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Peg 4-35 featured image

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Rear Facing Only Car Seat Review

Looking for a quality, Italian made car seat?  The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 rear facing only car seat might be the seat for you.  With 2 included infant inserts, deep seat pan, and adjustable no-rethread head support and harness, it is a viable option for both small and large children.

Peg 4-35 featured imageCSFTL Quick Stats:

  • Rear facing only 4-35 lbs, 32″, OR 1″ from the top of the head to the top of the shell
  • Bottom harness position 4.5″ (both inserts) ,6″ (stage 2 insert) ,7.5″ (no inserts)
  • Top harness position 10.5″
  • 18″ tall shell
  • 7 year expiration
  • 1 crotch buckle positions
  • Built-in anti-rebound bar on base
  • No-rethread harness built into adjustable head support
  • Dual stage infant inserts
  • Infinite recline positions on base by just turning a knob
  • Tri Zone level indicator
  • Push button lower anchor connectors

 

Car Seat Features

Peg 4-35 baseless ARB

The Primo Viaggio 4-35 comes with several features.  The first to notice is the handle that can be put all the way down by the child’s feet for anti-rebound protection when installed baseless.

 

Peg 4-35 head support

 

Next is the no-rethread harness incorporated into the adjustable head support.  This allows you to easily adjust the harness straps without needing to take the seat apart.  There are 6 different height settings to fit a variety of children.  The head support also provides extra support for an infant’s small head.

 

Peg 4-35 inserts

The Primo Viaggio 4-35 includes 2 infant inserts.

Stage 1

  • Must be used with the stage 2 insert.
  • Attaches to the adjustable head support via a button on both sides.
  • Can be used from birth to about 8 lbs or when the child’s diaper reaches the crotch buckle with just the stage 2 insert.
  • Provides a cushion to fill excess space.

Stage 2

  • Can be used at any weight/age.
  • Helps bump the child to the bottom harness position.
  • Provides a bit extra thigh support.

Peg 4-35 harness retainer

 

The harness retainer is currently a popular feature.  This allows the user to hold the buckles back making it easier to put the child in the seat without having to dig buckles out from under them.
Peg 4-35 canopy

 

The UPF 50+ large canopy is another popular feature on seats helping protect children from excess sun exposure.

 

Peg 4-35 EPS foam

 

Under all of the quality fabrics, you find a fully lined EPS foam layer covering both the seat shell and head support.  This EPS foam adds extra impact protection.

Peg 4-35 breathability

 

One of my favorite features are these holes in the bottom of the seat, which provide extra breathability.

 

Peg 4-35 storage compartmentFinally, note the storage compartment in the back of these seat.  This provides a place to store the manual, an access door to adjust the head support, as well as an extra way to check the angle of the base once the seat is installed.

Base Features

The base has several more common features such as a recline foot, recline level, push button lower anchor connectors, and seat belt lock off.  They added a few things to these features to make them more unique though.

Peg 4-35 ARB install

 

One of their more unique features is their anti-rebound bar, which is required.  This comes uninstalled right out of the box, so it will need to be added.  It can only click into place when it is correctly installed.  This anti-rebound bar helps with cocooning which can happen when a rear facing seat rebounds after a collision.

Peg 4-35 level & knob

 

The recline foot features a knob that allows the foot to be put in any position.

The Primo Viaggio 4-35 also features their unique TriZone level indicator.  There are 3 sections to the level, each one with a weight range.  When installing, make sure the bubble is in the correct weight range for your child.  This is one feature that can cause some issues, and we are working with Peg Perego to straighten it out.  In some vehicles, the recline either isn’t enough with the foot all the way out or not inclined enough for the bigger kids with the foot all the way in the base.  When we get an update, we will update this post.

 

Installation

Peg 4-35 base installedWith Base
Start by putting the base on the vehicle seat and adjusting the recline so the bubble level is in the correct position for your child’s weight.  Once the bubble is in the correct position, either install with the lower anchors or seat belt.  With either installation method, begin with unlatching the blue lock off.  Then, either put the seat belt through the guides, tighten, and latch the lock off OR attach the lower anchors to the vehicle anchors, tighten, and latch the lock off.  A correct installation will have 1″ or less of movement at the belt path.

Peg 4-35 handle at head

The car seat handle can be in any locked position except the position by the child’s feet.  This position is to only be used when doing a baseless install.  Peg Perego prefers the handle to be in the position right above the child’s head for the highest level of safety though.


Peg 4-35 baseless installBaseless
To install without the base, push the grey buttons on either side of the handle to move it down by the child’s feet.  Then, set the seat on the vehicle seat and thread the lap belt through the belt guides on the handle.  There are 2 positions the shoulder belt can be put in.  This seat allows European belt routing where the shoulder belt is threaded through a blue clip on the back of the seat, which can help with stability.  If the shoulder belt isn’t long enough, leave the shoulder belt against the vehicle seat back.  Once the seat is tight, lock the seat belt, make sure the red level line is level with the ground, and verify that there is 1″ or less of movement at the belt path

 

Child fit

Peg 4-35 JoJo – Preemie Huggable Images Doll
4 lbs, 17″

Due to Jo’s small size, she’s modeling the Primo Viaggio 4-35 with both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 infant inserts. She fit very well with her shoulders just barely above the bottom harness position. The Stage 1 insert has a an extra support that sits behind the crotch buckle to fill the room between her diaper and the crotch buckle.

