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Graco Nautilus Car Seat Review
In 2007, the Graco Nautilus made its debut and has remained one of the most popular 3-in-1 car seats available. Graco has a rich history in developing booster car seats that provide our children’s first line of defense during an automobile accident or an abrupt swerve to avoid an accident. Let us tell you what makes Graco so great in our in-depth Graco Nautilus car seat review!
Graco is an industry-standard setting company that provide families with safe and dependable childcare products. How they got their start may surprise you. It was 1942 when Russel Gray and Robert Cone created Graco Metal Products in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They began their business as a metal fabricating company that made car parts for local manufacturers.
In 1953, Gray decided to move on from the company, leaving Cone struggling to find his niche for the company he now solely owned. Cone teamed up with his engineer, David Saint who created the first child indoor swing deemed, The Graco Swyngomatic. The next few years and millions of Swyngomatics sold, proved to Graco that they were meant for the baby business!
Graco continued to create innovative childcare products like the Pack N’ Play, highchairs and other innovations that parents depend on. It wasn’t until 1998 that they acquired car seat manufacturer, Century. Together they introduced the SnugRide infant seat which immediately became America’s top-selling infant car seat of that time. They have continued to flourish by creating their top-of-the-line Graco Nautilus series of 3-in-1 car seats and committing to high-safety standards that has won them many awards through the years.
Why Use a 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat?
Once your child has graduated from their Graco Nautilus rear-facing car seat, it is time to move them into a forward-facing unit. This is an incredible milestone because for the first time, you can view your child’s actions from the rear-view mirror, it is another great bonding experience. Don’t be surprised if your child begins mimicking driving! A front-facing seat gives them a whole new perspective of the driving experience. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children seated in a booster seat are 45% less likely to be injured in a crash.
A quality Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 multi-use car seat, will support the final phases of vehicle safety until your child is big enough for a standard seat belt, alone. The stages that a Graco Nautilus supports are as follows:
Forward-Facing Harness Seat – This car seat is necessary once your child weighs over 30 pounds and is over the age of two. It uses an internal 5-point harness system which is meant to transfer crash forces to more durable parts of a child’s body, in case of accident.
High-Back Booster – Once your child outgrows the weight limit of stage one, it is time to do away with the 5-point harness and utilize your vehicle’s safety belt. The high-back booster allows your child to sit high enough for the seat belt to be effective, yet keeps their bodies secured in a familiar seat. This stage usually begins around age five.
Backless Booster Seat – This is the last stage. Your child will be able to sit in a backless booster around the age of eight. By this time, the seat is still necessary to boost your child to the correct position so the safety belt can be effective. Though they are now mature enough to remain still without the need of the extra car-seat housing.
Importance of Weight Specifications
Each child grows differently, so it is important to follow the weight limits that are set per your Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 car seat manual. When looking at these weight specifications, it is also important to wait until the max weight of each stage is reached before graduating to the next. Never skip a step even if your child’s weight shows they are big enough to go from the 5-point harness system into the booster seat stage.
All three steps are important for safety and learning experience. Our children love items that provide them with a sense of security. That’s why we see them cling to favorite toys, blankets and their pacifiers. They can gain that same security with the familiarity of a 3-in-1 car seat that grows with them!
Training for a Booster Seat
Once your child has graduated into the Graco 3-in-1 Nautilus high-back feature, it is time to begin training your child for the last stage. Use every driving opportunity to demonstrate to your child the appropriate behavior expected in the high-back seat. The new-found freedom your child will gain without the five-point harness will likely spark their curiosity. This will ultimately entice them to find out just how much they can get away with.
Car rides are full of distractions to children. Whether they notice something intriguing outside or find the stray Cheeto you missed when vacuuming the floorboard, they will likely forget all training they have learned. They can then begin plots to make their great escape from the car seat. It is up to us as parents to inform our children that this behavior will not be tolerated.
Kids who are old enough to ride in a high-back seat are also old enough to understand rules. Begin taking away small privileges in the car if they do begin acting unruly in their seat. These small acts of discipline can include, losing rights to snacks or toys until they prove they can ride properly. It is sometimes hard to discipline our children when they are acting in their natural, enthusiastic manner but it is crucial for them to understand their responsibility to safe behavior in a car seat. Remember, when they graduate to the final stage of a Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 multiuse car-seat, they will have even more freedom. With proper training, they should be mature enough to smoothly transition into a stand-alone booster seat.
Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat Reviews
The Graco Nautilus car seat series includes several great models. The company has manufactured some very impressive 3-in-1 car seats. We have done the research to ensure that you can make an educated decision when considering which model is best for you!
Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat
We want to begin with the Graco Nautilus 65 car seat. It offers some pretty cool extras like comfort accessories and an easy-adjustment system as well as provide support for your child all the way up to 100 pounds. At an average price of about $150, this car seat is priced right. This three-position car seat will grow with your child from toddler to youth with its weight range of 22-100 lbs. The Simply Safe Adjust harness featured on the Graco Nautilus 65 is a breeze and can be used in a single motion, with one hand! We love that it has a five-position headrest, which works great to keep growing children comfortable. Speaking of comfort, this seat offers your child a comfortable cushion which makes a trip to the store or a road trip easy to handle.
