Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit Review

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit

Graco already has an impressive lineup of long-lasting convertible car seats.  The 4Ever Extend2Fit is a combination of two other popular seats: the Extend2Fit and the 4Ever.The 4Ever Extend2Fit combines the 4Ever’s four modes of use: rear facing, forward facing, high back, and backless booster with the Extend2Fit’s 50 pound rear facing weight limit and extendable foot tray.

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • Rear facing weight range: 4-50 pounds
  • Rear facing height range: 1 inch below headrest adjuster button when the headrest is fully extended
  • Forward facing weight range: 22-65 pounds
  • Forward facing height range: Less than 49 inches tall
  • High back booster weight range: 40-100 pounds
  • High back booster height range: 43-57 inches
  • Backless booster weight range: 40-120 pounds
  • Backless booster height range: 43-57 inches tall
  • Lowest harness position: 6 inches with the insert
  • Highest harness position: 17.5 inches
  • Highest booster guide position: 18.5 inches
  • 10 position no-rethread harness
  • Extendable foot tray for rear facing mode only
  • Vehicle seat belt lockoff for forward facing mode only
  • Lower anchor weight limit: 35 pounds rear facing, 40 pounds forward facing
  • Expiration: 10 years from date of manufacture

Measurements

  • Width at widest point (at the cupholders): 19 inches
  • Crotch strap & pan depth with insert:  2.5 inches, 5.5 inches
  • Crotch strap & pan depth without insert: 5 inches, 7 inches
  • Seat pan depth: 14 inches not including extender panel
  • Seat pan width at hips: 13 inches
  • Shell height: 28 inches
  • Weight: 19 pounds

Features

Foot Extension Panel

4Ever Extend2Fit extension panel stowed and fully extended

A child’s feet touching the vehicle seat back is not a safety issue, but the thought of a child’s legs being confined makes some caregivers uneasy. Graco has produced several seats with extendable foot trays; the one on this seat is basically identical to the Extend2Fit convertible and Extend2Fit 3-in-1 seats. It adjusts outward with a simple handle.

Forward Facing Lockoff

4Ever Extend2Fit seat belt lockoff – for forward facing only!

The 4Ever Extend2Fit includes a seat belt lockoff that can be used for forward facing vehicle seat belt installations only. It’s the same type of lockoff we’ve seen on other Graco combination car seats. It’s fairly easy to use — just thread the vehicle seat belt through the lockoff, remove the slack from the belt with your non-dominant hand while applying counter pressure to the car seat, then close the lockoff.

Body Support

The body support is no longer required for all babies under 25 pounds

A generous body support cushion comes with the 4Ever Extend2Fit. Although the manual says otherwise, Graco has assured us that the body support pad can be removed for babies under 25 pounds, as long as the child’s shoulders reach the bottom harness slots without the cushion.

Harness Pads

The harness pads can be removed.

The harness pads are fairly large and may end up forcing the chest clip into a position that is just a bit too low for newborns and preemies.Graco has confirmed that the harness pads can be removed even though the manual says they’re required for kids who weigh less than 25 pounds. 

Cupholders: Assembly Required

The cupholders ship in a bag that’s attached to the harness. They’re labeled on the bottom with an L or R to indicate on which side that particular cup holder belongs. To attach the cupholders, line up the grooves and tabs on the cup holder and seat and press down very firmly. You should hear an audible click to confirm that they’re attached.

Installation: Rear Facing with Lower Anchors

Easy access to the lower anchor strap tail

Sometimes it can be difficult to fully tighten lower anchor connector straps in a rear facing installation. We often tackle a tricky installation from a different angle by removing part of the cover to access the belt path, then pull the lower anchor strap’s tail parallel to the lower anchor webbing to get a snug install.The 4Ever Extend2Fit has a hole in the seat cover that allows this kind of access without removing the cover.

Pro tip: When the panel is fully extended, test for movement at the spot where the lower anchor strap goes through the car seat’s shell and not by pulling on the panel itself.

Overhang

Graco 4EverExtend2Fit installed rear facing

Graco 4EverExtend2Fit installed rear facing

Because the 4Ever Extend2Fit has a sort of gigantically large footprint, Graco was kind enough to put a label on the base. This label indicates how much of the base needs to be on the vehicle seat in rear facing mode. We found that when the panel was even partially extended and the seat was on the more reclined settings, it was really challenging to make the 4Ever Extend2Fit fit on the vehicle seat, even in a van.