Peg 4-35 Fiona Stage 2

 

 

 

Fiona – Newborn Huggable Images Doll
7 lb, 17″

Fiona also fit very nicely in this seat.  This first picture of her is with just the Stage 2 infant insert.  With the harness in the lowest position, her shoulders are just over the harness position.  Without the Stage 1 insert she has quite a bit of room between the crotch buckle and her diaper.

 

Peg 4-35 Fiona Stage 1&2Here she is modeling the seat with the Stage 1 and Stage 2 infant inserts.  The harness was one click up from the lowest position with her shoulders just over it.  As you can see, the Stage 1 insert helps her fit behind the crotch buckle much better.  Either fit is fine, but I liked her better with both inserts.

Peg 4-35 Anders

 

 

 

Anders – 4 months
16 lbs, 26″

I really like how Anders fits in this seat.  Due to his size, both infant inserts were removed.  Even with good head control his head still falls to the side when he sleeps.  In previous seats side head slump has always been an issue.  The head support in this seat is in perfect position and is shaped well for complete head support for him.

Peg 4-35 Grace

 

 

Grace – 16 months
19 lbs, 29″

Grace fit very nicely with plenty of growing room.  She’s modeling how nice the anti-rebound handle is to rest her feet on when installed baseless.

 

 

Peg 4-35 Lucas

 

 

Lucas –  16 month Huggable Images Doll
20 lbs, 31″

Lucas also had a nice fit.  He was quite a bit closer to the top of the seat than Grace, but still fit with 1″ or more of shell above his head.

 

Overall thoughts
I really like the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 rear facing only seat.  It has high quality materials, it will accommodate a wide range of child sizes, and the baseless install was incredibly easy.  For me, the biggest drawback was the manual. I found it to be poorly worded and had to clarify several stipulations with Peg Perego while completing this review. A confusing manual increases the potential for misuse, especially for a brand new parent.


Now comes the best part, the generous folks at Peg Perego provided this Atmosphere Primo Viaggio 4-35 for us to review, and they would like to give one away to one of our readers. Contest is open to US residents only, enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

If you don’t win, don’t despair! Find the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 on Amazon.com!

Peg Perego provided the Primo Viaggio 4-35 rear facing only car seat for this review, but CSFTL was not otherwise compensated and opinions, as always, are all our own.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

4ever1

Graco 4Ever All-in-One Car Seat Review

When Graco announced their first 4-in-1, I was parts suspicious and parts intrigued.   In general, multi-mode child restraints tend to fall short in at least one mode.  It’s no small task to make a restraint suitable for a 4 lb newborn all the way up through an 80 lb 10 year old.  The expression ‘jack of all trades; master of none’ is apt when it comes to multi-mode seats.   But, when I learned that we would be receiving the 4Ever to review and fit with our safety training dolls, provided by Huggable Images, I resolved to keep an open mind.

CSFTL Quick Stats

Graco 4Ever

Graco 4Ever

  • Rear-facing: 4-40 lbs
  • Forward-facing: 20-65 lbs, <49″
  • Highback Booster: 30-100 lbs, 38-57″
  • Backless Booster: 40-120 lbs, 40-57″
  • 10 year expiration
  • Steel-reinforced frame
  • Lowest harness position: 6″ (with infant insert)
  • Highest harness position: 18″
  • Highest booster position: 19″
  • Two buckle slots, 4.5″ and 6.5″
  • push button lower anchor connectors
  • LATCH in booster mode
  • Hideaway harness for booster mode
  • No rethread harness

 

 

Little Assembly Required

Graco 4Ever cupholders

Graco 4Ever cupholders

The seat comes nearly completely assembled and ready to go for a newborn straight out of the box.  The one exception is the cupholders, which come separately, presumably to make a slightly more compact storage situation.   Directions for assembly of the cupholders can be found in the manual.

 

Overall Impression

The people at Graco clearly have listened to feedback about the Smart Seat, their last attempt at a multi-mode restraint, and put a great deal of thought into the design of this seat.   If I had to characterise it, I’d describe it as though a Snugride 30 Classic Connect, Size 4 Me and Argos all came together to make a smooth, sleek, and fabulous baby.

Graco 4Ever manuals

Graco 4Ever manuals

It comes with two separate manuals, in English and Spanish.


Graco 4Ever steel reinforced frame

Graco 4Ever steel reinforced frame

It boasts a ‘steel-reinforced frame’.  While we have no idea if this means it’s actually ‘safer’ we do know the trend in child restraint manufacturing is toward energy flow management, and not just retention in the car.


