Reviews Archive

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Carseat Review: Raising the Bar

2016 Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Carseat Review

Grow and Go Blue CoralThe new generation of 3-in-1 carseat from Dorel is here and it’s a solid success in practicality, installation, and fit. From a 5-position no-rethread harness, to protective head wings, to user-friendly features such as harness holders, the Safety 1st Grow and Go shows it’s up to the challenge of taking children from rear-facing through early grade school. Read on to learn how the successor to the aging Alpha Omega Elite platform is raising the bar.

Weight and Height Limits
  • Rear-facing:  5-40 lbs., and child’s head is 1” below top of headrest, and 19-40”
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., and 29-49”, and at least 1 year old (models made prior to 10/2016 had 2-year age minimum)
  • Belt-positioning booster: 40-100 lbs., 43-52”, and at least 4 years old

What are the differences between the various models of Grow and Go and similar convertibles?

*Tip – turn your phone sideways to see all the columns

Carseat Name RF Weight Limit FF Weight Limit BPB Weight Limit IIHS Rating Features MSRP
Multi-Fit 5-40 lbs. 22-40 lbs. 40-100 lbs. Best Bet Rating Costco exclusive; harness height adjustment levers on headrest; 3-position recline; 1 cup holder $99.99
Ever-Fit 5-40 lbs. 22-40 lbs. 40-100 lbs. Best Bet Rating Sam's Club exclusive; harness height adjustment levers on headrest; 3-position recline; 1 cup holder $99.86
Continuum 5-40 lbs. 22-50 lbs. 40-80 lbs. Best Bet Rating harness height adjustment levers on headrest; 3-position recline; 1 cup holder $149.99
Grow and Go 5-40 lbs. 22-65 lbs. 40-100 lbs. Good Bet Rating harness height adjustment levers on headrest; 3-position recline; 2 cup holders $169.99
Grow and Go Air Sport 5-40 lbs. 22-65 lbs. 40-100 lbs. Best Bet Rating harness height adjustment button on headrest; Air Protect®; cover unsnaps to machine clean and dry; 3-position recline; 1 cup holders $189.99
Grow and Go EX Air 5-50 lbs. 22-65 lbs. 40-100 lbs. Best Bet Rating harness height adjustment button on headrest; Air Protect®; cover unsnaps to machine clean and dry; 3-position recline; 2 cup holders $199.99
Grow and Go Overview
  • No-rethread harness with 5 height positions and a separate infant position
  • 3 crotch strap positions
  • Infant cushion
  • Versatile harness holders
  • Machine washable and dryable cover
  • 2 integrated cup holders
  • IIHS “Good Bet” Rating for booster mode
  • Made in the USA!

Nuna Rava Review: The Fine Italian Suit of the Car Seat World

2016 Nuna Rava Review

nuna-rava-slate-sideLast December, I got a look at the Nuna Rava way back when it was just a prototype that Nuna was working on. As I put my hands on it, played with the different settings and installed it in a couple different cars, I had a feeling that I was looking at something really special in the car seat world. Every feature seemed to be well thought out, carefully designed and intentionally placed. It was clear even then with the very unfinished version of the Rava that the folks at Nuna had spent a prolonged period of time looking at what parents liked and didn’t like, and importantly, how the design of a car seat could improve safety.

Now that the final product is on the market and in my car, I can happily confirm my earlier suspicion- the Rava is something special in the convertible car seat market.

Weight and Height Limits
  • Rear-facing: 5-50 pounds(!) and 49 inches or less
  • Forward-facing: 25-65 pounds and 49 inches or less, suggested 2 years or older
Rava Overview
  • Rear-faces to 50 pounds, one of the highest limits available.nice touches
  • Extension panel at foot of the seat that can be used rear-facing for increased legroom or forward-facing for thigh support
  • 10 position headrest with no-rethread harness
  • 5 rear-facing and 5 forward-facing recline settings
  • No bubble, level indicator, or horizontal line for rear-facing recline—if it’s on one of the rear facing recline settings (and in a newborn, if the head isn’t falling forward), the recline angle is safe per Nuna
  • Infant cushion for use up to 11 pounds
  • All steel frame and steel-reinforced belt paths
  • Two collapsable, removable cupholders
  • Retractible side impact protection (SIP) pods
  • Cover over adjuster release button to keep little hands from loosening harness
  • Plush shoulder harness pads and hip harness pads
  • Buckle holders to keep harness out of way for loading and unloading
  • 2 crotch buckle positions, with longer length in outer position and easy push-and-slide adjustment

nuna-rava-slate nuna-rava-berry nuna-rava-caviar nuna-rava-indigo

Rava Measurementsnuna-rava-tall-setting
  • Lowest harness height: see Fit to Child section
  • Highest Harness height: 16″
  • External widest point: 19″
  • Total height with headrest fully extended: 25″
  • Crotch buckle width: 5.5″, 7″
  • Width of base: 14″
  • Depth of base: 14″