Installation: Rear Facing with Vehicle Seat Belt

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit installed rear facing with a lap only belt

The rear facing seatbelt installation presented some challenges. The lower anchors are stored right over the openings for the rear facing belt path. The manual confirms that this is correct.  Therefore it’s extremely difficult to thread the vehicle seat belt through the belt path. Once the seat belt is in the beltpath, the installation is straightforward; lock the vehicle seat belt and then tighten.

Fit to Child

Preemie

Graco 4EverExtend2Fit preemie doll

Graco 4EverExtend2Fit preemie doll

Our preemie Huggable Images doll weighs 4 pounds and is 19 inches long. He just fits at the lowest harness setting with the body insert, and the harness is at his shoulders. Removing the harness pads allowed the chest clip to be placed at the proper level.

Newborn Doll

Graco 4EverExtend2Fit newborn doll

Graco 4EverExtend2Fit newborn doll

The newborn Huggable Images doll weighs 7 pounds and is 19 inches long. She gets a great fit in the 4Ever Extend2Fit using both the harness pads and body insert.

Infant Fit and Crotch Buckle Concerns

Graco 4Ever Extend2fit Infant fit

Our 6 month old model weighs 17 pounds and is 27 inches tall. With the body pad in the seat, the crotch buckle is very snug against his thighs. Luckily, we can safely remove the pad to improve the fit. Our model is quite happy in the seat, but the crotch buckle being so short in the inner setting will become a problem soon.

Graco 4Ever Extend2fit crotch buckle

Since the manual requires that the crotch buckle must be wrapped around to the front slot in this setting, the buckle strap is really short. The next crotch buckle setting fits close to his knees, so the inner setting is still the best setting for him.

Adjusting the Crotch Buckle Position

Graco 4Ever Extend2fit crotch buckle positions

To change the crotch buckle positioning, unsnap the seat pad to reveal the buckle area. Push the metal rectangle down and through the far slot, then reach underneath and push it up and through the close slot. This is easiest if the seat is uninstalled and fully reclined.

3 Year Old

4Ever Extend2Fit – 3 years old, buckle in inner slot

Our toddler model is 3 years old. At 24 pounds and 36 inches tall, she’s on the light end of the growth curve.

4Ever Extend2Fit – 3 years old, buckle in outer slot

She can use the inner slot for the crotch buckle because she isn’t sitting on the strap or slot. However, because of the short buckle routing for the inner slot, her little thighs were pinched a few times during buckling. The inner setting makes the buckle strap very short, which can be pretty uncomfortable for many children.

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit offers lots of legroom for a rear facing 3 year old

The 4Ever Extend2Fit offered more legroom than her current seat even without the panel extended. When the extension panel was not being used, she was happy to put her feet up on the vehicle seat.

5 Years Old

Here we see a 5 year old kiddo who weighs 40 pounds and is 44 inches tall. She usually rides in a booster seat, but she was happy to try out rear facing for a ride or two. She had plenty of room to grow and she didn’t feel cramped or squished.

4Ever Extend2Fit – 5 years old rear facing

She is over the 35 pound lower anchor limit for rear facing, so we installed the seat with the vehicle seat belt for her.

Forward Facing Installation: Lower Anchors and Required Recline

 

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit’s two forward facing reclines

The 4Ever Extend2Fit has two reclines for forward facing. Recline 5 is required for children who weigh less than 40 pounds. This can present an issue in some vehicles, especially ones with fixed head restraints. Children who weigh over 40 pounds must use recline 6 when forward facing. The seat includes a helpful sticker that indicates the acceptable overhang forward facing.

Installation: Forward Facing with Lower Anchors

The lower anchor weight limit in forward facing mode is 40 pounds. Moving the lower anchors from rear facing to forward facing mode takes a little effort, but is fairly straightforward process.

Moving the lower anchor connectors inside a Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit

Lift the padding and cover and expose the inside of the seat pan. Then pull both sides of the lower connectors inside the belt path and slide the connecting strap up the metal bar on the car seat’s right side. Place the lower anchors through the forward facing belt path, and that’s it!The lower anchors won’t get lost or disconnected because the metal bar keeps them attached to the seat. The lower anchor strap goes over the closed lockoff.

4Ever Extend2Fit top tether

The last step is to install the top tether!

Fit to Child

Forward Facing

3 Years Old

4Ever Extend2Fit – 3 years old forward facing

This model is newly 3 years old. She’s 24 pounds and 36 inches tall. She usually rides rear facing and enjoyed the novelty of looking forward as we drove. The 4Ever Extend2Fit must be installed on recline 5 for children who weigh less than 40 pounds.

