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Authentic & Nurturing Mama at Car Seat Explorer
Jodie is a young mom with a lot on the go who believes that families need to make decisions that work for them, regardless of what others might recommend. She’s here to tell you what she really thinks and share her top family traveling advice.
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A car set may not be the most exciting purchase, but it is one of the most important. With so many types of car seat to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. You want your child to be comfortable and feel secure on car journeys, but most importantly, you want to know that they will be safe. So, how do you know which type of car seat to choose from, and even then, how do you know which model is the best?
A 3-in-1 booster seat is a great option if you’re looking for a car seat to last your child a long time. They can typically be used from around 20lb – or around 1 year old (depending on the child, of course), making them a good choice if your child is ready to move on from an infant car seat.
The good thing about them is that they can be adjusted as your child grows, making them good value for your money and time. Some of them can last until your child is 100lb – meaning you won’t need to make another car seat purchase for a while!
We’ll take a look at the specifications and safety features to see the difference between the Graco Nautilus 65 vs Nautilus 80 Elite, two models of car seat manufactured by Graco. We’ll also look at reviews from real parents about the performance of both models to see how they work for families every day.
Bottom line up front:The Graco Nautilus 80 Elite is no longer available, but we would recommend the Graco Extend2Fit car seat as an alternative for you to look into. However, the Graco Nautilus 65 is still our top choice!
Table of Contents
- 1 Main Differences Between Nautilus 65 vs Nautilus 80 Elite?
- 2 Which Type of Car Seat is Best for Me?
- 2.1 Infant car seats
- 2.2 All-in-one car seat
- 2.3 Convertible car seats
- 2.4 Booster seats
- 2.5 Toddler booster seat
- 3 Car Seat Safety
- 4 Nautilus 65
- 4.1 Features
- 4.2 Parents’ Opinion
- 4.3 Pros:
- 4.4 Cons:
- 5 Nautilus 80 Elite
- 6 Nautilus 80 Elite Features
- 6.1 Parents’ Opinion
- 6.2 Pros:
- 6.3 Cons:
- 6.4 Nautilus 80 Elite Alternative: Graco Extend2Fit
- 7 Graco Extend2Fit Features
- 7.1 Parents’ Opinion
- 7.2 Pros:
- 7.3 Cons:
- 8 The Verdict
Main Differences Between Nautilus 65 vs Nautilus 80 Elite?
The main differences between Nautilus 65 vs Nautilus 80 Elite are:
- The main difference is the Nautilus 80 Elite lasts longer. It can be used for children weighing up to 120lb. This makes it a good choice if you don’t want to worry about buying another car seat for a while.
- The Nautilus 80 Elite allows your child to stay in the 5-point harness for longer. This might reassure some parents in terms of their child’s safety, as the child is more secure in a 5-point harness.
- The Nautilus 80 Elite is slightly more expensive than the Nautilus 65.
Which Type of Car Seat is Best for Me?
There are a few different categories of car seats, so here’s a quick rundown:
Infant car seats
For that precious newborn stage, an infant seat is an option for you if you want a car seat that you can take in and out of the car, which is perfect if your baby is sleeping and you don’t want to disturb them. They’re rear-facing and can usually connect to a travel system – again, this is very convenient for parents who want to go out and about with their baby. (If this is what you’re looking for, you can check out our guide to Graco infant car seats).
All-in-one car seat
If you want to make an investment in a car seat that will last you a long time, an all-in-one car seat would be a great choice. They can be positioned differently depending on the height and weight of your child. The only drawback is that they’re bulky – if you’re happy to leave the car seat in your car and you don’t need to swap it between vehicles, it’d be fine, but they tend to be too heavy to keep swapping around.
Convertible car seats
These are car seats that can adapt as your child grows. Usually, they go from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing 5-point harness, to a high-backed booster, but it depends on the model. Parents like the adaptability of these car seats.
These are good for when your child is ready to sit a little more upright. They come in two varieties: a high-backed booster and a backless booster. A high-backed booster seat allows for greater protection than a backless booster, but a backless booster is very light and portable, making it easy to carry around, and a good option for an older child.
