Reviews Archive

Graco TrioGrow SnugLock LX Review

2019-2020 Graco TrioGrow SnugLock LX Review

ThatcherGraco took one 4Ever All-in-One carseat, threw it in a container with a lock-off that spins 360°, shook everything up really well, and out popped a TrioGrow SnugLock. Well, not really, but that’s what a crazy carseat geek with a wild imagination comes up with! In all seriousness, Graco has a winning formula with the 4Ever platform: it’s easy to install, easy to use, and fits a wide variety of children. The TrioGrow SnugLock 3-in-1 is a different carseat, though, so as its name suggests, it only offers 3 modes of use: rear-facing, forward-facing, and highback booster. The version reviewed here is the TrioGrow SnugLock LX.

Weight and Height Limits:
  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. AND child’s head is 1” below height adjustment handle
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., 49” or less
  • Highback booster: 40-100 lbs., 43-57”, at least 4 years old
TrioGrow SnugLock Overview:
  • 360° spinning SnugLock lockoff that acts as a tensioning device for both rear- and forward-facing installations
  • 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
  • Two cup holders
  • Machine-washable cover
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires
  • MSRP $179.99
LX Version Adds:
  • InRight™ (push-on) LATCH
  • Fuss Free harness pockets
  • Rapid Remove cover
  • MSRP $239.99

Thatcher Sonic Leland

TrioGrow Measurements:

Harness height: ~6 ¼” with infant insert*/8” without insert-17 ½ ”
Shoulder belt guide height: 18 ½ ”
External widest point: 19”
Shell height with headrest: 30”
Shoulder width: 14”
Crotch strap depth: inner slot: 2” with padding*, 3 ½” without padding; outer slot: 5 ½”
Seat depth: 12”
Seat weight: 18 lbs. with padding, 17.7 lbs. without padding

*Because of the shape of the infant insert, it was difficult to get an accurate measurement. I chose a spot in about the middle of the padded area from which to measure.

Don’t forget about our comparison database!


The TrioGrow installs like a dream: super easy and doesn’t take up a whole lot of room in your back seat. However,

Chicco Fit4 All-in-One Preview – Safety & Fit 4 Different Stages!

2019-2020 Chicco Fit4 First Look Review

Chicco has a solid reputation for making carseats that are safe, easy to use and exceptionally easy to install. I’m happy to report that they continue this legacy with their newest seat, Chicco Fit4, an All-in-One that’s full of the thoughtful details and ease-of-use features that you’ve come to expect from Chicco!

Fit4 is shipping to retailers in December and should be widely available in January. Amazon, Target, BuyBuyBaby and baby specialty stores should all have Fit4 in stock at some point in January. MSRP will be $349.99. The sample that I have is in the “Element” fashion. There will be a total of six Fit4 fashions to choose from and you can see them all here on the Chicco website.

You’re probably wondering what makes Fit4 stand out in a crowded field of All-in-One carseats? For starters, the 4-stage “FitKit” system features a series of inserts that provide optimal fit and comfort for each stage of your child’s growth and development. From infant to toddler to preschooler to big kid, Fit4 offers your child optimal comfort and protection as they grow.

The next major advantage of Fit4 is longevity – this seat is TALL which means more growing room before your kids outgrow it!  Last but not least, the SuperCinch force-multiplying system makes it possible for anyone, even an elderly caregiver, to get a rock-solid installation using LATCH.


Chicco Fit4 Specs & Features:

  • Rear-Facing: 4-40 lbs., up to 43″ tall
  • Forward-Facing: 25-65 lbs.; 54″ or less; at least 1 year old
  • Booster: 40-100 lbs., 38-57″, at least 4 years old
  • 10-year lifespan before expiration
  • “FITKIT” System – a series of inserts that provide optimal fit for each stage
  • SuperCinch LATCH tightening system with premium push-on LATCH connectors
  • No-rethread harness (10 height positions)
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • 2-position chest clip
  • Lockoffs for rear-facing and forward-facing installations with seatbelt
  • 9 recline positions
  • Liquid bubble level indicator (for RF, FF & Booster mode)
  • Harness, chest clip and buckle all store in the shell for booster mode
  • Steel-reinforced frame
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam lines the sides and the headwings
  • Smooth bottom base with won’t damage vehicle upholstery
  • Flexible “CupFolders” are removable and dishwasher safe
  • Machine washable fabrics
  • QR code that links to instructions for the 4 stages
  • MSRP $349.99

Fit4 Stages:

2019 Safety 1st onBoard 35 LT Infant Carseat Review

2019 Safety 1st onBoard 35 LT Infant Carseat Review

If you’ve driven around for any period of time, you have probably seen a sign on a car signaling that a baby is in the back seat. The most iconic of these, which also happens to be the original, is the yellow diamond Baby On Board sign by Safety 1st. Not only did this sign give birth to the rest of Safety 1st line, which has such a wide array of products that it can be found in the home of almost every family with an infant, but it’s also given its name to a new high quality, affordable infant seat- the Safety 1st onBoard 35 LT. Do not confuse this seat with the other Safety 1st onBoard infant seats on the market. The “LT” model is an entirely different seat with its own base – it is NOT compatible with the original onBoard or onBoard Air model bases.

