Heather has already done a full review of the Graco My Ride 65 convertible car seat. It was a great overview and also very thorough, so I’m not going to repeat it with another full review. Instead, I’m just going to add a few comments along with some photos and video.
Without a doubt, the 40 pound rear-facing weight limit is a very welcome increase. Rear-facing provides the most crash protection in the most common and severe frontal and side impacts. There is a stigma for a lot of parents regarding rear-facing. Many have the impression that kids should be front-facing once they are 1 year and 20 pounds. Even some physicians still give this obsolete advice, contrary to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Other parents just think their kids need to be front-facing for comfort or some other issue, or that turning front-facing is some sort of rite of passage or graduation award for being a year old. Well, now there’s a reason why front-facing shouldn’t be a reward for many kids until they turn 4-years old!
My son is 4-years old, plus a few weeks, and right at 40 pounds. At his 4-year checkup, he was over 39 pounds and over 42″ tall, above the 80th percentile for height. That also puts him right at the rear-facing height limit of the My Ride 65, as the top of his head is about an inch below the top of the shell. This tells me that the vast majority of kids can remain rear-facing until they are 3-years old (depending on their vehicle) and many could make it to their 4th birthday. That is a noteworthy and unique benefit of the My Ride 65.
Other likes? Need I mention what every parent wants? Dual Cupholders. Standard. The head pillow is a great touch and the infant insert and harness pads are nice, too. Installation with LATCH is relatively easy and the recline feet are straightforward and easy to adjust, though didn’t seem very robust. The 65-pound forward-facing weight limit is also nice, though like other similar 65-pound models, many kids will outgrow it by height well before they reach the weight limit. I also think it’s nice that Graco provided two separate sets of LATCH attachments. So, no re-routing of any kind is needed to convert from rear-facing to forward-facing or back, though one can envision other types of misuse from having an extra pair of attachments. Graco also touts that it is crash tested to the higher NCAP test pulse standards and is side impact tested as well.
I also have to rave that the My Ride 65 is made in North America. Kudos to Graco! In this case, the carseat itself is labeled as Made in U.S.A. and the cover appears to be made in Mexico. Speaking of the cover, while not particularly thick or plush, I like the look and feel of the Edgemont Dots pattern on mine. I do notice a strong new fabric odor and also that the elastic tended to slip off the side of the My Ride, as Heather noted.
Dislikes? Only a few things beyond what Heather mentioned. The crotch buckle depth is not generous and with no adjustment, it’s tight on older kids. Also, I do prefer separate LATCH attachments with their own adjusters on each side of the seat to make installation even easier. It would have also been nice to have push button releases, rather than basic hook hardware. These can make it a lot easier to uninstall, especially with only one adjuster in a very tight installation. Even so, the My Ride installed easy enough with LATCH. Plus, if it had four deluxe attachments and four separate adjusters, the cost would be higher, and the My Ride 65 is certainly a nice value at $149!
The last thing I’d mention is the wording in the manual about rear-facing limits, “When the child can no longer comfortably fit and knees remain bent, child should use car seat forward-facing only if child is over 20 lbs. and can sit upright unassisted.” This is a very subjective guideline. What does comfortably mean? Can the knees bend at all, if so, how far? What if the child hangs his legs to the side? What if the vehicle seat can recline? Or what about the photo to the right, “Look, no bent knees!” It may also imply there is some risk to having bent knees while rear-facing, though I am not aware of any data that has ever shown this. In any case, it is a confusing guideline, in my opinion.
Installation wise, it installed quickly and solidly in my 2006 Honda Odyssey 2nd row captain’s chair. Rear-facing, it installed easily with LATCH or seatbelt. The angle was somewhat more upright than 45 degrees without a noodle and still in the green indicator zone, perfect for an toddlers and those pushing that 40 pound rear-facing limit! A noodle would probably be needed for the 45 degree angle necessary for a newborn or small infant.
Installation was more difficult in our 2000 Subaru Outback using a lap/shoulder belt. It took some fiddling and a lot of compression with my weight into the seat in order to get an acceptable forward-facing install. The seat tended to move side-to-side. Part of the issue may have been the combination of a very upright vehicle seatback combined with a generous natural recline angle on the My Ride. Nonetheless, I did get an adequate installation and I will have some more photos and comparisons in another blog in the very near future. Given the size and recline of the My Ride, it may not fit well in some vehicles, especially forward-facing.
Overall, the My Ride 65 is a very nice convertible. It doesn’t set any trends for how well it fits small newborns or by extending weight/height limits for older kids who are forward-facing. It does set an important trend for extended rear facing (ERF), and it does this very well. In doing so, it allows older toddlers to remain more safely restrained in a vehicle. If the few drawbacks of the My Ride 65 aren’t an issue for your situation, it’s also very reasonably priced for a convertible child seat with a 65 pound harness limit. If you haven’t already, be sure to read Heather’s full review!