Toddler booster seat
These do not have their own harness system, giving your child a little more room to move, which some children like – but they offer lower protection than the other models. Generally, it’s not recommended to move your child into a booster seat until they can be trusted to sit still and not wriggle too much.
Car Seat Safety
With any car seat, it’s worth knowing a few things about safety:
- Make sure that you read the instructions thoroughly and double-check that your child is the correct height and weight for the position they are sitting in. It’s always good to periodically check to make sure your child hasn’t had a growth spurt and needs to move on to the next stage.
- Always buy a new car seat – you never know if a used car seat has been in an accident or if it has been damaged in some way. Even if it looks fine on the outside, it might have an internal crack or fault that would mean it isn’t as safe as a brand-new car seat. Also, there are occasionally recalls on car seats – which is another reason why it is important to buy new ones.
- Always check the expiration date on your car seat – these are usually printed on the base or sides of the seat. Car seat technology can change over time and the materials can wear down after a while, which is why it’s important to buy them new and purchase a new one once you reach the expiration date. They usually last around 6-10 years from manufacture.
- Finally, make sure your child is strapped in properly and that the car seat is correctly installed – if in doubt, see if there are any car seat inspection stations near you. They’ll be happy to help you to install the car seat securely, giving you peace of mind.
Here’s the information you need to know:
- Size: 18D/20W/28H (inches)
- Weight: 20lb
- Colors: Landry (grey print and green), Sylvia (grey print and pink), Sully (grey print and turquoise)
Here are the weight limits for each position:
- Harness mode: 22-65lb
- High-back booster: 40-100lb
- Backless belt-positioning booster: 40-100lb
The expiration date is 10 years after the date of manufacture – it will be printed on the label on the back of the car seat.
The Nautilus 65 is a 3-in-1 Harness Booster Seat. It offers three positions: a 5-point harness seat, a belt-positioning booster, and finally a backless booster.
In terms of safety, it boasts steel reinforcement and EPS foam (expanded polystyrene – it absorbs energy, making it impact resistant). It has undergone side impact testing on the 5-point harness system position. It has been crash-tested and meets or exceeds U.S safety standards.
As far as extra features go, it has a harness system that adjusts the headrest and the harness together for ease of use. It has an open-loop belt guide to help you correctly position the car seat. It has a cup holder and storage pockets for your child’s drink and those special toys they just can’t leave at home. A great feature is the machine washable seat pads, harness and buckle covers – anything that is machine washable with a small child is a definite bonus!
We looked at parent reviews to see what they had to say about the Nautilus 65. It has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, and there are plenty of good points that parents have noticed:
- Parents say it is safe and well-made, and they feel that their children are well protected, and they like the rigorous testing and the way it is designed for safety. Some parents who had been in a car accident reported that their child was kept safe by the Nautilus 65.
- They also feel their children are comfortable and happy when in the car seat
- They like the machine-washable parts
- Children liked the compartments to hold their toys, keeping them occupied on long journeys. They also like the cup holder
- A lot of parents had difficulty adjusting the straps, saying they are stiff and difficult to tighten. This can be a problem if you do not have the strength to tighten it fully.
- They also had difficulty when it came to adjusting the latch buckle between the legs. It is a fiddly procedure and a couple of parents had to watch YouTube videos to figure out how to do it because it was not clear from the instructions on how it worked. They disliked the design of this and felt it was unnecessarily difficult and frustrating.
Nautilus 80 Elite
Editor’s Note:The Graco Nautilus 80 Elite is no longer available. However, we would recommend the Graco Extend2Fit as a great alternative!
Here’s the information you need about the Nautilus 80 Elite:
- Size: 18D/20H/28W
- Weight: 20.52lb
- Price: Check it on Amazon!
Here are the height and weight limits of each of the 3 positions:
- 5-point harness mode: weight – 22-80lb, height – 27-52 inches
- High back booster mode: weight – 30-100lb, height – 38-57 inches
- Backless booster mode: weight – 40-120lb, height: 40-57 inches
Nautilus 80 Elite Features
The Nautilus 80 Elite is also a 3-in-1 harness booster. It can be used as a harness booster, a high back booster, and a backless booster. However, it can be used as a harness booster for longer than the 65, which parents like, as it feels safer. This is the main advantage of the Nautilus 80 and a reason why parents may decide to choose it.
