Graco TriRide 3-in-1 Carseat Review: Tri It, Like It

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail
2021 Graco TriRide 3-in-1 Carseat Review

The Graco TriRide 3-in-1 packs the features you’ve come to expect in a Graco all-in-one carseat that takes your child from infancy to booster age, like 2 cup holders, on-board harness storage in booster mode, and a steel reinforced frame. It’s Graco’s most budget-priced all-in-one, yet it doesn’t feel like you’re missing any of the features of its big guns.

TriRide Weight and Height Limits:
  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. AND child’s head is 1” below height adjustment handle AND 49” or less
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., 49” or less
  • Highback booster: 40-100 lbs., 43-57”, at least 4 years old
TriRide Overview:
  • Adjustable base with 3 rear-facing recline positions, 2 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
  • Two cup holders
  • Machine-washable cover
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires
  • MSRP $169.99

TriRide Clybourne TriRide CadenceTriRide RedmondTriRide Kipling

TriRide Measurements:

Harness height: 8” with infant insert/8 ½” without insert–18”
Shoulder belt guide height: 19”
External widest point: 19 ¼ ”
Shell height with headrest: 30”
Shoulder width: 12 ½”
Crotch strap depth: inner slot: 2 ½” with insert, 5” without insert; outer slot: 6 ½”
Seat depth: 12 ½”
Seat weight: 17 lbs. with infant insert, 16.9 lbs. without insert

TriRide Installation:

Despite not having a lockoff, the TriRide installs pretty easily. Graco has their installation design down and has made installation easy in most vehicles. One quirk I did note is that the opening for the rear-facing belt path is vertical and the opening for the forward-facing belt path is horizontal. This is different than every other carseat I’ve encountered and I won’t hazard a guess as to why the design is like this. It does help rear-facing in keeping the shoulder belt from twisting on its way back to the retractor, but . . . It’s merely a quirk, though, and you’ll simply have to remember to turn your seat belt latchplate sideways to fit it through—no big deal. The TriRide also won’t be your go-to for a 3-across since it measures at just over 19”. That’s a fairly standard carseat width, but not narrow enough to fit even two carseats side-by-side in a small back seat.

Rear-Facing Installation

  • When rear-facing, any of reclines 1-3 can be used to achieve an appropriate recline
  • Pull the bottom cover forward and unsnap it in front of the cup holder for access to the RF belt path

The TriRide has a ball recline indicator; you have a small area in which to place the seat for 0-3 months and a slightly larger area for older children with better head control. If your older child prefers more recline, you can use that 0-3 months range; not many caregivers understand that about the recline indicator.

Installation was easy using either LATCH or seat belt in the vehicles in which I placed the TriRide. However, as with just about every carseat I’ve encountered that doesn’t have some type of belt tensioning lockoff, in my Tesla Model 3, it takes great effort to install the TriRide in the center seating position. In the outboard positions, it’s a much easier install, though I’d suggest placing the carseat on the passenger side if you’re putting it in full recline mode (unless you’re a short driver).

Forward-Facing Installation

  • Kiddos under 40 lbs. may use recline positions #4 or #5, while kids over 40 lbs. must use position #5
  • Unsnap the back cover for access to the belt path
  • As mentioned above, openings to the belt path are horizontal, so turn the seat belt latchplate if installing with the seat belt

Installation was pretty unremarkable in my Tesla Model X; however, in my Model 3 center seating position, it was definitely a challenging install that required full body weight with some “Tigger Bouncing” to get it installed correctly. In the outboard positions, it was an easy installation.

Changing the LATCH strap from rear- to forward-facing is easy, but you have to follow some key steps. Fortunately, we have a video to show you how:

LATCH Weight Limits

Rear-facing LATCH weight limit: 40 lbs.

Forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 45 lbs.

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:

Not allowed. Lower anchors must be spaced the standard 11” apart.

Inflatable Seat Belts

Graco has determined that the TriRide 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 TriRide.

Booster Installation

  • Use recline position 6, which is most upright.
  • The harness is stored on-board in the storage compartment. There’s plenty of room for the chest clip, buckle tongs, and buckle. Tech tip: recline the carseat first and the harness will stay put more easily in the compartment and you won’t need to be an octopus and wrangle it vertically.
  • When used as a highback booster, the seat can be secured with LATCH. 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.
TriRide Fit to Child:

The TriRide has a rounded shape internally, which doesn’t matter for most kids and they won’t notice. If your kid has reflux, though, that shape will bend your child over and put pressure on their stomach causing discomfort. My models found the fit was comfortable and the kiddos liked it.

Elyza is 5.5 mos. old and 16 lbs. Ruby is 3 yrs old and 35 lbs.

James is 5 and 44 lbs. Lydia is 7.5 and 64 lbs.

As a highback booster, seat belt fit was great. Graco has figured the formula out for highback booster fit in their 3-in-1/all-in-one carseats. The shoulder belt fits well over the middle of the shoulder, even on narrow kids, and the lap belt fits low on the hips, touching the upper thighs—just where you want it to sit.

The TriRide has a head support, body support pad, and harness covers.

Head support: Use rear-facing only AND WITH the body support pad (infant insert); use is optional

Body support pad: Use rear-facing only; must be used if shoulders are below the lowest harness setting; once shoulders are above the lowest harness setting, use is optional

-When harness is in lower positions, backrest pad can be folded under which pushes the child’s chest out and helps with positioning of the head

Harness covers: Use is optional; make sure they don’t interfere with chest clip placement at armpit level

Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use:

The cover can be thrown in the washing machine on gentle cycle. Hang to dry. The cover isn’t technically RapidRemove since it has some elastics, but it only has 3 pieces and they remove very easily:

  1. A cover for the head wings and down behind the child’s back,
  2. A cover for the torso side areas,
  3. A well-padded cover for the base booster portion (nice since you won’t have to remove the whole cover just for a pee accident),

The cup holders are required to be attached. Listen for a solid “click” to know they’re attached properly.

The manual is easy to read, but before you even get to the manual, Graco provides an “Installation Quick Start Guide” to get you going right away. I love the idea of a quick start guide, but I do wish it was larger!

FAA-Approval/Lifespan/Crash Guidelines:

The TriRide 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.

TriRide Advantages:
  • 3 rear-facing recline positions, 2 forward-facing recline positions, 1 booster recline position
  • Easy access to both RF and FF belt paths
  • On-board harness storage for booster mode so you don’t lose the harness
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Lightweight
  • Two cup holders
  • Easy-to-remove, machine-washable 3-piece cover
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires
Disadvantages:
  • Relatively short shoulder belt guide in highback booster mode
  • Can’t use most upright position 6 for forward-facing harness use, which may provide for a better installation in some vehicles
Conclusion:

The Graco TriRide 3-in-1 carseat is a nice seat that makes you forget it’s an inexpensive all-in-one seat. It has what your child needs in a lightweight shell and a comfortable cover. The TriRide hits the spot for a carseat in that lower price point without all the bells and whistles, yet it still has all the safety features you expect. Graco has the formula down in making carseats that are easy-to-install and use.

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

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.