When creating this seat, Nuna wanted to decrease the widespread confusion over the new(ish) lower anchor weight limits and they decided to do this by encouraging a seatbelt installation for all kids and all cars. They did this with their “simply secure installation” using “true tension doors”—one for rear-facing and one for forward-facing. The seat comes with premium push-button lower anchor attachments, but multiple label discourage their use and encourage a seat belt installation.  So how does this work for the typical parent?

Guest Blog: Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 and Milestone All-in-1 Comparison

Faceoff: How Do the Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 and Graco Milestone All-in-1 Compare in Terms of Features, Ease-of-Use, and Installation?

I recently purchased a Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seat. At 30 lbs, my 3.5 year old daughter hardly needs the 50 lb rear-facing weight limit, but she’s had a recent growth spurt in her legs and so I thought she might enjoy the option of the added legroom. Her current favorite seat is the Graco Milestone and so I was curious as to how these two 3-in-1 seats from Graco would compare.


The Graco Milestone (left) and Extend2Fit 3-in-1 (right) side-by-side in store at Babies R Us.

First, let’s define 3-in-1 in this situation, since there is no industry-wide accepted meaning. Both the Milestone and the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seats are able to be used rear-facing, forward-facing, and as highback belt-positioning boosters. Unlike the Graco 4Ever car seat or the upcoming Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit All-in-One, neither of these seats becomes a backless booster.

Both the Milestone and the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seats are rated to accommodate children from infancy to 100 lbs; however, a major difference is their rear-facing weight limits. The Milestone can be used rear-facing from 5-40 lbs, which is typical amongst current seats. Provided that they meet any height requirements, a 40 lb rear-facing limit will allow most children to rear-face until they are well into the preschool years. The Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seat offers a 4-50 lb rear-facing weight limit, which is the highest available in the United States. Neither the Milestone nor the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 seat has a rear-facing standing height limit and so the only height limitation specifically for rear-facing is that the child have 1” of clearance between the top of the head and the red or gray headrest handle — which can be moved into any of ten positions. As a result, even tall children will be able to rear-face in either of these seats for a very long time. For heavier children, the 50 lb rear-facing weight limit on the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 means that even a boy in the 97th percentile for weight can rear-face past his 4th birthday.

These two seats have many similar features such as push-on lower anchor connectors, no re-thread harness, infant padding, removable harness pads, a convenient storage compartment for stowing the harness when the seat is in high-back booster mode, machine-washable soft goods, and Graco’s “roller bar” harness system on the back of the seats which allows the caregiver to tighten the harness quite smoothly. However, there are also some notable differences, which are summarized in the table below:

Milestone Extend2Fit 3-in-1
Ball-style level indicator with one rear-facing recline age range Bubble-style level indicator with two rear-facing recline age ranges (0+ and 3+ months)
Four recline positions: Two recline positions only for rear-facing, one only for forward-facing, and one for either forward-facing or belt-positioning booster Six recline positions: Three recline positions only for rear-facing, one for rear-facing or forward-facing, one only for forward-facing, and one for either forward-facing or belt-positioning booster
12” legroom when rear-facing 12 – 17” legroom (depending on the setting of the 5-position extension panel) when rear-facing
No specific feature for holding the harness back when loading/unloading; however, the loops on the harness straps prevent the buckle tongues from sliding all the way down “Fuss Free” buckle pockets for holding the harness out of the way when loading/unloading
Covered back Exposed back allows access to the harness straps
No special weight-specific rules for forward-facing Harness covers must be used if the seat is used forward-facing for a child under 25 lbs. Recline 6 must be used for a forward-facing child over 40 lbs.
One cupholder that can be moved to either side or removed to save space Two required cupholders

Rear-Facing Fit to Vehicle

Extend2Fit 3-in-1 in a 2010 Subaru Impreza

The true test of a seat that claims to be both compact and spacious is how (or whether) it will fit in a small vehicle.

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