Graco 4Ever recline positions

Graco 4Ever recline positions

It has multiple recline positions.  The first three are for rear facing mode.   The second three are for forward facing.  Of those, the 4th MUST be used for a forward facing child between 20 and 40 lbs, and the 6th must be used in booster mode.    The recline glide is smooth, and simple to use

Graco 4Ever recline level

Graco 4Ever recline level

 

There are no restrictions on which of the first three positions must be used during rear facing, but the seat provides a recline angle indicator.  In general, for a newborn, you want the max recline available.    As they get older and develop neck control, you can move up to a more inclined position.


The harness should be positioned at or below the shoulders, and the buckle should be in the position nearest to but not under the child.  Either position may be used for either direction.



Graco 4Ever rear facing room

Graco 4Ever rear facing room

In rear facing mode, it is compact enough that it would work even in a small sedan.  Rear facing size can be problematic with any seat intended to fit a child all the way through seatbelt age;   Graco clearly took this into account, as size was problematic in the Smart Seat too.   As the head restraint extends for taller rear facing toddlers and preschoolers, it maintains its compact shape by going up rather than back.


Graco 4Ever harness rollers

Graco 4Ever harness rollers

The harness mechanism is a smooth pull, and does not require significant strength to tighten.  Graco used their ‘roller bar’ method at the rear of the seat to achieve the smooth pull.


Graco 4Ever lower anchor connector strap bar

Graco 4Ever lower anchor connector strap bar

While this seat has only one lower anchor strap, it has a unique system for moving the strap between belt paths.  I describe the method more thoroughly further down.

The belt paths are color coded and match the relevant pages for color in the manual.


Graco 4Ever underside

Graco 4Ever underside

The bottom of the seat is smooth and solid, designed to minimize the pressure marks that occasionally result on vehicle upholstery from a tightly installed seat.



Graco 4Ever manual storage slot

Graco 4Ever manual storage slot



A handy compartment is placed in the back for manual storage.

At its widest flare, the seat measures 19″.


Rear-facing (4-40 lbs)

The manual contains several references to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children under 2 should use a rear facing restraint.    NHSTA recommends that children inclusive 1-3 years continue to use a rear facing restraint as long as they fit by height and weight.   CSFTL echoes this recommendation.   40 lbs is an 80th percentile 4 year old.   This seat has a sufficiently tall rear facing shell that all children regardless of build can get to 40 lbs rear facing.

Graco 4Ever infant insert pad

Graco 4Ever infant insert pad

With the impressive insert (very firm, not plush), the bottom harness position is 6″ from the seatpan, and the buckle has a depth of 4″ from the seatback. The insert itself has a separate head and body support, with an adjustable elastic to attach the head support so that it can be raised as the baby gets taller.  The insert must be used if the baby’s shoulders do not reach the harness position in the lowest head rest position. It may not be used in the forward facing position. The body support may be used without the head rest, but the head rest cannot be used without the body support

 

Graco rates the seat from 4 lbs but as we all know, that doesn’t necessarily mean much.   I tried Jo in the seat, held my breath and…

 

Graco 4Ever preemie training doll

Graco 4Ever preemie training doll

Yes indeed, that’s a 4 lb preemie fitting correctly and snugly in the 4Ever, with the harness coming out from just at her shoulders.   Keep in mind that not all preemies are built the same, and just because it fits the Huggable Images preemie does not mean it will be suitable for all preemies.


The newborn, 1 year old and 3 year old all fit well, with plenty of room for legs and comfortable buckling.  The seat pan measures 12.5″ deep

Newborn, 1 year old, 3 year old, rear facing Graco 4Ever

Newborn, 1 year old, 3 year old, rear facing Graco 4Ever

 

 

 

 

Graco 4Ever rear facing 2 year old

Graco 4Ever rear facing 2 year old

This model is 25 months, 22 lbs and about 33″.    She seemed comfortable and had plenty of leg room. The seat allows for rear facing to within 1″ of the adjuster at the top, which allows for a seated height of 27″.

 



Graco 4Ever extended rear facing capacity

Graco 4Ever extended rear facing capacity

The model here exceeds the weight limit of the seat for rear facing by 6 lbs.  He is merely modeling it to show the rear facing capacity.  He is 47″ tall.

Graco 4Ever rear facing 3 year old

Graco 4Ever rear facing 3 year old

Installation itself was fairly straightforward.   Lower anchor connectors come out of the box set for rear facing installation.   Secure the lower anchor connectors to the vehicle, and tighten to less than 1″ of movement.   I did note that the lower anchor connector strap was unusually short.  I suspect Graco was trying to decrease the happenstance of installing a seat with the strap through the wrong belt path, but that’s only conjecture on my part.


Graco 4Ever seatbelt install access slot

Graco 4Ever seatbelt install access slot

For seatbelt installation, the connectors stow to bars forward of the belt path, and the seatbelt is placed through the rear facing belt path.  The belt path is an open design, which allows easy threading, no scraped knuckles, and quick access for tightening the shoulder belt. Here you can see the access slot in the seat pad.

