Graco Extend2Fit Review

The one million worries a parent goes through every single day can be overwhelming. With the Graco Extend2Fit car seat, you can stop worrying about your child’s safety, at least on your car trips.

While the Graco Extend2Fit has many other amazing features, it’s the safety assurance you really are looking for, right? That’s what every parent wants – to know that their child is safe.

What type of car seat is the Graco Extend2Fit?

extend2fit convertible car seat

Extend2Fit Convertible seat – (1) rear facing (2) forward facing

The Graco Extend2Fit is not only a forward facing car seat but a rear facing car seat as well. It is a convertible car seat that works from infancy to toddler age. This is a huge benefit because you don’t have to buy multiple car seats per child! That is a huge savings. Not only that, but where do you even put all of that stuff? You just saved yourself some packing and unpacking too!

Read more about different types of car seats.

What are the height and weight limits?

Like every other car seat, there are height and weight limits for safety reasons. Your child needs to be able to fit in the seat well or it cannot perform its job properly. You definitely want to make sure to abide by the limitations to keep your little one safe! There are different limitations for the forward and rear facing aspects.

Rear facing limits

extend2fit-rear-facing-infantYou always start your child out rear facing in the car. As long as your newborn baby is four pounds or more, you can start using this seat! They can ride rear facing until they are up to 50 pounds and 45 inches. You do not want the top of your child’s head to go over 1” below the adjustable handle when fully extended. While it is a terrifying experience for all new parents to put your baby in the car seat and drive, you can get through it! After the first few car rides you will trust the car seat and relax. Well, you will relax a little anyways. Deep breaths!

Forward facing limits

graco-extend2fit-forwardThe forward facing car seat spectrum is for when your child graduates from the rear facing car seat timeline. Most car seat safety professionals will tell you to wait until your little sprout is at least two years old. With the Extend2Fit, this is completely possible due to the extra leg room that most other car seats don’t have. However, when they outgrow the 50 pound and/or 45-inch mark, it’s time to turn that baby around. Literally!

The forward facing range is from 22 pounds to 65 pounds. That sounds a little bit crazy, but that is one reason this car seat is so great. Babies and toddlers come in all different shapes and sizes. Graco recognizes that and has those ranges in there for a reason. You could have a 22-pound baby that is over 45 inches and then where would you be? That’s what this car seat is for. Versatility is huge and a great reason this car seat is so accommodating to families.

Extend2Fit Features

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty now. Why this car seat? While there are hundreds of different types, the Extend2Fit definitely takes the cake as far as its ability to tailor to almost any child. While there are always a few exceptions to the rule, your chances are very high that it will work with your kiddo and any others you plan to have! So what features do you look for?

Extended Rear-Facing

The first thing on every parent’s mind is going to be safety. A rear facing car seat is the safest situation for any child. Graco allows you to keep them facing backwards longer than most other car seats. It boasts that most children will be able to up until 2 years old if not longer.

extend2fit-extra-leg-room

Some parents have even boasted safely using this car seat until age 4! That is huge in the car seat world. They can accomplish this by making the car seat headrest, tilt, and legroom adjustable.

With its Extend2Fit technology, your precious cargo has an extra 5 inches of leg room to work with.

Do you get why they named the car seat why they did now? Extend to FIT!

Steel Reinforced Frame

Not to mention, there is a steel enforced frame. That’s definitely a key component of a good car seat. Beyond safety, the next thing you are going to want is to make sure this thing is comfortable for your child. Nobody wants a screaming child for a six-hour long car trip!

Comfort

Many happy customers have claimed their child is extremely comfortable in this car seat. Graco provides lots of padding, including shoulder pads, along with infant head and body inserts. This once again proves that this car seat can be used for all different shapes and sizes. All the while your kiddo is comfortable. Hopefully, fingers crossed, they can even snooze on your trip, whether it’s 5 minutes or 12 hours.

So what’s important beyond the two basic features of safety and comfort? Think about the situations you are going to be in while putting your baby in or taking your baby out of the car. I’ll tell you right now, you want to be able to do this with ease. If you can’t, you are in for a world of suffering.

It is already a challenge to bring your new bundle of joy with you when you take short or long excursions. Add in the necessity to grab diapers quickly at the store – make sure you wear deodorant, because you will sweat! Add a cute screaming little baby and you are going to need a new shirt. Never fear, there is a solution!

