Reviews Archive

Chicco NextFit Zip Air Review – the coolest convertible carseat?


chicco-nextfit-zip-airWe already know and love the Chicco NextFit convertible and that’s why it’s currently one of our Editors’ Picks (aka favorite seats) from our list of Recommended Carseats. However, we wanted to review the new NextFit Zip Air model separately because it has some very unique features. Besides having the zip-off cover (which is nothing short of spectacular when you need to remove the cover for washing), this model also features 3D AirMesh™ technical performance fabric with airflow channels. Chicco claims that this cover maximizes ventilation throughout the backrest where children need it most. But does it actually help to keep hot, sweaty kids cooler? It was our goal to find out!

NextFit Zip Air Specs:

(The specs for the NextFit Zip Air model are the same as for the original NextFit model.)

  • Rear-Facing: 5-40 lbs.
  • Forward-Facing: 22-65 lbs.; 49″ or less; at least 1 year old. *Chicco and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend all children ride REAR-FACING until age 2 or they reach the weight/height limits of this seat.
  • FAA approved for use on aircraft
  • 8 year lifespan before seat expires
  • MSRP $359.99

Chicco NextFit Zip Air - lowest height setting with newborn insert Chicco NextFit Zip Air - max height setting

Zip Air Features:

  • Zip & Wash cover
  • 3D AirMesh™ fabric with airflow channels for improved ventilation
  • SuperCinch LATCH tightening system
  • No-rethread harness (6 height positions)
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • 2-position chest clip
  • Harness strap covers plus ComfortFlex™ harness pads for the hip straps
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Lockoffs for rear-facing and forward-facing installations with seatbelt
  • 9 recline positions (any position can be used rear-facing or forward-facing to achieve an appropriate recline angle)
  • Dual liquid bubble level indicators (one for RF, one for FF)
  • Smooth bottom base with grip material won’t damage vehicle upholstery or slide around on slippery leather seats
  • Thermal-insulated cup holder

chicco-nextfit-zip-air-comfortflex-pads Chicco NextFit Zip - zipper


gb Asana 35 DLX Infant Carseat Review: A Load (Leg) of Features


asana stockCarseat aficionados in the United States have long drooled over foreign seats with load legs that extend to the floor of the car to provide extra stability in a crash. Seats with that feature have slowly started to become available in the US market, and now there’s another one: The gb Asana 35 DLX infant seat. In addition to the load leg, the Asana also features a belt-tensioning lock-off, a no-rethread harness, and more. Let’s take a closer look!

gb Asana 35 Specifications

  • Weight range: 4-35 lbs
  • Height limit: 32″ and at least 1″ of shell over the head
  • Lowest harness height: 7″ (measured without infant insert)
  • Highest harness height: 11″
  • Crotch buckle positions: 4″, 5″, 6″
  • Interior shell height: 20″ (1″ of clearance would allow a child’s bum-to-head height of about 19″)
  • Interior seating width: 9″ at hips, 9″ in shoulder area
  • Interior seating depth: 12″
  • Exterior width at widest point (handles): 17″
  • Exterior width at narrowest part of base (near belt path): 14″asana naked
  • Overall length of carrier from foot to back: 27″
  • Weight of carrier: 9 lbs.


  • Load leg (on DLX model)
  • Fit-loc belt tightener/lock-off
  • Multi-position recline foot
  • Premium LATCH connectors
  • Two acceptable recline angles, one for babies under 20 lbs. and one for children 20-35 lbs.
  • Infant insert
  • Lots of EPS foam to help absorb energy and enhance side-impact protection in a crash

The Asana 35 comes in DLX and LTE models. The difference between the models is that the DLX version has the load leg and the LTE does not. This review is for the DLX version (with the load leg) but the rest of the information here pertains to both models. Prior to October 2015, the Asana was available in the Asana 35 and Asana 35 AP models. Those seats had a different harness-adjusting system (more on this below) but are otherwise the same as the current models. The Asana 35 AP had a load leg; the Asana 35 did not.  We believe load legs for rear-facing only infant seats are an important crash safety feature and the Asana DLX is one of the least expensive models to feature a load leg in the USA!

Installation/Fit to Car

Cardiff Travel Headrest Review


Cardiff Headrest attachedMost people can stay awake on car trips for more than 15 minutes; not me. I must have been a really easy baby to put to sleep on a bad night—I’m sure my parents threw me on the floorboard of the car and only had to drive around the block once before I was quickly in slumberland. I don’t mind sleeping in the car as my husband drives, but the problem is that he and the kids derive great pleasure from my snorting myself awake as my head bobs to and fro. I just know one of these days there will be a video. Enter the Cardiff Travel Headrest.