Monument Juniper Pop Pebble Beach Niagara Mist

OnBoard 35 LT Height & Weight Limits:

  • Rear-facing only 4-35 pounds, 19-32 inches and child’s head is at least 1 inch below the top of the seat

OnBoard 35 LT Overview:

  • The onBoard 35 LT is one of the lightest rear-facing-only infant car seats with a smooth and comfortable carry handle
  • 4 harness heights to provide an excellent fit for a variety of different sized babies
  • 3 crotch strap/buckle positions with newborn routing to fit even small newborns
  • Newborn support inserts with separate head and body cushions
  • Cover is machine washable AND dryer safe!
  • FAA approved for use in aircraft
  • On CarseatBlog’s Recommended Infant Carseats for Preemies & Multiples
  • 8 year lifespan from date of manufacture before expiration

The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the seat were the labels. Safety 1st has clearly spent a lot of time thinking about and designing their labels and the outcome is great. Their labels are clear, concise and well placed and I could install and use the seat without ever cracking open the manual because of these labels (I’m not recommending this, but for those people who won’t read a manual regardless, this is great!). There’s even a label with a QR code so you can get information instantly on your phone. The onBoard 35 LT base has labels for where the belts go, as well as labels for baseless installation. I was generally impressed with the thoughtfulness Safety 1st clearly had when designing this component of their seat.

OnBoard 35 LT Measurements:

  • Harness slot heights: 5.5”-11.5”
  • Crotch strap/buckle positions: 3”, 4.5”, 6”
  • Internal shell height: 19.5”
  • Width of base: 15.5”
  • Length of base: 23.5”
  • Width of carrier at widest point: 17.25”
  • Carrier weight: 7.9 pounds

No More Unsafe Winter Excuses! The Birdy Boutique Car Seat Poncho Review

A Cold Weather and Winter Jacket Alternative Safe for Most Carseats

It’s still hot outside here but the early morning fall chill is here. You know, the one that makes you dress in layers in the morning but you’re sweating to death by afternoon? Part of our constant morning struggle is kids complaining that they’re cold when they get in the van, but I’m too cheap to let it warm up (hey, it’s above freezing, they’ll be alright) and they don’t want to grab jackets because they won’t need them within a few hours when they go outside for recess. The Birdy Boutique sent me the perfect solution: their car seat poncho!

We all know bulky jackets are not okay in the car thanks to numerous blog posts on the topic, including Jennie’s famous winter coat entry. I’ve reviewed car seat coats that snap/button over the harness to remove the risk of compression, and those are great options too. However they are pricey and therefore not an option for everyone. The car seat poncho is a cuddly, warm, easy to use wearable blanket that is safe.

Birdy Boutique is a shop run by two moms (and sisters!) named Barbara and Joanna who have a passion for safety. They also have a blog on their website, with tons of great topics including DIY projects! In addition to the ponchos, they sell birthday sets and adorable accessories.

The ponchos themselves have been crash tested in an independent crash test facility and are CPSC/CPSIA certified. They are made of high quality fleece, are reversible, and have a hood. The ones we received were gray with arrows and an adorable green dinosaur print with spikes on the hood that my son loved!

They also have a red and black buffalo plaid with antlers on the opposite side, flowers with mermaids, the gray arrows we also received, cupcakes, a cozy black sherpa, and unicorns. They fit children from about 6-12 months up to 4-5 years and measure about 52 inches long by 24 inches wide. Even though the end of the age spectrum is 4/5 years old, my tall 9 year old loved them too. They don’t drape over his legs like they do my 6 year old but they covered his lap (which is still more coverage than a car seat safe jacket) and he claimed it was super cozy.


Gray Arrows

Using them is pretty self explanatory- simply buckle the child in and then place the poncho over their head so it drapes on top of them like a blanket. The back is designed to be lifted up over the back of the car seat so the child doesn’t have any bulk behind their head. Of course my son was stubborn and insisted on NOT doing that for pictures but given how the poncho fits him, there really wasn’t a concerning amount of material behind his head. It mostly laid safely to the sides and wasn’t more than what a hood on a jacket would be.

Snug and cozy while safely buckled underneath!

A photo from their website that shows how the poncho can be draped over the back of the seat.

These are great options for the budget-minded family and perfect for both cold winters and mild seasons with chilly morning car rides. I really appreciate Birdy Boutique for reaching out to us and offering up their super cool items to try! I always love supporting small businesses, especially mama and veteran owned businesses, and their package was so personal and sweet. From one Army family to another, thank you for your service, Barbara!

You can purchase Birdy Boutique’s car seat ponchos on Amazon or at the Birdy Boutique website. They retail for $39.99 but at the time of writing this they are on sale from $24.99 and up.

Thank you Birdy Boutique mamas! I received no compensation for these products from Birdy Boutique and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.