A car seat is going to be the most important piece of equipment that you purchase for your child. It is this seat that will cradle and protect your child while you are traveling in your vehicle so that he is kept secure, safe, and comfortable. Because of the extreme importance of a car seat it is essential that you choose one that offers all of the safety and comfort features you need to make sure that the seat offers you child the best travel experience.
When you are shopping for your child’s convertible car seat it is important that you carefully evaluate all of your options so that you can select the best one for your baby and your vehicle. There are certain things that you should look for when choosing the best convertible car seat for your baby. These include:
- Conversion—different models for convertible car seats have different conversion capabilities. Some can convert from a rear-facing model to a forward-facing toddler seat. If you are looking for a high-capacity seat that will last your child until he is able to sit independently, however, you should look for a seat that converts from a toddler seat to a booster.
- Installation—if your baby’s car seat is not installed properly it will not be able to protect him as well. Make sure that you choose a seat that is easily installed and can be moved if necessary.
- Safety—of course, the safety of your baby’s car seat is paramount. It is important to choose a seat with high safety ratings and features that protect your baby during normal travel and in the event of a collision.
- Comfort—particularly if you intend on spending a lot of time in the car you want your baby to be comfortable. This means choosing a seat that fits him well and has comfort features such as padding and leg support.
- Usability—using a car seat should be convenient, especially if you use it frequently. Look for a seat that has usability features such as washable covers.
The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 convertible car seat offers many features that benefit babies, making it one of the best choices for a high-capacity convertible car seat.
The Nautilus begins use as a forward-facing toddler seat that can be used by a child starting at 20 pounds, though current legislation recommends keeping a baby rear-facing until he weighs 40 pounds and is at least 2 years old. The seat then converts into a high-backed booster seat for children over 40 pounds and up to 70 pounds, and then to a backless booster seat that can be used for children up to 100 pounds.
5-Point Harness System
The harness system of a car seat is the most important safety element. The Nautilus features a 5-point harness system, the type that is recommended by safety experts. With a weight capacity of up to 65 pounds, this harness system can actually be used for children from the time that they are ready to turn to a forward-facing orientation until they are ready to sit safely using only the vehicle’s regular seatbelt. This is the safest form of harness, offering straps that come over the shoulders and around the hips as well as up between the legs that then all buckle together to create a secure point of restraint. The Nautilus’s high weight capacity is much greater than most other convertible car seat models.
The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 has two booster seat conversion options. The high-backed option is appropriate for younger children that are just beginning to use a booster and still require more support or for use in vehicles that do not have appropriate head support in the back seat. The backless booster option is for older children and vehicles that have adequate headrests in the back seat. The high capacity of the seat allows children up to 100 pounds to remain restrained and supported in a booster, which is considered by safety experts to be much safer than using only the vehicle’s regular seatbelt when a child is not of adequate size for the seatbelt to be positioned correctly.
When you are choosing a car seat for your baby you should realize that the padding in the seat is for both comfort and safety. The premium padding in the Nautilus includes a full-body pillow for support and comfort even during long car rides. It also features EPS, an energy-absorbing foam that gives tremendous impact protection by absorbing the energy of the impact and cradling your baby securely so that the effect of an impact is minimized. For fantastic usability the padding cover is made from machine-washable fabric that is easy to remove and reposition as needed.
Children tend to fall asleep when they are traveling in the car, which means that a recline feature in a forward-facing toddler seat is a welcome perk. The Nautilus can be reclined into three different positions by pulling a handle located on the lower front of the seat so you can select the recline angle that is most comfortable for your baby.
Because the main point of a car seat is to protect your baby during car travel it is important that you choose a seat that offers safety above anything else. The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 has been rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed US safety standards. It was side impact tested for occupant retention when using the 5-point harness system, meaning that the crash testing was specifically looking for how well the seat holds onto a baby during a side impact. The EPS foam absorbs impact energy while the convertible seat’s steel reinforced frame offers durability and strength.
This is a rather large convertible car seat. It measures in at 26.72 x 17.25 x 24.16 and has a shipped weight of approximately 25.39 pounds.
