After much research on infant car seat reviews, my husband and I determined that the Graco SnugRide appeared to rank highest in safety, our main concern. We purchased the SnugRide for about $90.00 and had it installed at our local police station.
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Different car models install car seats differently; and we had the option of placing the seat on either side or in the middle of the backseat. Any of the positions are safe, but the middle is recommended, due to the danger of side collisions. So we decided to have it installed in the middle of the backseat. It took the police officer about a half hour to install the Graco SnugRide. Most of the time was spent comparing the car manual with the car seat instructions.
I had no problems with the SnugRide car seat for the first few months of use. It is a good size, being larger than small models, like the Evenflo Discovery, yet smaller than the Graco SafeSeat. It comfortably holds a baby up to the weight limit of 22 pounds, yet is not too difficult to carry. It is easy to secure the baby, and adjust the straps. The seat came with a cushion for newborn head support. The entire fabric lining is completely removable and machine-washable. We love the removable seat and base feature. The SnugRide seat can be removed from its base, and used as a carrier seat. This can be a convenient place for the baby to sit when away from home. It is also great for not disturbing a sleeping baby when removing from the car, as well as for cold weather when the baby is wrapped warmly in their car seat. The SnugRide car seat can even be securely attached to certain Graco stroller models. I use the Graco MetroLite LX stroller, and find the ability to insert the car seat to be extremely helpful when shopping and taking walks outdoors. The baby can stay or fall asleep and not be disturbed when getting in and out of car during the entire trip.
After four months of use, though, I began to notice that the SnugRide was tilted in my backseat. I tried to move it back up, but it was still tightly installed. I felt that I should take the SnugRide car seat back to the police station to see if it was installed properly. Before I had the chance to do so, at one point I was driving, I turned a bend, and the seat fell to the side with my baby inside! Fortunately I was able to quickly pull into a parking lot. I was not traveling quickly at the time, and my baby was still in her secure position and not even disturbed by the gradual fall. I was much more shaken than she was. I had to reinstall the car seat myself, drive home, and return to the police station. I was informed that the SnugRide is installed most tightly when placed on either side of the backseat, and, if we place it in the middle, the SnugRide seat will likely continually loosen and tip. I felt that the safety of the middle was the best, and decided I would repeatedly tighten the base as needed. Unfortunately I found that when I install the seat (since I can’t pull the seatbelt as tightly as the police officer), the SungRide needs reinstalled before almost every trip in the car. It isn’t complicated to install, but it can be time-consuming. I’m now becoming an expert at installing the SnugRide base, but it is very inconvenient.
I would not suggest that consumers do not purchase the Graco SnugRide, since it has rated highly in crash tests and safety. It is easy to secure the baby. The removable seat and compatible stroller models make the SnugRide very convenient. But, I would advise consumers that if they opt for the Graco SnugRide, depending on the model of their car, they should be prepared to repeatedly reinstall the seat.
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