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Graco 4EVER All-In-One Carseat Review: Your new BFF?

Like the Fountain of Youth or the Holy Grail, a true multi-function car seat has been eluding desperate searchers for years. Yes, there already are seats that rear-face, forward-face, and turn into a booster, but they are often lacking in at least one function, and when that happens, what’s the point?

So when Graco came out with the 4EVER, which rear-faces, forward-faces, and turns into both a high-back and backless booster, it was easy to get excited but also easy to have reservations. Will it really do what it claims, and do it well?

4EVER Specs and Features:

  • Rear-facing: 4-40 lbs.
  • Forward-facing (with harness): 20-65 lbs and 49″ or less
  • High-back booster: 30-100 lbs. and 38-57″
  • Backless booster: 40-120 lbs. and 40-57″
  • No-rethread harness with 10 position headrest
  • Adjustable base with 6 recline positions (3 for rear-facing, 3 for forward-facing)
  • Easy-to-read bubble level indicator
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Premium push-on lower LATCH anchor connectors (LATCH limit: Child weight of 42 lbs.)
  • Dual integrated cup holders (simple assembly required)

Measurements:

  • Lowest harness height (with infant insert): 7″
  • naked 4everHighest harness height: 18″
  • Tallest booster height: 18.75″
  • Internal rear-facing height: 27.5″ (that’s one inch below the headrest adjustment lever of 28.5″)
  • Crotch buckle positions: 5″ and 7″
  • Seating depth: 12″
  • Internal seat width: 13″
  • Widest external seat width: 19.5″ (at cup holders)
  • Widest point on base: 15″
  • Narrowest point on base: 11.5″ (at very front and very back)

Installation/Fit to Vehicle

In general, the 4EVER is an easy-to-install seat, which is always a good thing. It installed nicely in rear-facing and forward-facing modes in the vehicles I tried it in (2010 Honda Odyssey and 2014 Honda Civic) with the seatbelt and with LATCH. The belt paths are clearly labeled and color-coded both on the seat and in the manual (blue for rear-facing, orange for forward-facing, green for booster). The LATCH and tether straps are easy to loosen when you need to, but stay secure otherwise. My particular model has the premium push-on LATCH connectors, but the manual includes a drawing/description of the hook style, too, so it’s possible that other models will come with those.

For LATCH installations, it’s important to note that the lower anchors need to be discontinued once the child reaches 42 lbs., in accordance with the new LATCH regulations. For kids over 42 lbs., install the 4Ever with seatbelt and tether.

Unlike some of the other Graco convertibles (like the MySize/Size4Me/Headwise) that have separate LATCH straps for the rear-facing and forward-facing beltpaths, the 4EVER only has one, which means it needs to be manually switched between modes. The process isn’t as complicated as it is on some seats, but not as easy as on some others. It would have been nice to see the two separate LATCH straps on this model, too.

Here’s a video showing how to switch the LATCH straps from forward-facing to rear-facing modes, how to tighten the LATCH straps rear-facing, and how to put a rear-facing child into the seat:

The Not So Angry Vitamin

Natrol offered CarSeatBlog a chance to review some vitamins, and given my kiddo is usually down to try just about anything, I took them up on the offer.

A few weeks later a package with two bottles arrived in the mail. Liam was jumping up and down because of course he loves playing Angry Birds on the iPad and these vitamins just so happen to be Angry Birds themed.

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I got two different bottles, one containing vitamin gummies and the other containing vitamin chews.
The gummies came in a red bottle with 60 gummies per bottle. It retails for about $5.99 at Amazon.com. Kids are to chew 2 gummies a day, which of course Liam had no problem with. They taste great (yes, I had to try them too!) and don’t stick to teeth as much as your run of the mill gummy treat so I like that aspect since anything gummy related usually makes me cringe. I typically avoid gummy vitamins altogether but these really weren’t bad as far as stickiness goes! They don’t contain as many minerals as the chews do, but have higher amounts of the ones they do contain. They are sweetened and colored with fruit juice extracts. They do contain tree nuts (from fractionated coconut oil) but are free of egg, fish, shellfish, wheat, peanuts, soy, yeast, and artificial colors or flavors.

