The Graco Nautilus is a forward facing only combination seat that functions as a 5 point harness, high back booster and backless booster. Our review will give you an in-depth look at this popular seat.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Forward facing weight range: 20-65 lbs
- Forward facing height range: 27-49″
- High back booster weight range: 30-100 lbs.
- High back booster height range: 38-57″
- Backless booster weight range: 40-100 lbs.
- Backless booster height range: 40-57″
- Highest harness position: 18″
- Highest belt guide position: 19.5″
- 10 year expiration (early 2011 & older models have a 6 year harness/high back booster, 9 year no back booster expiration)
- Lower anchor weight limit: 45 lbs. This lower anchor weight limit only applies to seats post Feb 2015. Nautilus seats made between Feb 2014-2015 is 42 pounds. Older Nautilus seats have varying lower anchor limits, please consult your manual.
- Two position recline
- Two position crotch strap
- Can use LATCH in high back booster mode (not backless)
The Graco Nautilus functions as a 5 point harness, high back booster, and backless booster. It is an excellent option for children that have outgrown their rear facing convertible car seat and are at least two years old. Ideally, children should ride rear facing until 3-4 years old before moving to a seat like the Nautilus. With a 65 lb weight limit on the harness and an 18″ top harness position, it will easily last most children until they are ready to move to a belt positioning booster (typically around 5-6 years old). The seat easily transitions to booster mode by removing the harness. The Nautilus positioned the seat belt properly on our 5-year-old tester in both high back and backless mode.
The two drawbacks of the Nautilus that commonly draw complaint are the position of the crotch buckle and the lack of head support for sleeping. The crotch buckle has two positions: 5.5″ deep and 7″ deep and the strap is 4″ long. This can be uncomfortable for older, bigger kids at the upper end of the harness limits.
There is a recline option on the seat, but it mostly serves to help with achieving a solid installation — the recline foot does not typically make much difference in the child’s overall comfort or help keep the child’s head upright when sleeping in the Nautilus.
The lack of head support for a sleeping child is a drawback to the Nautilus. The seat’s design often creates “head slump,” where the child’s head falls forward while asleep. This does not pose a safety concern, but can be a comfort concern for some children.
One important detail to note when threading the harness between positions is that the harness straps MUST go over the red rollers, as shown. Remember, forward facing harness straps should always be positioned at or above the child’s shoulders.
You can find the Graco Nautilus on Amazon.com, usually for under $150, making it a great value. Neither Graco nor Amazon sponsored this review, opinions, as always, are all our own!
Buckle Recall Information
Learn more about the buckle recall affecting older models of this seat.
Originally written by Emma Douglas. Edits maintained by CSFTL.