We’ve been fans of the Chicco KeyFit since our very first days as an organization. Really, longer than that since many of us were KeyFit fans long before CSFTL was born! When we heard that Chicco was coming out with a longer-lasting version of this popular rear facing only car seat, the Babies R Us exclusive Fit2, we were very excited to see it!
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight range: 4-35 pounds in Stage 1 — Infant position (note: this position can be used the entire time the child fits in the seat, but Stage 2 puts the seat in a more upright position for older babies and toddlers)
- Weight range: 15-35 pounds in Stage 2 — Toddler position
- Height range: up to 35 inches tall
- Lowest harness position: 6 inches with insert; 7 inches without insert
- Highest harness position: 12.5 inches without insert
- Expiration: 6 years
- Handle position: any locked position
- Two stage recline to accommodate tiny infants up to older babies
- Seat belt lockoff on base
- Adjustable recline foot
- Push button lower anchor connectors
- No rethread harness
- One hand handle adjustment
- Anti rebound bar on base
- Allows for Euro routing in baseless mode
- 2 position crotch strap — use slot 2 if strap is underneath child
- Fit2 website offers lots of helpful information
- Shell height: 21″
- Weight (carrier only): 12.2 pounds
- Width at widest point: 17 inches
Meet the Fit2
Unlike a traditional rear facing only car seat, the Fit2 offers two distinct reclines for two different age groups. Stage 1 is for infants who weigh between 4 and 35 pounds. This means that a child could use the Fit 2 at the more reclined setting for the entire time they use the seat. Stage 2 is intended for older babies who weigh between 15-35 pounds. The manual states that Stage 2 can only be used if the baby is able to crawl or walk.
In theory, this rear facing only car seat could keep a child rear facing until they’re roughly 2 years old. That’s the minimum time to ride rear facing. We advocate that children ride rear facing until they’re around 4 years old or outgrow their car seat in rear facing mode. Our worry is that caregivers will purchase the Fit2, use it until the child turns two, then purchase a forward facing only car seat for their two year old.
However, the Fit2 could be a terrific option for urban parents who may not own a car or for families who are travelling and want to put the car seat into a stroller when they’re out and about. It’s also an excellent option for families who would like to get as much use from their child’s first rear facing only car seat as possible.
One Hand Handle Adjust
The Fit2’s handle adjusts with only one hand. This is different from most other rear facing only car seats, which require 2 buttons be pressed at the same time to move the handle.
This feature may sound like a small thing but we found it an amazing advancement! While writing this review, I carted the Fit2 around quite a bit. During the process, I needed to move the handle up and down about a thousand times and each time, it was simple and easy to do.
With the Base: Lower Anchors
Installing the Fit2 with the base using lower anchors is quite similar to installing the KeyFit. Attach the premium lower anchor connectors to the vehicle’s lower anchors, apply pressure to the base, then pull up on the webbing in the middle of the base while pushing down on the base.
With the Base: Vehicle Seat Belt
The Fit2’s base features an easy to use lockoff for use with the vehicle seat belt. There’s no need to lock the vehicle belt when the lockoff is used — the lockoff locks the seat belt in place.
The seat belt installation is also straightforward — thread the vehicle belt through the clearly marked belt path, then buckle the seat belt. Pull all of the slack out of the lap portion of the vehicle seat belt while pressing down on the base, then thread the shoulder portion of the seat belt through the lockoff.
With the right amount of pressure on the base during the install, either method results in a secure install.
Without the Base
Vehicle belt guides for a baseless installation often seem like an afterthought on rear facing only car seats. However, on the Fit2, they’re well marked and easy to access! The Fit2 can be installed baseless in two different ways:
- With the lap belt in a traditional routing where the shoulder portion of the vehicle seat belt lies flat against the vehicle seat back or
- With the shoulder portion of the vehicle seat belt threaded around the back of the carrier portion of the seat. This method is also known as Euro routing.
I found that both methods gave a fairly snug install without too much grunting or cursing. The Euro routing does place the vehicle seat belt in the way — it could make loading the child a bit challenging but the routing made for a very secure install!
Base Stage Lever
To switch between Stage 1 and Stage 2, flip the Base Stage Lever forward. This lever is clearly labelled for each stage. The lever moves the carrier portion of the seat back about two inches, creating additional legroom for babies who are between 9 and 24 months old.
When the base is in Stage 1, for children up to age 9 months, the Base Stage Lever allows access to the base’s recline adjuster. However, when the base is in Stage 2, the recline adjuster is inaccessible.
For families who only need to flip that lever once as one child grows, this probably isn’t an issue. During the course of a review, I tend to install, adjust, remove, install, then adjust a seat again so for my purposes, this proved to be a challenge.
To adjust the base’s recline level make sure that the Base Stage Lever is in the Stage 1 position.
The cover is quite plush and smooth. The same plush fabric is used on the harness strap covers.
Fit to Child
With the infant insert in the seat and the harness on the lowest setting, the harness straps are just above our Huggable Images preemie doll’s shoulders, so she does not yet fit safely in the Fit2. The doll is 4 pounds and is 17 inches long. The Fit2’s weight range is 4-35 pounds so we had hoped for a better fit for the tiniest of passengers.
