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As soon as you learn you will be expecting a baby, about ten million questions rush into your head — at once. Suddenly, you will be infinitely more concerned about their health and safety than you ever were with your own. One way to help keep your child safe is by picking an appropriate car seat.
I researched car seats so much that I occasionally talked about them in my sleep. After all that research, we eventually ended up with the Graco Snugride Click Connect 35. I am going to go over everything I read while I was doing research, but I will also let you know about everything I learned from my two years of using the Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 with two of my kids.
The topics I will be reviewing are installation, ease of use, weight/size, comfort/quality, price, and safety. Here are some of the pros and cons that I will be addressing
- Equipped with LATCH
- Many different slots for straps making it great for smaller babies
- Click connect function
- Machine washable seat pad
- Rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed U.S. safety standards
- LATCH difficult to install
- Straps are difficult to rethread
- Difficult to unbuckle
- Difficult to use handle and canopy at the same time
- 1 What Does Graco Say?
- 2 Ease of Use
- 3 Some Alternatives to Consider
- 4 My Final Assessment:
What Does Graco Say?
Here is what Graco says on their website concerning their features and specifications of the Graco Snugride Click Connect 35:
Length: 28″, Width: 18.66″, Height: 15.59″
SnugRide Click Connect 35:
Weight without base: 7.5 lbs
Weight with base: 14.17 lbs
(Weight differs depending upon model)
- Helps protect rear-facing infants from 4-35 lbs. and up to 32 inches
- Click Connect™ technology offers a one-step secure attachment to all Graco® Click Connect™ strollers to create a travel system that can be customized to your needs
- EPS, energy absorbing foam for effective impact energy management
- Convenient, LATCH-equipped stay-in-car base with on-base level indicator for hassle-free installation
- Stay-in-car base with 6-position dial adjustment makes proper installation easier
- 5-point, front adjust harness helps you get baby in and out
- Removable infant head support cushions baby
This car seat boasts a lot of great features, especially for a relatively inexpensive infant car seat. If you were buying a car seat based purely on this information, it would seem to be a great car seat. Now that I have used this car seat for several years let me also add in some other information.
This car seat is equipped with the LATCH system, which is a great improvement over using the vehicle seat belt. If you do not know what the LATCH system is, it is simply two anchors that are clipped into your car’s LATCH anchors that are located in your cushion.
While it’s great that the car seat has this feature, this Graco has the older style LATCH which is basic metal hooks. This type makes it a little more difficult to attach and disconnect. If your vehicle LATCH anchors are located further into the cushion, this makes it especially difficult.
If your vehicle is not equipped with the LATCH system, you can use the seat belt instead. It is fairly simple to install using this method.
While I could see how some people would be frustrated with this particular LATCH system, I have never had a problem installing this car seat in any of my cars. It is a touch more difficult to attach and disconnect the hooks, but it has never been a cause of frustration and doesn’t take much time at all.
Ease of Use
This car seat has a 5-point, front adjusts harness. The buckles on this Graco are fairly simple and easy to buckle in. Some have reported that their buckle is hard to unbuckle and that you sometimes need two hands to completely press the button down. The chest clip is also a simple, stiff chest clip.
This car seat comes with a harness tightening strap to secure the straps. You will have to pull the strap rather hard to get it to completely tighten. When it’s time to take your baby out of the car seat, you just push the harness release button and pull the straps out. The release button is located under a little padding, but overall it’s not too difficult to reach. The straps are easily loosened.
As your baby grows, it’s important that you adjust the straps to accommodate their size. With this model, you have to completely rethread the straps from behind, which I do admit is a bit of a pain. There are 4 shoulder slots and 2 crotch slots which allow you to get the right size you need. They have slots that will accommodate a smaller baby which is nice if your baby doesn’t weigh a ton.
One area that people complained about is when you try to use the canopy and the handle at the same time. If you want to have the canopy up and the handle down you need to hold the canopy while you push the handle down. If you want to carry the car seat by the handle while having the canopy up, you have to squeeze your hand in between.
One of the great things about the Graco Click Connect System is that you can easily move the car seat in between the bases and strollers. For example, we have a base in each of our cars so we don’t have to worry about switching anything around. We also have a light stroller and a jogging stroller from Graco. This car seat seamlessly “clicks” into each of the bases and strollers with ease.
Personally, the only issue that I agree with is the rethreading of the straps. You need to turn the car seat over and rethread each strap which takes a little time. I have never had a problem with the buckle being hard to unbuckle or with the canopy.
One great feature of this car seat is that it is one of the lighter car seats out there. However, it’s actually a bit bulky. If you have a small car, you will most likely need to put the front seat all the way up in order to get the car seat to fit. Depending on how tall you are or what you are transporting, this may or may not be a problem.
We have always had an SUV, so we have never run across this issue. With the car seat being light weight, it is nice when you have to carry the baby and the car seat around.
This Graco is pretty average when it comes to comfort and quality. It is not a super plush seat, but there is enough padding that it is comfortable. The handle also has a grip which is helpful when you’re carrying the car seat around.
One thing I really like is that the seat pad is machine washable. I have washed ours several times, and it holds up well to the washing machine.
Here are the safety facts according to Graco:
- Top rated by leading consumer magazines and publications
- Rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed U.S. safety standards
- Safe Seat Engineered* (*safeseat engineering includes side impact testing, testing at 2x car seat standard, and testing to extreme car interior temperatures)
Some Alternatives to Consider
Graco has several car seats that are similar, with just slightly different features. For example, the Graco Snugride Click Connect LX boasts a no-rethreading feature along with other upgrades. Some other alternatives include:
Graco Snugride Click Connect 30
Graco Snugride Click Connect 30 LX
Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LX
Graco Snugride Click Connect 40
You can find the Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 anywhere from $119.99 to $149.99 depending on where you get it and what pattern you get. This is on the inexpensive side of infant car seats. You can always check here for the latest prices and discounts.
My Final Assessment:
Overall the Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 is a good seat for the price. You can find cheaper ones, but not many have as many features as this car seat. If you are looking for a car seat that has more features, you will probably need to spend a little more money.
The main area where this car seat is lacking is the ease of use and a little with the installation. It has many great features such as the LATCH system and the different slots for adjusting the straps. However, these features aren’t as easy to use as other car seats.
When I was looking at car seats, my main concern was safety and my next concern was that it was affordable. I don’t care if it takes an extra minute to install and I don’t mind that it’s a little difficult to adjust the straps.
Would I buy this car seat again? Absolutely. For the price, I believe it’s a great car seat. However, if you have a bigger budget or if you want a car seat that is easier to use, this is probably not the seat for you.