  • 14 customizable positions
  • Removable sleeves are machine-washable
  • Universal mount for head restraint poles

The Cardiff Travel Headrest attaches to your vehicle head restraint poles, you know, those silver things that hold the head restraint onto your seat. Yes, you must have this type or the Travel Headrest won’t work for you. It has adjustable wings that rotate up and down so you can place them where they are most comfortable for you.

Cardiff headrest attachment

Setup time will vary. On my ’11 Acura MDX, the head restraint poles are kind of thick, so I had trouble with the length of the hook screws being *just* long enough to fit. I’ve learned to set up the Travel Headrest the night before and it takes only a couple of minutes, rather than feeling pressured while my husband stands there tapping his foot and sighing as I try to install it just before we leave. You do not need to remove your vehicle head restraint to install the Travel Headrest.

Cardiff Headrest up Cardiff Headrest down

We talked to the designers at an ABC Show several years ago and they designed the Travel Headrest for kids using backless booster users. But hey, we can’t have the little tikes having all the good stuff, now can we? I actually prefer that kids use a highback booster if they still need head support like this for sleeping, but this is a good travel option for larger kids who may have outgrown a highback in height, but still need a backless booster. It can also be a good option for tweens and teens who can pass the 5-Step Test and ride without a booster but miss having a place to rest their heads to sleep on a long drive.

Check your vehicle owner’s manual, though, to see if you have active head restraints. You don’t want to use the Travel Headrest in these seating positions since it will interfere with the active head restraint in a crash. Your vehicle manual will tell you which seating positions, if any, are equipped with the active head restraints. Active head restraints travel up and forward to reduce the distance between your head/neck and the vehicle seat when your body puts force on the vehicle seat back in a crash, so you can see how it isn’t a good idea to put anything on those poles.

The Travel Headrest doesn’t fold down nicely for storage, nor does it have a pouch to keep the hooks with it, so I shove them down inside one of the wings and cross my fingers they don’t fall out. I wish the headrest folded laterally so it could be stored in a drawer or on a shelf; right now I have it on a hook way up high, out of the way.

The Cardiff guys have a Kickstarter that may work on vehicle head restraints that are incompatible with the Travel Headrest. Cardiff Wings is designed to be used on an airplane seat, but since it slips over the top of head restraint, it may work in some vehicles too. It’s hard to say for sure until we have a chance to play with this product when it becomes available. Again, I would not put it on a vehicle seat with an active head restraint.

Cardiff Wings

Cardiff Wings on Kickstarter

Cardiff Advantages

  • Comfortable car sleep, are you kidding me???
  • Adjustable wings
  • Fits vehicle head restraints as long as they have poles
  • Simple enough for kids to adjust
  • Machine-washable sleeves

Cardiff Headrest


  • Could interfere with active head restraints on vehicle seat
  • Wings flip up for storage on seat, but if you are using for yourself in the front passenger’s seat – it could interfere with the driver’s vision
  • Doesn’t fold flat for storage
  • Hook screws could be ¼” longer for easier installation

2016 Graco Extend2Fit Review: The “Shut Up and Take My Money” Convertible Carseat Is Here!

Best in class legroom? A 50 lbs. rear-facing weight limit?? Superb height limits??? Under $200???? Extend2Fit is a winner!

Extend2Fit SpireWhat’s the one thing most people say when faced with an older rear-facing toddler? “What about their legs? Aren’t they uncomfortable?” Well, no, actually, but Graco has taken the bull by the horns and addressed this issue with their new Extend2Fit convertible carseat. Their engineers have designed a unique tray that slides out to accommodate growing legs as a child sits rear-facing, giving epic legroom while still maintaining legroom for the adult in the front seat. They gave it a 50 lbs. rear-facing weight limit then added 2 (count ’em!) cup holders! How do they do it and for a reasonable price point? Keep reading and see if the Extend2Fit is the seat for you and your child.

Weight and Height Limits:

  • Rear-facing 4-50 lbs. AND child’s head is 1” below gray adjustment handle
  • Forward-facing 22-65 lbs., 49″ or less, at least 1 year old*

*We recommend following the American Academy of Pediatrics minimum guidelines of rear-facing to at least age 2 before turning your child forward-facing. It’s safest to rear-face past the minimum of age 2 and with a seat that has such a high rear-facing weight limit, why not?

Extend2Fit Overview:

  • 50 lbs. rear-facing weight limit—a leader for Graco’s convertible line!
  • 4-position leg extension for rear-facing comfort: adds up to 5″ extra legroom!
  • 10-position headrest with no re-thread harness
  • Fuss Free Harness Storage pockets on both sides of seat for storing buckle tongs out of the way
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • 6-position recline
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • InRight LATCH system
  • Two cup holders
  • Machine-washable cover
  • FAA-approved for use on aircraft
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires

Graco also offers an Extend2Fit 3-in-1 version at Babies R Us. That seat has all the Extend2Fit features plus the capability of being used as a belt-positioning booster seat from 30-100 lbs. Its suggested retail price is $249.