Here I compare it with the Graco My Size, which is known for being compact.  The vehicle is a 2013 Grand Caravan.   At the most reclined angle, the 4Ever garners about 3″ of space to the front seats (moved all the way back), relative to the My Size’s 1″ of space.

Graco 4Ever rear facing room comparison with Graco My Size

Graco 4Ever rear facing room comparison with Graco My Size

Fully extended, the 4Ever continues to allow about 1.5″ of space.   I was unable to completely extend the My Size head rest at the fully reclined angle.  It struck the head restraint of the front passenger seat.


Forward-facing:  (20-65 lbs, <49″, >1 year)

The seat can be used forward facing with the five point harness for a child who is at least 1 year of age (CSFTL recommends rear facing to the maximum allowed by the child restraint ), between 20 and 65 lbs, and under 49″ tall.   The topmost harness position measures at 18″ with the seat pad compressed.

The seat must be used in the 4th, 5th, or 6th recline positions when forward facing.  If the occupant is under 40 lbs, it must be in the 4th position.

The harness should be positioned at or above the shoulders and the buckle should be in the position nearest to but not under the child.

The seat comes with the lower anchor connectors set in the rear facing position.   To move them to the forward facing belt path, loosen the harness and extend the head restraint, unsnap the cover, expose the seat, and slide the lower anchor connectors along the interior bar into the forward facing position.

Graco 4Ever converting lower anchor connector strap to forward facing mode

Graco 4Ever converting lower anchor connector strap to forward facing mode

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This seat may only be installed with lower anchors for children weighing under 42 lbs.  If you max out the rear facing capacity, to save yourself a hassle, simply go straight to a seatbelt and tether installation when moving to forward facing.  If you have one of those mini 35 lb six year olds, though, lower anchors are an available option.

Graco 4Ever lower anchor 42 lb limit; always use the tether

Graco 4Ever lower anchor 42 lb limit; always use the tether

Regardless of how the seat is installed, always use the tether, located at the top of the seat.


Below is the 3 year old safety training doll, installed at the required recline for an under 40 lb child.  As you can see, it’s quite reclined, and a bit awkward appearing.

Graco 4Ever forward facing install for child under 40 lbs

Graco 4Ever forward facing install for child under 40 lbs

However, the Grand Caravan has very sloped seats; in vehicles with more level seats, the restraint may install more easily at the 4th recline level.

Graco 4Ever forward facing harness 6 year old

Graco 4Ever forward facing harness 6 year old



To install the seat forward facing for a child weighing between 20 and 65 lbs, using the seatbelt, store the lower anchor connectors in the provided bars for the forward facing position and insert the seatbelt through the belt path.  Always use the tether.
Children from 40-65 lbs may be in recline positions 4-6.   The seat fit the six year old safety training doll with about a half inch of growing room in the torso.  The live model is 6 years, 10 months, about 46 lbs and 47″.    He fit at the tallest harness position of 18″.

 

 

Graco 4Ever secured tether

Graco 4Ever secured tether

We mentioned the tether, right?  Always use it!   Graco clearly states a 42 lb limit for the lower anchors in the manual, but requires the tether be used with either installation.   There is no option for installing the 4Ever without it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

High-Back Booster: (30-100 lbs, 38-57″, >3 years of age)

NHTSA recommends that children ages 1-3 continue to rear face as long as they fit by height and weight, and then use a forward facing 5 point harness.   Children from 4-7 should continue to use their 5 point harness as long as they fit by height and weight, and then move to a belt positioning booster.   3 year olds do not ever belong in high back boosters.  We encourage Graco to update this misguided low-end minimum on a seat that can certainly accommodate older children in the harness.

Once the child outgrows the harness, the height capacity of the shoulder belt adjuster (19″) should give the child another year or so in the high back booster.   Graco devised a nifty system for harness storage in booster mode.  The harness is never removed from the seat.  Instead, it is tucked away in a little door behind the seat pad, guaranteeing that you don’t accidentally lose it.    Extend the head restraint, expose the seatback, and open the door.

Graco 4Ever storing harness for booster conversion

Graco 4Ever storing harness for booster conversion

Buckle the retainer clip together but leave the buckle tongues unbuckled.   Secure the harness pads, retainer clip and buckle tongues in the compartment behind the door and shut it.   Store the buckle itself in the compartment provided in the seat bottom.  The base must be set in the 6th recline mode for booster use.

Graco permits use of lower anchors and tether when using the seat in booster mode.  As always, if you choose not to use this feature, be sure to buckle the booster in when not occupied, to prevent it from moving unhindered through the cabin in an accident.

Graco 4Ever high back booster mode 6 year old

Graco 4Ever high back booster mode 6 year old

The booster mode fit both our 6 year old safety training doll, and our 6 year old not-doll well.  The lap belt lies low on the lap, where it belongs, the belt moves freely through the shoulder guide and rests comfortably and correctly across the chest.
It should be noted that just because the seat claims a 57″ maximum in high back mode does not mean a child of that height will fit that way.  Featured here are our 57″ safety training doll and a real live 8 year old of about 53″ and 65 lbs.   You can see that their shoulders far exceed the top booster position.

