Saturday, January 26, 2008

Review: Graco Snugride Car Seat & Glider Stroller

Now that The Boy has grown out of it, we're packing away our Graco Snugride Car Seat. We bought this a month before The Boy was born, on the recommendations of people from the mommy discussion boards that my wife frequents. (Yup, these are all itty-bitty pics of the boy. He's MUCH bigger now!)

The Snugride Car Seat is a relatively light car seat. Ours has a green cover with animals printed on it. The cover is designed to be easy to take off for washing - which is something that you're going to have to do with relative frequency. There's a matching canopy that attaches to the handle joints. I had a really hard time with this and had to request two new legs for the canopy because of putting-together difficulties. It literally took me about forty-five minutes to an hour to figure out how to put the darn thing together, which was immensely frustrating.

The car seat attaches into a base, which fastened into my car (a 2002 Ford Taurus) through the Latch system - which is two metal loops bolted to the car frame for a secure hold to the infant seat. There are options to attach the base in the car through the seatbelt, and the seat itself can be hooked into a car through a normal lap belt. The seat, as is required for children of that age, is rear-facing. Graco also has options to buy additional bases for other automobiles; we bought one for my wife's car, a 2006 Pontiac Vibe, which also used the Latch system to hook in. (Hers fit much better than mine, which rocked side to side by a little bit for some reason.)

Getting the car seat into the cars was a mixed bag. My wife's car was very easy - for some reason, the seats and the doorframes allowed easy entry for the infant seat to fit through. For my car, the seat had to be manipulated a bit and turned on its side in order to fit. This was not something that was remotely dangerous - it was just the amount of finessing that it required. Carrying the seat around was easy: even with the baby in it, it wasn't too bulky or heavy. The canopy kept the sun out of his eyes, as much as can be expected.

The cool thing about this was that the car seat attached itself into the Graco Glider stroller (left) with the same firmness and safety that it attaches into the car. This allows the baby to be walked safely and securely in his stroller; the car seat was also rear-facing in the stroller, which allows you to watch the baby as you walk. We stopped using the seat and the stroller together just a couple of months after the baby was born because he was big enough to sit in the stroller with the stroller's safety straps.

The stroller has matching fabric and is just as easy to take the seat cover off to wash. It's a BIG stroller - this does not travel particularly well, as it takes up about half of the large trunk of the Taurus. It is very sturdy and very hardy - the sidewalks where I live a crappy, and it takes the bumps and bruises of the sidewalk without a problem. The stroller has a tray table for the baby with a cup holder, which The Boy hasn't used yet - he likes throwing his toys (which means they're not coming on walks yet) and he can't feed himself yet. The parent tray - which has two cup holders and a recessed part which is perfect for sunglasses or a granola bar or something. The cup holders are pretty well useless, as the stroller has no shock absorption and drinks bounce all over the place. Coffee doesn't stay even in sealed cups, and cans of soda empty themselves. Bottles of soda are lots of fun to open after they've been shaken (not stirred). Underneath the stroller is a place that is very convenient to carry a diaper bag, some comics and an extra blanket and hat and mittens.

This is not the sort of stroller that you're going to take to the mall - it doesn't fit in stores easily and is too wide for indoor use. If you're looking for a portable stroller that you can throw in the car and use while shopping or touring, then this is not the one you're looking for. This is a great stroller for cruising around the neighborhood and walking around outside.

I highly recommend these two things. They're great! The stroller and the car seat have been absolutely wonderful. I recommend, if you live in a cold area, that you buy what we did - a furry blanket-thing (left) that lets the straps fit through it and kept the baby warm on the trips back and forth through the car. (Most of the time, we didn't put a jacket on him - keeping him in the furry thing was enough for the brief time he was exposed to the elements.) We'll be keeping the car seat and two bases for child number two - s/he's not on the way yet, don't get extra ideas.

Worst thing so far about the transition from the infant seat to a more standard car seat? With the infant seat, when he fell asleep in the car, he wouldn't wake up when the infant seat moved inside. He'd frequently stay asleep for up to an extra hour or so of blessed silence. Now? He wakes up immediately when removed from the car seat. >sigh<


the mol said...

It is unfortunate that he's out of the infant car seat. Plenty of other parents keep their kids in the infant seat for WAY too long. Plenty of other kids are just little...but if baby's head doesn't have about an inch or two of clearance on the top, it's not safe for him to be in the infant seat. And some parents forgo this recommendation, or think that because the child exceeds the height but not the weight that it's still fine to keep him in there.

Musical Daddy said...

Biggest thing I hate is that The Boy wakes up when he's taken out of the child seat. When he was in the infant seat, he'd stay asleep longer. But, you're more aware of the safety recommendations than I am!

Online Class said...

I like that kids car seat