Extend2Fit SpireExtend2Fit KenzieExtend2Fit Campaign TargetExtend2Fit Gotham TargetExtend2Fit Mack TargetExtend2Fit Rosie TargetExtend2Fit Valor WM

Extend2Fit Measurements:

Harness height: 7”-18”
External widest point: 19.625”
Shell height with headrest: 27”
Shoulder width: 13.75”
Crotch strap depth: 4.5”, 6.5”
Seat depth: 12”
Seat weight: 18.4 lbs.


Installation was amazingly easy in my ’11 Acura MDX using either the vehicle seat belt or the lower LATCH strap. The LATCH strap is attached to the inside right side of the carseat with a metal bar, so it will never get tangled in the harness straps. The E2F comes out of the box set up with the LATCH strap set in the rear-facing belt path, so unless you are using it for an older child who will be forward-facing, there’s no need to move it. To move the LATCH strap, lift the cover and slide the strap up to the forward-facing belt path.

Extend2Fit LATCH move Extend2Fit LATCH install

The lower LATCH connectors on the Extend2Fit are the deluxe push-on style, called the InRight LATCH system by Graco, which easily snap onto the vehicle’s anchors and remove with the push of a button.

Rear-Facing Installation

This is a feature-rich carseat and as such, there are several things to keep in mind when setting the Extend2Fit up for rear-facing.

4 rear-facing recline settings: Infants 3 months and younger must have a recline that allows the ball in the recline angle indicator to be fully in the light blue circle, but after that age, you can make the recline as upright as your child is comfortable. The recline handle is on the very bottom of the seat and you pull on it to engage the mechanism.

4-position extension panel: If you would like additional legroom for your child’s tootsies, squeeze the handle under the front of the seat and pull the panel out to one of 4 positions. To be fair, there are really 3 extended positions, since position 1 is fully retracted. For kids over 40 lbs., any of positions 2-4 must be used (any extended position). With the extension panel fully extended, it’s the most legroom of any convertible carseat on the market.

Extend2Fit LATCH install extend Extend2Fit RF seatbelt extend

80% of the base must be on the vehicle seat: To achieve a more upright installation and allow more room for the extender to be in positions 2-4, you can move the E2F base out on the vehicle seat. However, you must maintain at least 80% of the base on the vehicle seat at all times. I don’t know about you, but I don’t walk around with a ruler in my back pocket and Graco doesn’t expect you to either: they’ve put a handy dandy sticker on the base showing you the exact amount of E2F base that needs to be on the vehicle seat for both rear- and forward-facing installs. Cool!

Extend2Fit RF overhang sticker Extend2Fit FF overhang sticker

Forward-Facing Installation

There are also some attributes to keep in mind when using the E2F forward-facing.

Use recline position 4 only for children weighing 22-40 lbs.: This is a very reclined position for forward-facing and will leave very little legroom for many kids in most vehicles. Unless your child has outgrown the carseat by height, it’s worth it to leave them rear-facing in this weight range. Kids over 40 lbs. must use recline 5 or 6.

 Extend2Fit ff recline 4 Extend2Fit FF upright

Move the crotch strap to the forward position: The crotch strap has to be all the way out when forward-facing.

No extender: Put that leg extender away. It’s for rear-facing only! No exceptions.

No harness covers: Remove the harness covers and put them in a safe place when using the E2F forward-facing. It’s as if Graco wants you to use this seat rear-facing!

As always with any forward-facing installation, don’t forget to use the top tether regardless of whether you install the Extend2Fit using the seat belt or lower LATCH strap.

For fun, I put the E2F in my dh’s Tesla Model S and it fit nicely both rear- and forward-facing. In fact, it fit better rear-facing because the back seat doesn’t have the side bolsters like my back seat does, so the Extend2Fit was able to sit further back on the vehicle seat, leaving more room for the front passenger seat. Using the E2F in its tallest position, though, won’t work in this vehicle because of the low ceiling height. Even though our back seat is stained with red softball dirt, I didn’t want to risk damaging the headliner by installing the E2F and extending the headrest to it’s uppermost position. I did get it to one position below the highest.

Extend2Fit RF Tesla Extend2Fit FF Tesla side Extend2Fit FF center Tesla

Rear-facing and forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 45 lbs.

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:
Graco allows LATCH installation in the center seating position if the vehicle manufacturer allows it and the LATCH anchor bars are spaced at least 11” apart.

