Real talk, if you’re looking for the Cadillac of car seats, the Nuna RAVA is more than worthy of a good look. Can I start by raving about how easy and hassle free this seat is? I’m a huge fan of the LATCH system with the auto-release button to keep my fingers from getting pinched while digging around for the lower anchors with a clip-on. Even then, I still have to fight the tension and fish around for the exact location of the anchors. But with the Nuna RAVA, I can use the vehicle seat belt for a secure installation of the car seat just as snugly as with the LATCH system! (For LATCH-loyal users, it still has that accessibility option should you want to use it.)
In fact, this is one of their biggest advertising points: seat belt installation is their preferred method, eliminating the need for switching from LATCH to seat belt when your child reaches the next level of weight and outgrows the LATCH limitations. I absolutely love the seat belt installation because it makes it so easy to move the car seat to another car when grandparents come to visit.
When it comes to baby gear, the instruction manual is clear, specific and easy to follow with many illustrations so you can check each step. I actually watched an installation video online, which went step-by-step through both rear- and forward-facing installations, and it showcased some of the extra features of the seat. There are so many small features tucked everywhere—pop-out side impact protection pods, flip-open cup holders, extendable leg rest, pockets to hold the straps while you buckle, ventilation panels, washable knit fabric and more! And installation is so fast! The first one took me about five minutes because I was adjusting to the right size and perfect riding angle, but now that it’s set to my baby’s comfort, it’s so quick—I can move it from one car to another in less than two minutes!
The weight range on the RAVA is up to 50 pounds rear-facing with plenty of back legroom, and 25 to 65 pounds forward-facing. For the overlapping range, the instruction manual lays out the options for which installation to use and how to properly secure it for the method you choose. The steel frame is moderately heavy, but keep in mind convertible car seats aren’t made to be carried around. The fabric is pretty breathable, so baby doesn’t get too hot. Plus, the head support has some extra cushioning, so her head doesn’t roll around so much when she falls asleep.
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Another favorite feature of mine is the adjustable no rethread 5-point harness. You never have to rethread straps on this car seat; both the bottom buckle and the top are adjustable as baby grows for superior protection and convenience. The top straps adjust by raising and lowering the headrest, and there’s a slider two-position button for the lower strap (underneath the seat cover). And the straps extend and retract with such ease! No struggling to tighten them all the way or tugging on the straps to loosen them while baby squirms to get out. Our little one has perfected the twist-and-lunge move the moment we unclip the buckle, so we need to be able to get her out fast.
This car seat is loaded with convenient and comfort extras to checkout. There are strap covers not only on the top to keep the straps from cutting into baby’s neck but also on the lower straps to provide cushioning around the hips. Those plus the infant insert provide a secure but comfortable harness for smaller/younger babies. The cup holders pop out, so you can fold them down if you need to fit more people in the backseat. The top tether strap (for anchoring forward-facing riders) has a place to clip into the back and comes with a shoulder pad, so you can use it as an over-the-shoulder carrying strap when transporting just the car seat, like for airline travel. They thought of everything!
The color options for the RAVA are absolutely gorgeous in options such as caviar, granite and frost! We got the oxford style, in order to be able to use it for a boy or a girl (for the next kid), but I was strongly tempted by the rose option for our little princess. All the colors are neutral shades that make a statement without being too loud.
This seat is uncomplicated in the best way and exceeds the American Safety Standards. What’s more, it’s been smartly sourced to be both flame resistant and contain no added fire retardant chemicals, making it an overall winner in my book.