Thursday, October 18, 2012

THE BRANDY NEW... Graco Snug Ride Click Connect 40 Review and Giveaway!!

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you already know I'm a Graco Nation member... what's that mean anyways?  Well, I've always been a fan of Graco "gear" - it's intuitive, safe, functional, cute, and affordable.  Not to mention that the company itself is always giving back.  There's just something positive about a big business who actually cares for it's customers.  That, I'm proud to be associated with! So as a Graco Nation member I sometimes get the opportunity to review or post details about products or host giveaways (remember the 2 Pack n Play Giveaways?!) - such is the case today!!!



I'm so excited for this infant car seat! Oh so many parents have had the 1 year and 20 pounds stat ingrained in their head that they have become complacent and not stepped up to the new AAP recommendations to RF your child until AT MINIMUM 2 years old (and even better the maximum limits of their RF car seat.)   Thus, a lot of parents and caregivers feel that once their child outgrows their infant car seat at approximately 1 year old, the next stage in the car seat world is to move to a forward facing seat.  And because most infant carrier type car seats only allow your child to fit in that seat until just about this time, it most certainly can be a confusing message to parents.   Enter, the brandy new Graco Snug Ride Click Connect 40!  The very FIRST infant car seat to hold an average 2 year old!!  Yup, you read correctly, this car seat has a weight limit of 4-40 pounds and a maximum height limit of 35inches.   No, it is not assumed that you will carry a 37 pound toddler around in an infant seat, but just like any standard convertible car seat on the market, just leave it in the vehicle when baby gets too heavy to carry around in the "bucket".   So as a mom, as a CPST, as a gear guru... what do I think???   Read on and see!!  And if you read to the end, there's something in it for you too!! :o) 
Graco SafeSeat Step 1 compared to SnugRide Click Connect 40
As soon as Graco told me that I would have the opportunity to review this seat, I was all over it!  I wanted my hands on this seat the minute I'd heard about it.  (Yes, I'm a self proclaimed and very proud baby gear geek!)  I wanted to know how it really fit a newborn, how it really fit an average baby, how it really  fit a toddler! And so I called every friend I knew with kids under 2.5 to see who would loan me their child for a photo shoot!  I had lots of takers and am so excited to share with you some incite into the fit of the Graco Snug Ride Click Connect 40.   
Let's start with size comparison. 
Here is the base next to a traditional SnugRide35 base (or in this case the older model Safe Seat Step1).  Similar type snap in design but the SRCC40 base itself is actually flatter, and narrower.  And the car seats sitting side by side.   The SRCC40 is identical in size as the older model even with the no re-thread harness system up as high as it will go so that the side impact wings extend above the frame of the seat and only slightly larger when the adjustable base is moved to the most upright toddler position.  The handle is a bit more upright and contoured so that helped with comfort when carrying it over my arm. 

SRCC 40 on base setting 8

Snug Ride Click Connect 40 in small SUV on Base Setting 1

How about in a car?!  Because of the no re-thread adjustable harness system the side impact wings portion of the seat actually come down into the frame of the seat for a smaller child therefore allowing it to be smaller front to back.   It wasn't until I moved them to the highest settings that I noticed the depth of the seat to change.   Here it is in the back seat of a small SUV.  Without moving the front seat, we put in the SnugRide 35.  The SnugRide 35 is already touching the front seat while the SRCC40 is not yet doing so. 
SnugRide 35 in Small SUV

When I moved the foot of the base off of the newborn #1 setting and up to about #4 and above, that's when the back of the SRCC40 began touching the front seat similarly to the SR35.   
SRCC 40 on Base Setting 4 in small SUV

And in a sedan?!?! I was actually able to have the infant seat with the harness and head wings up as high as they will go AND move the base to position #8 and that's when I got contact with the front seat of an average side sedan with an average (5'6") size mom driving.  YES, agreed if 6'2" dad was driving, I'd probably switch the FF seat with the RF seat in this family's vehicle. It worked for her for RF baby to be behind her because of preschool car line and thus, it appears that for her this seat would work to the full capacity of the height of the seat as well as the full depth of the adjustable base.  