We confirmed with Chicco that the insert isn’t required at any weight — it’s optional for children who weigh between 4 and 11 pounds — so we did another photo shoot without the inserts.
Without the insert, the harness straps were way above the preemie’s shoulders. That’s about what we expected.
Unlike the KeyFit, the Fit2 has a no rethread harness. This makes moving between stages and sizes as the child grows quite a bit easier! Once the harness is high enough that the headrest is above the top of the shell, using the canopy becomes impossible because the headrest gets in the way.
Chicco recommends that caregivers remove the canopy when the seat is in Stage 2, however this recommendation isn’t documented in the manual — we learned this during a webinar.
Our newborn doll is 7 pounds and 17 inches long. With the infant insert under the child and the additional headrest padding on the headrest, we found that the doll’s head was pushed so far forward that her entire face seems to be missing.
This is what our doll’s face normally looks like.
The manual isn’t very clear on when to use the padding — we couldn’t quite determine if the padding was required or optional for children who weigh between 4-11 pounds. We confirmed with Chicco that the padding is optional but we’d love to see the manual updated to clarify this.
So we removed the padding and put our newborn doll back into the seat. Without the insert, the fit was a bit better but the head was still pushed down a bit. Our model lacks bones so it’s possible that this fit would be different on a human model.
While writing this review, we’ve seen some teeny tiny humans in the seat — while our dolls struggled to have a proper fit, I’m pleased to share that some actual tiny babies fit well in the Fit2.
4 Weeks Old/A Word about Headrests and Harness Height
This little cutie is 4 weeks old. He weighs 10.5 pounds and is 22.5 inches long. He’s all torso so the headrest is about 4 clicks up from the bottom. With the headrest at the correct height, his shoulders were very close to the bottom of the headrest and his chin was pushed down.
If we had moved the headrest up another click, the straps would have been too high but his chin wouldn’t have been pushed down. Chicco suggested that we try the fit without the extra padding on the headrest but unfortunately, our model was unwilling to pose for an additional photo.
We’re starting to see that newborn fit in the Fit2 and other rear facing only car seats with a no rethread harness varies. The combination of a newborn with a round head and a torso long enough to require that the headrest be raised creates a gap behind the child between the headrest and the infant padding. Head slump is a concern when it comes to newborns.
This short-lived gap will likely vanish as the child grows and develops more torso/head control, but can cause head slump in certain round-headed newborns.
3 Months Old
I am totally biased, but this young model is a charmer. He’s 3.5 months old, weighs 19 pounds, and is 24 inches long. The Fit2 fits him well and he’s got plenty of room to grow. To fit him properly, the headrest extends just past the end of the seat’s shell. In that configuration, the canopy doesn’t extend smoothly.
2 Years Old
This equally charming and cute model recently celebrated her 2nd birthday. She weighs 28 pounds and is 34 inches tall. This puts her at the top end of the Fit2’s height limit. While she fits into the seat, she made it pretty clear that she did not find it very comfortable.
She rides rear facing in her primary convertible car seat so it probably seemed natural to put her legs up while she was modelling this seat. She was slightly happier about the Fit2 with her legs up.
Setup for Stage 2
When the seat is in Stage 2 for older infants, the canopy can be removed so that the handle moves smoothly when the headrest is extended.
Chicco intends that Stage 2 means the seat remains in the car instead of being removed all the time. The manual doesn’t state this — it’s not a requirement — but Chicco shared this with a number of CPSTs during a recent webinar. We hope that Chicco shares this information with caregivers as well!
We found the chest clip difficult to slide up and down. There was quite a bit of friction behind it. Eventually, it loosened up a bit but it’s not as easy to adjust as the one on the KeyFit.
Important Information: Where to Find
FAA Approval label: like all rear facing only car seats, the base is not approved for use on aircraft but the carrier portion of the seat is approved. The label on the left side of the carrier states the FAA approval.
The base is 13 inches tall at the Anti Rebound Bar, well over the 9 inch maximum width for most airlines’ overhead bins. We’d suggest that families who travel with the Fit2 either leave the base at home or check the base in the original box.
Date of Manufacture: The Fit2 expires 6 years after the date of manufacture. The label for the carrier portion of the seat is found on the underside of the carrier. The base has a sticker that may have a separate date.
Manual Storage: The manual stores in a little slit on the base. Lucky for you, my lifelong dream of being a hand model has come true!
Where the Fit2 shines:
- Families looking for the longest possible use from their child’s first car seat
- Families who find themselves using taxis or other temporary transportation
- Families who would like to utilize a travel system style seat for as long as possible
The Fit2 has a lot to offer — it’s a well-featured seat that can fit most children until somewhere around their second birthdays. From harness adjustment to installation, almost every feature on the Fit2 is easy to use. We can see families who rely on taxis or car shares getting a lot of use out of the the Fit2.
The Fit2 is only available at Babies R Us for the moment. Our friends at Chicco are giving away one Fit2 in the Legato fabric to a lucky reader. Enter below for your chance to win, read our terms and conditions before you enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway