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Graco MyRide 65 Convertible Car Seat Review

Graco MyRide 65 Convertible Car Seat ReviewThe Graco MyRide 65 car seat arrived on my doorstep by way of my neighbor’s house. When my 10-year-old neighbor walked up to the door carrying the bulky box, I couldn’t believe he’d lifted it. But I was surprised to find that, in spite of its size, it was fairly light. The same went for the car seat within.

We looked it over together: the plush seat, the dual cup holders, removable headrest – and I declared it “a Cadillac of car seats.” It looked extremely comfortable and the industry-standard five-point harness with strap covers looked exceptionally secure but easy to use.

“I’d ride in that!” my neighbor exclaimed.

Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts – or latches and belts, as the case may be.

Ease of installation

After viewing the video at Graco’s Web site, my husband and I – okay, I’ll be honest, my husband did the work – installed the seat in less than 10 minutes. Following the directions, we first adjusted the straps outside of the car, installed the seat in the center back seat of our 2003 Toyota Camry using the LATCH system. The car seat comes with two different straps: one for rear-facing installation and one for forward-facing. They are color-coded to match their respective belt paths, leaving a conscientious parent little room for error. Storage areas on the shell were easy to find, and permit storage of the straps, clips, and the top tether when they are not in use. Noting the tether strap, my husband commented, “This is going to be incredibly secure in the front-facing position.”

In the rear-facing position, we noticed a bit of wiggling beyond the acceptable “one inch in either direction,” so my husband tightened the LATCH straps a bit further. The leveling ball dropped securely into the green (previously, it was hanging out on the inner edge of the green zone) and the car seat barely budged.

The car seat can also be installed using your car’s safety belt. Graco warns that the LATCH system should only be used for a child weighing up to 48 lbs.; after that, seat belts should be used to install the car seat, which is the case with most convertible car seat models.

The straps are easy to adjust; the task can be accomplished without uninstalling the seat if it is in a rear-facing position.

Comfort & convenience

The harness straps were equally easy to tighten. Because the My Ride 65 fits such a wide range of sizes, it includes five different harness slots at different heights. Using the bottom four slots when the seat is rear-facing and the top four when it’s facing the front provides a lot of flexibility.

Since my daughter, at 10 months old, weighs about 16 lbs. and is 27 inches tall, we kept the infant support system in, with the straps in the lowest position.

By the description in the instruction manual, everything fit. The harness straps were tight enough that we couldn’t easily pinch them. But on our first trip we noticed she looked uncomfortable. When we got home, we removed the infant support and moved the straps up a notch; everything fit a lot better in this configuration. She nestled in for her first ride, comfortable and happy, and promptly began studying the buckle (a habit she developed in her infant car seat). My point? It may take some trial and error to get the perfect fit. Fortunately, adjusting the harness is very easy and only takes a few seconds.

The plush head support pillow is a nice feature, and I like the dual cup holders.We don’t have backseat cup holders, so I foresee myself using the ones in the car seat (for cold beverages only) during long trips.

The car seat’s footprint is small-to-average. There seems to be more room in the backseat with the My Ride 65 installed than there was with the Graco SnugRide infant car seat, despite the higher back and wide side impact wings and cup holders.

Safety

Now let’s consider the most important factor when you’re selecting a car seat: Safety.

Of course, the car seat meets or exceeds ASTM standards and it is FAA-approved for use onboard airplanes, as well. (Although the cup holders might make it a tight fit on some airline seats). The EVA foam and deep side wings protect a child against side impacts, while keeping the car seat a fairly light 14.5 lbs.

The key safety feature of the seat is the fact that it accommodates a child up to 40 lbs. in a rear-facing position. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping a child in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible. Most American model car seats top out at 35 lbs. for a rear-facing child. The My Ride 65, per its name, is the first American car seat to accommodate a child up to 40 lbs. in a rear-facing position and up to 65 lbs. or 49 inches in a forward-facing position. (I’m repeating myself because it’s such a cool thing!)

The car seat also gives the option of facing a child over one year old and weighing more than 20 lbs. in a forward position.

Impressions

Graco’s My Ride 65 has certainly set new standards for safety in the U.S. market. At $149, it represents the great value Graco brings to all its baby products.

Several fashionable designs are available; Graco sent me the Streamers pattern, brown and khaki green with beige dots. If I’d had a choice, I would have selected “Edgement Dots” in black and gray to match our car’s interior, but honestly, that’s the only negative we’ve encountered so far.

Graco’s products are time-tested, reputable, and reasonably priced. Our daughter’s first car seat/travel system was a Graco Quattro Tour travel system with the Snugride base and it’s serving us well, as is our Pack n’ Play.

The My Ride 65 is made in the U.S.A., with the infant insert made in Mexico. It’s nice to know we can support American industry and still get a quality product at a reasonable price; that fact alone would make me recommend the My Ride 65 over other brands to anyone in the market for a car seat.


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