Before my twin girls were born, I spent hours researching car seat brands in hopes of finding the perfect fit for us. I remember feeling so overwhelmed with all of the choices. There are plenty of great ones out there, but they vary so much in price that it’s hard to decide which one to go with.
I ultimately chose the Graco SnugRide because it received such great reviews and it was affordable. When you are buying two of everything, you have to be conscientious of the price!
Now that my girls are four, they are old enough to sit in a forward-facing car seat. We have been looking for convertible booster seats that will last until they won’t need car seats anymore. Since Graco is a brand that we know and trust, we were super excited to be given the opportunity to review the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 with Safety Surround Protection!
There are plenty of reasons why we were excited to review Graco’s Nautilus 3-in-1 with Safety Surround. The top-rated car seat has side impact protection that offers the best head protection available and it is designed to grow with your child, which means we won’t have to purchase another car seat!
The forward-facing car seat helps keep your child secure in a 5-point harness, from 20-65 lbs. When your child is ready, it converts to a belt-positioning booster from 30-100 lbs., and then converts to a backless booster seat from 40-100 lbs.
The car seat is steel-reinforced for strength and durability, Side Impact Tested, and has EPS foam. There is also a one-hand height adjustable head rest, 3-position recline and contoured arm rests with integrated cup holder and storage pockets.
The Graco Nautilus is incredibly easy to set up. Upon pulling it out of the box, I could see that it was for the most part already put together. All I had to do was lock the seat in an upright position, secure the sides of the seat pad to the side of the car seat, and then attach the head support.
The built-in harness and crotch strap come set up for a small baby, so I also had to adjust the harness height and move the crotch strap position to the farthest out slot to accommodate my girls.
Taking the crotch strap out was a little difficult. I had a hard time maneuvering it out of the slot and actually felt like I was going to rip the fabric to do so. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out, but once I did it was a simple adjustment. The total time spent putting the car seat together was only about 10 minutes.
Our vehicle (2013 Ford Explorer) has built-in latch, so we have installed the Graco Nautilus using the latch connectors and teether. Both of my girls are under 48 pounds, so we can safely use latch for now. Once they hit the 48 pound mark, we will have to use the seat belt to secure the seat, according to the car seat manual.
The installation of the car seat was fairly easy but not as easy as other car seats we have owned. The latch connectors clip onto the vehicle anchors quickly and easily, however, they don’t have a button release making them a little harder to remove.
The latch adjustment belt was difficult to pull to the point where the seat felt tightly secured. I found it hard to pull to the side and gain leverage. It would be better (and easier) if each latch connector had its own adjustment belt.
Now that we’ve had the opportunity to try the Graco Nautilus over the past couple of months, we have really grown to love it. My favorite feature is the Safety Surround side impact protection. It not only provides comfortable head support, but it also offers incredible protection. I feel reassured that my daughter is safe riding in it.
I also appreciate that the car seat cover is washable and made well, and the seat cushion is comfortable and supportive. There are several other great features as well, such as the built-in cup holder, storage pockets, and adjustable head support. We are looking forward to having the Graco Nautilus convert to a high-back belt-positioning booster once our girls get older!
If Graco were to improve on this car seat, I would like to see the latch system easier to use and I would also like to see some upgraded features such as an audible harness indicator that lets you know when the harness is secure and a quick adjusting harness that allow you to adjust the harness shoulder height without disassembling the harness straps.
If you’re looking for a car seat that is safe and affordable, the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat with Safety Surround Protection is a fantastic option. You can find it at Target or Amazon.com for a retail price of approximately $179.99. Choose from three different colors — Berri, Lucky, or Atlas.
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