No-rethread Harness

10-position headrest - no-rethread necessary

The Graco Extend2Fit can save you. Many parents have claimed that it is super easy to use. The Simply Safe Adjust Harness System is the key here. It lets you adjust the height of your harness and headrest in one simple motion. Here’s another bonus. You can adjust both of those without having to rethread the harness straps. Most other car seats you have to do this. It even lets you adjust the crotch buckle to ensure your child is safe and comfortable.

The benefit here is huge on time and frustration. If you have used another car seat and have had to move the harness straps up, you do have to rethread the harness straps. Again, with a screaming or impatient little one and only two hands, this can be a real challenge! Anything, I repeat, anything, that makes things go quicker and easier with a little one is well worth it.

Convenient Harness Storage

extend2fit harness storageThe fuss free harness storage is another parent helper. Once you unbuckle the straps, simply hook them into the harness storage and you can get your kiddo out in one swift movement. There are so many times where you will appreciate that feature. Especially, any time you are hunched over in one of those hurried situations and your child wants to tangle themselves up in the straps. Using this feature makes getting them in and out frustration free!

Additional Recline Options

graco extend2fit recline positionsSix reclining positions allows for both comfort and ease of use. This feature allows you to use four of those different recline positions rear facing!

Again, Graco proves that they are really accommodating from infancy to toddler age.

Compact Size

Another wonderful feature? It’s not huge. Having a gigantic, clunky convertible car seat is really difficult. It takes up so much space in your vehicle that it leaves little room for anything else. Anyone that has children knows that usually you pack like you are going on a five-day excursion when you are simply going to Target for some dish soap. Any extra room helps!

Dual Cup Holders

Finally, what kind of baby gear would this be if there wasn’t some fancy amenity? The dual cup holders are great to place snack cups, bottles, and sippy cups if and when you need them. Give your kid the ability to get their own snack and drink on a long car ride and you just saved yourself a few stops!

Beyond all these exclusive features, there is another that can give you great comfort. The name brand Graco has been around for a long time. They have developed a lot of car seats. Each one seems to get progressively better and better.

Can I use with a small car?

The short answer here is yes. The long answer is that Graco can’t guarantee it will fit in your car. However, they have tested it in several different types and sizes of cars and found that it fit quite well. As mentioned in the features, this convertible car seat is not nearly as bulky as others. It is pretty compact front to back making it easy to fit into a small vehicle. If you have your doubts, definitely contact your local car seat technician!

What is the life-span of the Graco Extend2Fit?

That is kind of a tough question. It probably could last for a very long time. However, it’s expiration date is 10 years from the date on the sticker. You can locate it on the back of the seat as well.

While the seat does technically have a lifespan, if you are still using a convertible car seat at 10 years, that is pretty amazing!

How wide is the base of this seat?

The base of the seat itself is 15” by 15”. However, the overall dimensions are 24.5” by 19.5” by 25.2”. Overall, this is a very compact convertible car seat. It should fit in your vehicle from a suburban to a compact car!

How heavy is the Extend2Fit?

The Graco Extend2Fit is 23.5 pounds. It may seem heavy, but you definitely do not want a super lightweight car seat. You also don’t want to lug around a boulder. It is a great middle of the line weight for how much you get out of it.

Rear Facing Installation

So you decided to move forward with the car seat. That’s great! Now, the daunting task of installing it. Well, rest at ease. This car seat is actually really easy to install unlike several others. There will be no groaning, sweating, and cursing (in your mind of course!).

You are most likely going to be using it rear facing first so let’s start there. There are two different ways to do it. You can either use the LATCH system OR the seat belt approach (but not simultaneously) depending on your preference and/or your vehicle. However, it is known in the car seat safety world that the LATCH system may be a better fit.

The LATCH system consists of two lower anchors, which are built into your vehicle. Most vehicles aged 2003 or older have these anchors now. The lower anchor approach is great for those vehicles that do have the anchors available. You can then use the Graco connecting hooks that are built into your car seat up to the point of your child reaching 45 pounds.

You do need to make sure that your anchor spacing in your vehicle is correct. There must be exactly eleven inches from the middle of one anchor to the middle of the other anchor. If there isn’t this spacing or you don’t have anchors, then you need to use the second method- the seatbelt method.

