The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat was received for purpose of this review. All thoughts are my own.
My biggest challenge with having two children in convertible, rear facing car seats is the lack of room in the middle of the row for a third car seat. Surprisingly, this is an issue even in my big SUV. I babysit other children and having 3 car seats is often a problem because their child’s seat is too wide to fit 3 across in my truck. I did a lot of research and ended up getting two narrow but high price point car seats for my little ones and I have to admit that I was prepared to not love this seat. But Graco surprised me!
The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat with Safety Surround Protection is a very impressive seat. It boasts the best head protection available for your child in the event of a side impact and keeps your child in a harness up to 65 Lbs. I don’t know about you, but that got my attention right away!
This 3-in-1 forward facing car seat converts easily from a forward facing 5-point harness 20-65 Lbs, to a belt positioning booster from 30-100 Lbs, and finally to a backless booster from 40-100 Lbs. The back of the seat is reinforced with steel for strength and it’s been Side Impact Tested. The seat is very narrow but still has a cup holder and two inside compartments for storage of toys or snacks.
The feel of the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat seems high end with nice breathable fabric, and soft suede like shoulder straps and liner. The inside of the head rest also has a soft fabric to be comfortable on your little one’s squishy cheeks.
There is an extra cushioned body support that’s removable if your child is larger. I put my 1 year old and 3 year old in the seat and they fit comfortably with the body support while my friend’s 4 year old was too big for it. The seat is lined with EPS energy absorbing foam which makes it both comfortable and safe.
(Disclaimer: I only put my 1 year old in for comparison. He does meet the basic size requirements but rear facing is recommended until a minimum of 2 years old and the safest for any child until they outgrow their rear facing seat’s weight limits.)
The 5 point harness is pretty easy to adjust. Simply undo from the latch in the back and rethread the harness through the slats at the correct height, then up and over rollers in the back and reconnect to the latch. I did have a bit of a struggle trying to change the crotch buckle but that’s probably something you won’t have to do more than once. I LOVE that it has the easy to tighten pull strap at the bottom. That makes for quick in and out and a great fit every time. The shoulder strap pads come off easily with Velcro to toss in the wash and seemed to fit all three children perfectly without making the chest clip too low.
The head rest is very cushioned and wraps far around the child’s head. With the red button on the top, it slides easily up and down to adjust perfectly to your child’s height. I haven’t had the good fortune of anyone falling asleep in it yet, but it looks like it would help with the sleeping head forward flop. And as I mentioned before, the fabric on the head rest is very soft. I really feel peace of mind knowing that this seat has been Side Impact Tested in harness and high back booster modes.
The installation was quick and easy. The Latch clips slid on easily and the straps tightened without issues. If you are installing the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat with a seat belt, there are easy to use open-loop belt guides to help you correctly position the seat belt.
The bottom has an easy to use 3 point recline to get a good fit in your car and keep your child comfortable. And because this seat is so narrow, you can easily fit three across. YAY!
I’d highly recommend this seat for anyone in the market for a forward facing 5 point harness or high back booster chair. It’s tested, durable, comfortable, and very versatile which I would consider a smart buy.
The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat is available exclusively at Target RV $180
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