As far as safety goes, it’s pretty similar to the 65. It has a steel-reinforced frame and is engineered and crash tested to meet or exceed US safety standards. Again, in the 5-point harness booster form, it has been impact tested for occupant retention. Both models have been designed to be very safe, which is obviously the most important thing.
Also, like the 65, it comes with a cup holder and storage compartment. It also boasts premium fabric, but only the seat cushion is machine washable – the rest has to be cleaned with mild soap and cool water. For comfort, it has a 5-position adjustable headrest – which is great for keeping a growing child happy.
The Nautilus 80 Elite has a star rating of 4.0 out of 5, making it lower rated than the 65. Here’s what parents have to say about it:
- Very safe, well made and secure for their children. Again, parents who had been in a car accident said that their child was protected by the Nautilus 80 Elite and would, therefore, purchase it again.
- Parents thought it looked nice and well designed, and easy for children to climb into
- They also liked the adjustable headrest
- Children liked the cup holder and pockets
- Some parents had real problems tightening the straps
- Others found it difficult to install the car seat in the first place
- Some felt that the car seat was very large, making it difficult to fit people in the middle seat in the back of the car (our guide to narrow booster car seats might help if this is a problem you have, too)
- A few parents found the straps were uncomfortable for their children, leaving them with marks. One parent said that her child had a long torso and felt uncomfortable in the seat
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
Nautilus 80 Elite Alternative: Graco Extend2Fit
Here’s the information you need about the Graco Extend2Fit:
- Size: 21.5D/23.5H/19.5W
- Weight: 19lb
- Price: Check it on Amazon!
Here are the height and weight limits of each of the 3 positions:
- Rear-facing harness mode: weight – 5-50lb, height – Up to 49 inches
- Forward-facing harness mode: weight – 22-65lb, height – 38-57 inches
- Highback booster: weight – 40-100lb
Graco Extend2Fit Features
The Graco Extend2Fit is a 3-in-1 harness booster too. It has a 3/5 star label rating from NHTSA, with a 4/5 rating for the instructions. This 3-in-1 car seat has side impact protection but doesn’t have an energy-absorbing base. The body has a steel-reinforced frame with a plastic body.
There’s a lot of value offered with the Graco Extend2Fit, especially with the leg room extender for kids with longer legs. If you have a child that’s in the upper percentiles for weight or height, the Graco Extend2Fit is a safe and wonderful car seat for you to consider.
The biggest complaint a lot of parents have is how difficult this car seat is to install. If you’re someone with larger hands, you may find it difficult to latch the tether through the belt. There is no seat belt installation option available, which may make things difficult if you’re looking to quickly transfer the car seat in between cars.
- The seat cover is machine-washable, making for an easy cleanup
- The Graco Extend2Fit lasts for ten years
- Comes with an extension for leg room, making it easier (and more comfortable) to leave your child rear-facing for longer
- The level indicator is easy to read, making the installation process less frustrating
- Approved by the FAA
- The car seat doesn’t come with an infant insert pillow
- There are dual square cup holders on this car seat, but square cup holders may make it difficult to put round cans or bottles in
- The car seat can be difficult to install for people with larger hands
The Nautilus 65 and the 80 Elite are pretty similar. They’re both nicely designed and look attractive, they both have cup holders and pockets for your children to use.
They’re both on the large side, but that doesn’t matter too much if you have room in your car and plan to keep the car seat in place once installed. Parents praised their safety features and found them to be sturdy and well-made, and found that they felt reassured of their child’s safety in case of an accident.
The biggest difference is this: the Nautilus 80 Elite can be used up to 120lb, and the harness booster can be used for a child weighing up to 80lb. This means the 80 not only lasts longer but allows a child to be in the 5-point harness for longer.
