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Graco 4Ever DLX Platinum All-in-1 Car Seat Review: Love It 4Ever and Beyond!

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2019-2020 Graco 4Ever DLX Platinum All-in-One Review

You may already be familiar with the Graco 4Ever, a CarseatBlog Recommended Carseat and a 2019 Editors’ Pick. It is the seat that rocked the car seat world a few years ago by delivering the first true all-in-one car seat that actually functioned well in every mode of use. Graco has now upped its game in the luxury car seat market with the Graco 4Ever DLX Platinum! Everything you loved about the 4Ever, now with premium fabric and features such as a seat belt lockoff for forward-facing and self-tightening lower LATCH connectors. 

      

4Ever DLX Platinum Specs & Features:

  • Rear-facing: 4-40 lbs. and child’s head must be 1″ from gray headrest adjuster handle
  • Forward-facing (with harness): 22-65 lbs and 49″ or less
  • Highback booster: 40-100 lbs. and 43-57″
  • Backless booster: 40-120 lbs. and 43-57″
  • No-rethread harness with 10 position headrest
  • Adjustable base with 6 recline positions (3 for rear-facing, 3 for forward-facing)
  • Easy-to-read bubble level indicator
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Premium push-on lower LATCH connectors with Graco’s EZ Tight™ LATCH (LATCH limit: child weight of 45 lbs.)
  • Lockoff for forward-facing seat belt installations
  • Dual integrated cup holders (assembly required)
  • RapidRemove cover
  • ProtectPlus Engineered designation (tested for frontal, side & rear impact crashes)
  • 10 year lifespan before expiration

  

Measurements:

  • Lowest harness height (with infant insert): 6.5″
  • Highest harness height: 17.5″
  • Tallest booster height: 18.25″
  • Internal rear-facing height: 26.25″ (that’s one inch below the headrest adjustment lever of 27.25″)
  • Crotch buckle positions: 5″ and 7″
  • Seating depth: 12″
  • Internal seat width: 13″
  • Widest external seat width: 19.5″ (at cup holders)

19.5″ at widest point

Lowest harness position

   

Installation/Fit to Vehicle:

In general, the 4Ever is not difficult to install and tends to have good compatibility. I tried it in several seating positions in a 2015 Ford Expedition with the seatbelt and with LATCH. I was able to get a secure install in every position I tried (outboard 2nd row, center 2nd row, center 3rd row) both rear- and forward-facing.

The belt paths are clearly labeled and color-coded both on the seat and in the manual (blue for rear-facing, orange for forward-facing, green for booster).

Installation with LATCH:

The lower LATCH strap on this model features Graco’s EZ Tight™ LATCH, which at this time is exclusive to Graco’s “Platinum” models.

Graco EZ Tight LATCH

Graco has a demonstration of the EZ Tight™ installation here – And yes, in some vehicles like my Expedition, it really can be as easy as it looks in the demonstration. Although you still need to apply force to get it to tighten, in a best-case scenario there isn’t the usual pulling and tugging of the LATCH strap. For people like me with less than stellar joints in the hands, this can be a huge bonus. Unfortunately, the EZ Tight LATCH feature doesn’t work well in some vehicles or seating positions. Sometimes, you just can’t get an adequate LATCH installation no matter how much force you apply to the seat. Luckily, you always have the option to switch to a seatbelt installation if you can’t get the seat installed tightly with the LATCH strap. Reminder – when installed properly, the carseat shouldn’t move more than 1″ from side-to-side or from front-to-back when you test for tightness *at the beltpath*. 

The 4Ever DLX Platinum has a single LATCH strap, which means it needs to be manually switched between the different beltpaths when you switch from rear-facing to forward-facing or vice versa. The process isn’t as complicated as it is on some seats, but not as easy as on some others (see video below). One thing I found frustrating was that the LATCH strap had to be moved not only when changing between rear- and forward-facing but also when changing from a LATCH to a seat belt install. If you are installing this model with seat belt, the LATCH strap and connectors must be stored in the other beltpath, to keep them out of each other’s way.  

Forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 45 pounds. For kids who weigh more than 45 lbs., install the 4Ever with seatbelt and tether.

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing: Not allowed. Only use LATCH in the center seating position if the vehicle manufacturer allows it and the lower LATCH anchor bars are spaced 11” apart when measured at their centers (i.e., standard lower anchor spacing).

Inflatable Seat Belts: This car seat CAN be installed with the inflatable seat belts found in some Ford/Lincoln vehicles; just route the seat belt over the closed lockoff when forward-facing. Other types of inflatable seat belts are still incompatible for use with the 4Ever DLX Platinum. There are no issues when using the seat as a belt-positioning booster, although watch to make sure the shoulder belt retracts properly through the belt guide.

Lockoff: All 4Ever DLX models (including this platinum model) have a lockoff for forward-facing installations using seatbelt. There is no lockoff for the rear-facing beltpath but that is less important because you can use the lower LATCH anchors all the way up to the 40 lbs. rear-facing weight limit.

