Can you believe these were the kind of car seats that I grew up in? (That’s me.)
Looks really safe huh?
Talk about a far cry from the 1970s, this past summer I wrote a post about the new car seat guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you are having your first child, this is new to you, but if you are having your second child, this is new to you too as it is different than the rules you may have experienced for your first child. Needless to say, it also requires some training of grandma and grandpa who only had to deal with the type of car seat pictured above!
The new recommendation is for parents to keep children rear-facing until 2 years old (no longer till one), or until they reach the maximum height and weight for the seat as noted in the manual. (Most rear-facing infant car seats go to about 30 pounds and 30 inches.) However, kids often reach the height limit before the weight limit. So what ends up happening is that their legs have no place to go as they hit the back of the seat in the car, and they outgrow the height of the car seat harness. At that point, you would normally switch to a convertible seat and install it rear facing. Then you get the shoulder room you need and supposedly the leg room too. When they reach the age of two, you can then turn the convertible car seat to the forward facing position…..until you need to buy a booster seat.
So what does all of this mean?
A lot of car seats to buy. And a lot of car seat installations.
Yet, if you are starting your registry or you are replacing an old infant car seat from a prior child’s use, consider the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 Infant Car Seat, designed to address these new car seat recommendations. As of the time of this post, it is the only infant car seat that provides rear-facing protection for preemies to toddlers (4 pounds to 40 pounds). The base (the piece under the infant car seat) adjusts with eight recline positions for most leg room of any rear-facing car seat for baby comfort.
See this Graco video showing how it works:
I held an event with other bloggers where we chatted about the Graco Snugride Click Connect 40, babies, the new rules, babies, and more. There were newly pregnant bloggers, bloggers ready to pop, a blogger with a 10 week old, a four month old (that’s me), a nine month old, and many of us with two kids and some with just one or none.
In our chats, we shared frustrations over simple things like the car seat harness. So learning of the “Simply Safe Adjust Harness” system, in this Graco version, was a welcome relief as it allows us to adjust the harness and headrest without turning ourselves in pretzels. No need to rethread the buckle straps as your child grows, and adjustments can be done with one hand. (Seriously rocks.) So we were all treated to manis because “Hooray!” no more ruined finger nails or manicures. (It’s the simple things.)
The other feature is that you can still use the car seat in strollers; one of my favorite things about infant car seats. So, if your one year old is sleeping, just lift the infant car seat out and into one of the compatible Graco strollers or adapters. I wouldn’t suggest carrying around the infant car seat as you would if your four month old is in it, because the older the child, the heavier the car seat will be. Plus, the car seat itself is heavy. The weight of the Graco Snugride Click Connect 40 is about 24 pounds – a good 6 pounds heavier than, say, the Graco Snugride 30. So that could be an issue for some petite people, but in reality, you are only lifting it out of the car and putting it into the stroller next to the car. Plus, it is great to lift and click into a stroller without disturbing your child for much longer than a traditional infant car seat.
Right now, the Graco Snugride Click Connect 40 comes in a girl print and a gender neutral design and retails for around $220. Considering you get around two years out of the product and basic infant car seats run you around $150, you are only talking about $70 more for 12 months additional use (that is about $6 more a month). Plus, the price point for an extra base is the same as the bases for existing Graco infant car seats. (Having a second base in each car enables you to use the infant car seat in both cars without the need to buy two car seats.)
Spoiler alert: You do need to buy compatible Graco Click Connect products that work with this new click connect system. For example, if you are buying this car seat for a second baby, and want to use your old Graco stroller from a previous sibling, it wouldn’t work. So that can be kinda a bummer. You also need to be conscious of the measurements in the fully extended position of the car seat to see if it fits in your car. Car Seat installers state that the back of the car seat must not be touching the back of the driver’s seat or the passenger’s seat. In other words, you would need to make sure you have at least an inch gap between the two objects. Thus, it is possible that the Graco Snugride Click Connect 40 may not fit behind a driver’s seat or passenger seat based on some reviews I have seen online. However, this applies to a lot of car seats – whether front to back, infant or rear-facing convertible, or even side-to-side considerations if you need to have many car seats next to each other in the back seat.
For those of you who like the technical stuff, the Graco Snugride Click Connect 40 dimensions are 28.3 x 19.6 x 15.4* compared to Graco Snugride 30 (27.2 x 17.5 x 16.9*). As you can see, the Graco Snugride Click Connect 40 is just 1 inch longer and 2 inches wider. Not massively bigger by any means. Compare the Click Connect 40 dimensions to a convertible car seat you would have to install rear racing. The popular Britax Boulevard 70’s dimensions are 29.6 x 19.4 x 18.3*. The rear-facing convertible seat is just one inch longer than the Click Connect 40. So the installation issues would be the same, whether it is a traditional convertible car seat installed rear facing or the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40, with regard to space. So it is not a new issue that many parents have to endure, but it is something of which to be aware. My suggestion is to place it in the center seat for more expansion space if you can. Plus, according to car seat installers, it is the safest place in the car to install the seat anyway.
All in all, this is a infant car seat contender from the leader in infant car seats – since 1942! (Hmmm, I wonder if that was a Graco car seat I was in in 1974?)
See what other Moms are saying about it too…
The Infertility Voice
City Baby Living
Keeping Up with the Giffords
Keeping Mommy Sane
The Tale of a Baby Riser
And don’t forget to make sure you have installed the car seat correctly! Contact your local police department or car seat inspection station to make sure it is secure!
I hosted an event where I showcased the product as part of the SITS Girls Network. I received a car seat for review and compensation for my time! All thoughts and opinions are my own.
* Dimensions were found on the BabiesRUs website. You should check the owner’s manual for accurate measurements and try before you buy to make sure any car seat will fit in your car safely.