Many parents felt that it was reassuring to keep their children in the 5-point harness for as long as possible. This does give the 80 a big advantage over the 65. The only other main difference is the price, but there’s not a huge difference…
A few reviewers had issues with both the 65 and the 80, however. Some parents struggled with both models in terms of both fitting the car seat and tightening the straps. This is a shame as it seems to be a small problem that is annoying if you are using the car seat every day. Adjusting the buckle that goes between the child’s legs was a real issue for some parents using the Nautilus 65, although some figured out how to do it thanks to a video online.
However, a lot of parents seemed to have similar complaints about the 80. They found the straps hard to tighten, which is obviously a concern as you want your child to be buckled in as tightly as possible.
The main thing that swayed us against the 80, though, were the complaints of discomfort for the children using it, with the straps digging in and sometimes even leaving marks. That, along with the fact that the 80 has a slightly lower star rating, has led us to choose the Nautilus 65. Although the 80 is a better value in terms of how long it lasts, every parent wants their child to be comfortable, especially on long journeys, which makes the 65 our choice.
The Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 harness booster car seat can be used from toddler to youth, keeping your growing child safe. It secures your child in a 5-point harness from 20-65 lb, converts to a highback booster from 40-100 lb, and becomes a backless booster seat from 40-100 lb.Is there a recall on Graco Nautilus 65? ›
On certain Graco Nautilus and MyRide 65 model child car seats manufactured between September 2008 and July 2013, the buckle may become contaminated with foreign material, such as food or dried liquids. Over time, the buckle may become progressively more difficult to unlatch or become stuck in the latched position.Can the Graco Nautilus 65 be rear facing? ›
22 pounds is not an average weight of a toddler.. A: Thank you for your interest in our products! The Nautilus is not a rear facing car seat. It's meant to accommodate toddlers of all different sizes and can be used a a Forward-Facing Harness for children 22-65 lb and up to 49".Is the Graco Nautilus airplane approved? ›
Most harnessed Graco® car seats are certified for use in aircraft, when used according to manufacturer's instructions.How long can you use a Graco Nautilus 65? ›
Description. Graco's top-rated Nautilus® 65 3-in-1 harness booster can be used from toddler to youth, keeping your growing child safe. It secures your child in a 5-point harness from 22-65 lb, converts to a belt-positioning booster from 30-100 lb, and becomes a backless booster seat from 40-100 lb.How many years does a Graco Nautilus last? ›
Graco defines “useful life” as 10 years for belt-positioning boosters and for steel-reinforced belt path car seats and 7 years for plastic-reinforced belt path car seats.Does Graco have a lifetime warranty? ›
Limited Warranty. At Graco®, we make innovative, high quality products for babies and children. We warrant this product to be free from defects in material and workmanship existing at the time of manufacture for a period of one year from the date of initial purchase (sales receipt is required for proof of purchase).What is the minimum weight for Graco Nautilus 65? ›
This recall involves the inclined sleeper accessory sold with the Graco Pack 'n Play Day2Dream Playard with Bedside Sleeper, Graco Pack 'n Play Nuzzle Nest Playard, Graco Pack 'n Play Everest Playard and Graco Pack 'n Play Rock 'n Grow Playard with the following model numbers.
It's easy to use and has five height positions enabling it to grow with your child. With safety features that include reinforced steel, energy absorbing foam and reinforced side impact protection to protect your child's head, the Graco Nautilus car seat is secure as well as durable.
