Last month we introduced the new Chicco convertible car seat: the NextFit Convertible Car Seat. We’ve been using the seat for our 14 month old son and are excited to share our experience with the seat.
- RideRight: Bubble levels on either side of the seat indicate correct seat angle for both rear-facing and forward-facing
- SuperCinch: Exclusive LATCH tightener uses force-multiplying technology to help achieve a secure fit with a fraction of the effort
- 9 Recline Positions with ReclineSure: Provides the most recline options of any convertible seat for an accurate fit in a wider range of vehicles
- 6 Headrest Positions: Height-adjustable headrest support for growing children
- 2-Position Chest Clip: Accommodates growing children in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes
Installing the NextFit
As we all know, proper installation is an important part of car seat safety. All the safety features in the world won’t do you much good if the car seat isn’t installed or fit properly. That being said, installing the NextFit is a breeze. We’ve installed it both of our cars – a minivan and a sedan – and have actually switched it back and forth more times than we normally do so we got plenty of opportunities to install the seat.
First, we adjusted the recline to achieve the correct angle of the seat in the car. There is a large orange handle on the under side of the front of the seat and when depressing that, you slide among the 9 recline positions in the ReclineSure. The RightRight bubble indicator lets you know when the seat is in the correct position, which changes depending on whether the seat is forward or rear facing. There’s a bubble indicator on both sides of the seat so you can easily identify the correct position from either side of the car.
Next, we used the LATCH connectors to install the seat. The exclusive SuperCinch technology helps to get the all important tight and secure fit. The connectors are numbered: number 1 is a standard connection and number 2 has the cool force-multiplying technology. After connecting both sides to the car, pull on the first to remove slack and then pull on the second connector to easily achieve a really secure and tight fit. I still apply pressure to the car seat itself, but managed to avoid the usual car-seat-install-gymnastics. For the first time ever, I didn’t even break a sweat when installing a car seat. It’s a miracle!
The process of installing the NextFit was simple in both of our vehicles. In the photo below of the seat in our sedan I put the driver’s seat all the way back as far as it would go and it just barely touched the NextFit. This was a pleasant surprise as many rear-facing car seats take up so much space that they inhibit the position of the front seats.
Adjusting the Fit of the NextFit
A secure fit for your child IN the car seat is as important as a correct fit for the car seat in the car. The NextFit makes it easy to adjust the fit of car seat as your child grows, an important factor considering the seat can be used for babies from 5 to 65 pounds.
Adjusting the headrest and straps is an easy one-step process. Depress the button on the head rest to slide it up and down and as you move it the harness straps automatically move too. We absolutely love that you don’t have to rethread the harness straps to move them up or down and you can even adjust the straps while the seat is still secured in the car. Remember: when a child is rear facing the straps should be at or below the shoulders and when a child is forward-facing, the straps should be at or above the shoulders. There are 6 Headrest Positions so make sure it’s secure in one of the positions.
For the sake of testing, we adjusted the NextFit to fit my 40 pound 4 year old daughter. It was remarkably easy and took only a few minutes (and no blood, sweat or tears) to switch it back to fit 25 pound Max.
One of the coolest features on the NextFit is the 2-Position Chest Clip. It pulls the straps closer together when baby is rear-facing and keeps them wider apart when your child is forward-facing. Another smart feature on the shoulder straps? The pads on the straps are shorter on the front so that the chest clip can sit where it’s supposed to (in line with arm pits) on even the smallest of babies. The pads don’t inhibit placement of the chest clip but still provide padding against baby’s shoulders and chest.
Other Reasons We Like the NextFit
The NextFit is sleek compared to convertible car seat competitors, and we love that it a streamlined look without sacrificing safety. The color choices are simple and maintain the sleek appearance of the NextFit. The sides are higher than other car seats we’ve used, creating a deeper cocoon-like place for baby to sit.
And, finally, the seat is apparently comfortable. Max doesn’t talk yet, but I’m going to assume he like riding in the NextFit based on his lack of crying and protesting and that he can sleep for hours in it while we’re on the road. We spent a lot of time in the car on our Italian road trip and Max was content and safe the whole time.
To Buy or Not to Buy
To Buy… This is our first experience with a Chicco baby product and we couldn’t be more pleased with the quality and innovation. The car seat is a great investment for new parents because it grows with your child from birth until they reach 65 pounds. We love the ease of installation, and particularly the head rest / shoulder strap adjustment, the 9-position recline and the SuperCinch LATCH connectors. We think the modern, sleek appearance rivals much more expensive seats on the market and the safety features are well worth the price tag.
Or Not to Buy… At $300, we realize it’s not an easy purchase for every budget, but the car seat is one place you don’t want to scrimp. After using for over a month, we don’t have a complaint yet.
Shop! The Chicco NextFit has a suggested retail price of $299. It’s available in a number of patterns from Babies R Us, Target, BuyBuyBaby and specialty retailers, including our affiliate Magic Beans.
Thanks to Chicco for providing a sample for the purpose of this review. As always, opinions are my own.