5 Years Old

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit 5 years old forward facing

Once again we see our 5 year old model. She still weighs 40 pounds and remains 44 inches tall. She reports that the seat feels cushioned, soft, and roomy. She liked that she sat up a little higher in this seat compared to her regular seat.

7 Years Old

4Ever Extend2Fit – 7 years old forward facing

This model is 7.5 years old, weighs 45 pounds, and 46 inches tall. She required the highest harness setting, so she doesn’t have a lot of room to grow in harnessed mode. We’re not terribly surprised since she’s 7 years old!

Booster Mode Setup

Harness Storage

4Ever Extend2Fit handy harness storage

The 4Ever Extend2Fit has a fabulous harness storage compartment for booster mode. The crotch buckle and harness go into a compartment in the back of the seat, meaning that the harness doesn’t have to be removed or undone at all for high back booster mode.

Fit to Child

Booster Mode

5 Years Old

4Ever Extend2Fit – 5 year old booster mode

At 5 years, 40 pounds, and 44 inches, this model is just barely old enough to use a booster properly all of the time. The 4Ever Extend2Fit fits her well in high back booster mode. According to the manual, the belt guides should be even with or just above her shoulders.

7 Years Old

4Ever Extend2Fit – 7 years old booster mode

This kiddo is 7.5 years old, weighs 45 pounds and is 46 inches tall. She gets a great belt fit in booster mode as well. The 4Ever Extend2Fit positions the child’s knees higher up than the child’s bum, and this kiddo wasn’t sure if she liked that.

Backless Booster Mode Setup

Remove the back to transform 4Ever Extend2Fit into a backless booster

Moving the pins inside the Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit for backless mode

To switch the 4Ever Extend2Fit from high back to backless booster mode, lift the red tabs on the seat pan and slide them towards the middle of the seat. They are attached to pins that hold the frame of the back of the seat into the base. When the pins are moved out of the frame, lift off the back of the seat.

The Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit’s shoulder belt adjuster strap

When converting to backless mode, the entire back of the seat must be removed. There’s a handy spot at the back of the seat to store the metal splitter plate from the harness.

7 Years Old

4Ever Extend2Fit – 7 year old backless booster mode

Our model is 7.5 years old, 45 pounds and 46 inches tall. Because this no back booster is naturally reclined, I worry that she might slouch forward to make her legs more comfortable, affecting her belt fit.  This picture might look incorrect, but it is not; the child’s knees are indeed that high on this backless booster.

9 Years Old

4Ever Extend2Fit – 9 years old backless booster mode

This model is 9.5 years old, weighs 57 pounds, and is 55 inches tall. In backless mode, the 4Ever Extend2Fit offered a good seat belt fit, but he did not like the way the seat tilted him backwards. He said his legs felt too close to the vehicle seat in front of him, and he felt they dangled too much. He’s not ready to go without using a booster, which is not uncommon since most kids need a booster until around 10-12, when they can pass the 5 Step Test.Since the 4Ever Extend2Fit gives such a generous boost in backless booster mode, taller kids like our 9 year old model may end up being taller than the vehicle seat back.

Side Overhang

When this car seat is installed on the plus one or jump seat of a minivan, Graco has confirmed up to 20% of the base can overhang the edge of the vehicle seat while in harness mode. In booster mode the entire base must be in contact with the vehicle seat.

Important Infomation: Where to Find

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit date of manufacture label

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit date of manufacture label is also available on the box

Date of Manufacture: The date of manufacture is listed on the left hand side of the seat’s base. A copy of the same sticker is also on the outside of the box.

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit manual storage

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit manual storage

Manual Storage: The manual is stored in a slot on the back of the seat under the recline handle.

4Ever Extend2Fit expiration notice

Expiration Date: The expiration date is also stamped onto the bottom of the base.

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit FAA approval

FAA Approval: The 4Ever Extend2Fit is FAA approved for use on aircraft in harness mode only. The FAA approval label is found on the bottom of the seat.

Overall Thoughts

Graco’s current lineup of car seats is impressive and includes long lasting and versatile options. However, this particular seat seems to miss the mark. Here’s why:

  • It is not compact front to back. This forces a choice between added legroom or a usable front vehicle seat in many situations.
  • The crotch buckle’s required routing is too short on the inner setting to fit comfortably.
  • The infant pad and strap covers are no longer required; however, the manual needs to be updated with this change so caregivers may find the rules around these items confusing.
  • Finally, the backless booster tends to sit at an awkward angle.

Families who are interested in a similar seat may be better served by the Graco Extend2fit or the Graco 4Ever All-in-One instead.