The chews came in a big blue bottle with a count of 180. They retail for about $6.95 at Amazon.com. These are the more classic chewable vitamin, with a light berry flavor. They have more of the typical vitamin taste- I believe it’s probably the iron, which the gummies do not contain. Liam ate them no problem, and I didn’t find them offensive in the least. The instructions are to chew 3 tablets daily, which is quite a bit considering they are on the larger side in the first place. Plus 180 seems like a lot but you have to remember you’re taking 3 a day. However, it’s still about 60 days worth of vitamins for just over $20 so that’s still pretty darn good for a quality multivitamin! The chews contain additional B1, B2, B3, K, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, manganese, and molybdenum, all of which the gummies do not contain. They also contain beet root powder, artichoke extract, bilberry extract, carrot powder, and cranberry extract. They are free of milk, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, yeast, and any artificial colors or flavors. They do contain wheat, but are a good choice for those with peanut or tree nut allergies!

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All in all, we liked them. I do wish they contained more whole food additives since we try to avoid most synthetic vitamins but they were much better than typical mainstream vitamins you pick up at the drugstore. I also wish the B12 was methylcobalamin instead of synthetic cyanocobalamin, but to be fair, it is very difficult to find methylcobalamin in most supplements. They tasted great, are fun for the kids (who doesn’t like an Angry Bird?), won’t empty your wallet, and are easy to obtain. Plus they came with a fun little bird prize that unfortunately had to go live on top of the refrigerator so our vacuum, I mean baby, doesn’t suck it into his esophagus.

Thank you to Natrol for the sample bottles and the chance to review the vitamins! This review and all opinions are entirely my own and myself or CarSeatBlog were not provided any monetary compensation from Natrol.

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2014-2015 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Video Review: Kids, Carseats and Safety

It’s got a new name and a new available powertrain, but remains one of the best family haulers for your kids.  We previously looked at the Infinity QX60 a couple years ago in our 2013 Infiniti JX35 Review.  Though it has a new moniker, the vehicle is essentially the same.  Our comments from the previous review mostly apply to the current version as well.  So, this quick review will focus on the new hybrid powertrain and briefly cover some carseat related features.  We also have a review of the very similar 2013 Nissan Pathfinder. It offers all the interior flexibility for kids, without many of the luxury-class frills. and without the luxury-class price tag!

Hybrid Fuel Economy:

Fuel economy of the QX60 and Pathfinder models are similar.  The hybrid models all get 26 mpg combined.  My AWD tester is rated at 25 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 26 mpg overall.  In comparison, the standard engine AWD model is rated at 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 21 mpg overall.  After over 500 miles, I obtained just over 27 mpg in hybrid trim.  Right at 27 mpg around town and just under 28 mpg on a highway trip.

That shouldn’t be difficult to match with a few changes to your driving habits.  You can find some great articles online about maximizing hybrid fuel economy, or “hypermiling.”  Some of these may seem extreme for typical drivers, so I’ll simply give some key things to avoid in order to exceed those EPA estimates:

2014-2015 Honda Accord Review Video: Kids, Carseats and Safety

Top Ten Likes:

  1. IIHS Top Safety Pick+ with Frontal Crash Warning
  2. NHTSA 5-star Overall Rating
  3. Competent handling and braking
  4. Standard backup cam and bluetooth hands-free
  5. LX trim is a bargain with great fuel economy
  6. V6 has good fuel economy and strong performance
  7. Great driver visibility
  8. LaneWatch is an improved side mirror
  9. Good ride comfort and relatively quiet
  10. Roomy trunk

Top Dislikes:

  1. Outboard rear seat side bolsters will be a problem with some carseats
  2. Lower LATCH anchors more difficult than average to access
  3. Advanced safety features only on EX-L and Touring trim
  4. Ho-hum exterior styling
  5. Gauges and controls not the easiest to read
  6. Touch screen system not the most intuitive in Touring trim
  7. Quirks: Collision warning sensor makes front grille asymmetric

Conclusion:

The new Accord (refreshed in 2013) is an excellent midsize family sedan overall.  While not exciting to drive, it is fairly roomy and provides a quiet, comfortable ride.  I particularly like that Honda puts essential features like backup cameras and hands-free bluetooth in the base models that are readily available in dealer lots with great lease and financing deals.  Competitive models often cram these in more expensive packages that can be harder to find.  For fitting kids in back, the Accord will be a good choice for most families, though a few carseats will be problematic with the way the outboard rear seats are designed with side bolsters to improve comfort for adult passengers.

Really, the only major downside might be the styling.  It’s fine if you like conservative looks, but definitely not as sleek as the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata or aggressive like the Ford Fusion we also like.

Honda provided the Accord used in this review.  No other compensation was provided and all opinions are our own.