If you are planning to buy a Graco car seat, you probably must have heard different terms relating to car seats. These terms can be confusing, and it only makes sense for parents to understand them before making a purchase.
For example, you’d want to know the difference between Graco SnugRide and Snuglock. You may also want to be sure if Graco Click Connect and SnugRide are the same. These are just a few examples most parents need answers to.
In this short write-up, we will go through the difference between Graco infant car seats and the three types of car seats available. In the end, we will look at the safest and best Graco car seats to buy.
Let’s begin with the 3 types of car seats so that you can have a clear understanding of car seats.
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What Are The 3 Types Of Baby Car Seats?
As a new parent, having a car seat is very crucial because it has the potential to save your little one’s life. You’d also need a car seat when leaving the hospital after delivery.
Therefore, you need to know the 3 types of car seats for infants and toddlers.
Rear-Facing Car Seat
The rear-facing car seat is the first type of car seat you will be needing for your child. Before now, it used to be that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended the use of rear-facing car seats for at least 2 years from birth.
However, that recommendation has been amended and it now depends on the maximum weight or height limit of the car seat. All car seats have maximum weight or height limits.
Judging by the maximum weight and height limits of most car seat brands, parents can use the rear-facing car seats for their children for up 3 years. Nonetheless, don’t rely on the number of years, but on the weight or height limit of the seat.
Why is a baby placed in a rear-facing car seat? Peradventure there is a crash, a baby is less likely to suffer serious injury or death because the back of the seat is designed to protect the baby’s neck, head, and torso.
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Forward-Facing Car Seat
After your child outgrows the weight or height limit of his/her rear-facing seat, you will need to get a forward-facing car seat. At this stage, your child should be between 2 and 3 years old already.
A toddler can use a forward-facing car seat for as long as possible. Most forward-facing seats can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. Again, you will have to rely on the manufacturer’s manual to know the maximum weight limit of the seat.
Convertible Car Seat
This is the third type of car seat you should know. As the name implies, a convertible car seat can convert from a rear-facing seat into a forward-facing seat. That should sound interesting to many parents.
However, convertible seats are more expensive than rear or forward-facing seats. It all depends on the feature of the seats and your preference. Essentially, you will want to buy a car seat that will easily connect to your stroller.
Now that we have an understanding of the different types of car seats, let’s dive into the difference between Graco car seats.
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What Are The Differences Between Graco Car Seats?
Graco has so many rear-facing and other car seats with different names attached to them. This can be confusing to many parents (especially new parents).
Some common questions on Graco car seats are; What is SnugRide, What is SnugLock? What is the difference between LX and DLX car seats? What do the numbers 30 and 35 mean? and so on. Below is the breakdown.
Whenever you hear the word “SnugRide,” just know that it is talking about Graco’s rear-facing car seats for infants. SnugRide is the general name used for Graco’s rear-facing seats.
Whenever you hear SnugFit or SnugLock, it is talking about the car seat base technology. SnugFit is a combination of two words; snug and fit. Therefore a SnugFit car seat base fits snugly for safety purposes.
SnugFit bases have a special anti-rebound bar that helps to keep the base firm and fit in your car. A well-fitted base means the likelihood of injury has been reduced.
SnugLock is another common term you will hear when making research on Graco rear-facing car seats. The SnugLock uses a technology that makes it super easy to install the base in your car using your car’s seat belt or the LATCH system.
Apart from the rear-facing car seats, some of Graco’s convertible car seats also use the SnugLock technology. The SnugLock uses a mechanism that locks off the belt nicely and tightly for a secure install.
While some car seats have both the SnugLock and SnugFit benefits, others have just one benefit. Therefore, you should go through the product description of the seat you are buying to know what you are getting.
InRight LATCH System
LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system is a new development that makes it easy to install baby car seats without needing the vehicle’s seat belt.
All Graco infant car seat bases can be installed either via the LATCH system or your vehicle’s seat belt. All vehicle’s come with LATCH connectors that make it possible to connect the seat base to the vehicle without using seat belts.
Virtually all Graco infant car seats come with the InRight LATCH and are simple to use. Simply push it into the connector until you hear a clicking sound.
30 and 35
It is very common to see either 30 or 35 on Graco infant car seats. These numbers only represent the maximum weight limit of the seat.
The 35 is talking about 35 lbs, while the 30 is 30 lbs. Once your child reaches these weight limits, you should upgrade to a convertible or all-in-one car seat.
Therefore, for Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35, it means your little one can use it until he/she reaches 35 lbs or the maximum height limit (Whichever comes first).
LX, DLX, XT, And Elite
These are the prefixes attached to Graco infant car seats. For any Graco SnugFit that also uses the SnugLock technology, the prefix LX is attached to it.
Therefore, instead of saying Graco SnugRide SnugFit SnugLock infant car seat (which is too long), we simply say Graco SnugRide SnugFit LX. The LX stands for the SnugLock technology on a SnugFit car seat.
The DLX, XT, and Elite are just other extra features that go beyond safety purposes. Some of these extra features include extra padding, a one-hand adjustable handle, etc.
Most Graco car seats with these extra features always carry the DLX and Elite prefixes. Therefore, if you are looking for a car seat that is well-padded with other enhanced features, look out for the one with DLX and Elite.
Click Connect System
The Graco Click Connect system is a secure attachment of the infant car seat in just one click. With Click Connect, it takes only a few seconds to connect the car seat to the base or stroller.
Once you hear the audible “click” sound, then you are good to go.
All Graco SnugRide SnugLock bases and car seats are fully Click Connect compatible. For example, if you have a SnugRide Click Connect infant car seat, you can use it on any SnugRide SnugLock bases.
Also, if you have a SnugRide SnugLock car seat, you can use it with any Click Connect bases or strollers.
Note: SnugRide SnugLock bases and seats are not compatible with any of Graco’s Classic Connect seats, bases, or strollers.
Here’s an article on whether Graco car seat bases are universal or not.
4 Best Graco Car Seat Parents Should Consider Buying
Now that we have looked at the different terms used for Graco infant car seats, let’s take a look at the 4 best Graco car seats to buy for your child.
Our selection is based on other parents’ reviews and ratings. We also considered the best-selling Graco car seats with excellent reviews from parents.
- Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Infant Car Seat – $219.99 – Check the product on Amazon
- Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat – $234.97 – Check the product on Amazon
- Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat – $329.97 – Check the product on amazon
- Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Car Seat – $219.99 – Check the product on Amazon
Choosing any of these 4 Graco car seats is all you need to have one of the best car seats for your little one. If you crave a convertible car seat, you should choose the Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 convertible car seat.