2024 Graco 4Ever DLX Grad 5-in-1 Car Seat Review – Going the Distance!


Graco 4Ever DLX Grad Carseat Review

Graco currently has multiple versions of their popular 4Ever line of car seats. Their newest model, the Graco 4Ever DLX Grad 5-in-1, takes the concept of an All-in-One carseat one step further by building in a “Seat Belt Trainer.”

This added feature is designed for older kids who still need a little something to position the seat belt correctly but don’t need the big boost provided by a traditional booster seat.

The Seat Belt Trainer will be the last step in a child’s progression from rear-facing car seat to the adult seat belt. And since it’s a separate component that pops out of the Graco 4Ever DLX Grad, you’re getting a seat within a seat. If you’ve ever come home from a soccer game or a playdate with an extra 5-12 year old that you weren’t expecting to transport, the Seat Belt Trainer is there and ready to be deployed!

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  • Rear-facing: 4-40 lbs.; 49” or less
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., 49” or less
  • Highback booster: 40-100 lbs., 43-57”, at least 4 years old
  • Backless booster: 40-120 lbs., 43-57”, at least 4 years old
  • Seat Belt Trainer: 50-120 lbs., 43-60″, at least 5 years old


  • The only true 5-in-1 car seat
  • Unique built-in Seat Belt Trainer pops out of the seat pan when needed
  • Dual “SnugLock” tensioning lockoffs (one for rear-facing and one for forward-facing installation)
  • Adjustable base with 3 rear-facing recline positions, 3 forward-facing positions, 1 booster position
  • No-rethread harness with 10 position headrest
  • Easy-to-read bubble level indicator
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Buckle pockets keep harness out of the way when loading and unloading child
  • On-board harness storage for booster mode
  • Steel-reinforced frame
  • Two cup holders
  • Machine-washable Rapid Remove cover
  • FAA approved for airline use (with harness)
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires
  • MSRP $399.99

4Ever DLX Grad Fashions: Harrison & Hancock

Graco 4Ever Models: Quick Comparison

As we’ve already mentioned, Graco has multiple 4Ever models with different features at different prices. Here’s a quick rundown of the main differences:

4Ever DLX: Base model with standard seatbelt lockoff for forward-facing only

4Ever DLX SnugLock: Replaces the single standard lockoff with dual “SnugLock” tensioning lockoffs (1 for rear-facing, 1 for forward-facing)

4Ever DLX SnugLock Grow: Has dual SnugLock lockoffs and the backrest widens by 1″ as the headrest is adjuster taller

4Ever DLX Extend2Fit SnugLock with ARB: 50 lbs. RF weight limit, dual SnugLock lockoffs, rear-facing leg rest extension panel & anti-rebound bar

4Ever DLX Grad 5-in-1: Dual SnugLock lockoffs, Seat Belt Trainer, 2″ narrower than any other 4Ever model


  • Lowest harness height settings:
    • 6.5″ with trainer and infant insert
    • 7″ with trainer (no inserts)
    • 9.5″ without trainer
  • Tallest harness height setting without trainer: 18.5″
  • Shoulder belt guide max height (for booster mode): 20.5″
  • Crotch strap positions: 5″, 7″
  • Seat width at widest point: 18″ across at torso area
  • Seat width at armrests: 17.5″
  • Weight: 22.9 lbs. with trainer and inserts; 20.3 lbs. without trainer and inserts


The unique “Seat Belt Trainer” is the star feature of the Graco 4Ever DLX Grad. It’s designed to be a bridge between a typical backless booster seat and using just the adult seatbelt. Because the 4Ever DLX Grad can be used with or without the seat belt trainer – this bonus feature can also serve as a backup seat if you wind up transporting an older child unexpectedly.

The Graco seatbelt trainer can be used for kids as young as 5, who weigh at least 50 lbs. and are at least 43″ tall. However, it is more ideally suited for taller kids in the 8-12 age range who don’t need the big boost provided by a typical booster seat in order for the adult seatbelt to fit them properly.

Important Note: While the Seat Belt Trainer is a great feature, it also creates some opportunities for misuse that don’t exist in other Graco 4Ever models. Review pages 66-68 in the Graco 4Ever DLX Grad manual to be sure that you’re not making any of these mistakes.

