When our son outgrew his Chicco KeyFit Infant Car Seat, we moved him up to Chicco’s NextFit Zip. I loved the idea of a zip-off washable seat cover and figured it would probably be handy […]
When our son outgrew his Chicco KeyFit Infant Car Seat, we moved him up to Chicco’s NextFit Zip. I loved the idea of a zip-off washable seat cover and figured it would probably be handy in our future. After testing out this feature, I think it’s a brilliant idea! On our first weekend road-trip, my husband and I were amazed how quickly our son comfortably settled into his more spacious car seat for a long nap. After twenty minutes in his old car seat, he would wake and fuss, but the NextFit Zip gave our restless sleeper room to wiggle and then get cozy. Needless to say, we were sold after our little one napped comfortably for a few hours during the drive!
I think the best feature is the machine washable seat pad that zips out. Sometimes I felt like I really needed to clean our old car seat more deeply, and this won’t be a problem with our NextFit Zip. Spot cleaning just doesn’t cut through some messes, and machine washing is so nice because we could be using this seat until grade school. The Chicco NextFit Zip is very versatile and can be used from infancy through age six. It accommodates infants who weigh 5-11 pounds and has a cozy newborn insert to cradle them. You can take out the infant insert and he can still ride facing the rear up to 40 pounds. The NextFit Zip holds forward-facing children that are 22-65 pounds, and the height limit is 50 inches. Chicco’s NextFit Zip is also stylish, and we really like the navy and gray colors on our “Equinox” model.
Installing the Chicco NextFit Zip in vehicles with LATCH anchor points is very easy and will be second-nature if you’ve previously used Chicco’s KeyFit Infant Car Seat. You’ll want to refer to the instruction manual for installation and to make adjustments; it’s well-written, well-illustrated and easy to follow. Chicco has an exclusive LATCH tightener that uses force-multiplying technology to help us effortlessly tighten the latches. Thankfully, there is no pulling and struggling during installation. They’ve even included tags that indicate “pull first” and “pull second” on the tightening straps so the process is simple and clear. Though it’s easy to install, the NextFit Zip weighs about 20 pounds, so we don’t move it around much. If your vehicle does not have LATCH anchor points, the installation is more complicated, but the manual’s step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process.
Chicco’s NextFit Zip has nine recline positions, a lot for a convertible car seat. All these options allow us to move the car seat between our vehicles and still have an accurate adjustment. There is a leveling system that indicates the range of recline appropriate for each stage of the car seat. Within those stages, there is a pretty big range so you’ll be able to adjust specifically for your child’s comfort and safety. The leveling system also indicates the appropriate seat angles for rear-facing verses front-facing. Adjusting the angle of recline is easy, but when rear-facing there’s a tight fit for your hand because it requires you to squeeze a lever between the child’s seat and car’s seat.
Securing our son in the Chicco NextFit Zip is easy with a 5-point harness that is simple to fasten and release. Once he’s seated, there is a pull-strap that tightens the harness simply; it’s funny how our son likes to hang-on to the pull strap sometimes. Releasing the harness is also easy and requires pressing a button and pulling the harness. This is very similar to Chicco’s KeyFit so it will be second nature if you’re used to that car seat. The harness padding is well-made and really comfy for our son. Chicco promotes a ComfortFlex design that keeps the harness up and out-of-the-way to keep things simple. I think this helps, but sometimes we still have to reach under our son’s sides and pull up the straps.
Adjusting the NextFit Zip between stages of growth is speedy because the 5-point harness adjusts automatically as we raise the headrest through its six different positions. Chicco calls this feature “fit-ability,” and it’s awesome because we don’t have to feed the straps through tiny spaces. The crotch strap can be adjusted with growth too. There is cushy infant insert that provides additional support for newborns weighing 5-11 pounds. Then you can remove the insert for a spacious rear-facing ride until at least age two. When your child is ready to transition to forward-facing, there is a slide path for the LATCH straps makes it simple to adjust them between rear-facing and forward facing. Chicco has even included two chest strap positions so it can be fastened with more space for larger children.
Storage is not something people usually consider when deciding on car seats, but Chicco has done such a nice job that I must mention it. There are storage compartments for the LATCH components and tether strap when they’re not being used, and it’s so nice that they aren’t dangling when not in use. There is also a place to store the instruction manual under the seat; what a great idea to help busy families keep everything together! A cup holder can be clipped onto either side of the car seat so children can store their drinks during road trips.
More information and videos to help with installation may be found at chiccousa.com.
To buy: babiesrus.com