After being chosen as a Graco ambassador earlier in the year, I was told to have a look around on the Graco website and choose the item I'd like to receive to review. Wow, talk about a difficult decision to make ! We've already received the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 car seat and the Graco Symbio pushchair, both of which are in constant use and which the Madhouse kids absolutely love.
For safety reasons, I decided to go for another car seat. Three years ago, we had a car crash. While nobody was hurt, the car was a write-off and I've been worried about the car seat ever since. I remember reading that as soon as a car seat has been involved in a crash, you should change it because it may have been damaged by the impact and no longer be safe. But Mike the Madhouse Daddy maintained that, as it was totally on the opposite side of the car to the point of impact, it'd be fine. Hmmm.
Well, this was the perfect opportunity to ditch the old car seat and get a brand spanking new one. The problem is, the Graco Nautilus car seat was just too popular ! 5-year-old Juliette has claimed it as her own, because she absolutely loves how comfortable it is and all the secret pockets for hiding toys and sweets and goodness knows what other treasures in ! There was no way I was going to convince her to give that up, but I wasn't sure we could fit two big similar car seats on the back seat and still leave space for big sister Sophie in the middle.
But Graco had a car seat in their collection that made Juliette squeal and say OK OK give the Nautilus to Pierre, I want THAT one ! What made her change her mind ? Well, it's bright pink and it has the Disney Princesses all over it ! (There are also two boys' versions, in red and blue with Disney Cars or light and dark blue with Disney Toy Story on them, so nobody misses out.)
This Junior Maxi Plus car seat is group 2/3 so it's suitable for children with a weight between 15 - 36 kg. The height adjustable head support grows with the child, which is pretty standard on car seats, but the arm rests are also height adjustable to give better back support and optimum comfort. I'm over the moon to find some of the same features that I love on the Graco Nautilus car seat - particularly the integrated seat belt guide in the headrest, designed to always ensure the correct position of the seat belt, and which makes it dead easy to strap Juliette in because the clip is always at hand and I don't have to scrabble about trying to find it somewhere in the back of the car. Believe me, with three kids to get strapped in, the little convenient added extras are a real time and sanity saver !
I asked Juliette what she thought and she jumped around the room saying "I love it, it's a real Princess seat and I'm a Princess !". I've noticed that when we are out and about, she spends hours sucking her thumb and gazing out of the window at the countryside whizzing past the window (which means less squabbling with her sister - yay !!). I've come to the conclusion that she can actually see out much better than in the more enclosed Graco Nautilus so it's great for slightly older kids. The fact that it uses the normal car seat belt rather than a harness also means that she can now strap herself into the car seat all by herself - again, an added bonus as far as I'm concerned !
There are other added little features that come in handy, like the two retractable cup holders and the removable and washable cover. It also has a removable backrest so it can convert into a group 3 booster seat. Although, by then, I get the feeling the pink colour and princess design will be long outgrown ! In the meantime, it's the perfect car seat that any little girl could dream of !
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £69.99
for more information : http://www.graco.co.uk/en_GB/product/8E67/PTDE/
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