Type: Convertible seat, booster.
Limits: 5 to 40 lbs. rear facing, 22 to 65 lbs.
forward facing, 40 to 100 lbs as a booster.
NHTSA ease of use rating: Not yet.
Pros: Three in one seat works from birth to age seven (100 lbs.). Harness holders on side of seat for easier access. Machine washable and dryable pad. No rethread harness (except in lowest position). Affordable price.
Cons: Fewer recline positions than competitors; when reclined, takes up a lot of space in back seat.
Comments: Safety 1st’s Grow & Go is the company’s latest effort in the all-in-one category—a convertible seat that works rear-facing for infants, forward-facing for toddlers and then as a booster seat for older kids. The Grow & Go replaces the Alpha Omega, the company’s first all-in-one seat that had mixed reviews.
There are three versions of the Grow & Go: the Air Sport 3-in-1, the EX Air 3-in-1 and the base model Grow & Go (no longer appears on Safety 1st’s web site and is showing out of stock on some web sites).
Key features of these seats include a “QuickFit harness” that adjusts the harness and headrest by pushing on a lever at the headrest. . . hence, no rethreading is needed as the baby grows. (We should note that the no rethread feature has a caveat: you do have to rethread the harness when moving it from the lowest position for babies. After that one rethread, it adjusts to more heights without rethreading). And the newest seats (the Air, Air Sport and EX Air) have the Air Protect side impact protection cushions.
Also nice: harness holders that make it easier to put baby in the seat—no more fishing the harness from behind a child or under their bottom.
We liked the machine washable and dryer safe pad that easily removes from the seat (without having to remove the harness), as well as the two integrated cup holders. The Grow & Go has a three-position recline, basic (hook) LATCH connectors and a head/body support for newborns. As a booster, the Grow & Go’s harness removes (and stores away) to become a belt-positioning booster that earned a Good Bet from the IIHS.
At $135-$190, this seat is affordably priced. What’s the difference between the four options? For the most part, it’s just better fabrics although the basic Grow & Go doesn’t have the Air Protect cushions and the center harness adjustment button.
So what are the negatives to the Grow & Go? In the most reclined position, the Grow & Go takes up a good amount of real estate in a back seat . . . and that could make it a challenge to use it in smaller vehicles. With only three recline positions, the Grow & Go pales in comparison to seats like Chicco NextFit. Of course, that seat costs $130 more than the Grow & Go.
The most direct competitor to this seat is the Graco 4Ever all-in- one seat, which has more height adjustments for the harness and twice the recline positions of the Grow & Go. The biggest difference is price: the Safety 1st Grow & Go is $135-190; the Graco 4Ever clocks in at to $260.
All in all, this is an impressive seat. The Grow & Go solves many of the issues we have with all-in-one seats, including a much better designed booster seat mode. Rating: A