When you move the buckle to a different position and you are using the car seat with the seatbelt trainer attached – pay attention and read the manual (pgs. 66-68). It’s possible for the flat metal “retainer” anchor on the bottom of the crotch strap to be routed through the seatbelt trainer but not properly anchored under the plastic shell of the car seat. In a crash, this would be a recipe for disaster. If using the harness with the seat belt trainer attached, always confirm that the crotch strap/buckle is properly routed and securely attached.

The Seat Belt Trainer is an updated version of the RightGuide Belt Positioner that was sold separately. As of right now, Graco doesn’t have any plans to sell the Seat Belt Trainer as a standalone product, but we’ll let you know if that changes.


Recline Rules:

Rear-facing: Recline the carseat into any of the blue recline positions (1-3). Check the recline angle indicator to make sure your seat is reclined appropriately. Adjust the recline position if necessary.

  • If you have a baby under 4 months old, try to get the bubble in the angle indicator as close to the left edge of the blue zone as you can; this will be the most reclined position allowed for the carseat.
  • For older babies and toddlers with good head control, the seat can be adjusted to a more upright rear-facing position as long as the bubble is still completely within the blue zone on the indicator.

Forward-facing: Children 22-25 lbs. must use recline position 4; children 50-65 lbs. using the harness must use recline position 6 (most upright position). Children who weigh between 25-50 lbs. can use this seat in recline positions 4, 5, or 6. 🙌🏻

Installing 4Ever DLX Grad with LATCH:

The latch strap on the 4Ever DLX Grad is attached to the shell with a short strap, instead of being underneath a metal bar (like other Graco carseats). It’s much easier to move the latch strap between the rear- and forward-facing beltpaths on this model.

There are 2 separate SnugLock lockoffs under the cover – one for the rear-facing beltpath and one for the forward-facing beltpath.

Open the appropriate SnugLock lockoff (RF or FF) and route the LATCH strap underneath it (tip: lengthen the LATCH strap to it’s full length). Attach the push-on LATCH connectors securely to the lower LATCH anchor bars in your vehicle, pull the strap until it’s snug, then close the Snuglock lockoff over the LATCH strap.

Check to make sure that the seat doesn’t move more than 1″ from side-to-side *at the beltpath*. The SnugLock tensioning lockoff functions really well on this seat so ideally your 4Ever Grad will be installed very tightly and won’t move at all when you check for tightness *at the beltpath*. If the seat is installed forward-facing, attach the tether strap to the tether anchor in your vehicle and pull the loose tail end of the tether strap until it’s tight.

LATCH Weight Limits:

Rear-facing LATCH weight limit: N/A (you can install with LATCH the entire time your child is RF in this seat)

Forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 45 lbs.

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:

Not Allowed

Installing 4Ever DLX Grad with Seat Belt (+ tether)

Rear-facing: The tether strap comes out of the box clipped to the side of the seat. Leave it there – you don’t use the tether strap when rear-facing. Open the SnugLock lockoff for the RF beltpath. Route the seatbelt through the RF beltpath, under the lockoff and buckle it. Remove any slack from the seatbelt before closing the tensioning lockoff.

Check to make sure that the seat doesn’t move more than 1″ from side-to-side *at the beltpath*. The SnugLock tensioning lockoff functions really well on this seat so ideally your 4Ever Grad will be installed very tightly and won’t move at all when you check for tightness *at the beltpath*.

Note: When using the SnugLock lockoff, you are NOT required to lock the seatbelt at the retractor because the lockoff in this case serves that function. However, Graco recommends locking the seatbelt by pulling the shoulder belt all the way out after the installation is complete to avoid a possible strangulation risk with the seatbelt.

Forward-facing installation with seat belt and tether is also quick and easy thanks to the separate SnugLock lockoff for the forward-facing beltpath. Keep in mind that you must install this seat with the seat belt (instead of with lower LATCH anchors) once your forward-facing kid weighs more than 45 lbs. Always use the tether strap regardless of your installation method if the seat is installed forward-facing.


