Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Carseat Review: Raising the Bar

2016 Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Carseat Review

Grow and Go Blue CoralThe new generation of 3-in-1 carseat from Dorel is here and it’s a solid success in practicality, installation, and fit. From a 5-position no-rethread harness, to protective head wings, to user-friendly features such as harness holders, the Safety 1st Grow and Go shows it’s up to the challenge of taking children from rear-facing through early grade school. Read on to learn how the successor to the aging Alpha Omega Elite platform is raising the bar.

Weight and Height Limits
  • Rear-facing:  5-40 lbs., and child’s head is 1” below top of headrest, and 19-40”
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., and 29-49”, and at least 1 year old (models made prior to 10/2016 had 2-year age minimum)
  • Belt-positioning booster: 40-100 lbs., 43-52”, and at least 4 years old

What are the differences between the various models of Grow and Go and similar convertibles?

*Tip – turn your phone sideways to see all the columns

Carseat Name RF Weight Limit FF Weight Limit BPB Weight Limit IIHS Rating Features MSRP
Multi-Fit 5-40 lbs. 22-40 lbs. 40-100 lbs. Best Bet Rating Costco exclusive; harness height adjustment levers on headrest; 3-position recline; 1 cup holder $99.99
Ever-Fit 5-40 lbs. 22-40 lbs. 40-100 lbs. Best Bet Rating Sam's Club exclusive; harness height adjustment levers on headrest; 3-position recline; 1 cup holder $99.86
Continuum 5-40 lbs. 22-50 lbs. 40-80 lbs. Best Bet Rating harness height adjustment levers on headrest; 3-position recline; 1 cup holder $149.99
Grow and Go 5-40 lbs. 22-65 lbs. 40-100 lbs. Good Bet Rating harness height adjustment levers on headrest; 3-position recline; 2 cup holders $169.99
Grow and Go Air Sport 5-40 lbs. 22-65 lbs. 40-100 lbs. Best Bet Rating harness height adjustment button on headrest; Air Protect®; cover unsnaps to machine clean and dry; 3-position recline; 1 cup holders $189.99
Grow and Go EX Air 5-50 lbs. 22-65 lbs. 40-100 lbs. Best Bet Rating harness height adjustment button on headrest; Air Protect®; cover unsnaps to machine clean and dry; 3-position recline; 2 cup holders $199.99
Grow and Go Overview
  • No-rethread harness with 5 height positions and a separate infant position
  • 3 crotch strap positions
  • Infant cushion
  • Versatile harness holders
  • Machine washable and dryable cover
  • 2 integrated cup holders
  • IIHS “Good Bet” Rating for booster mode
  • Made in the USA!

2017 Nuna Rava Review: The Fine Italian Suit of the Car Seat World

2016-2017 Nuna Rava Convertible Carseat Review

nuna-rava-slate-sideLast December, I got a look at the Nuna Rava way back when it was just a prototype that Nuna was working on. As I put my hands on it, played with the different settings and installed it in a couple different cars, I had a feeling that I was looking at something really special in the car seat world. Every feature seemed to be well thought out, carefully designed and intentionally placed. It was clear even then with the very unfinished version of the Rava that the folks at Nuna had spent a prolonged period of time looking at what parents liked and didn’t like, and importantly, how the design of a car seat could improve safety.

Now that the final product is on the market and in my car, I can happily confirm my earlier suspicion- the Rava is something special in the convertible car seat market.

Weight and Height Limits
  • Rear-facing: 5-50 pounds(!) and 49 inches or less
  • Forward-facing: 25-65 pounds and 49 inches or less, suggested 2 years or older
Rava Overview
  • Rear-faces to 50 pounds, one of the highest limits available.nice touches
  • Extension panel at foot of the seat that can be used rear-facing for increased legroom or forward-facing for thigh support
  • 10 position headrest with no-rethread harness
  • 5 rear-facing and 5 forward-facing recline settings
  • No bubble, level indicator, or horizontal line for rear-facing recline—if it’s on one of the rear facing recline settings (and in a newborn, if the head isn’t falling forward), the recline angle is safe per Nuna
  • Infant cushion for use up to 11 pounds
  • All steel frame and steel-reinforced belt paths
  • Two collapsable, removable cupholders
  • Retractible side impact protection (SIP) pods
  • Cover over adjuster release button to keep little hands from loosening harness
  • Plush shoulder harness pads and hip harness pads
  • Buckle holders to keep harness out of way for loading and unloading
  • 2 crotch buckle positions, with longer length in outer position and easy push-and-slide adjustment

