Car seat safety has become a big topic on my mind. There is such a huge spectrum on what car seats offer, and it is a challenging and overwhelming task to find one that is safe, but also affordable.
After our son outgrew his infant carrier we started with a different car seat, but from the moment we pulled the First Years True Fit Recline Car Seat out of the box, we could tell that this was a safer, more durable, seat.
One of the nice features of this seat is that it reclines for use in a rear-facing configuration, which means it essentially works like a bucket seat for small infants. Of course, in that case it doesn’t have the portability of an infant seat that doubles as a carrier. On the other hand, it’s much more substantial than those seats and latches directly to the backseat of your car instead of using a base. The recline adjustment is a handle located on the bottom of the front and is super easy to access and adjust. The car seat came out of the box set up to be installed in a rear-facing configuration, but not reclined.
Our son is big enough for a forward-facing seat, so I first had to reconfigure the seat for forward-facing use. This process involves rerouting the belt. The manual gives instructions on how to do this, which are for the most part clear and understandable. There were only a couple of points that could have used clarification. First, when it says to pull up the bottom of the cover off of the seat, it really needs to be removed most of the way up the back of the seat, and there are a lot of snaps and loops that connect it. This means it stays in place well, but they can be a bit hard to locate. In particular, there are two loops that pass through the bottom of the seat and hook underneath, and two that do the same on the lower back. The cover needs to stay pulled back until the belt re-routing is complete. When I went to put the cover back on, I had to reach through the holes with needle-nosed pliers to pull the elastic loops back through.
A headrest also installs for forward-facing use. It slides easily in the top and snaps when completely inserted. It removes easily with a push-button release.
Once re-routed, the belt snaps right onto the cars LATCH system. The two latches on the base belt have push-button releases (like a seat belt), which is really nice for installation and removal. If you’ve ever had to dig into the backseat of your car trying to unlatch the traditional hooks, you know what a pain it can be. The buttons don’t stick out enough to really be a problem for accidental or child-instigated unlatching. There’s also a top tether. The manual gives clear instructions for this. The seat can also be installed using a seatbelt instead of the LATCH system, which is nice for older cars.
When installed facing forward, the seat leaves plenty of leg room and space for the front seats to recline or be moved back. There is a cup holder that attaches to either side that sticks out quite a bit, but it has space for sippy-cup handles, which is helpful.
Our son loves this seat. He sits up a bit higher than he did in his old seat and therefore is able to see outside more. We love to point out and spot objects or animals that he sees outside, making trips fun and educational. The five point harness is easy to adjust and seem to fit him snugly and comfortably. It tightens with a pull on a single strap at the bottom front, and loosens by pulling up on a release latch at the same location, making it very easy to use. The shoulder straps adjust with a lever on the side to one of four different positions. No rethreading is required, which is really, really convenient since we don’t have to take the seat out to adjust them. The crotch buckle can also be moved out as your child grows. The seat itself is quite substantial, and provides lots of support for baby (Extra padding included for infants/rear facing installation). There is great support for our toddler’s head when he falls asleep in the car (we’ve used other seats where we worried about his neck when he fell asleep). The cushion is easy to clean, and the look of the seat is sleek and trendy.
Overall, this is a really nice seat, and a definite upgrade over others we’ve seen and used. We’re really happy with it and would recommend it to others, as well. We’re excited to test it out in the rear-facing configuration when baby number two arrives soon!
Here’s a full list of the True Fit Recline C650 features:
Removable headrest for better rear-facing installation, can be used rear facing with headrest for infants up to 35lbs.
Easy-to-read center angle indicator with two position settings
Easy adjust, no rethread harness for use to 65lbs
Multi-position crotch strap adjustment
Easy-off pad, snaps on and off with out rethreading harness
Color-coded belt paths for easy installation
Built-in lock offs for both rear- and forward-facing installation, external LATCH storage
Two-position recline for better installation
Deep side wings, side-impact tested to international standards
For use with children 5-65lbs and up to 50′ tall
To buy: thefirstyears.com