Graco 8649 Infant Car Seat Reviews
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Graco 8649 Infant Car Seat

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Best Value

Dec 15, 2007 (Updated Dec 15, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Durability:
  • Ease of Use:

Pros:Stroller Compatible, Excellent Safety Ratings, Easy to Use

Cons:Seat Fabric not Soft, Babies Grow out of it WAY before 1 year of age

The Bottom Line: This is the BEST overall value for an infant seat. Babies grow too quickly to spend more money. Save it for the convertible seat you will need next.


I did a lot of homework before buying my car seat, and I'm REALLY glad I did for many reasons. This seat is in the top 3 seats on Consumer Reports for safety ratings, so I skipped past all of the rest of them to decide between the three (SnugRide, Peg Perego Primo Viaggio, Britax Companion), and here's my reasoning and results.

The other two seats were priced at $190-$225 which I thought was really high for an infant seat.
All three of them held babies up to similar sizes (22 pounds or 28 inches whichever they hit first).

The snugride was the lightest weight of the three, and I took that strongly into consideration when purchasing. A car seat is 5-10 pounds, and add a 7-20 pound baby on top of that, and it's a HUGE drag hauling it around.

I chose to have a Bugaboo stroller, and that stroller was only compatible with the Graco and the Peg Perego seats, so that eliminated the Companion (who really only seemed compatible with its own stroller).

All three seats attach to permanent bases that you install in the car for easy snap in and out, however the SnugRide is the ONLY one of those that could also be used WITHOUT the base, and this was my ultimate decision maker as while I had a second base for my husband's car, I didn't think it was necessary to have one for the few occasions she would be in the car with my mother, or to haul on our frequent vacations, etc. We were able to just use the belt loop and the regular seat belt, and it was good to go.

The base that stays in the car has three recline settings, and is compatible with either the LATCH system or a seat belt. It is MUCH sturdier seeming using the LATCH having tried both ways. It loosened up when using the seat belt.

The seat itself has a 5 point harness system, which features a plastic snap clip at the chest, and a push release buckle with two metal prongs at the crotch. It has 3 different height settings, and it is fairly easy to adjust the shoulder strap height. It also has an easy access strap cincher, allowing you to buckle the baby in loosely, then tighten it quickly once they're in - this just seems easier to me than trying to stuff tiny baby parts into tight fitting straps.
The carry handle has a no-slip rubber grip and has many different positions for carrying or propping the seat. There is a nice large bonnet that is removable, and also features many positions.
It comes with a detachable infant head cradle that snaps onto the shoulder straps - we never used this, but I see babies with it all the time. Frankly, it wasn't used because the one thing I hated about this seat was the fabric. It was scratchy and NOT soft or baby friendly at all. I kept a chamois car seat cover on it the whole time it was used, so I guess it didn't affect the use of the seat, but I think that the fabric should be nicer for a baby.

My daughter who was 7 pounds and 20 inches at birth was 28 inches at 5.5 months, which means she was out of this seat, and that was that, so keep that in mind. Maybe the other seats scored slightly higher on side impact, but it was only slightly and in my opinion not worth the extra $100+ for 4-6 months of use. Save it to buy a very nice convertible seat that your child will use for 3 years.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 119
Age Range of Child: 0 to 12 Months


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