Graco : Car Seats : Target

This is a problem because this recline requirement makes it impossible to safely install the seat sometimes, usually because the bottom of the car seat hangs too far off the vehicle seat. And, in vehicles with non-removable headrests, this awkward recline can make it difficult to raise the headrest high enough for a proper harness fit, too. Graco, the manufacturer of our top-pick convertible, the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible, makes a lot of convertible car seats, including the Graco Contender 65 and the Graco Admiral 65. We opted not to test these seats because they’re less widely available than the Extend2Fit Convertible and have lower rear-facing weight limits. We additionally dismissed seats that were not as well suited for extended rear-facing as the Extend2Fit Convertible, which has the extension panel for added rear-facing legroom. One of our favorite things about the Extend2Fit Convertible is how exceptionally well it facilitates extended rear-facing riding, with a 50-pound rear-facing weight limit.

graco car seat

First are rear-facing baby car seats (suitable from birth to age 2 years), which are placed in the rear seat with your baby facing the back of the car. Next are forward-facing toddler car seats (ages 2 to 4 years, and no more than 40 lb.), which are similar to rear-facing seats, except positioned facing the front of the car. Finally, belt-positioning boosters are available in high-back or backless (ages 4 to 8 years, or up to 4’9”), which elevate your child on a higher seat while using the standard seat belt. This slow, but secure progression helps your baby gradually grow into a seatbelt safely. For meeting all these stages, try a car seat that transitions from one step to another, such as a convertible car seat. This allows the car seat to grow with your little one, which creates a smoother transition and is more cost effective.

However, we found the Radian 3QXT more difficult to install than other seats we tested; it requires a lot of physical effort to get a snug install. And unlike any other seat we tested, the 3QXT is so top-heavy that it can’t sit upright on its own. So if you need to uninstall it to change the SafeStop or to remove the seat cover, you have to prop it up against something. Additionally, the Radian 3QXT’s anti-rebound graco turbobooster bar—an added safety feature that helps to prevent the seat from rebounding in an accident—was not fully flush to the seat. According to The Car Seat Lady’s Baer, that could pose a safety issue if a child rides with their feet tucked under the bar and then is in a crash. One of our favorite infant car seats is made by Chicco, so we were eager to try the company’s convertible seat, the Chicco NextFit Zip.

(The button to adjust the harness straps is tucked beneath the seat’s material. And to operate the handle, you need to apply pressure from the thumbs, not just the hands.) This seat received an ease-of-use rating of four out of five stars from the NHTSA. If you are traveling internationally, you may be able to get away with installing with the lower anchors if the child is under 45 pounds and if the vehicles you end up in have lower anchors. But we would recommend contacting Graco for a free locking clip in case you need to do a seat belt installation since most vehicles outside of the US and Canada will not have locking seat belts.

Your baby will be ready for this larger, five-point safety harness seat once they’ve outgrown their infant seat’s height and weight limits (usually around 30 inches or 30 pounds); this will likely happen at any point between 6 months and 2 years of age. Once you transition to the convertible seat, you’ll start out with a baby or toddler sitting graco convertible car seat in it rear-facing and eventually end up with a much bigger kid riding in it forward-facing. Getting the hang of convertible seats can be daunting—what with their various installation modes and positions, multiple seat belt paths, and safety tethers—which is why we set out to find the models that are the simplest and safest to install and use.

Graco’s goal is to give every family the chance to thrive through the One Family Project, which has supported families in need across the nation by donating over $1M in baby gear since 2010. Your child’s safety could be in jeopardy if your car seat is not installed correctly. Before you install your car seat, make sure you’re familiar with vehicle and car seat parts used in the installation process and these important installation safety tips. The Boulevard weighs about 29 pounds—more than many similar seats, but significantly less than our 38-pound also-great pick, the Clek Foonf.

After the impact of a crash, a car seat can surge forward in the car and then rebound back, potentially sending a baby face-first into the vehicle seat back; the anti-rebound bar can limit that rebound effect. (For more information, see Understanding optional safety features.) Regardless of whether you consider this feature to be important, it’s pretty uncommon on a seat that costs around $200. After careful consideration and consultation with experts, we decided that field testing alone, without crash testing, should dictate our picks in this guide. If anything, our research has confirmed that caregivers can take comfort in knowing that most car seats do their job very well. “Five-point harness child restraint seats are highly effective in reducing the chances of injury and death,” Maltese said. So the most effective strategy for keeping your kids safe on the road is to choose a car seat that works well for your family, and for you to use it correctly.

In sedans, these are usually located above/behind the vehicle’s back seat on the rear shelf. In some larger vehicles such as vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs, these tether anchors may be found on the back of a vehicle seat, on the floor, the ceiling, graco convertible car seat or other location. Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions.

But for the few who do, here’s a quick guide to this pretty simple process. The harness mechanism pulls quite smoothly and does not require significant strength to tighten. Directions for assembling the cupholders are in the manual — they slide into a channel and click into place. Once assembled, the cupholders are required to remain attached to the seat.