This review is for the Graco Snugride 32 released ~October 2008.
Recommend this product?
Any 1st time parent can probably empathize with me about scouring parenting books and magazines looking for the top recommended car seats, play yards, diapers, wipes … anything that touches your little one’s skin.
Probably the most time consuming task was selecting a car seat and with such a selection out there, you must know that the Graco Snugride 32 must be a 5-star in my eyes to be my final choice.
To get a 5-star, I rated on safety, portability, affordability, and relevance. You’ll see a lot of the criterion will blend into each other.
Here’s what the Snugride 32 offers:
- 32” inch and 32 lb capacity so baby stays rear facing much longer
- Graco states ~2x Car Seat Standard (Side crash, FMVSS213, NCAP)
- Seat base stays in car so you install properly once and can leave it
- One hand seat level adjustment so you don’t have to rely on roller towels
- 5 point adjustable harness with infant head support
- EPS, energy absorbing foam
- Visual level lets you know if seat is resting at the proper angle
I think a lot of these features are ones you’ll find on other seats, however, the major reason selecting this seat was the 32 lbs/32” capacity which can fit ~97% of 1 year olds. If a child needs to stay rear facing until 1 year at a minimum, you’ll have to go out and buy another seat or be unsafe after they exceed capacity. The earlier Graco Snugride limits infants to 22 lbs and 29”.
The seat base and car seat configuration is not only portable but is also probably the safest feature. You can take your time installing the base the right way once and then get it inspected. Car seats are not supposed to move more than an inch forward or side-to-side. That level of tightness requires most parents to install the seat putting all their weight on the seat tightening the straps. How many of us have the time to always do that?
There is so much convenience putting our baby into her seat inside the house a couple minutes before we leave and then snapping her into her base right before we depart the house. And how many parents like to carry their babies in after they fall asleep in the car? This quick seat/base system makes it easy.
Graco also offers the Snugrider Stroller Frame that is extremely light and small. The Snugride 32 fits this stroller in a literal snap and you’re off and rolling.
The Snugride 32 weighs 9.5 pounds without base and 16.2 with base. Compare this to the Chico Keyfit 30 at 16.4 pounds and the Britax Roundabout at 16.1 pounds with bases.
With children, we’re all going to purchase more than one seat, so why not do it right the first time? The Graco Snugride 32 lets you purchase a seat that can truly get your child to the 1 year mark – even longer if the little one is still under 32 lbs/32”. You can then go out and get a 3-1 system for the rest of the child’s backseat time. If you spend ~$139 up front, you can save more when you start moving the child front facing.
An extra base will cost you ~$50. Once again, install the first base in your permanent car and leave it for a year. The second base can work for you partner’s car or perhaps when granny or friends visit. The Snugride 32 allows you to just buckle in the seat itself, but that should only be reserved for when you can’t take the base perhaps on a vacation with a flight.
Relevance to me means not having to shake your head down the road saying, “What was I thinking?” Why get a seat that you have to buckle in each time? Why get a seat that doesn’t fit your child at 9 months? Why get a seat that doesn’t fit into a stroller for quick transportation? All of these questions I’ve tried to ask myself before buying this product.
I can probably learn a lot from others on Epinions that have gone through many seats and have great input on what questions to ask. So, hopefully the Graceo Snugride 32 is a relevant seat that doesn’t make me regret my decision 6 months from now.
The Snugride 32 with base measures 30.7” long and 18.7” wide. This might be a tight fit for a compact car. The base weighs 7.2 pounds but hopefully you won’t have to carry it too much because it is meant to stay in the car.
This car seat and base will be a tight fit in compact cars lengthwise. Make sure you test your backseat with this model (perhaps at Babys R Us) before you purchase. It is a great, safe seat, but it does take up room.
INSTALLATION (from Base Review)
Installation is a breeze if you have the LATCH system in a 2002 or newer car. Two handy clips quickly attach to you LATCH anchors in the backseat and then you tighten tighten tighten!
You have to put almost all your weight on the seat to get it properly installed. I was in the back seat of both cars with elbows and knees trying to get all the slack out of the belt.
Installation in our other car with a seatbelt was a little more cumbersome as I had to route the seatbelt through the belt lock-off and tighten the actual seatbelt. The leverage on the seatbelt is not as good as using the LATCH clips.
After installation, please get your car seat inspected. To find an inspection site go to www.seatcheck.org for a site near you.
OTHER ITEMS TO NOTE
The Snugride 32 also has an adjustable harness strap right up front so you can tighten your baby in after you have her all buckled up and loosen them up if she’s just napping on the living room floor.
There are three adjustable shoulder levels on the seat. Not the easiest to figure out at first, but once you do it one time it will be easy to replicate in the future. If you are adjusting the straps you might as well wash the removable seat cover.
A baby under 8 pounds will probably flop a little too much in the seat even with the infant padding. Consider getting a Kiddopotamus Snuzzler for ~$15. This will keep baby nice and tight for those first weeks or months.
The base is set up for quick installation with the LATCH system, so for our 2005 car the installation was a breeze. Our 2001 car using the seatbelt didn’t make me feel as comfortable (cars after 2002 have LATCH).
My wife and I are very pleased with this seat. Our daughter has a lot of room to grow, trips are easier to and from the car, and I know the seat base is installed properly every time. We purchased the extra base to avoid having to move the first base from our main car. Coupled with the Snugrider Stroller, our trips are a lot less stressful. And who needs more stress the first few months after your first child is born?
2 bases and the seat will cost under $200.
UPDATES - 3/15/2011
The carseat did get very small sooner than our daughter growing to 32". She never pressed the 32 pound mark before we moved her to forward facing but her length prevented her from using the seat any longer. Not sure if this seat will meet its promised potential.
We know own a Hyundai 2011 Sonata, which isn't a compact car. The Graco 32 barely fits behind the driver or passanger seats for a person 5'6-6'0 sitting comfortably. Compact cars will most likely not be able to have more than one seat in the car without problems.
As of 2/21/2011 there are no known problems/recalls for the Graco Snugride 32 or base using The Safety Restraint Coalition Website.
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Amount Paid (US$): 139
Age Range of Child: 0 to 12 Months