Safe, Affordable and Practical – The Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat Review
When it comes to purchasing car seats, safety and comfort of the child are the two main factors that parents mainly look for. Offering a 50 pound rear-facing weight limit, excellent height limits and great legroom, Graco’s Extend2Fit convertible car seat is truly a winner. The release of new car seats by Graco almost always remains a secret. People, even the technicians in the stores come to know of it when they see the product on the store shelves. However, the release of the Extend2Fit had been announced earlier and people had been waiting for its arrival for many months. In addition to the above mentioned features, the car seat is easy to install and use, compact in size and best of all its falls under the $200 mark. Amazing, isn’t it? Let’s checkout the details of this wonderful car seat:
- Rear facing weight range: 4-50 pounds
- Rear facing height range: 1″ below the adjuster handle when fully extended (not to exceed 49″)
- Forward facing weight range: 22-65 pounds
- Forward facing height range: under 49″
- Seated Height: 27″
- Lowest harness position: 7″ with insert
- Highest harness position: 18″
- Lower anchor weight limit: 45 pounds
- Expiration: 10 years
- Weight: 18.5 pounds
- Width at cupholders: 20″
- Shell height: 30″ tall with headrest fully extended, to the top of the adjustment handle
- Infant pad and head pad for added comfort
- Six recline positions
- Premium push-on latch connectors
- Ten position headrest
- Two position crotch buckle – 4.5″ and 6.5″ from the back of the seat
- No re-thread harness
- Four position foot extender
- Two cup holders
- Buckle pockets, where the crotch buckle tongues can be stored when the seat is not in use.
The Extend2Fit offers 6 recline positions. For the rear facing mode, you can use recline positions 1-4. For the forward facing mode, use position 4 for children who weigh less than 40 lbs and positions 5 or 6 for children who weigh over 40 lbs.
Installing the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
Rear Facing Installation
A lower anchor rear facing installation with the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat is quite easy. With 6 recline positions available, it is easy to set up the seat at a newborn recline as well as for an older child without having to use a pool noodle or a rolled towel. Unlike other convertibles, the belt path for installing the seat is quite smaller and so you might find it a bit difficult to thread the seat belt. Apart from that, the installation part is very easy. For my vehicle, the belt path was high enough and with the extender out I could easily get a grip on the seat belt by the buckle and get the slack out.
If your car has shoulder and lap belt that do not lock before a crash, you will have to purchase a locking clip from Graco. The brand does not send a locking clip automatically with their seats anymore because most cars with such belts that do not lock are found very less on the road these days. The range for this car seat from a newborn baby to older child is pretty vast. For a newborn recline position, there is enough space that even an adult would have been able to fit in front of it. The same is the case with the extender completely out and the seat is adjusted upright for an older child.
Forward Facing Installation
Front facing installation is actually easier than rear facing. The lower anchors has a 45 pound weight limit and many parents prefer not to forward face the seat. But in some cases kids who are old enough to forward face before they reach 45 lbs, can make use of the lower anchors. In order to switch the anchors, you need to pull the cover aside and slide the lower anchor strap to the forward facing belt path. Working around the harness can be a bit difficult and I think its easier to use the lower anchors rear facing. Moreover, it’s easier to get your hands under the cover to feed the seat belt through the open belt path if you move the headrest up to its highest position.
Fit to Child
For a tiny newborn – Even with the insert, the Graco Extend2Fit will not fit a very small child. So for small newborn, you will need to use a different seat until the Extend2Fit fits. Most smaller newborn babies will have a difficult time fitting into the seat.
For a newborn, 7 lbs, 17 inches tall – A newborn with this weight and height will fit very well in this seat. With the straps nicely below the shoulders, you can tighten the harness easily. Even without the insert, the baby will fit nicely in the seat. However, it would be better to use the insert for newborns as they will often droop a little during the drive and his shoulders may end up below the harness height.
For a three year old – A three year old child will fit quite comfortably in the rear facing position with large leg room with the extender out fully.
