GoodBaby has made a strong entrance into Canada with the release of the gb Abri. This new rear facing only car seat is both versatile and long lasting while showcasing some premium features. GoodBaby has generously provided us with the Abri to review and we have some great things to say.
The Abri only ships as a travel system with a stroller and the car seat — our review focuses only on the car seat.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight range: 4-35 pounds
- Lowest harness position: 4.5 inches with the insert, 5 inches without
- Height range: 17 inches to 32 inches and 1 inch of shell above the head
- 3 Position crotch strap length adjustment, with added preemie routing (3.5, 5, and 6 inches)
- 3 Position waist strap adjustment
- Expiration: 6 years from manufacture date – “Do Not Use After xxxx” is on the sticker
- Handle position: Must be in position A (upright/carry) when vehicle is in motion
- Shell height: 20 inches
- Weight (carrier only): 7.6 pounds
- Carrier width at widest point: 17.5 inches at the handles
- Base width at widest point: 15 inches
- Base with lockoff
- Push button lower anchor connectors
- 4 position adjustable recline foot
- Optional infant insert
- 3 waist strap positions
- 3 crotch buckle strap positions 3.5, 5, and 6 inches
- Weight based recline indicator
With the Base: Vehicle Seat Belt
Installing the Abri with the base was easy and hassle free. The recline foot has 4 easily adjustable settings to help fit a variety of vehicles at the turn of a knob. The recline angle is shown using a weight-based color guide located on the side of the base making it easy to see and use. The Fit-Loc Belt lockoff takes place of having to ensure your vehicle seat belt is locked and does that for you. Lift up the lockoff by pressing the release tab, buckle the seat belt then remove all the slack. No need to tighten the seat belt before closing the lockoff since this isn’t necessary and can make it very difficult to close. The seat belts in my vehicle have a loop similar to a convenience button that happened to fall right in line with the lockoff but I was able to shift the base over on the seat just enough for it to be out of the way. It’s always nice to see a seat with premium push button lower anchor connectors; they are quick and simple to connect and release.
With the Base: UAS (Universal Anchorage System)
Unlike vehicles in the United States that use lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH), vehicles in Canada have the Universal Anchorage System or UAS.
Installing the Abri base with the UAS is simple! The lower anchor strap is routed through the belt path and under the lockoff already, reducing the amount of steps it takes to install. Remove the lower anchors from their storage location on the underside of the base, open the Fit-Loc Belt lockoff and attach the connectors to the vehicle’s dedicated UAS anchors using a push motion. Remove all the slack from the webbing by tightening the base against the vehicle seat, lay the free end of the UAS strap across the belt path and close then close the lockoff. The premium push button lower anchor connectors make installing the Abri quick and easy.
Installation Without the Base
Installation without the base isn’t much more difficult than installing the Abri with the base. One key difference between installing with the base and without the base is the recline angle. There is a single recline angle indicated by a red line that must be parallel to the ground at all times when the Abri is installed without the base.
The Abri allows the use of a tightly rolled towel if help achieving the proper recline is needed.
To install, route the vehicle’s lap belt through the easily accessible belt guides on both sides of the carrier, buckle and lock the seat belt. If using a lap/shoulder belt, leave the shoulder belt out of the belt guides and position it along the vehicle seat back.
Fit to Child
The Abri boasts a wide range of fit options for a wide range of babies. With 3 adjustable waist and crotch buckle strap positions, and a 4.5 inch lowest harness position with the insert, it can accommodate preemies all the way to babies at the upper limits of the seat. The optional newborn insert can be used to help infants fit comfortably in the seat and rolled receiving blankets along the sides of the child may also be used for additional support if needed.
The manual includes user-friendly guideline tables with preferred weight-based strap locations to help users with adjusting for fit. While these recommended positions are preferred, they are not required and any position can be used to properly fit the child.
I used the guide to set up the seat for each category of infant to get an idea of fit range. It took a bit more work than most infant seats to adjust, but since babies do come in all shapes and sizes, the range of available adjustments is a positive feature! With no height or weight requirements for harness positions and so many adjustment options, the Abri can adjust to fit your child best.
At long last, this model has entered the world and is ready to show us how well the Abri works for newborns. He’s 5 days old, weighs 6 pounds, 5 ounces, and is 20.5 inches long. He’s got plenty of room to grow in the Abri.
1 Month Old
Following the fit guide listed in the manual, this young model still falls into the newborn range at 1 month old, 7.5 pounds, and 20.5 inches long. The guide is almost spot on for him with the exception of the buckle strap position, which we moved to the middle slot for a better fit.
He sat comfortably enough to sleep almost the entire time he was in the Abri without any chin to chest concerns when reclined appropriately for his weight. This is something to look for in babies who lack good head control.
The harness covers are quite padded and took up a fair amount of space in comparison to his size, making the chest clip difficult to get at armpit height. The newborn insert and head insert weren’t quite as confining and offered a decent amount of support along his sides.
1 Year Old
The true test of a rear facing only car seat’s longevity is how it fits an older baby or young toddler. Here we see a 1 year old model who weighs 23 pounds and is 29 inches tall.
Using the fit guide provided in the manual, I adjusted the harness height, waist strap, and crotch buckle to the locations based on Gauge’s height and weight prior to placing him in the seat. Prepared to make any adjustments needed, I was pleasantly surprised when the fit was spot on for him.
I opted not to use the newborn insert for extra room but found it a little narrow around the shoulders which may make it a bit uncomfortable for a child closer to the 35 pound weight limit. Since he was using the top harness slot, we could no longer use the head support but he didn’t seem to mind!
With the top harness slots just slightly below the shoulders, he still has a good amount of shell above his head for growth and ample harness length to grow into before hitting the maximum limits of the seat.
- Many harness adjustments for a variety of fits
- Push button lower connectors and seat belt lockoff
- Premium fabrics, harness covers and optional newborn insert for added comfort
- Sturdy canopy with durable fabric
- Lockoff can be difficult to open when too tight. Tips: unbuckle the vehicle seat belt first, compress the base into the vehicle seat, then release the tab on the lockoff
- Vehicle seat belt convenience buttons or loops may interfere with lockoff panel
Important Information: Where to Find
Expiry Date — Manufacture information and expiry date can be found on a sticker on the back side of the carrier, along the inside of the base and on page 11 of the manual.
Airline Approval — The National Safety Mark is clearly displayed on the side of the carrier with an additional sticker stating approval for aircraft use on the back side near the bottom of the carrier.
Overall, the gb Abri is a great addition to the Canadian car seat market. The reliable fit and high limits make this seat a long lasting option for a rear facing only seat and one I wish were available outside a travel system.
Giveaway for Canadians!!
It’s not too often when we’re able to offer a giveaway for our Canadian friends! GoodBaby has graciously offered one lucky winner a gb Evoq travel system, which includes a stroller and the fabulous Abri reviewed above! Since we’re Car Seats for the Littles, our review focuses only on the car seat portion of the program.
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