I was provided the Diono Pacifica Covertible + Booster car seat for review at no cost. All opinions are my own.
Did you know that motor vehicle accidents are the #1 cause of unintentional deaths for children ages 0-19 in the United States, according to statistics gathered in 2007. Even if you are an extremely safe and cautious driver, you never know what can happen on the road or what kind of other drivers you will come in contact with. I see far too many people driving with their cell phone in their hand. That’s why deciding on the car seat our children will ride in is of the upmost importance to us. Ever since our family had the opportunity to review the Diono Radian RXT, my husband and I have been huge fans of the Diono brand. So, when I was offered the opportunity to review the Pacifica Convertible Plus Booster, I eagerly agreed!
Diono emerged into the child car seat world in 1999 when they introduced the Mighty Tite, a device designed to assist parents in tightening the seat belt during car seat installation. They then released their first car seat, the Radian, in 2005, which was the first ever steel-reinforced folding car seat, designed to make travel and storage more convenient than ever. Today, Diono continues to produce some of the most innovative, best car seats, convertible boosters, storage solutions, stroller and travel accessories that consistently earn high ratings from industry experts and families worldwide.
One of the first things you will notice about this seat is just how heavy it is (at 27.4 pounds according to the product specifications on Amazon.com). That’s because it has a full steel frame and aluminum reinforced sides for unmatched safety. It also has reinforced extra deep sidewalls lined with energy-absorbing foam for superior head and body protection. It is also NCAP crash tested, the industry benchmark for verifying child seat performance in severe accident conditions.
One of the reasons I love the Diono brand so much is that they are strong supporters of extended rear-facing. Research has shown that children are safer in the event of a crash when their car seats are rear-facing and the Diono Pacifica gives you amazing extended rear-facing capabilities. In fact, your child can comfortably rear-face in this car seat from 5 to 50 lbs.! When you are ready to forward-face the Pacifica, it is approved for children weighing 20 to 90 lbs. in 5-point harness mode. Additionally, it converts to a booster for children between 50 and 120 lbs. or up to 57″ in height.
This seat comes with a body support pillow (to be used for infants and toddlers) and a head support pillow (to be used for infants). It also features a memory foam bottom for a more comfortable ride. If you are on a budget, purchasing this seat to begin using at birth (as long as your baby is at least 5 pounds) will save you money in the long run, since it would probably be the only car seat your child would ever need, thanks to its industry-leading 12 year product life (from the date of purchase).
When you purchase your Pacifica, it will arrive with a number of extra pieces and accessories. Included are:
- Additional set of harness pads to use only when the child is over 65 lbs in the 5-point harness
- Angled cup holder (not in the picture below)
- Head and body support pillows (as mentioned and shown above)
- Rear-facing tether connector strap
- Detachable base (only used for rear facing)
The Pacifica is approved by the FAA for airplane travel. It folds flat for easy storage and transport. If you plan to fly often with your Pacifica, you can purchase a carry strap for your shoulder, or 2 carry straps to wear it like a backpack. You can also carry it by the red security strap, as I’m demonstrating in the photo below.
Now that you know the basics of this seat, let’s talk about securing it in your vehicle. I can NOT stress enough how important it is to read the manual that comes with this car seat (or any other car seat you are using for that matter!) and your vehicle’s manual. Every car seat is different and in order to achieve the safest installation, it’s important to read the directions and follow them. I have already flipped through the manual a dozen times for this seat. Like other car seats on the market these days, you have the option to install using LATCH or the seat belt depending on your vehicle. The manual gives clear, easy to follow instructions to install using the method of your choice.
My son (who will be the main child using this seat) is 32 pounds right now and turned 3 in May. We practice extended rear-facing, so we installed the Rainier rear-facing using the LATCH system. (Because of the 65 pound LATCH rule, we’ll need to switch it over to a seat belt install when he weighs 35 pounds.) My oldest child is 5 and weighs in at 35 pounds and my youngest is 17 months and 20 pounds. All 3 children are able to sit in this seat and are quite comfy with plenty of room for growth.
While my children aren’t ready for it yet (they need to be at least 50 pounds and 40″ or taller to use this seat as a booster), when the time comes they can use it as a highback booster. The seat features shoulder belt guides on both sides plus lap belt guides to help ensure that the belt is placed in the proper position on your child.
My son seems extremely comfortable riding in his seat, and the lower sides mean that he is able to climb in on his own now, without my husband or I having to assist him. I feel like my children are as safe as they possibly can be when they are riding in their Diono seats, and I love knowing that my son can use this seat for years to come. Overall, we are once again quite pleased with this car seat from Diono!
Disclosures: I received the car seat mentioned above at no cost to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and may differ from yours and/or Diono’s. Amazon links are affiliate links.