Graco 4Ever outgrown high back booster 8 year olds

Graco 4Ever outgrown high back booster 8 year olds

 

 

 

 

 

Backless Booster: (40-120 lbs, 40-57″, >4 years of age)

In addition to continuing to use a harness to its capacity, CSFTL recommends backless boosters for older children who have outgrown their high backs, and do not need the support of a back to remind them to sit correctly, even when sleeping.     Of course, you must have vehicle head support to use a backless booster.

Graco 4Ever converting to backless booster mode

Graco 4Ever converting to backless booster mode

To change the seat from high back booster mode to backless, detach the harness from the splitter plate behind the seat.   Expose the seat under the pad, locate the two red tabs, rotate them upward, and then push them in together.   Then simply lift the entire back off the bottom, harness and all, move the red tabs to their original position, and replace the seat pad.  The splitter plate can be stored, and the pad now has two additional elastic tabs to secure it to the base.  Tuck the remaining end behind the seat when in use.

The interior of the seat sports a 15″ seat pan.  It has 14″ of interior hip room.

Graco 4Ever backless booster mode 6 year old

Graco 4Ever backless booster mode 6 year old

The backless booster has no LATCH option, so remember to buckle it in when not in use.     For younger children, use the provided belt guide to correctly place the shoulder belt.  For older children, the shoulder belt will likely fall in place on its own.

 

 

Graco 4Ever; too tall at 4'10"

Graco 4Ever; too tall at 4’10″

The final model is 4’10″, 80 lbs, and almost 10 years old.  Despite his size, he still needs a booster to correctly fit the belt in this car.   While he exceeds the stated height limit, we tried him in it to see what would happen.  You’ll notice that the shoulder belt is nearly slipping off his shoulder, and he complained that his head was near hitting the ceiling.   A child of this size would be better suited to a lower profile seat.

 

 

 

 

Final Thoughts:

CSFTL can give this seat a hearty and non-conditional thumbs up.   It is easy to use, well designed, solid in feel, designed to be compatible in many vehicles, and will truly span a significant age rage, from preemie on up.

I will offer the caution that unless you have a giant, off the charts child (like my 9 year old above), this cannot be the only seat you’ll need. Children generally need boosters until they are around 4’9″-5′, the size of a 10-12 year old.   As the seat expires in 10 years, it will expire before most children are ready to ride in a seatbelt alone.

At 299.99, this is not a budget purchase.  However, if you divide the cost over 10 years, and you reasonably could use the seat over a 10 year period, you’re looking at a cost of 2.50 a month, which might make it seem a little more palatable.   If you’re a family on a budget and simply cannot afford to spend quite that much at one time, this may not be the restraint for you.

For a family who needs to transport different sized children, (for example, those who provide foster care, or child-minder services), this seat could cover all potential possibilities.   For a family who wants to not think about car seats again for the next 10 years?   This absolutely could fill that need.

Graco graciously provided this restraint to Car Seats for the Littles for a full review, but opinions, as always, are entirely our own.

Safey 1st Store 'n Go, hbb, nbb, highback booster, no back booster, Dorel, booster with drawer

Safety 1st Store ‘n Go Booster Review

Ilana has a long torso for her age and doesn’t have much room left in her other boosters. She needed something taller (our third row doesn’t work for backless boosters and with five kids in seats, moving her isn’t an option). I’ve had problems in our van with Safety 1st boosters in the past, but it was a good price and super cool, so we gave it a shot. First, the basics.

Child Must Meet All These Requirements

  • Weight: 40-100 pounds
  • Height: 43-57 inches
  • Age: At least four years of age (CSFTL generally recommends 5+ for high-backed use and 7+ for no-backed use)
  • Tops of the child’s ears below the vehicle head restraint or seat back (seat requires this even in high-backed mode)
  • Child’s shoulder below the highest belt guide position (when using the seat in high-backed mode)
  • HIghest belt guide position is 23″
  • Expiration is December of the tenth year (Manufacture date of 3/21/2014 expires 12/31/2024)

The seat was super easy to put together. It comes out of the box in two pieces, they snap together and off you go. The biggest draw for this seat is the awesome drawer on the front of the seat. It’s also going to be the thing that makes most children forget to sit correctly. I can see many a child wanting to dig through their drawer and leaning over and out of position while the vehicle is in motion. It also has a cup holder built-in and storage spots as well that are perfect size for snacks and hand-held game’ devices. The drawer has a grey handle that must be depressed to open the drawer, so no worries of random drawer opening when stopping too fast. We got the seat in Fruit Punch but it comes in three other more mute patterns as well as two backless versions in Disney prints.

