Reader Lindsey D. writes in today with some thoughts on the Graco SnugRide 35:
We love Baby Bargains, and it’s been incredibly helpful to us. Because it’s been so helpful, we’re hoping our experience with the Snugride 35 car seat will be helpful to others. Like many other parents have found, it’s a great car seat at first. Unfortunately, as many other frustrated parents have reported online, the “35” part of the name is a flat-out lie. Our 7-month-old son is about 20 pounds, around the 50th percentile on both height and weight, and he can no longer fit comfortably in the car seat. Once your baby is tall enough to need the straps raised to the top level (there are three height levels for the seat), there is no longer any slack in the straps, and you have to force your baby’s arms through the straps to a degree that causes him (and us) a great deal of discomfort, particularly for those of us in colder climates who need to bundle up baby before we leave the house! We finally gave up and purchased a convertible car seat to keep from packing him in there like a sardine. The car seat was great for a while, but because the 35-pound version doesn’t last as long as promised, we would strongly recommend using a lighter version.
The car seat may be strong enough to support a 35-pound baby, but if you can’t actually fit a 20-pound baby in the darn thing, what good is it?
FYI: Check the comments below for a reader tip on how to solve this problem!
I agree that the seat probably won’t take a child up to 35 pounds but needed to comment on another part of the reader’s note. I am a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician). In her note, Lindsey D. said: “particularly for those of us in colder climates who need to bundle up baby before we leave the house!” Please, please, please, for your child’s safety DO NOT USE a coat or snuggle type of blanket in the car seat. There should be VERY little bulk between the child and the straps and no blankets between the child and the back of the seat. This could impact the performance of the seat in a crash because these items can be compressed and the child could potentially come out of the seat in a crash. Here is a link to a great blog that illustrates why you should not use coats in the car sea: http://carseatsmadeeasy.blogspot.com/2010/12/keeping-warm-and-safe-in-winter.html Thanks for listening, protecting your children and having a great book!
I agree. We had the same issue with our daughter who is in the 10th %ile for height and weight. She weighs 23lbs now and we can no longer fit her in the straps; there is not enough slack. The snugride worked for us and although we never put it to the test (thankfully), I felt that she was very safe in it. It was convenient to use and install. There is just no reason to pay any more for the 32 or 35 or to carry around its extra weight. I can’t imagine any child fitting in the seat at its maximum capacity.
We are just discovering this ourselves, as our daughter approaches 20lbs @ 9 mos. It is becoming more and more difficult to take her arms in & out of the straps and this is without a coat on! Why didn’t they just make the straps longer? I’m extremely disappointed in how poorly the design was thought of. Not only did we spend the extra money to get the larger SnugRide 35, but it is much bulkier and a bit heavier so hauling it around has not been easy. I’ve carried friends’ car seats like the Chicco KeyFit 30 and the smaller SnugRides and wish I had gotten one of those instead. We bought the SnugRide 35 because the book said that infant car seats are safer for children at this age and so we could keep our daughter rear facing for as long as possible. but turns out we won’t be able to use it to 25lbs. I think they should pay us the difference in the extra $$$ we had to spend to get this thing!
I agree with this as well! We are very surprised that our little son grew out of that car seat as fast as he did! He was out of it by 9 months, and he is only in the 3rd percentile for weight and 10th percentile for height. He was getting so squished in there! It was VERY misleading.
Just a note to point out there are 2 loops on the back of the harness straps, where they attach to the splitter plate. It comes with them at the smaller setting for newborns, but you can adjust it to the larger one for extra harness room – IIRC, it adds about 2″ of length. Check your manual for more info.
That said, I’m all in favor of skipping the infant seat altogether and have done it with my huge babies who would have outgrown even one of the bigger infant seats by 6 months!
One of the biggest things we preach over and over again with car seat weight limits is that this is more of a marketing war between big baby brands than it is a realistic, functional feature. Yes, these seats are tested successfully at their weight limits, but it is COMPLETELY unrealistic to say that in the real world they will be used at the maximum weight limit. By the time your child is 35lbs they will be way to old to be in an infant car seats. Its crazy to think otherwise.
Now one thing that is notable with a higher weight limit car seats is that they are typically more roomy and accommodating to your children. Most kids don’t even last to 22lbs. in an infant car seat. So in our opinion you can ignore the WEIGHT LIMIT WAR that the big brands continue to fight.
Sarah, thank you for the tip. It worked and now we can fit our daughter for a few more pounds!
We choose to buy the lowest weight capacity carseat for a few reasons. 1. I have back problems and didn’t want to be carrying a heavier carseat around. 2. If you look at the average height and weight charts you’ll discover most kids will outgrow the height restriction long before they get to the weight restriction. Admittedly, our daughter was on the light side and didn’t hit 20 pounds until after she turned 1 year old, but she outgrew the height restriction on the standard Snugride by 10 months. We were glad we didn’t spend the extra month on the Snugride 32 or 35.
I agree! My son is 6 months and BIG! Almost 21 pounds and 29″ – the 35 is good to 32″. I felt crazy for starting to seriously consider the convertible car seat, but based on his size, that’s where I am headed. He is definitely crammed in there and the straps are too short even with the extra extensions. Plus trying to carry him and the carrier in and out of daycare is killing my back, shoulders, etc. It was a great car seat – especially since we used teh snap N go with it, but I would get the smaller infant carriers next time.
We have this car seat and havent had a problem fitting our kids in it past age 2. But our kids are small lol so cant say much. 22 month old is 20lbs and fits comfortably in it still so it’s been a good investment for us !