One of the most challenging tasks as a first-time parent is selecting the right infant car seat. After endless research we decide on one and hopefully after the investment the baby is happy in it and, most importantly, safe. There are so many brands and models out there, but Graco has always been my go-to with my own kids and to recommend to my clients.

When you are ready to transition your baby out of the infant car seat (for which I also love the Graco SnugRide 30), the search commences once again for the best convertible car seat. This change usually occurs around the 6-month mark or when baby is over 35 pounds or 32 inches long. A convertible car seat is an important choice since your child will be in it until around age four, but Graco has once again made life even easier with the Nautilus 3-in-1 car seat. It is forward-facing, converting from a harnessed booster to a high back belt-positioning booster and finally to a backless belt positioning booster accommodating from 20 to 100 lbs!

I was lucky enough to test the Nautlilus (in the Atlas design) on my three-year old son and here is why I think it is a must-have:

Ease of Use: The five-point harness is a cinch to put on and take off the child.

Adjustments: If the harness needs adjusting, you can simply use the easily accessible button underneath the Graco symbol to make it tighter or looser. It is also easy to adjust the height by using the lever at the top of the seat. All can be done with just one hand.

Seat: The seat is spacious and comfortable. It reclines to 3 different positions easily with direct front access. My son loved the “big boy” cup holder and storage compartments on both sides for his “stuff”. These features plus the contoured arm rests make it much cozier than other seats I’ve tried.

Installation: It only took a few minutes to correctly install the Nautilus in the car using the seatbelt. The red guides in different locations of the seat help to ensure your installation is correct.

Convertibility: I also tested out how to convert it to a booster when the time comes for my son to transition. This was also a breeze by just removing the back of the seat and repositioning the seatbelt. The fabric is also incredibly easy to remove, wash, and put back on.

Safety:  The seat offers excellent head protection and durability with Graco’s top-rated side-impact protection. An added bonus of the side impact protection? Built-in pillows for my son to rest his head on for a nap in the car!

The only down side? It is quite heavy if you are planning on moving it from car to car or traveling with it. It comes as no surprise that the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat is America’s best selling #1 harnessed booster seat and earned over 1,700 glowing reviews on Amazon. I feel confident with my son riding safely in the Nautilus and he is one happy passenger.

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About LaurenD

Lauren Deneroff is the founder of mama{love}, a maternity consulting and baby planning firm in Manhattan. She lives in the city with her husband, Joe, and two children, Brody & Harper.
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