Every mom wants to make sure their little one is safe without breaking the bank. Choosing a car seat can seem overwhelming. There are so many choices. How do you know which one is the best seat for your child?
When my little one was 5 months old I was quickly getting tired of her infant seat, she wanted to sit up more, and I was not hauling her around in it anymore since the seat/baby combo was getting mighty heavy. I knew the time was approaching to switch her to a convertible car seat but was not looking forward to shelling out the cash for another seat. I needed a safe & affordable car seat that would last us for a long time. The Graco Extend2Fit was the best choice for us and it may be for you as well!
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through one of my links I will receive a small commission. This post is not sponsored in any way by Graco, I’m just a fan of their seats.
Top choice: Graco Extend2Fit
One safe & affordable option is the Graco Extend2Fit This is a great seat as it’s convertible and will fit your child up to when they are ready to transition to a booster seat. It also doesn’t take up a lot of space due to its small blueprint, which is perfect for those of us with smaller cars. This seat also comes recommended by car seat aficionados. You can read their review of the Extend2Fit.
My daughter is now 14 months old and we still love our Graco Extend2Fit. We love it so much that two other family members have purchased the same seat. It’s so convenient for us all to have the same seat so we all know how to work it and it’s affordable for the grandparents to purchase. It’s easy for me to coach them on strapping her in properly as I know exactly how the seat works! We’ve installed these seats in 3 different types of cars with no issues. If you ever misplace your Graco Extend2Fit manual you can grab one online.
Here’s a good video from the Virginia DMV on how to properly install a rear-facing car seat.
My daughter is happy riding in this seat and it’s easy to adjust as she’s grown. I’m in several online mom groups and this is one of the most popular and most recommended seats by moms! Find other favorite baby items on my essential baby items list.
Tip: When removing your child undo the bottom buckle, then press the release button and pull out of the chest clip to loosen the straps before unhooking the chest clip. This makes it easier to get your child into the seat next time and keeps the straps the same length.
The alternative: Graco 4Ever
Now let’s look at the Graco Extend2Fit vs Grace4Ever. The Graco 4Ever is another great choice for a car seat. This seat is a 4-in-1, it’s good for infants and up through older children that just need a booster seat, however, it’s likely the seat will expire before your child gets to stage 4 if you use from birth onwards. You could simply buy a backless booster seat once your child is ready for it, but it’s an option if you want a truly long lasting seat.
This seat also comes recommended by Car Seats for the Littles. You can read the review for the Graco 4Ever on their site. They also have many other highly recommended seats if you want to check out the best one for your specific situation or type of car.
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How to properly secure your child in a car seat
To ensure your child is properly strapped into whatever seat you choose, you need to follow these rules:
- For a rear-facing seat, the straps should be coming from at or slightly below the child’s shoulders
- the chest clip should be level with the child’s armpits
- the straps should be snug. You should not be able to pinch the straps or get more than one finger comfortably under the straps.
- Be sure to always check the manual for specifics as to recline levels and space between your child’s head and the top of the seat.
- Ideally, your child should remain rear-facing until at least 2 years old (many states now have laws requiring this). Ideally, your child should remain rear-facing until they exceed the weight limit for rear-facing. This is the safest way for your child to ride.
Here’s a video showing the basic guidelines for securing your child properly into their car seat.
If you need more information about safely installing your car seat please check out the Car Seats for the Littles page or Facebook group or find a certified car seat tech near you to inspect your install. Having a properly installed seat and rear facing as long as possible can be the difference between life and death in a car accident. Also be sure to check the expiration dates on your seat and replace the seat after any accident.