Extra features like a seat pad, comfortable harnesses and buckles, cup holders, storage space under the armrests and even a three-position reclining system will keep your child happy in the car. Let’s talk safety and length of use. We think, with proper care, this car seat can outlast your child’s need for another booster seat. It begins as a harness booster for children over 22 lbs. It then easily converts to a high-back booster (at least 30 lbs.) and finishes its evolution process into a backless booster that is rated for 100 lbs.
Graco has prided itself on safety for our children. This car seat has been side impact tested, it exceeds the car seat standard for crash force by almost double and uses energy absorbing foam to lessen impact energy. This car seat receives great reviews from consumers who are using it. Keep in mind, however, there does seem to be an issue with the placement of the crotch buckle. Consumers report that it is sometimes hard to gain access to this buckle. Even with that small nuance, we recommend this Graco Nautilus Booster for someone looking for a reasonably priced, feature-packed and safe car seat.
Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat
The LX model of the popular Graco Nautilus 65 is marketed as the more luxurious option than its standard counterpart. The few changes that have been made add to a more comfortable ride and hassle-free experience for parents. Average cost of this model is around $180, making it comparable to the standard version. This model has a harness weight rating beginning of 22 lbs., a high back rating that begins at 30 lbs. and a no back booster rating of 40-120 lbs. That is 20 lbs. more than the standard model, which can gain you some extra time using this seat.
It also features the same 3-in-1 functionality that will transform to fit your child’s needs as they grow. We noticed another feature available in the LX model is the added comfortable body insert. This, along with a cushioned harness and buckle cover should soothe your child during long car rides. Graco also uses their fuss-free harness on the LX, which allows you to place the buckle hooks outside of the seat. This makes entering and leaving much easier. Of course, the safety standards that Graco pays so much attention to are all present in Graco Nautilus 65 XL. This model does not feature Safety Support but exceeds all safety regulations. All in all, you could consider investing just a little more money on the LX model. We feel that the extra features are well worth the extra cost!
Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat with Safety Surround Protection
This car seat stands apart from the last two Graco Nautilus products because of its price point and its innovative Safety Surround Protection. Average cost on this model is around $250 but we feel the added safety features are worth the extra money. This specific model covers all of the safety features that come standard on a Graco car seat. This includes the energy absorbing foam, nearly double the amount of the crash-force standard as set by the NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) and it also includes Graco’s trademarked Safety Surround Protection. It is an invaluable feature which offers top of the line side-impact protection. It is a forward-facing car seat that demonstrates the best-head protection on the market.
Once again, with this model your child will be covered from when they are a toddler until they no longer need a booster seat. With a weight range from 22-100 lbs., this Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Multi-use Car Seat easily transforms into a more mature seat as your child grows. Your child will also benefit from reclining positions, contoured armrests, a cup holder and plenty of room for their toys in its storage pockets. Parents love the ease of installation, the comfortability it offers and are incredibly impressed with the Safety Surround Protection. If you’re looking for the safest Graco Nautilus car seat available and don’t mind spending a little extra money, consider this the next addition to your family!
Graco Nautilus 80 Elite 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat
This version of the Graco Nautilus is deemed Elite for several reasons. Its cool features, safety standards and deluxe materials make this a great option for a one-time seat purchase. Average price on this model typically costs about $200, and we consider that a great bargain once you know what this car seat is capable of.
First, let’s talk about the cool features the Graco Nautilus 80 Elite offers. We’re excited about the adjustable headrest that adjusts the harness at the same time. There are five different positions for the headrest/harness relationship, and they both extend enough to adjust to your child’s growing pattern. Acting as a 3-in-1 car seat, the forward-facing harness is rated for children up to 80 lbs.! It then transforms into a high back booster up to 100 lbs. before finally becoming a backless booster rated for 120 lbs. The fuss-free harness storage is another neat extra this model utilizes. After unbuckling the chest harness, there are convenient side pockets to place each half of the buckle. This makes getting in and out a breeze, no more catching your child’s arms on the way out, or digging behind them to find a buckle when you’re in a hurry!
As with all the Graco Nautilus Car Seats, this model is built with incredible safety standards in mind. This model lacks Graco’s Safety Surround feature but is still side-impact tested and exceeds standard safety regulations. This is another Graco model that received rave reviews from actual parents. They feel their children are safe and comfortable when traveling in this car seat. Some parents have mentioned having trouble with installation, mentioning that the anchor latch was harder to use than some other car seats. However, once the seat was installed properly, children and parents, alike, love it!
To conclude this review, we feel that the entire Graco Nautilus series is perfect for families who want a 3-in-1 car seat that will last throughout their children’s need. The company’s commitment to innovating great safety features and using durable, long-lasting materials is a company that we can stand behind! Plan on having more than one child and interested in learning about double umbrella strollers? Read our Double Umbrella Strollers Ultimate Buying Guide.