nuna-rava-slate nuna-rava-berry nuna-rava-caviar nuna-rava-indigo

Rava Measurementsnuna-rava-tall-setting
  • Lowest harness height: see Fit to Child section
  • Highest Harness height: 16″
  • External widest point: 19″
  • Total height with headrest fully extended: 25″
  • Crotch buckle width: 5.5″, 7″
  • Width of base: 14″
  • Depth of base: 14″

When creating this seat, Nuna wanted to decrease the widespread confusion over the new(ish) lower anchor weight limits and they decided to do this by encouraging a seatbelt installation for all kids and all cars. They did this with their “simply secure installation” using “true tension doors”—one for rear-facing and one for forward-facing. The seat comes with premium push-button lower anchor attachments, but multiple label discourage their use and encourage a seat belt installation.  So how does this work for the typical parent?

2016 IIHS Booster Seat Ratings: Is Your Booster A Best Bet?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranks boosters as a Best Bet, Good Bet, Check Fit, or Not Recommended

JennyJust a few years ago, the list of belt-positioning boosters that fit kids really well was on the short side. Now the vast majority of boosters fit children well in a variety of vehicles making it easier than ever before to keep the “forgotten children”—kids who are prematurely transitioned to seat belts before they’re big enough to fit well—comfortable and safe in boosters. This year, the IIHS evaluated 53 new booster seat models and 48 earned the highest rating of “Best Bet.”

What is a “Best Bet”? The booster should correctly position the seat belt on a typical 4-8 year old child in most vehicles. But remember, your vehicle may not be “most” vehicles and may have a different belt geometry. Always try before you buy, if you can, and hold onto the box and receipt in case you need to return the booster.

A “Good Bet” means that the belt fit will be acceptable in most vehicles and these boosters shouldn’t be automatically shunned because they aren’t “top tier.” “Check Fit” means just that: it may fit a larger child better than a smaller child in some vehicles or vice versa. I’ve used “Check Fit” boosters quite successfully before with my kids in my cars—it definitely doesn’t mean you should chuck the seat out with the bathwater.

Here’s an excellent example of a Best Bet booster, the Graco 4Ever in backless mode, that fits well in one vehicle but not in another. You can see that in the vehicle on the left, the shoulder belt fit is poor whereas in the vehicle on the right, the shoulder belt fit is excellent. The lap belt fit in both vehicles is excellent. We need to have excellent fit for both shoulder belt AND lap belt in order for the booster seat to be safe.

4Ever backless

What does good belt fit look like?

Adjusting a Carseat’s Recline Angle Using Pool Noodles or Rolled Towels

How to Fix Your Rear-Facing Recline Angle Using Noodles or Rolled Towels

2014-chrysler-town-and-country-rear-interior-view-motor-trendPerhaps you don’t have a vehicle like the one on the left, but vehicle seats like those send shivers up most child passenger safety technicians’ spines. When we see a vehicle seat cushion with a slope that deep, we know we’ll have to even it out when installing a rear-facing carseat.

Rear-facing carseats require adjustment to a particular recline angle – that angle can vary from one carseat to another and is specified by each manufacturer. Most (but not all) infant carseats have a base that has a built-in recline feature so you can adjust the angle in order to achieve the correct recline on any vehicle seat. However, if your carseat doesn’t have a built-in recline feature, or if it isn’t enough to get the seat reclined appropriately – you can usually use a cut foam pool noodle or rolled towel.

Convertible carseats all have some way to adjust the angle when the seat is installed rear-facing. Most convertibles on the market today can be installed properly rear-facing without needing anything extra. However, if the recline feature isn’t enough to achieve the necessary angle specified by the manufacturer, you can usually use a cut foam pool noodle or rolled towel to fill the gap and support the carseat at that recline angle. The seat below is the perfect example of a situation where you might need to use a pool noodle or rolled towel.

Tribute reclined line level to ground

Which is better—noodle or towel?