Store n go

store n goThe lowest belt guide position on this seat is 14″ with the top being about 23″. My 11-year-old decided to model the shoulder belt height for us. He’s over the weight limit, but at 56.5″ he’s at the max height of the seat and you can see he still fits by torso height making it one of the tallest boosters on the market. The other tallest seats are also from Dorel (the Safety 1st parent company). This would be a good choice for that tall child in your life. This seat does require a head restraint behind the seat at all times so keep that in mind when choosing a booster. This seat has the same hole and peg adjustment as other Dorel boosters. Slightly different from other boosters that have an adjuster handle at the top of the head restraint, but still fairly easy. Just not quite as convenient.

Store n'GoThis is Ilana; she’s 7.5, 65#, and 48″ tall. The fit is great, shoulder belt is properly positioned when using the seat with the back on and lap belt is low on the hips and off the abdomen. She’s on the sixth adjustment of eight so she has plenty of growing room. As a backless booster though the fit could have been better, but that’s not uncommon in our van unfortunately. The shoulder belt was just slightly too far forward of her shoulder. This seat, while it can become a backless booster, does not come with a seat belt adjuster for use in backless mode. This means only bigger, older kids should use this seat backless. She was very comfortable in this seat and liked it a lot. I did have to remind her to stay out of the drawer while driving.

Store n Go

 

This is Olivia, she’s 5, 46#, and 44″. She’s on the fourth of the eight adjustments. Just like her big sister, the fit with the back on is great. Shoulder belt is well positioned and lap belt is low on her hips and off her abdomen. She is just in the very beginning stages of booster training so she has a good year before this would be her everyday seat but she loves it. The fit without the back is worse on her though since she is even smaller than Ilana. At five, a backless booster is not a good option for her anyways. Store n Go

 

This seat however has a fatal flaw, at least in our third row. It, like many other seats in my third row, has belt retraction problems. This one is one of the worst I’ve seen though. This means if a child were to lean forward in their seat for some reason, the belt does not retract back fully through the belt guide. This leaves the shoulder belt very loose and unable to protect the child in a crash. The choices are different booster, different position, or to teach the child to reach back and thread the shoulder belt back into the retractor.

outgrown

 

 

 

Here is Ilana trying the booster in our 2002 Cavalier. The belt fit is great and there are no retraction issues like above. However, because the seat requires head support behind it to the tops of the child’s ears, she cannot use this booster in this seat as she is too tall. She would need to use a high back booster that doesn’t require head support or a backless booster like the Safety 1st Incognito to bring her down closer to the seat and give her more room above her ears.

 

 

Store n Go 3It’s not a best bet for three across, but it’s not horrible either. With it only having the cup holder on one side, it may only work in one spot in a three across though. It works alright in my van with the cup holder towards the middle of the seat, but not on the other side where the cup holder would be next to the vehicle wall. This is the Store n’ Go in a three across with a Graco My Size and an Evenflo Big Kid in the third row of a 2007 Town and Country. I’ve used it with a few other arrangements as well.

Overall, I’d give a ‘try cautiously knowing it might not work for you’. A year or so ago, I would not have trusted Ilana in it. Now at 7.5 though, I trust her more to sit better, as well as to make sure the belt is always appropriately tight. This is the biggest concern with this seat in certain vehicles. The other problem is because the booster is so tall, it will not fit fully extended in the third row of my van. Six is about as high as I could get it out of the eight adjustments. Besides that, if you have head restraints in your vehicles, as required by the manual, this is a great seat for taller kids and can work in three across as well.

Another version of this seat that may work better in a three across situation is the Safety 1st Boost Air Protect.  Safety 1st did not provide this seat for review, nor did I receive compensation from them in any way. As always, thoughts expressed here are completely my own.

KWP-Shield-150x150

Kiddy World Plus Car Seat Review

Kiddy USA generously offered us a Kiddy World Plus for review, and I was eager to try one. Unlike any other child restraint in the US, this seat has a protection shield instead of a 5-point harness. This type of restraint is new to the US, but is fairly common in Europe, where restraints similar to this one are seen more frequently. The Kiddy world plus made the IIHS “Best Bet” list for 2013 for belt positioning boosters, and has also won top choice awards. KWP BoxCSFTL Quick Stats

  • Protection Shield from 22-40lb, up to 43in tall, sitting unassisted
  • High Back Booster from 40-80lb and up to 57in tall
  • 10 year expiration range
  • Protection Shield unique to the US Market.
  • Push button lower anchor connectors
  • FAA approved (shield mode only)
  • A very lightweight 15lb
  • Comfortable 2-way seat cushion for smaller children
  • Easy to adjust headrest, with 23in top belt guide position

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Maxi Cosi RodiFix

Maxi Cosi RodiFix Review

Some people win things. They enter a contest, they win, then they share their winnings on social media and then I look on with a tinge of jealousy. I’m not that person. Most of the time, I enter a contest and other than the satisfaction of thinking for a moment that the item in question would be awesome, that’s all that happens. So when I heard that I’d won a Maxi-Cosi Rodifix booster, I needed help picking my jaw up off the floor. Finally! A booster that might work in my car’s third row. I requested a pink one, then waited for it to arrive from the manufacturer.

 

 

The RodiFix has arrived!