SRCC40 on base position 8 in a sedan (average height driver)
Of course in my large SUV it fit like a gem even with my front seats as far back as they could go and the infant seat max'd out in all directions for height and recline.   So overall the SRCC40 is actually smaller than a standard infant seat depth when it is on the base settings #1-4 and the same when it hits the base setting #5 and about the same as an average convertible from #6-8. 


SRCC40 on base position 1vs MyRide65
SRCC40 on base position 8 vs MR65

So that is a perfect lead in to size compared to a convertible seat!! Since an average baby in a standard infant car seat SHOULD ideally move from an infant seat (if they started in one to begin with) to a RF convertible seat until AT LEAST 2 years old, or the max of that convertible;  how does this new SnugRide Click Connect 40 compare to a convertible when RF.   Because, well, it should fit an average size 2 year old and perhaps this might mean you could theoretically go from this infant seat straight to a FF combination seat and still be following the AAP recommendations.  OK, that was wordy, but after all my extended rear facing rants, I think you might know what I mean... if not, email me and I'll explain further!!   

So compared to a Graco MyRide 65 convertible car seat, this one compares depth-wise very similar, just slightly larger.    Hard to picture because of the angle of my camera, but true.  Here is the MR65 besides the SRCC40 in the #1 position and in position #8. 
As you can see from my photos comparing the MR65 to the SRCC40 on the #8 base position, there is actually MORE legroom in the CC40 than in the MR65.   Very interesting! 
Parker in Size4Me 70 legroom

Don’t believe me?! Here’s a photo of Parker, at 3 years 3 months old – 27 pounds and 39 inches in his Graco Size4Me 70 Convertible car seat.   Legs are bent which is fine and he does not mind rear facing at all.
Parker showing leg room in SRCC40

Here he is in the SRCC40.   Now while he does not “fit” height wise per the seat recommendations and owner’s manual, he clearly “fits” with leg room!! (No he is not buckled in, I know this… just showing for leg room purposes as I wouldn’t travel with him this way.)

So yes, there is ample room for a toddlers legs to grow into this seat pending the depth is available to move the seat base.   And again, you CAN use this seat for a toddler that would fit in the height/weight range allowed even on the low numbered base settings, the moveable base is purely a convenience feature.  Bent legs and legs touching the back of the seat are OK!!

Now we’ve seen it in a small SUV, a standard sedan, and a large SUV… how about the fit for children?   It’s supposed to go from newborn to 2+ years old, will it actually?? 

YES!  And just like any other car seat, it will always depend on the child sitting in the seat, their height, weight, whether they have a long torso or short, long legs or short, and how comfortable that child is with recline angles, wanting to sit up further and also their comfort in a more cozy space as compared to a larger convertible seat.   Neither of my boys were ever bothered by continuing to ride in their infant carrier until they had max’d it out.   Colby ultimately outgrew his Graco Safe Seat Step 1 by height at about 15 months old and Parker at about 17 months. That’s some pretty good bang for our buck and use length on an infant car seat.   And despite legs dangling off the end of the seat, neither was bothered by the cozy space of the infant seat nor seemed to desire the added width room of an convertible car seat.   So again, like any seat on the market, using this one will not only depend on your car but also on your child.   

8 week old newborn
So…. How do children actually fit??


Snug and Cozy and Safe = Happy Baby

For a newborn:   Great.   The very posh and cozy infant inserts are so soft I wanted to curl up in it!!  Here the little miss didn’t seem to need the additional infant head insert but a few weeks ago I probably would have left it in.  She’s 8 weeks old and settled right into her own space one we strapped her in.  The harness was super easy to adjust down to her height with just a squeeze of the 2 buttons behind the seat.   Slide up or down to get a perfect fit.  

And once in the car… 
Check out all that leg room for this growing girl!! 