Using your vehicle’s seat belt to install your car seat has been a very common practice. It is safe even if the LATCH system boasts a safer fit. With the Extend2Fit it is both easier and more challenging to install with a seat belt than other vehicles.

It’s easier because if you have the car seat leg room extended, you have more room to work and don’t have to try and cram your poor hand behind the seat and hope for the best. It’s a little bit more challenging because the seatbelt installation is a little bit smaller than other convertible car seats. This makes it somewhat difficult to thread the belt through.

However, since you do have more space, it can be done without breaking a sweat. Simply grab your seat belt, thread it through the seat belt channel on the car seat, and click it into the seat belt buckle on the other side. Wahlah-installation complete!

It should be noted that the manual instructs NOT to combine both the LATCH and the seat belt method at the same time (see image below). Remember when we talked about that peace of mind and all that worrying you are going to be doing? Yeah- just do both, if you can, and you will feel even better about putting your little one in their car seat for their first adventure.

Page 7 of the Graco Extend2Fit Manual.

Page 7 of the Graco Extend2Fit Manual regarding installation method.


Forward facing installation

For forward facing installation there are again two different ways to achieve installation properly, the LATCH and the seat belt method. It all depends on your child’s age, size, and your preference.

If your child is less than 45 pounds, but ready to be forward facing, you can absolutely still use the anchors. You will need to switch the anchors to the forward facing position. To do this, pull the cover aside and slide the lower anchor strap along to the forward facing belt path. It seems that it may be a little bit difficult to do and the harness gets in the way, but if you prefer the anchors over the seat belt, that’s the only way to do it.

Now, most parents will fall in the second category. Your child will be over 45 pounds when you turn them to forward face in their car seat. Like the rear facing installation, you will simply thread the seat belt through the forward facing seat belt channel and buckle it on the next side. Many parents have noted that the channel is much wider for the forward facing installation making it a breeze to accomplish.

In addition to either the LATCH or seat-belt method, there is an extra step in the forward facing installation. A top tether is provided that is incredibly easy to use. All you need to do is unhook it, swing it around your seat, and connect it on the other side to the top tether anchor.

As you can see, there are many different variations of installation for both rear facing and forward facing. Do whatever combination works best for your vehicle. Remember, the safer the better to put those worrisome feelings at bay!

Pros

  • 5 inches of additional leg room
  • Your child can rear face for much longer- up to 50 pounds!
  • And forward-facing up to 65 pounds
  • Only need to purchase one car seat
  • Comfortable – See additional reviews
  • 10-year expiration date allows for using for more than one child
  • Harness storage makes getting kiddo in and out much easier
  • Harness adjusts easily- no rethreading!
  • 6 positions to recline- 4 of which are rear facing
  • Affordable – Click for pricing
  • Compact enough to fit in most vehicles while still allowing space

Cons

  • Some parents have noted that the headpiece pushes their child head too far forward
  • Some users experienced difficulty getting their harness tight enough
  • Straps can become somewhat uneven at times

What other car seats can accommodate 50 pounds?

Clek was the first company to offer a 50-pound rear facing car seat in the United States with the Foonf car seat. Diono followed a few years later with the Rainier and the Pacifica car seats which were notably less expensive. Following this, Clek produced another carseat, the Fllo, that was more light weight and less expensive.

This battle of the better 50-pound rear facing car seat made a great change for car seats in the U.S. Following this tug of war action, several car seats appeared on the market that were capable of accommodating 50-pounds.

Safety 1st released Advance EX 65 Air+. This was the lowest price 50-pound capable car seat yet to appear! However, it was huge and inconvenient. Finally, Graco came and blew everyone away with the Extend2Fit. It was less expensive and more streamlined- every parent’s winning combination!

Conclusion

This convertible car seat is one of the best on the market. The Graco Extend2Fit offers so many different user-friendly features, it’s pretty difficult to imagine purchasing a different convertible car seat. Safe? Check. Comfortable? Check. Frustration free? Double check.

If you are looking for a car seat to get you through infancy to toddler age, this is it! While it is cost effective, you are buying something much more. You are buying stress free travel and peace of mind. Parents, we have heard your demands and the Graco Extend2Fit delivers.

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