Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: Graco Argos™ 70 Car Seat

Evenflo Triumph Advance™
Well, the time has come to upgrade Kaleb to a new car seat! I've been extremely happy with the 2½ years of use I've gotten out of our Evenflo Triumph Advance™ (Ours was mint green and tan instead of light and dark brown.).  But, as with anything else associated with kids, this seat has reached the end of its usefulness for us and is starting to show those wear-and-tear signs that signal the seat may not provide as much protection as it did when it was new.

I've been doing lots of online research on car seats currently available and have also gotten some input from several of my mommy friends.  I've compared brands and safety standards as well as prices.  I want the best protection I can find for my Little Guy, but I also have to find one I can afford to buy!

Once I had all my options narrowed down to a few real possibilities, my friend Sharra and I went to Toys 'R Us (since we don't have a Babies 'R Us) to "play" with the demo models.  One of the things I love about car seat shopping at Toys 'R Us is that they don't strap their demo models down to the shelves, like so many stores do.  That means I was able to haul any seat I want off the shelves and onto the floor to inspect and test out all the features.  It got me a strange look or two from other shoppers.  And upon watching me heave one of the seats back onto the shelf, the sales clerk joked that he guessed he better stay out of my way.  But, none of that bothers me when it comes to choosing a safe seat for my son.

So, I inspected and manipulated a half dozen seats, turned them over and around and looked at all the angles.  It took a while, but I had to satisfy myself that I had examined all my options.

Graco Argos™ 70 Car Seat
After studying them all for a while, I finally made my choice.  We are now the happy owners of a Graco Argos™ 70 Car Seat.  I love that it has higher height/weight limits than most of the similar seats on the market -- though I don't believe their claim that you could fit a 70lb. child into the seat's 5-point harness system.  At present, Kaleb weighs around 40lbs.±, and the seat still has plenty of room for him to grow.  The head rest can be easily adjusted up or down with one hand and without un-installing the seat.  Once Kaleb outgrows the seat's harness system, the seat can be used as a high-backed belt-positioning booster seat.  The red rings visible at shoulder level on the seat are there to help position your car's seat belts at the right level for a child.  Later on, the back can be removed to convert the seat into a backless booster seat for a bigger-kid Kaleb, that will still help position his lap belt and provide him with arm rests.

Adding to my satisfaction is the fact that Kaleb loves his new seat too!  It's comfy and keeps him secure in the car.  It's got arm rests at exactly the right height.  There are storage pockets inside the arm rests that are sized just right for small toys, which means that when he wants to play he doesn't have to wait for Mommy to have time to find one for him while stopped at a red light.  It even has a cup holder which keeps his drink within his reach!  Life -- well, car trips at least -- are so much easier when there are no fights about having to ride in a car seat!

Pros:
- Quick, easy installation!
- Simple to transfer from one vehicle to another
- Harness belts adjust quickly and simply
- LATCH or seatbelt installation
- Durable materials that clean easily
- Rigorous safety & performance testing
- Exceeds all U.S. safety regulations
- Higher weight limit for longer use
- Easily adjustable head rest fits taller kids
- Converts from front-facing harness seat to high-backed booster to backless booster
- Breathable seat covering for air circulation
- Cup holder and toy cubbies keep drink and/or toys with child's easy reach
- My son LOVES this seat!

Cons:
- Recline feature is stiff and hard to work
- Recline positions are barely different ("Fully reclined" is only 2"-3" different from the fully upright position.)
- Seat cover not easily removable for machine washing
- Advertised 70lb. harness capacity seems unrealistic (60lbs. more realistic)
- 2 poorly-placed tags that aggravate the back of my sons legs. I just removed them.

In short, I would recommend this seat for anyone,
even for frequent or full-time use!

So, after a few trips around town with the new seat, I think it's safe to say I have a happy little co-pilot!



[This review expresses only the thoughts and opinions of the blog author.  It was not paid for nor solicited by the company/product/entity being reviewed, nor do they offer any endorsement of the opinions contained herein.]