6 month old

So I’d say even a small premie would fit wonderful in this seat given all the additional padding.   What’s great is that it all comes up and you can opt for the pieces of padding you’d like and remove the other section as your child grows. 

For example, how about a 6 month old??  
SRCC40 Base Position 1

On position 1 of the base…

And Position 5… Just look at that leg room!


There is quite a lot of versatility of the SRCC 40 as compared to the exact same baby in the Safe Seat Step 1. Both fantastic car seats, however, clearly the SRCC40 will grow more with the child.   Gotta love new technology and innovation!

11 month old - still plenty of room to grow
Now on to "the twins", at 11 months old - 17 pounds and 28 inches.  This little man looks quite happy in the seat and clearly still has loads of room to grow still while using this seat. When choosing seats for twins, the height and space needs of the driver and passenger should absolutely be considered because the seats will typically be installed on either side of the back seat instead of the center position, which is often chosen for a first child. 

Oh and just as a friendly reminder, always strap children into their car seats!! Even if you aren’t working with the child in a car seat installation overview, they should be secure, sometimes they twist and squirm and perhaps might end up in this predicament.   Don’t fear, twin #2 wasn’t hurt, car was parked in the driveway and keys even inside the house, mommy was standing next to him in the doorway while I was holding twin #1 as we were chatting.  He squirmed into this position as we were watching and standing right there. It was quite funny to watch.  There was no risk, no fall, I’m a CPST and mom is a pediatric ER doc, I think the boys were in good hands!! We took the photo because he just looked pretty silly before we scooped him up and we went back inside the house! :o)

22 month old with still 1 inch above his head
And finally, how about 22 month old - just about 27 pounds and 34 inches.   This little guy has a longer torso and thus he was just about at the max for this seat.  While there was still the 1 inch above his head he probably is ready to move (and does currently ride) to a convertible car seat soon.  

34 inch tall 22 month old with lots of leg room still

Yet notice, his legs are still not touching the back of the vehicle seat on position 8 even with max’ing out the height limit of the seat by the 1 inch rule!

For comparison sake… here is Parker actually strapped in the SRCC40 out of the car. He loves modeling car seats, can ya tell?!!   And as you can see, my long legged 3 years 3 months old, 27 pound 39+ inch child sits just taller than the seat. Gotta love a tall child who is all legs and has a short torso - his framework is a car seat gurus dream!



So overall, what are my feelings now that I have hands on experience with the Graco Snug Ride Click Connect 40 rear facing only car seat???   

Final thoughts… 

  • It WILL fit a variety of vehicle sizes, however, might not be able to reach to the #8 base position on smaller vehicles or those with taller drivers/passengers.  (Remember however you can still use it on the lower positions with a larger child, that is just a feature, not a necessity!) 1-8 position adjustable base offers loads of growth, but might be a space hog in smaller vehicles.
  • It WILL fit a very large range of children – ages, heights, weights – And with the cozy additional cushioning a tiny 4 pound newborn would be quite content in this seat as is a 2-3 year old 35 inch child. (But already follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for seat limits)
  • Has fantastic side impact protection
  • A very easy to use no re-thread harness system
  • Recline indicators for infants and older children
  • Has a very easy seat belt install with a belt lock off system and narrow belt path.
  • I’d probably have expected the push on InRight LATCH connectors instead of traditional LATCH hooks at this price point, but not a major flaw, just a preference for ease of use. 
  •  It is ONLY compatible with the Graco Click Connect stroller systems, including several standard strollers, the SnugRider Elite and coming new to 2013 a Graco FastAction Fold Jogger Click Connect. However, it is not compatible with the traditional Graco strollers or other stroller adapters.  As more Click Connect strollers come to the market, I don’t see this being an issue, it would probably only be with parents who have had prior SnugRide seats and traditional Graco stroller systems which now would not be compatible.  
  • Retails at Babies R Us only (currently) and only in limited colors
  • $219.99 Retail price 

Thank you, Graco, for allowing me the opportunity to review this seat and let others know my thoughts on the Snug Ride Click Connect 40.  I absolutely think it is setting a new standard for rear facing only car seats! Please note, all the opinions in this post were my own, I was provided the product so that I could have hands on experience using it and therefore provide a more accurate and appropriate review of the product. I was given permission by all parents of the children in this post to use their photos, however, names were left out to protect their identity. 
So wouldn’t YOU want one of these “babies” for YOUR baby??  Now is your chance!!!!  Yes, that’s right, you can.  This is a Graco sponsored review and thus you have the opportunity to WIN a Graco Snug Ride Click Connect 40 of your very own!  

