

Final Take

The UPPAbaby Knox convertible car seat has the same level of safety that you find in UPPAbaby’s other models. The new installation process is easy to understand so I have peace of mind that my child is safe even when I’m not there to install their car seat. Additionally, the added safety features including SIP pods, layers of foam, and the rear tether ensure your baby stays safe in an accident. The UPPAbaby Knox is a good investment, especially with the added insert that lets you use it from birth until your child is ready to transition to a booster seat. 

Samantha Davis
Samantha Davis
Samantha Davis is a part-time writer and a full-time mommy of two boys, Apollo (age 3) and Adrien (age 5). She has been working as a writer for five years and one day plans to run her own writing company. For now, Samantha is content working as a writer and spending all her free time with her little boys. They live together with dad in Ohio and spend their free time crafting, hiking, and baking.