The Graco Nautilus has been very well-received by parents looking for a convertible car seat that can accommodate their children from the time they turn forward-facing until they don’t need the help of a car seat or booster any longer. Parents appreciate the high weight capacity and that the seat is capable of converting into three different configurations. Particularly popular are the EPS energy-absorbing foam and comfortable padding that create a cozy, secure, and very safe seat but can also be cleaned easily when the inevitable messes happen.
Of course, consumers are also extremely complimentary regarding the safety features of the seat, including the 5-point harness and steel-reinforced frame. Though not as important as the safety of the seat, users also appreciate the range of color options and the convenience of the storage cubbies that help keep their cars neater—which is always welcome for parents of young children.
It is easy to see why parents would love the Nautilus 3-in-1convertible car seat—but that’s not to say that there aren’t some complaints about the seat as well. The main complaint of dissatisfied consumers is that they feel the “3-in-1” designation is misleading and are disappointed that the seat cannot be used as a rear-facing seat. All information about the seat available, however, clearly states that the seat is only for forward-facing use, so this is more a matter of not doing adequate research.
Despite the complaints, the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 earned a relatively high rating of 4.3 on Amazon. It is important to do a little bit of digging into why certain reviewers gave low ratings on the seat to decide if you think that that review is even applicable to your situation. If you don’t have a very large child, for example, you may not be concerned about the reviews that gave a low rating because the harness seemed tight.
This is no run-of-the-mill cheap car seat, but considering the length of time that it can be used, the average retail price tag of $189 is decent. You can often find great deals on this seat on Amazon. uasually Amazon will give this product 30% discount which mean you can save $60 on this car seat. click here to check recent discount on amazon.
Colors—there are several different color options to meet with the aesthetic of different customers. Having so many different color options also makes it possible to purchase seats for either sex, or have a unisex seat.
Recline—3 positions of recline allow you to select the angle that is most comfortable for your baby depending on his size and the way that he sleeps.
Padding—the padding on the Nautilus is designed to offer full body support and comfort, but also impact protection and security.
3-in-1 Conversion Capability—the Nautilus can be used as a forward-facing toddler seat, a high-backed booster seat, and a backless booster seat so that it can be used throughout different stages of a baby’s childhood.
SafeSeat Engineered—this convertible car seat was specifically designed to exceed the standards for car seat safety and provide impeccable impact protection and occupant retention.
Side-impact Tested—this seat was developed to offer the highest quality of side-impact protection. It underwent extensive testing to ensure it meets and exceeds standards for this type of safety.
EPS—this energy absorbing foam surrounds your baby in comfort, but also in the valuable protection achieved by absorbing the shock and energy from impact, particularly side impact.
Steel-reinforced Frame—the frame of the Nautilus offers incredibly durable steel-reinforced construction that can withstand tremendous use and weight, and continue offering protection.
One-hand Adjustable Headrest—the Nautilus’s headrest can be adjusted with a simple, one-handed pull, making it easy to lift move the support to the comfort level of your baby. This is also a valuable feature as your baby grows from the toddler seat to the booster capability.
5-Point Harness System—the core of the safety system of the seat, the Nautilus’s harness system is capable of handling children between 20 to 65 pounds, allowing children to be safely restrained for much longer than with other seats.
High Capacity Booster Seat—the high backed booster seat can accommodate children up to 70 pounds, while the backless booster can accommodate children up to 100 pounds.
Contoured Armrests—the armrests are shaped to make them comfortable for little arms, but are moveable so they can be positioned according to your baby’s preferences.
Storage Cubbies—for being so little babies certainly carry around a lot of stuff, which makes the included storage cubbies in the Nautilus a welcome organizational tool for parents trying to control the overflow of toys, snacks, wipes, and other necessities in the car.
Cup Holder—little ones like to have a drink to sip on during long car rides, too, but they don’t want to hold on to their cups the entire time, either. The cup holders in the Nautilus are the perfect size for sippy cups and larger bottles and help keep drinks from getting spilled or dropped.