Baby on the way?  Already have a seat but not happy with it?  Have a friend who is expecting? 

Comment with your name, email address and your favorite feature of the Snug Ride Click Connect 40 to be entered to win!   Entries must be received by  Monday October 29th – I will announce the randomly selected winner as a BOO – Halloween surprise!!!   

GOOD LUCK! And remember, keep those children safe - RIDE TO THE MAX!!!


Tim said...

My favorite feature would have to be the recline feature. I like how you can adjust it for more legroom. I also like that it offers a kick plate to keep those dirty shoes off the back seat.

twiese23 at hotmail dot com

Carly said...

Great review! I like that the padding can come out in pieces. I'm not thrilled about the car seat not working with the old stroller systems. That's disappointing. You've convinced me that it works for the range of babies that it can support, though. Thanks!

Danielle said...

Hey Kristen, this is pretty cool. I think it'sgreat because you don't have to go from your Snugride 30 (in my case, and x2), to another rear-facing seat, to a front-facing seat, all in the first two years! Wish these were out before my babies were born!
Danielle Roth

Stephanie Caruso said...

I really love that this goes from newborn all the way up - and the leg room is great! A ton better than my son's rear facing convertible. I agree with Danielle - I wish this had been out sooner for my twins. Thanks for the review & chance to win :)

scaruso85 at gmail dot com

Shannon said...

Love the review! Great information. Favorite feature...4-40 pounds awesome!

Jess said...

I love that this seat would give us the option of an extended rear facing and an infant carrier in one. Extended rear facing is really important to use, so we'd use this seat until it was outgrown.

Strawberryfields1980 at hotmail dot com

A said...

I like the reclining range that it offers, very versatile! I also like the excellent side impact protection. :)

Harmony Burmeister said...

the safety features are great and I really like that the base is smaller.

njharmonyg at aol dot com

Gina Perricone said...

This is an awesome carseat!

Angela Perricone said...

love this car seat!

Angela Perricone said... (angela perricone's mom)

Victor Perricone said...

Very Safe Car Seat

Stephen Perricone said...

I had a car seat from Greco...I loved it

Lorraine Moscato said...

very safe carseat

Josephine Perricone said...

great carseat. Reasonable price...well worth the money

Stefani said...

I like the recline feature, the built in lock off and the kick plate.
sjhess80@hotmail dot com

MtnHarmony said...

I have been looking at car seats for hours - esp. this one and I have to say this is the BEST blog I have found. Why? Because if you can't see the thing in person the next best thing is a great review of different children and LOTS of photos!!!!!! Thanks so much for all the info. I like the fact it has lock offs and you don't have to rethread the harness, not to mention the fact it will keep a babe RF longer than other infant seats. I so want one of these!

bnforgiven (at) Yahoo (dot) come

Linda O'Connor said...

This seat looks so much more comfortable and all around safer than my Bertini. My 5 month old is using the old seat from my 3 year old and this seat appears to be of a different, higher caliber. I love the multiple positions of this seat, along with the fact that the baby can stay in it well into her toddler years.

Please pick me!!!

Gerard O'Connor said...

I like the reclining feature and the removable padding so my child's head doesn't bounce around when he is sleeping. Much more comfortable and much safer.

Gabi Rauch said...

Love this new seat! The extra side protection and colors are amazing. I can't wait to try it out with our little one. I am looking forward to the new adapters that will work with this one.

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