The RodiFix has arrived!

And waited. And waited. While I was waiting, I kept visiting the Maxi-Cosi website to learn more about this booster and watch the installation video a few times.  With the high (21″) shoulder height limits, ISO-FIX connectors to hold it in place, the low-profile open lap belt  guide, and (my favorite feature) the Easy Glide shoulder belt guides, I hoped that the seat would work well for my daughter.

 

 

 

CSFTL Quick Specs

  • Weight range: 30-120 lbs.
  • Height: 34-57”.
  • Age: Over three years old  – CSFTL advocates that a child be at least 5 years old before riding in a booster.
  • Seated shoulder height: 13″ – 21″
  • Lap belt guide: 12” wide
  • Seat weight: 14.5 lbs.
  • High back booster only — does not convert to backless
  • Recline feature
  • Expiration: 7 years

Rodi

 

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Advance Rear Facing 1

Safety 1st Advance SE 65 Air + Convertible Car Seat Review

The Safety 1st Advance SE 65 Air + convertible car seat is a recent addition to the Safety 1st roster of child restraints. We were excited to take it and its multiple recline positions, a no re-thread harness and generous weight and height allowances out for a spin!

Advance Collage

1939919_10152167391903924_1377077012267583042_n

  • Rear facing 5-40 lbs, 19-40″
  • Forward facing 22-65 lbs, 29-49″
  • 7.5″ bottom harness position
  • 17″ top harness position
  • 28″ tall shell
  • 8 year expiration
  • 3 crotch buckle positions
  • No re-thread harness
  • 4 recline positions
  • Integrated cup holder
  • Air Protect + GCell HX foam

 

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weelee1

Clek Weelee: the Ultimate Tech Bag

Child Passenger Safety Technicians are often faced with some difficult scenarios.  CPSTs can traverse the challenging territory of fitting three car seats across bench seat, selecting a seat for a tiny car with tall children, or the puzzle of a jam-packed minivan where only certain seats can be used in certain positions. In the end, with some elbow grease and quite a bit of manual consulting, the CPST emerges victorious, congratulating himself on a job well done.

One of our more daunting tasks is figuring out how to carry around all the STUFF that comes with the job. A couple weeks ago, we shared some baseline suggestions for what tools to keep in your CPST Kit. All that stuff can take up quite a bit of real estate in your truck, and isn’t very useful if it’s been buried hither and yon beneath soccer cleats, extra snacks, a first aid kit, and goodness knows what else.

Enter the Clek Weelee.  

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Triumph featured image

Evenflo Triumph Convertible Car Seat Mini Review

The Evenflo Triumph is not a newcomer to the convertible car seat world; it’s gone through several upgrades over the years and is loved by many for it’s ease of use features.

Triumph featured imageCSFTL Quick Stats:

  • Rear facing 5-40 lbs, 19-37″, or head 1″ below the top of the shell
  • Forward facing 22-65 lbs, 28-50″
  • 8″ bottom harness position
  • 17″ top harness position
  • 23″ tall shell
  • 6 year expiration
  • 2 crotch buckle positions
  • Recline for forward facing mode
  • Infinite Slide harness height adjustment
  • TensionRight knobs to adjust harness tension
  • Integrated cupholders

 

 

Triumph rf installRear Facing

Installing the Triumph rear facing is quite simple; use the recline lever on the front of the seat to adjust it to the rear facing recline position and then the belt path is easy to access and route the seat belt or lower anchor strap through. The lower anchor connectors are standard, clip style connectors.

When it comes time to buckle the child, the Triumph has a few unique features: the Infinite Slide Harness and Tension Right Adjusters.

 

Triumph harness adjustersThe Infinite Slide harness allows the caregiver to adjust the height of the harness straps without rethreading. Simply grasp the red tabs and pull the straps up or down to raise and lower them. Straps should be positioned at or just below the shoulders for rear facing; at or just above the shoulders for forward facing.

Triumph adjuster knob

 

The Tension Right Adjusters are knobs on the side of the seat to loosen and tighten the harness straps, rather than a traditional pull strap. To tighten, just turn the knob, and to loosen, press the red tab and pull slack from the hip area.

The Triumph can be used rear facing from 5-40 lbs, 19-37″ and the child’s head must be at least 1″ below the top of the shell, which measures 23″ tall.

Child Fit

Overall the child fit is good for most children.  The biggest issue is the length and placement of the crotch buckle.  Due to the geometry of it, it tends to sit high on skinny and small kids, as well as digging into their belly a bit.  Using a rolled washcloth behind the buckle can help with the excess room a bit.  As for it pushing into their belly, make sure to tighten at the shoulders first, then tighten the hip straps.  Other than that, the harness height is good and the head support and infant pad helps with side movement.
Triumph Fiona CollageFiona – Newborn Huggable Images Doll, 7 lbs, 17″
The Triumph is a great fit for our newborn model.  She does have the issue mentioned earlier about the large space behind the crotch buckle, but that can be solved by a rolled washcloth behind the buckle.

