Chicco Fit2 Review

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!

Chicco Fit2 Stage 1 vehicle seat belt install

Chicco Fit2 Stage 1 vehicle seat belt install

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

Features

  • 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

Measurements

  • 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.

Installation

With the Base: Lower Anchors

Chicco Fit2 Stage 1 lower anchor install

Chicco Fit2 Stage 1 lower anchor install

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

Chicco Fit2 Stage 1 vehicle seat belt install

Chicco Fit2 Stage 1 vehicle seat belt install

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.

Chicco Fit2 Lockoff

Chicco Fit2 Lockoff

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

Chicco Fit2 baseless install

Chicco Fit2 baseless install

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.
Chicco Fit2 baseless install Euro routing

Chicco Fit2 baseless install 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

Chicco Fit2 recline adjuster

Chicco Fit2 recline adjuster

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.

Chicco Fit2 recline adjuster is hidden in Stage 2

Chicco Fit2 recline adjuster is hidden in Stage 2

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.

Cover

The cover is quite plush and smooth. The same plush fabric is used on the harness strap covers.

Fit to Child

Preemie Doll

Chicco Fit2 preemie

Chicco Fit2: Preemie doll

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.

Chicco Fit2: preemie without infant insert

Chicco Fit2: preemie without infant insert

Without the insert, the  harness straps were way above the preemie’s shoulders.  That’s about what we expected.

Harness Adjustment

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.

Newborn

Chicco Fit2 newborn

Chicco Fit2 newborn

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.

Huggable Images newborn doll

Huggable Images newborn doll

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.

Chicco Fit2: Newborn without insert

Chicco Fit2: Newborn without insert

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

Chicco Fit2: 4 weeks old

Chicco Fit2: 4 weeks old

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

Chicco Fit2: 3 months old

Chicco Fit2: 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.

 

4 Months Old/Three Across

Chicco Fit2 4 months old

Chicco Fit2 4 months old

This little guy is 4 months old.  He weighs 14 pounds and is 25 inches long. He’s been using the Fit2 interchangeably with his big sister, who is our next model!  His mom reports that setting the seat up to switch between them takes all of about 10 seconds to flip the base into Stage 1 for him and adjust the harness.  That’s as seamless as you can get!

Chicco Fit2, part of 3 car seats across

Chicco Fit2, part of 3 car seats across

His family uses the Fit2 in a 3 car seats across situation.  It works well with their Graco Tranzitions in the middle and a gb Asana on the other side.

2 Years Old and Potty Training

Chicco Fit2: 2 years old and potty training!

Chicco Fit2: 2 years old and potty training!

This model is 2 years old, weighs 23 pounds and is just shy of 35 inches tall.  She’s also in the throes of potty training so she presented some unique challenges for the Fit2. There are lovely little nooks and crannies that can collect liquids. Unfortunately removing the cover to clean it requires the seat be turned upside down and the effects of gravity were exactly as we imagined they would be!   So we wouldn’t suggest the Fit2 for those rare kiddos who are potty training at this age.

In other news, the Fit2 is surprisingly compact when it’s installed upright.  Taller drivers could drive when it was installed behind them.  It’s quite comfortable, this model slept easily when riding in it. It is a bit heavy to carry into the house with a sleeping 2 year old strapped in.

2 Years Old

Chicco Fit2: 2 years old

Chicco Fit2: 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.

Chicco Fit2: 2 years old

Chicco Fit2: 2 years old

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!

When we used this seat for a family with a 2 year old and a newborn, it had some unexpected advantages.  Because it switches from toddler to newborn mode so easily, we were able to adjust the seat for the older  kiddo when someone parked too close.  It took about 10 seconds to set the Fit2 up for the toddler!

Chest Clip

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

Chicco Fit2 FAA Approval label

Chicco Fit2 FAA Approval label

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.

Chicco Fit2 date of manufacture label

Chicco Fit2 date of manufacture label

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.

Chicco Fit2 manual storage

Chicco Fit2 manual storage

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!

Lower anchor storage: The Fit2’s premium lower anchors store in a tidy little compartment on the front of the base.

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

Overall Thoughts

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!
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