For a six year old, 48″, 45 lbs – A six year old child with a weight of 45 lbs and 48″, when placed in both the front-facing and rear-facing positions was found to still have room to grow. This is one of the benefits of this car seat, which makes it superior to many of the other 50 pound rear facing seats on the market. The longevity of the seat in the rear facing position is simply amazing, especially for families that don’t have top tethers in their vehicles, or for children having medical problems, where rear facing becomes beneficial even if they are over 4 years old. However, in the forward-facing mode, although the child may have some room to grow, there won’t be a whole lot space as you get in the rear-facing mode. But stills the kids will find it comfortable to sit forward-facing.
Features of the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
While there numerous different types of car seats in the market, the Extend2Fit clearly is a winner as far as its ability to tailor to almost any child. The chest clip, harness and the buckle strap are all Graco’s standard issue hardware. The headrest can be easily adjusted through all ten positions. The thick inserts that came with the seat are easy to use. Placed at the head and under the buttocks, they provide great support to a child. When in the forward facing mode, the insert under the buttock must be removed, but the insert behind the head can remain as long as the seat is used, no matter the mode. This feature becomes very beneficial for a child who wants more head support, or a forward facing child with low tone.
The strap covers of the seat have grip on the insides, possibly to prevent them from sliding down the harness. While they can be used rear facing they must be removed forward facing. There are two buckle strap positions, both of which can be used rear facing. But in the forward facing mode, you must use the outer strap position. An easier way to change the buckle position to recline the seat first and then pull out the extender completely for accessing the buckle strap.
As mentioned earlier, the Extend2Fit offers six reclined positions. 1-4 can be used for rear facing and 4-6 can be used for forward facing. For a child under 3 months of age, an angle in the light blue range is required and for a child above three months, any of the blue range can be used plus any rear facing recline is permitted. When in the forward facing mode, the seat must be in recline position four for weight range 22-40 lbs , and you must use recline positions five or six for a child over 40 lbs.
According to the manual, the extender panel must be placed in position 2-4 for a child over 40 lbs. However, if space is of an issue, and you are not comfortable ignoring the manual, you may consider using extender position two, which is hardly extended. The seat comes with two cup holders, which click in easily, provided they are placed in the right direction. It’s not that hard to assemble the cup holders because they won’t fit any oother way. Just like most of Graco’s new seats, the Extend2Fit seat also features the Fuss Free pockets for storing the buckles when the seat is not in use.
Where to Find
FAA Approval – The Extend2Fit car seat is aircraft approved both rear and forward facing The aircraft approval statement can be found on the back of the seat on the left raised rib. It should fit easily with the armrests up at about 20 inches wide. The seat should fit in almost any aircraft seat in the rear facing mode without the extender out. Likewise, in the forward facing mode also, it should fit fairly easily.
Manual – You can find the manual inside the manual storage pocket located at the lower back of the seat. Since it is clearly marked, you won’t have difficulty finding it.
Expiration -According to the manual, the seat is usable for up to 10 years from the date on the sticker. You can also find a stamp on the back, within sight of the sticker. For under $200, this is a long lasting rear facing and forward facing seat, which multiple children can benefit from.
Manufacturer information – Just opposite the aircraft approval statement, on the back on the inside of the right rib, is the sticker that contains the model number, and date of manufacture of the product.
- Six position recline
- Three position extension panel the offers extra leg room of 5″
- Compact seat when the extension panel is not used
- Steel reinforced frame
- Replaceable harness
- Machine washable cover
- Easy install in both forward -facing and rear-facing positions
- Really bulky front to back when the extension panel is in use
- You need to attach the cup holders
Watch Video Review of Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
The Extend2Fit is one of Graco’s amazing line of products. For just under $200, your child gets to experience the safety and comfort of a very compact, tall, easy to install, 50 pound rear facing seat. For such a reasonable price, this astonishing seat also offers other features such as dual cup holders, easy to adjust harness, the Fuss Free pockets, and the extender. Overall, the Graco Extend2Fit is a good quality seat that allows parents to keep their child rear-facing in the car as much as possible without spending too much money.
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