Overwhelming — this is the emotion that envelopes most new parents as they try to navigate the process of buying an infant travel system. There are so many different brands and products on the market. This can make it difficult to find what you truly need.
However, there is one key feature that makes this purchase worthwhile — compatibility. Thus, for those who choose the baby brand that has been trusted for nearly the past 80 years, are all Graco car seat bases interchangeable?
Graco car seat bases created in 2020 and beyond are interchangeable with all Graco car seats. However, earlier models will only work with specific carriers. While the initial reaction is to buy the newest model on the market, it is important to look at the features that are most important to you.
Older models like the Extend2Fit allow for longer rear-facing use, which is not an attribute found in newer products. Nevertheless, this is a feature that the AAP highly endorses. Therefore, depending on your preferences and plans for use, a universal fit may or may not be the best fit for you.
The Purpose Of A Car Seat Base
A car seat base is an apparatus that allows parents to remove and reattach the baby carrier without having to readjust the angle or position of the seat. This device helps to ensure safety, while simultaneously providing exceptional convenience.
Furthermore, it remains a permanent fixture in the vehicle until your baby transitions out of the infant car seat. This is one of the true benefits of having Graco car seat bases that are interchangeable. It allows for multiple seats to be used in the same space.
Many parents choose to skip purchasing this transportation device. This is due to the fact that the car seat will work without it. However, you will be surprised at how common it is for car seats to be misused. It may even cause you to rethink the decision to skip on this purchase.
Car Seat Misuse — Statistics And Prevention
According to a 2018 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 50% of parents had their infant and toddler car seats positioned at the wrong angle. Moreover, 29% of them had them installed too loosely.
An additional 12% had the car seat facing in the wrong direction. What was even more surprising was that 2% of those surveyed did not even have the carrier attached to the backseat!
These mistakes can be the difference between the life and death of your child in a crash. One of the best ways to prevent these moments of misuse is to invest in a car seat base and have a professional install it. This can better guarantee that the seat is consistently in the right spot and at the appropriate angle.
Why is this step so important? According to Consumer Reports, “Recline angles are designed to keep the youngest children tilted enough so that their head doesn’t fall forward and restrict their airway but not so reclined as to increase their risk for injury in a crash.”
For those concerned about their ability to do this task themselves, NHTSA has a fantastic database of certified car seat inspectors. Additionally, they also detail specific instructions if you choose to do it yourself. You can also find helpful tips for locating the best safety device for your family.
Graco Car Seat Bases
Graco is one of the top name brands for baby products. They pride themselves on their efforts to “go above and beyond the requirements to provide additional safety testing and features for your peace of mind”.
While not all of the Graco car seat bases are interchangeable, the company has created a handful of products that you can mix and match for the needs of your growing baby.
At this time, the company has twenty car seats available with five bases that can accommodate your needs. Here is a look at these bases and their associated car seats.
SnugRide SnugFit 35 Infant Car Seat Base
This is Graco’s newest model with the highest quality features for both safety and convenience. First, the SnugRide SnugFit 35 Infant Car Seat Base is equipped with the coveted anti-rebound bar. This provides an extra layer of defense if you were to get into an accident.
While not a required component, it does prevent the car seat from rebounding into the vehicle seat in a crash. By keeping the seat more stationary, it aids in injury prevention.
Additionally, this is Graco’s only car seat base that offers five recline functions. This attribute takes away the need for a tightly rolled towel or pool noodle to achieve the required 45-degree angle.
Most importantly, this 2020 edition utilizes a one-step secure connection to Graco infant car seats, making them completely interchangeable. It is one of Graco’s two most expensive car seat bases, running up a bill of one hundred dollars. However, it has exceptional safety characteristics that make it worth the added cost.
SnugRide Lite Infant Car Seat Base
The Graco SnugRide Lite Infant Seat Base is the company’s most affordable option, running just under fifty bucks. It is also the only other product that “pairs perfectly with any Graco Infant Car Seat through a one-step secure attachment”.
Additionally, the four recline functions make installation simple and easy. Unfortunately, though, it is lacking on the anti-rebound bar.
SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit Infant Car Seat Base
Rewinding back to 2018, Graco’s SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit Infant Car Seat Base is another notably safe option that also features the anti-rebound bar and the four recline positions.
Moreover, this is the only Graco car seat base that has an adjustable extension panel. This provides up to 3.5″ of additional legroom. Why is this important? It allows your child to ride rear-facing longer than other models.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Children should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, up to the limits of their car safety seat. This will include virtually all children under 2 years of age and most children up to age 4.”
In prior years, the AAP only recommended using a rear-facing device until the age of two. Graco specifically designed this device to correspond with this change.
However, despite the safety benefits of facing towards the back of the vehicle, it is imperative that parents also follow the specific requirements for the weight and height range for their infant car seat.
This is usually between 30 to 35 pounds and 28 to 35 inches in height. However, if your child’s head measures an inch or less from the top of the seat, it is time to graduate out of this safety device.
Due to this beneficial feature, this is the other high-end option that Graco offers to its customers. It also costs $100. However, unlike the 2020 bases, the Extend2Fit is only compatible with Graco Click Connect infant car seats. Thus, it is imperative that you confirm if your seat is suitable for this device.
SnugRide SnugLock Infant Car Seat Base
This is another car seat base that is only compatible with Graco Click Connect infant car seats. Made in 2016, the SnugRide SnugLock continues to feature the four recline options but does not include any other extras. This allows it to be a bit more affordable, costing only $65.
Something to note is that the SnugRide SnugLock DLX Infant Car Seat Base is a part of this same line. It is just an upgraded model. Like the other products made during this time, it only functions with Click Connect infant car seats.
SnugRide Infant Car Seat Base
The last model is the 2012 SnugRide Infant Car Seat Base. This is specifically designed for Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30 and 35 LX infant car seats. While the same price as the SnugRide SnugLock, this does not have any specific recline functions. Instead, users must conduct this adjustment visually.
It is extremely important to remember that while a car seat base is recommended, the most important part of the travel system is the car seat that attaches to it. Thus, find the carrier that best suits your needs and then look at the corresponding car seat base options that are available. Thankfully, Graco has made great strides to accommodate all existing seats with its two new models.
Furthermore, every one of Graco’s bases includes a level indicator. This allows parents to easily determine the correct angle for the seat. Additionally, they all have a LATCH system! This makes movement in between vehicles much simpler. Graco’s number one prerogative is safety. Therefore, parents can rest soundly knowing that every model is a safe option.
However, if you have multiple children, it can be beneficial to have a Graco car seat base that is interchangeable. This ensures that no matter which seat is going in the vehicle, you will be good to go!
Additionally, having more than one of these universal devices can allow caregivers, parents, and relatives the luxury of popping in the car seat. There will never be a concern with distraction causing the seat to not be in the correct position when a base is in place!