2019 Diono Radian 3RXT Review: Diono Updates the Classic Folding Carseat

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2019 Diono Radian 3RXT Review

Like its predecessor, the Radian RXT, the Diono 3RXT fills a niche for parents and caregivers looking for a narrow carseat that will grow with their child. The Radian line of seats has always been known for being 3-across friendly. Families with mid-sized vehicles and 3 kids are often well-served by Radians; I had one in my Civic for years when I had to fit a toddler and two teenagers in the back regularly. The current Radian series, the 3R3RX, 3RXT, and 3RXT JMC (Just My Color, a customizable fashion scheme) all share the Radian platform but extra features distinguish them from each other. We have a previous review of the recently discontinued RXT and the basic features and functions are very similar. This review will cover the basics and point out the updates to the new Diono 3RXT.

Radian 3RXT Weight and Height Limits

◦ Rear-facing: 5-45 lbs., height 44″ or less, and at least 1.5” of carseat above the child’s head*
◦ Forward-facing: 20-65 lbs., at least 1-year-old, height 57″ or less, child’s shoulders are not above top harness slots
◦ Highback booster: 50-120 lbs., 40-57” tall, and child’s shoulders must be at or above the 4th set of harness slots

*See Fit to Child section

some state laws have higher minimum age or weight requirements for riding forward-facing – find your state law here.

Radian 3RXT Overview

◦ 5 harness slot heights
◦ 12-position headrest
◦ 3 crotch/buckle strap positions
◦ Safe Stop Load Limiter
◦ Full steel reinforced frame and aluminum reinforced sides
◦ Folds flat for travel and storage
◦ Lined with EPS foam
◦ Rear-facing tether capability
◦ Deluxe push-on latch connectors
◦ One of the narrowest convertibles on the market: makes 3-across much easier
◦ Low profile makes loading and unloading child easier

3RXT Updates:

◦ 65 lb. weight limit for the harness (this is more realistic than the previous 90 lb. weight limit)
◦ Full wrap cover makes for neat and tidy storage of unused straps and accessories on the back of the seat

 

Safety 1st Store ‘n Go Sport Booster Review – grab your gear and go!

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2018 Safety 1st Store ’n Go Sport High Back Belt-Positioning Booster Review

The Safety 1st Store ’n Go 2-in-1 has been around for a few years and is one of the more popular options for tall kids. It fits a variety of grade-school age children due to its unusually generous height capacity. The Store ’n Go Sport 2-in-1 offers many of the benefits of the original Store ‘n Go, with a lower price tag. It is a dual-mode booster, which means it can be used in either high-back or backless mode. The cover is silky soft and should be appealing to most kids. The booster seat bottom has reasonable leg support for taller kids while the headrest provides a comfortable resting place. The Store ’n Go Sport is a booster that will easily last most children until they pass the 5-Step Test and can safely transition into an adult seat belt.

Weight and Height Limits:

40-110 lbs.

43-57” tall

No age minimum is stated but we recommend children be at least 4-5 years old before they transition to using a belt-positioning booster seat

Store ’n Go Sport Overview:

  • 7-position headrest
  • Can be used as a backless booster
  • Integrated cup and snack holders
  • Retractable drawer to hold trinkets/books/tablets
  • Machine washable cover
  • MSRP $39.98

Stow 'n Go with head rest in lowest position Store 'n Go Drawer 

Measurements:

Cosco Finale Quick Review

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2019 Cosco Finale 2-in-1 Forward Facing Harness/Booster Review

The Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat is a Stage 3 carseat that is most appropriate for preschool and school-aged children. It is safe, lightweight, extremely budget-friendly and stylish. It’s not too complicated to install, and is relatively easy to use properly. Its height capacity isn’t the highest on the market, but it’s reasonably tall for its price point. Combined with the 65 lbs. weight limit, it should fit most average-height kids (even heavier ones) in the 5-point harness until they are the age and size to safely transition to booster mode. The Cosco Finale is a forward-facing only carseat. Cosco’s instructions indicate it is for kids at least 1 year old, although we would generally recommend at least age two because it does not rear-face. It can also be used as a highback booster for kids who weigh more than 40 lbs.

  

Cosco Finale Specs:

With 5-point harness:

  • Weight: 30 – 65 lbs.
  • Height: 32 – 49″
  • Age: At least one year old
  • Fit: Child’s shoulders are at, or below, the top harness slots

As a highback booster:

  • Weight: 40 – 100 lbs.
  • Height:  43″ – 52″
  • Age: None stated, but we recommend waiting until at least age 4 as a bare minimum
  • Fit: Tops of child’s ears are at, or below, the top of the child restraint headrest

Finale Features:

  • 3 sets of harness slots
  • Single crotch strap/buckle position
  • May be installed with LATCH up to 50 lbs. child weight
  • Converts to highback booster
  • Can NOT use LATCH in booster mode
  • Cover is machine washable
  • Removable cup holder can be placed on either side.
  • 10 year lifespan before expiration
  • DX Fashions feature premium fabric

Measurements:

  • 3 Harness slot heights: 13″, 15″, 17″
  • 1 Crotch strap/buckle position: 7″
  • Weight: approximately 9 lbs.
  • Total Width: 17″

For more measurements, please see our Comparison database.