This model does well with vehicle headrests that are angled forward. In the Tesla Model X, the 4Ever DLX Grad’s headrest didn’t come close to touching the vehicle headrest—impressive! However, there are vehicles with more angled headrests, so hang onto your receipt and the box until you’re sure your combination works.



The Infant Head and Body Support inserts are optional but only for use with rear-facing babies less than 20 lbs. Once your child reaches 20 lbs., remove both of these inserts.

The “Lumbar Support” is a separate insert and this piece has different rules. It may be used rear-facing at any weight but if you choose to use it in conjunction with the other inserts, it must be placed *behind* all the other inserts as shown in the diagram.

When forward-facing with a child weighing between 22-25 lbs., the lumbar support cushion is required. For FF kids who weigh more than 25 lbs., do NOT use the lumbar support cushion.

The harness covers are entirely optional.

Graco has perfected their harness fit over the years with various 4Ever models, and the 4Ever DLX Grad is no exception. However, there are two potential hiccups to watch for with this particular model:

1. When the Seat Belt Trainer is attached to the seat, the buckle strap is pretty short, which can be uncomfortable for bigger kids. The solution is simply to remove the seat belt trainer, which will free up several additional inches of buckle strap.

2. When any of the 4Ever seats are used as backless boosters (we’re not talking about the Seat Belt Trainer), they can be bulky and uncomfortable. The solution would be to skip using the seat as a backless booster and move from highback booster mode directly to using the seatbelt trainer. Or purchase an inexpensive dedicated backless booster if your kid complains about using the 4Ever Grad in backless booster mode.

Here are some models of different ages and sizes to show how well this seat fits kids at various stages:

5 months old, 18 lbs.

3 yrs old, 30 lbs., 37″

6 yrs old, 43 lbs., 44″

8 yrs old, 54 lbs., 50″

8 yrs old, 54 lbs., 50″

4Ever Grad Cover/Maintenance:

The Rapid Remove cover can be thrown in the washing machine on gentle cycle. Hang to dry. It comes in 5 pieces (6, if you include the Seat Belt Trainer). It’s easy to take off and put back on.

FAA-Approval/Lifespan/Crash Guidelines:

The 4Ever DLX Grad 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.

4Ever DLX Grad Advantages:

  • The only true 5-in-1 car seat
  • Unique built-in Seat Belt Trainer pops out of the seat pan when needed
  • Tall harness height helps older kids fit longer before outgrowing
  • Fits newborns well
  • Dual SnugLock tensioning lockoffs (1 for RF; 1 for FF)
  • SnugLock tensioner is used regardless of installation method (LATCH or seatbelt – pick one, do not use both methods at the same time)
  • Adjustable base with 3 RF recline positions, 3 FF positions, 1 position for booster mode
  • No-rethread harness with 10 position headrest
  • Easy-to-read bubble level indicator
  • Buckle pockets keep harness out of the way when loading and unloading child
  • On-board harness storage for booster mode
  • Steel-reinforced frame
  • Two cup holders that adjust position slightly
  • Machine-washable Rapid Remove cover
  • FAA approved for airplane use in harness mode (route lap belt over lockoff and tighten)
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires

4Ever DLX Grad Disadvantages:

  • Crotch strap for buckle is short when Seat Belt Trainer is attached
  • Seat Belt Trainer should be removed to access the rear-facing beltpath during installation (then reattached if you want to keep the trainer on the seat)
  • May be uncomfortable in backless booster mode


In their never-ending quest to improve upon and add to their 4Ever lineup, Graco has a real winner in the 4Ever DLX Grad 5-in-1. The tensioning lockoffs make the seat exceptionally easy to install properly with either LATCH or seatbelt. This version is narrower and has slightly taller top harness slots compared to the other 4Ever models. It’s not ultra-slim like their popular SlimFit3 LX (which measures 16.7″ wide), however, 4Ever Grad is only 18″ wide at its widest point, which makes this model 2″ narrower than all the other 4Ever models. All the 4Ever seats are easy to use and can last your child through multiple stages but the addition of the Seat Belt Trainer makes this one especially multi-functional. It’s also the only All-in-One carseat that is versatile enough to be used for 2 kids at the same time!

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