I was provided a Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat at no cost to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own.
When we had our first baby, we were overwhelmed with all of the options out there for baby gear, especially, choosing a car seat. Since then, we have been through several seats with our two children, attempting to keep them as safe and comfortable as possible, in the best car seats. When we received the Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 featuring TrueShield Technology seat to check out, I was jealous it wasn’t available 6 years ago. One seat to last through multiple stages that has a 10 year expiration date? It sounds like a great option for parents to explore!
A Seat for Every Stage
The Graco Extend2Fit seat can be used in 3 modes:
- Rear-Facing Harness 4 – 50lbs
- Forward-Facing Harness: 22-65lbs
- Highback Booster: 40-100lbs
While I do not have an infant, we are impressed with the soft, padded insert to keep baby positioned correctly. Rear-facing, the seat also can be reclined at 6 different angles, which enables baby to be comfortable and keep a safe head position.
As your child grows bigger, the seat provides the ability to stay rear-facing up until 50lbs. The latest guidance from AAP is to keep children rear facing as long as possible, at least until age 2. This seat easily helps parents meet or exceed that guideline. To encourage rear-facing, Graco also includes an extendable panel that adds up to 5 additional inches of leg room. This helps your child avoid awkward leg positions and be comfortable rear-facing longer. Both of my children are currently in forward-facing seats, but we tried my 38 lb, 41″ tall daughter rear-facing in the Extend2Fit. In my SUV, the seat is reclined a bit too much for her liking but she easily fit.
The two forward-facing options fit our family best. Ellie is very happy and comfortable in the forward-facing harness mode. Tommy, my 6 year old, is large for his age and exceeds the weight limit for forward-facing harness mode. This makes him a great fit for the highback booster configuration. It sits him up quite close to the car roof, but he is also a very tall 6 year old!
The Graco Extend2Fit seat has several helpful features for a safe and relatively quick installation. The latch attachments easily click into place thanks to the InRight LATCH (TM) system. It is important to note the LATCH weight limits for the seat and your vehicle. Luckily, the seat belt installation is clearly marked on the seat and also simple to accomplish. We found the seat belt installation to be our preferred method in both of our cars.
The level indicator bar on the side of the seat clearly shows, using a bubble, whether your seat is correctly positioned. It has two lines, one for infants up to 3 months and one for 3+ months.
When switching to a highback booster, it is easy to hide away the 5 point harness behind the padding. There are clearly marked slots to thread the seat belt, so my son easily can get situated in the seat (with our help and guidance.) In this mode, it is nice to have the LATCH anchors to hold it in place when it is not being used by my son.
Car seat safety is our number one priority as parents. Graco uses advanced side impact protection, called TrueShield Technology, which is steel reinforced for maximum durability and enables the 10 year expiration date. In addition, the seat is side impact tested and meets car seat standards 2x over. Graco also does testing of their seats at extreme car interior temperatures. While this isn’t usually a problem in our area, it is nice to know they are covering all the bases with their safety testing.
The Extend2Fit seat comes with multiple features that our family found appealing. My favorite feature of the seat is the integrated harness and headrest that can be simply adjusted with just one hand. No more re-threading straps as they grow; just simply squeeze and lift. This helps us to ensure straps are always positioned correctly for every trip, as it takes only seconds to remedy an incorrect fit. Another small but sanity-saving feature are the fuss-free harness pockets that allow you to tuck the lower harness clips to the side when putting your child in the seat. It sounds basic, but this feature makes a big difference for loading. No more sitting on or twisting buckles as they climb in. This would have been invaluable in the infant days!
My children both love that the car seat comes with two cup holders for their snacks, drinks toys, or sunglasses, which they like to keep close. They both also comment on how soft the cushions are. My son loves the head support for car snoozing!