Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Graco Safeseat is great for sleeping!

On my recent visit to Chicago we drove 12 hours each way with Connor in the back seat. My biggest concern was his safety along with the fact that he would be stuck in his car seat for basically 12 hours non stop as I've never been a fan of driving a few hours then stopping with a baby in question as regardless they just seem to get crankier and crankier the longer the trip takes, so we have decided if we are going on car trips to just drive strait through and worry about sleeping when you get there.

With that long of a car trip I decided I really had to look for a new car seat that would be more comfortable and would offer great protection in case of a crash as well. My biggest regret was that toddler sized car seats do not recline like rear facing car seats, that is until I found the Graco Toddler Safeseat (Step 2). The Graco Safeseat line offers a "step" system of car seats from Step 1 (0-30lbs rear facing), Step 2 (0-40lbs) and Step 3 (30 - 100lbs!!!). Both the Step 2 and Step 3 car seat and booster seat offer a recline feature which until now I have never seen outside of a infant car seat or rear facing car seat!

I brought home a Step 2 and tested it a few days before we left for the trip to make sure it would meet our needs before setting off on a long trip. The first thing I noticed was the fact that its VERY heavy.. almost twice the weight of my other car seats. The reason for this is that the frame of the car seat is much heavier due to the recline feature. I had heard some complaints that people had problems lifting the car seat which I think is ridiculous as I am 4'10 and regardless of the additional weight (22lbs) I had no problems getting it into my car all by myself and the installation is no more difficult than a regular car seat. Along with the weight it is slightly bigger than some of my other car seats again as the extra frame does make it slightly larger, but its no wider so it does not force you to sacrifice passenger space at all nor did I have any problems fitting the car seat into a Pontiac Vibe, Honda Civic, or Honda CRV all of which have fairly small back seats.

The installation process is really strait forward and easy enough to figure out with or without the manual as the install points are color coded. It offers latch and belt installation, and I used it both ways as the CRV does not have latch attachments, as its older, but the other cars do. In the CRV I used a shoulder belt installation and I LOVE the belt lock on this car seat! The belt lock doubles over the belt with a great easy to use large latch, and it offers one of the tightest locks using a shoulder seat belt I have seen yet! I always am nervous using a seatbelt with a car seat but with this one I felt perfectly sure that Connor was safe even without the latch attachments. I was only slightly disappointed on the latch attachments with this car seat as they are the standard hook attachments and not the easier to quick connect style attachments you see on some other car seats. That was a disappointment but its more of a "wish" of mine on car seats not a requirement.

What I do LOVE about this car seat and what originally attracted me was the recline feature. I had planned on making the trip to Chicago at night so Connor could sleep the entire way, but I knew if we took him in a regular car seat he would have hard time sleeping sitting up the entire way. Needless to say we left at 7pm and got there at 7am and Connor slept a good 80% of the car trip without any problems in his fully reclined Toddler Safeseat! I know for a fact that would have never happened in a regular car seat no matter how tired he was. By 7am everyone was tired and cranky but at least most of the trip Connor slept and he actually had more energy than we did that day. For those of you thats wondering you do not need to get out of the car to recline the car seat, if you can reach your child from the front seat all you have to do is reach around and pull that lever on the bottom of the seat itself and it will recline as you pull. I could easily reach Connor from the passenger side of the car.

If traveling is in your future, or if you have a child who loves to nap in the car you will find the Toddler SafeSeat very helpful. Personally I wont be making any long distance trips without it and its my car seat of choice if I know I will be out late and Connor is going to want to sleep. Its also my favorite car seat to use in the Honda CRV as I really feel secure that he is in tight using the shoulder belt as previously I have never felt totally comfortable.

Check out the rest of the Graco Safeseat line to see the entire line from an infant seat to the booster!

You can purchase the Graco Toddler Safeseat on Graco's website as well as on Amazon!


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