When I purchased my infant car seat/carrier, I thought I’d be able to use it for at least a year. So I was shocked when my daughter started to outgrow it at around 7 months. She likes to hangout at the tops of the growth charts, and in case that trend continues, I want a seat I’m not going to have to replace again … and again.
The Graco Head Wise 70 accommodates children from four to 70 pounds! This could actually be the only car seat you ever use. Children can sit rear facing up to 40 pounds and front facing from 20 to 70 pounds, and I could not wait to try it.
The seat has some features that I love, as well as some areas that could be improved upon.
First, I love the safety features. The seat has side impact protection, SafeSeat engineering, and the Simple Safe Adjust Harness system. The seat is also very sturdy. Going along with safety, the second thing I love is the manual. Manuals are very important to me. I hate it when instructions and illustrations are unclear. It makes me feel stupid. Not only is this manual super easy to follow, but it also offers tips for easier use and additional safety recommendations. I really appreciate this, as most manuals give you only minimal information.
The next thing I love is the LATCH system. I’ll never buy a car seat without it. I’ve used the LATCH system before, but it has never been this easy. Installing this seat, honestly, took less than a minute. It just snapped into place and tightened right up. There is also a level on the seat, so you can easily see that it has been installed properly, and once installed, it barely moves around in the seat at all. It’s so easy.
Once it was installed, I got my daughter all strapped in. I was impressed by how easily the straps adjusted. Another great feature about this seat is that the shoulder straps are connected to the headrest, which has eight settings, so you don’t have to feed the straps through to adjust the shoulders. You just pull a handle to the top and everything moves together. Additionally, the seat has a three-position recline, so as your child grows, they can sit more upright, which is great for my daughter who loves being able to see out the window. The seat also has a cup holder built in, and the cover and padding is machine washable for easy cleanup.
Unfortunately, this car seat does have a few areas that could be improved. I’ll start with the padding, or lack thereof. The seat has removable padding to accommodate infants. This padding is nice and cozy. We strapped my daughter’s doll in the seat, and she seemed quite comfy. But since my baby is gigantic, we had to take the padding out. I was very disappointed by how hard every thing is without the infant padding. The bottom to the seat is not very cushy at all. I imagine it could get pretty uncomfortable on long car rides. Also, the pads on the shoulder straps aren’t very plush. In fact, when I took my daughter out of the seat, I noticed she had red marks on her neck from the shoulder straps. She also had red marks on her inner thighs from the crotch strap. In addition to the lack of padding, the seat does not offer much legroom when rear facing. My daughter is still under a year old, and I’m not sure how long she could sit that way comfortably. The last issue is purely cosmetic. The seat only comes in a few colors: red/brown, purple/brown and black/brown. It has large, bright red handles to adjust the headrest and recline positions, and they look kind of weird on the purple and black models.
To sum up, the Graco Head Wise 70 is a safe car seat that will give your child a lot of mileage. It could be more comfortable, but perhaps some of that could be fixed by buying additional padding.
To buy: target.com