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2019 Graco Grows4Me All-in-One Carseat Review

Graco is back with another carseat based on the popular 4Ever. And why not? It’s a formula that works: easy to use, easy to install, and it fits most kids well for many years. The new Grows4Me is similar but it has just one cup holder and more basic padding than the 4Ever. Just don’t get Grows4me mixed up with the Graco Size4Me, because they’re very different seats!

Weight and Height Limits:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. AND child’s head is 1” below gray adjustment handle
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., 49” or less
  • Highback booster: 40-100 lbs., 43-57”, at least 4 years old
  • Backless booster: 40-110 lbs., 43-57”, at least 4 years old

Grows4Me Overview:

  • Adjustable base with 3 rear-facing recline positions, 3 forward-facing recline positions, 1 booster recline position
  • No re-thread harness with 10 position headrest
  • Easy-to-read ball level indicator
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • On-board harness storage for booster mode
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • One cup holder
  • Machine-washable cover
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires
  • MSRP $249

 

Grows4Me Measurements:

Harness height: ~7”-18”
Shoulder belt guide height: 19”
External widest point: 19”
Shell height with headrest: 30”
Shoulder width: 12”
Crotch strap depth: inner slot: 2 ½ ” with padding, 4 ½” without padding; outer slot: 6 ½”
Seat depth: 13”
Seat weight: 21.8 lbs. with padding, 21.5 lbs. without padding
Don’t forget about our comparison database!

Installation:

Grows4Me is not touching front seat in this pic

Rear-Facing Installation

  • When rear-facing, any of reclines 1-3 can be used to achieve an appropriate recline.
  • The bottom cover pulls forward for easy access to both the RF and FF belt paths.

Installation was easy using either LATCH or seat belt in the vehicles in which I placed the Grows4Me. The LATCH connectors are the hook-on type, so not quite as easy to use as the more deluxe push-on type.

Forward-Facing Installation

  • If your child is 40 lbs. or less, you must use either recline position #4 or #5; kids over 40 lbs. must use the fully upright position #6.

Recline position #5 is a welcome change from the 4Ever and the Extend2Fit models which require recline position #4 be used for children under 40 lbs. Recline position #4 is a pretty deep recline for forward-facing and leaves little leg room for most kids, not to mention it can be incompatible in some vehicles due to the carseat’s headrest bumping into the vehicle seat back. Recline #5 is more upright and more comfortable for most forward-facing kids.

Booster Installation

  • The harness is stored on-board in the storage compartment. The buckle must be removed then buckled into the harness tongs, then it can all be smooshed into the compartment. It’s a great way to keep it all together for future use.
  • When used as a highback booster, the seat can be secured with LATCH up to 100 lbs., the maximum weight limit as a highback booster. That’s because the backless portion of the booster doesn’t have the lower LATCH connectors attached to it. If the LATCH strap or connectors interfere with the vehicle buckle or seat belt in any way, store it through the forward-facing belt path on the carseat instead.
  • The recline position must be set to position 6, which is most upright.

LATCH Weight Limits
Rear-facing LATCH weight limit: 40 lbs.
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 Grows4Me CAN be installed with inflatable seat belts found in some Ford Motor Company vehicles. Other types of inflatable seat belts are still incompatible for use with the Grows4Me.

Fit to Child:

The Grows4Me has a body support pad and harness covers. The bottom body support pad is only mandatory to use if your child’s shoulders are below the bottom harness slots. After that, you can remove it at any time and it CANNOT be used when the carseat is forward-facing. The harness covers are optional and shouldn’t interfere with chest clip placement at armpit level.

Baby O is 7 weeks old, weighs 12 lbs. 9 oz, and is 23” long. He was on the 2nd to bottom slot height. Being only 7 weeks old, he couldn’t comment on comfort, but he was happy!

My other models found the seat comfortable and enjoyed trying it out. J is 2 years old, 30 lbs. and 35″ tall. He has lots of growing room in the Grows4Me!

L is 5 years old, 40 lbs. and 42″ tall. She has reached the maximum rear-facing weight limit but has plenty of room to grow in the forward-facing position and eventually in booster mode when she outgrows the harness. The 2nd pic shows recline position #5 while the 3rd pic shows the seat in the fully upright #6 recline position.

  

S is 7 years old, 50 lbs., and 47″ tall. At his age, he has the option of riding in the harness or in booster mode and both fit him well. We asked him if the backless booster was comfortable since it’s quite reclined (as you can see, his knees are much higher than his hips) but he reported that he was comfy.

  

Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use:

The cover can be thrown in the washing machine on gentle cycle. Hang to dry. It comes in 3 pieces: a cover for the head wings and down behind the child’s back, a cover for the torso side area, and a cover for the base/backless booster portion (nice since you won’t have to remove the whole cover just for a pee accident). Removing and replacing the covers can be considered fairly easy. Each section has a couple of elastics to fish through and secure, but it’s more a hassle than it is difficult.

The cup holder is required to be attached on the child’s right side. Listen for a solid “click” to know it’s attached properly.

FAA-Approval/Lifespan/Crash Guidelines:

The Grows4Me is FAA-approved when used with the harness. If you’re using it as a booster seat, you can’t use it on the plane because booster seats require lap/shoulder belts.

This carseat has a lifespan of 10 years from the date of manufacture. It must be replaced after any crash, including a minor one.

Grows4Me Advantages:

  • 3 rear-facing recline positions, 3 forward-facing recline positions, 1 booster recline position
  • Easy access to both RF and FF belt paths
  • On-board harness storage for booster mode
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • One cup holder
  • Machine-washable cover
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires

Disadvantages:

  • Relatively short shoulder belt guide in highback booster mode
  • Backless booster mode may be uncomfortable for some kids
  • Inner buckle slot length may be too short for some kids

Conclusion:

The Graco Grows4Me is a great option for parents who are looking for a less expensive alternative to the popular Graco 4Ever 4-in-1. It does rear-facing well, it does forward-facing well, and it will work well as a highback booster too, at least for a while until it’s outgrown by height. We are pleased that Grows4Me doesn’t have the 4Ever’s issue of needing to be installed in the reclined position #4 when forward-facing for children under 40 lbs. (you have the option to use recline position #5 instead, which is much more reasonable). We appreciate that since many forward-facing kids prefer to sit in a more upright position. It’s also easy to switch between harness and booster mode if multiple children will be using the seat.

Differences between Graco Grows4Me 4-in-1 and Graco 4Ever 4-in-1For those who are curious about the other differences between Grows4Meand 4Ever, the 4Ever has dual cupholders, an additional head support insert for babies and premium push-on LATCH connectors.

Thank you to Graco for providing the Graco Grows4Me used for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.