Triumph Anders CollageAnders – 7 weeks, 11 lbs 10 oz, 23″
The Triumph also fits little Anders well.  As before, he has the crotch buckle strap issue, but it sits much better on his chubby little tummy.  He does have quite a bit of slouching, so in his case, I would add rolled receiving blankets to either side of his body to help keep him more upright.

Triumph Lucas

 

Lucas – 16 month Huggable Images Doll, 20 lbs, 31″
The Triumph was a good fit for our toddler.  The bottom insert was removed for more comfort.  He had plenty of growing room for both his legs and above his head.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Forward Facing

Triumph Forward facingInstalling the Triumph forward facing is equally easy: the seat can be in the most upright position, or the upright reclined position, which allows for some additional comfort for the child that prefers to sit slightly reclined. There are slits in the sides of the cover that allow for easy access to the belt path for tightening the lower anchor strap or seat belt.

Forward facing, the Triumph can be used from 22-65 lbs, 28-50″, and the child’s ears must be below the top of the shell and shoulders cannot exceed the top harness position.

Triumph SophieSophie – 3 yr old Huggable Images Doll, 30 lbs, 38″
Due to Sophie’s height, she could not ride reaer facing.  As stated earlier, we would prefer to see kids rear face to age 4, but this shows the Triumph’s biggest drawback.  As you can see, she would still have quite a bit of space above her head, but has met that pesky 37″ height limit.  We also removed the head support to give her a bit more room.

Triumph ChoeChloe – 6 yr old Huggable Images Doll, 46 lbs, 48″
Chloe is right at the limits of the Triumph.  Her shoulders are right at the top harness position, Her ears are just below the top of the shell, and she’s 2″ below the Height limit.  Overall she had a good fit though with adequate leg support and plenty of harness length.

 

Overall Thoughts

The Triumph is easy to install and the Infinite Slide harness is a real plus for quickly growing children or for a caregiver that may be using the seat with different sized children. The straps do not have any type of harness cover, however, and the straps can irritate the child’s neck. Evenflo does not have any type of approved cover that can be used with the straps.

The Tension Right Adjuster is an innovative alternative to a pull strap to tighten the harness, and may be easier for caregivers who have trouble grasping a small strap. In certain vehicles with deep bolsters on the vehicle seats, particularly captain’s chairs, the Tension Right knob can be pushed right up against the vehicle seat and difficult to turn, however. The knobs also add some width to the Triumph, so it may not be an ideal choice for a 3-across scenario.

ev-409_1zThe biggest con to the Triumph is the 37″ rear facing height limit. That’s about 50th percentile for a 3 year old, and the ideal is for kids to ride rear facing until 3-4 years old. Many children, especially tall ones, will outgrow this seat before reaching best practice age recommendations for forward facing. For smaller children, that will not be a problem.

Like any seat, the Triumph has its advantages and disadvantages – if you have a smaller child, have a difficult time pulling a traditional tension strap, or like the ease of switching harness heights, it might be the right seat for your Little! You can find the Triumph on Amazon.com.

Neither Evenflo nor Amazon sponsored this review. Opinions, as always, are all our own!

 

 

 

The world's cutest LATCH release strap

Dress It Up — Clek Jackets Bring New Life To The Olli

All the Heart Shades seats!

All the Heart Shades seats!

Our Clek Olli has been a big hit with our family. My daughter likes how comfortable it is and we like how portable it is. More than one last-minute ride with friends has been made possible by the Olli. The Heart Shades print we have is also very fashionable. But, sadly, my daughter wasn’t as enthralled with the Heart Shades Clek jacket that her Olli was wearing as I am. It coordinated very nicely with her sister’s Foonf. This pleased me, but apparently, Valerie didn’t want her seat to match her younger sister’s seat. So when we got the chance to dress up her Olli in different clothes, aka a Clek jacket, I said YES! I always like having backup covers for our most commonly-used seats. Because you never know when snacks will attack and you’ll need a quick washing.

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Mesa featured image

UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Seat Review & Giveaway

UPPAbaby is a new name in the car seat world, but  isn’t new to the baby market.  Their higher-end strollers have been around for some time.  Due to their prestige in the stroller department, I was extremely excited to try out their newest addition of a rear-facing only seat.

CSFTL Quick Stats:

Mesa Uppababy infant seat, lock off, European routing, baseless install, huggable images

  • 4-35 lbs, up to 32″ OR 1″ from the top of the head to the top of the head support
  • Lowest Harness position: 4.5″
  • Highest Harness position: 10″
  • Head support height: 18″
  • 7 year expiration
  • 2 crotch buckle positions measuring 2.5″ and 4.5″
  • Car seat weight (baseless) – 11 lbs
  • Infant insert for small babies (4-8lbs)
  • SMARTSecure System which includes Auto-retracting LATCH and a tightness indicator
  • Adjustable head support with no rethread harness
  • European belt routing
  • Buckle storage pockets
  • Vehicle belt lock-off on base
  • Hideaway canopy with SPF 50

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