Inflatable Seat Belts
Graco has determined that the Extend2Fit cannot be installed with inflatable seat belts found in some Ford, Lincoln, and Mercedes vehicles, and in some airplane seat belts.

Locking Clip
Like most other convertibles of its generation, the Extend2Fit does not come with a locking clip. If your seat belts do not lock at the retractor or at the latchplate, you will need to contact Graco for a locking clip.

Fit to Child

The Extend2Fit is designed to fit children from 4-65 lbs. and to fit small babies, a body support and head pillow are included. The body support must be used if the baby’s shoulders are below the bottom harness slots, and it must be removed when the E2F is turned forward-facing. The harness pads also must be removed upon forward-facing. The head pillow can be removed at any time. Though it looks puffy, the pillow actually compresses pretty easily so bigger noggins will be comfy with it too.

My 4 lbs. preemie doll did not fit well in the Extend2Fit; this is not a carseat that will work for a very small newborn. The harness was too high and there was too much space around the hips and crotch. My doll, Romeo, is about the size of an 8-9 lbs. newborn and he fits well without the body support. In the rear-facing fit section, the instruction manual specifies that the harness height must be at or below the child’s shoulders.

Extend2Fit preemie front Extend2Fit preemie side Extend2Fit Romeo closeup Extend2Fit Nora legroom Extend2Fit Emma legroom

Nora, left, is 1 and around 25 lbs. Emma, right, is 4 and about 30 lbs. You can see the abundant legroom the Extend2Fit offers both girls.

Extend2Fit Emma FF

Here’s Emma forward-facing. At age 4, she’s very safe to ride in this position.

Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use

The cover that shipped on my seat wasn’t the easiest to remove. It was attached in 4 places with tight elastics that had me saying some not-so-nice things and since this is a family blog, there’s no need to impress you with my knowledge of sailor vocabulary (no offense to sailors intended!). Two of the elastics are attached under the extender. If you undo one of those to lift the cover to expose the rear-facing belt path, it is impossible to reattach if the extender is retracted. It is nearly impossible to reattach if the extender is extended at all. I don’t think that over time a child will work the cover up in that location getting in and out of the seat since it’s so tightly attached around the cup holders, but it is poor design.

I also don’t like elastics because they’re hard to thread through tiny holes or slits to attach to hooks and they don’t last more than a single hot season here in Las Vegas. OK, so I’m clearly not a fan of the logistical design of this cover, though I do like the look. I’m especially fond of the seafoam blue-ish Spire cover on the sample I was sent; it’s lovely, though all the E2F covers are sharp-looking. Some of the covers are mesh in the seating area and my experience with mesh is that crumbs can be ground into those little holes and never see the light of day again, so stay on top of the snacks. The cover can be washed in the washing machine on cold and air-dried.

The harness is one long length, but it has a butterfly attachment in the middle under the child’s bum area, so there’s not a possibility of one side being longer than the other. It can be cleaned like any other: dip a washcloth in water and use a drop of mild soap (Dawn, Dreft) to clean it. Be sure to wipe off that soap with the wet washcloth and let the harness thoroughly dry. Set it in full sun if it still stinks. But . . . the harness *is* replaceable, so if it’s just that nasty, buy a new one!

Graco has gone to a 1-harness-slot design on their no re-thread convertibles, which means that it will be more difficult to tighten and loosen the harness in lower “slot” positions because the headrest is pushing on it, causing friction. As your child gets older and taller, there will be less friction and it will be easier to use.

Extend2Fit without cover Extend2Fit back

FAA-Approval/Lifespan/Crash Guidelines

The Extend2Fit is FAA-approved, but you will most likely need to raise the armrests on the airplane seat to get it to fit because of the cup holders.

The Extend2Fit has a lifespan of 10 years and Graco wants you to replace it after any crash.


  • 50 lbs. rear-facing weight limit—a leader for Graco’s convertible line!
  • 4-position leg extension for rear-facing comfort
  • 10-position headrest with no re-thread harness
  • Fuss Free Harness Storage pockets on both sides of seat for storing buckle tongs out of the way
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Replaceable harness
  • 6-position recline
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Push-on LATCH system
  • Easy install in both rear-facing and forward-facing positions
  • Two cup holders
  • Machine-washable cover
  • FAA-approved for use on aircraft
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires

Disadvantages (In fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems but I list them here to inform potential consumers of specific Extend2Fit issues)

  • Lacks a lockoff device for installations with seat belt
  • Seat takes up more space rear-facing when the legrest panel is extended
  • Harness strap covers cannot be used when child is forward-facing
  • Recline position #4 is required when the seat is installed forward-facing for a child weighing less than 40 lbs.
  • Cover difficult to remove and reattach in front
  • Made in China

Thank you to Graco for providing the Graco Extend2Fit used for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.




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