My daughter loves it, but I'm still a little weary
July 11, 2018
I bought this car seat for a number of reasons: the amount of testing that was done on it by Graco (they even went above and beyond what was required), the fact that this seat can be used until my daughter is big enough to sit without a booster seat (she's very petite at almost 6 years old, so she will more than likely be in this one for a very long time), and that it is steel enforced. My BIGGEST complaint is the fact that the installation was a NIGHTMARE. Yes, I've had my share of car seat installations (this is number 3 for us), but no matter what my father did, the seat did not seem to be tight enough in my car. My father is a recently retired engineer for a very well known car company, so he knows how important it is to have a properly installed car seat. He was the one who never allowed me or my sister (who is 7 years older than I am) to sit in the front seat until we were over 100 pounds, and it has been DRILLED in our heads from a young age to ALWAYS wear our seat belts. My father is by no means a "small" man, and even with all of his body weight, the straps that hooked into my seats' anchor system just did not get tight enough. I took my car with the seat installed to a local car seat check point, where the technician suggest I use the car's seat belt to tether through the car seat, instead of using the anchor system. I took her advice, and together (after 20 minutes of disconnecting the anchor hooks my father secured the night before) we got the car seat in with the seat belt. The seat was still not tight and secure, at least not to my liking, or my father's. My father ended up re-doing the entire install, using the anchor system, despite not liking the results.
My only suggestions to Graco would be to make it easier to move the crotch belt. A lot of the reviews I have read (and my own experience) talk about needing a hammer to get the piece out just to adjust the position! That is a bit ridiculous, if you ask me. I have weak hands due to my disease, and if it wasn't for my father, the adjusting of the crotch strap would have been impossible. My biggest suggestion would be how the parent/customer tightens the tethers that are hooked into a car's anchor system. The way you have it set up is when it is pulled to tighten, it pulls both of them at the same time. In the past, I have had a front facing car seat from another company, and when I pulled the tether to tighten the slack up, it tightened that specific tether, then I had to repeat on the other side. It truly made a difference. Rather than having it put tension on BOTH tether hooks that are connected to the anchors, make them two separate tethers, so you can tighten them independently.
This is just a suggestion from a very weak mother with a disease which takes a lot out of me. If it wasn't for my father, I would not have been able to get my daughter's car seat in properly nor safely. I know I am not the only single mother who may have a debilitating disease, but some may not be as lucky and blessed as I am.
* This product review was collected by the manufacturer.