When choosing a car seat for your child, what’s the most important consideration? Safety is the most obvious, right? How about longevity? Ease of use? I’ve taken these factors and more into consideration while looking at the Graco SmartSeat All-in-One Toddler Car Seat.
So what’s it all about?
Graco is one of the most well-known brands in this market and they’ve come up with something quite unique with the SmartSeat. Like a number of children’s car seats out there, it’s convertible design allows it to be used pretty much from birth right through until your child weighs 100 pounds. The difference between this seat and the others is the steel-reinforced Smart Base. This part of the seat is installed using the car seat belts or the LATCH system and is intended to stay in place the whole time you use the seat in the rear and forward-facing positions (without the booster).
Is it easy to install and use?
The Smart Base is installed with the help of an easy-to-read level indicator. Once it’s fitted, the seat-to-base locking indicators will help you to fit the seat to the base. The rear-facing position is designed for the youngest of infants, weighing between 5 and 40 pounds. At 20 pounds you can turn the seat around to the forward-facing position, which can be used until your toddler weighs 65 pounds. Once your toddler has reached 30 pounds, you can remove the Smart Base completely and use the high-back booster seat.
The SmartSeat has 5 different reclining positions and the headrest can be adjusted 6 different ways to suit your child.
The Graco SmartSeat is indeed easy to use, once it has been installed. It’s simple to adjust the length of the harness and to adjust the headrest. The arm rests can be flipped up to give your child more room and there is a cup holder to avoid any liquid accidents on the journey. The Smart Base provides a great level of safety, having undergone Gracos’ own side-impact testing and meeting European Safety Requirements.
The main complaints I have about the SmartSeat are to do with its bulkiness and weight. Just take a look at the measurements – 42 pounds with an area of 21 x 32 x 18 inches means that it’s a lot bigger and heavier than most child car seats. And this has been an issue for a number of customers who have complained that they have struggled to install the chair, the child can’t sit comfortably in the seat due to a lack of room, the driver or side passenger can’t sit comfortably due to the size of the seat, or simply that the seat was too big to install! You get the picture – you’ll have to consider the size of your vehicle before purchasing this product.
For safety and general features, I rate the SmartSeat quite highly. As mentioned, if you can get the seat installed and everyone still has room to move, this product should work for you. The SmartSeat is one of a number of child safety seats that has been shortlisted in a search for the best toddler car seat in 2016. Hopefully this review will have given you a good idea of what this product is all about. I look forward to getting your feedback!