With 3-position recline, a cup holder, and built-in storage pockets for games and snacks, your kid will be comfortable during those longer trips – saving you from any more are-we-there-yets. As your child grows, Nautilus LX quickly adjusts from a forward facing harness seat into a highback booster seat.What is the most safe airplane seat? ›
Nevertheless, a survey by the American magazine Time which examined 35 years of data on plane crashes found that the middle rear seats of an airplane had the lowest fatality rate: 28 per cent, compared to 44 per cent for the seats from the central aisle. It is also logical.What is the best seat for a baby on a plane? ›
Without a doubt, the safest place for a baby to sit on an airplane is in their own seat in an FAA-approved car seat. However, bassinets are an excellent option for parents traveling with their young child who is under 2 years old and doesn't have their own seat. That is, if they still fit in the bassinet.What is the best seat on a plane for a child? ›
Each airline will have its rules about who can sit where, but a bulkhead seat is generally considered an excellent option for families traveling with young children. The bulkhead is at the front of the cabin and sitting in those seats usually guarantees you some extra leg room.How much weight can Graco sequence 65 hold? ›
The Graco® Sequence™ 65 convertible car seat is perfect for all your child's needs. This seat easily converts from a rear-facing harness seat (4-40 lb) to a forward-facing harness toddler seat (22-65 lb).When should I switch to high back booster? ›
Your child should be at least four years old. Your child has reached the minimum requirement of the seat (15kg when approved to ECE R44 or 100cm when approved to UN R129) – this is legally binding by the regulations. Your child has the mental maturity to sit still in the high back booster seat.Can I use an expired car seat? ›
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents not to use a car seat past its expiration date, or six years from the date of manufacture if the car seat has no expiration date. Following all safety guidelines for car seats can reduce severe and fatal injuries in children by as much as 80%.What to do with expired Graco car seat? ›
Once the seat has expired, check to see if there is a recycling center in your area. If throwing the seat away, you should first take measures to make the seat unusable by cutting the harness straps, removing the seat cover, and by writing "DO NOT USE/EXPIRED" on the seat. Graco® car seats are not recyclable.What do I do with an expired car seat? ›
Britax recommends that caregivers discard expired car seats. There are currently two options caregivers can follow: 1. Recycle the seat: See if there is a local recycling service that accepts car seat parts in your area and be sure to follow their protocol.Is Graco a reliable brand? ›
Graco is a well-established trusted brand, so you'll be able to use the car seat with most of the big stroller brands. You can use it with more than 50 different stroller models (see the full list below).
7. Expiration date if you have a GRACO Car Seat: Infant Car Seats: The seat will expire 7 years after the date of manufacture on the label and the date label can be found on the back of the seat. Convertible Car Seats: The expiration date for convertible car seats is 10 years after the date of manufacture.Who makes Graco products? ›
Graco (pronounced gray-co) is an American baby products company based in High Point, North Carolina. It is owned and operated by Newell Brands.How wide is the seat on the Graco Nautilus 65? ›
Specifications: Car Seat Depth: 18 in. Car Seat Width Outside: 20 in. Car Seat Height: 28 in.What is the height limit for Graco sequence 65? ›
|Age Range||Birth – 4/5 years (approx)|
|Product Height||68.5 cm – 76.2 cm when headrest fully extended|
|Height Range||Rear Facing 125 cm or less, Forward Facing 125 cm or less|
|Isofix||Yes LATCH, for use up to 20 kg.|
The Perfect Car Seat For:
Children weighing between 4-65 lb and 49 in or less (harness car seat) Children weighing between 40-120 lb and 43-57 in (booster car seat)
Graco® strollers and travel systems are manufactured in China.What country is Graco made in? ›
“Made in the USA” is more than a marketing message for Graco – it is what we do every day in our manufacturing facilities here in Rogers, MN and Sioux Falls, SD.Are Graco car seats crash tested? ›
All Graco® car seats are engineered and crash tested to meet or exceed US standard FMVSS 213.How long are Graco strollers good for? ›
Strollers do not have expiration dates; however, the car seat included in a travel system does expire.Is Graco a good car seat? ›
Graco is known to have some of the safest car seats on the market. For one, all of their car seats are FAA approved, and they've been crash-tested to guarantee that they're safe and reliable.
“When your baby is seated, their heavy head can fall forward causing difficulty breathing…and even suffocation,” explains Dr. Harvey Karp. “That's why car seats—outside of moving cars—are not safe for naps or overnight sleep for the first year of life.”How long can a child be in a rear facing car seat? ›
Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It's the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat's manufacturer.Should a high back booster be latched? ›
A high-backed booster to backless booster may have tethers to clip it to the LATCH anchors in your car. This is not necessary for using the booster seat, but it might be convenient to have your booster seat held in one place. If you're not using LATCH, you can set the booster in the seat where your child will sit.Why get a high back booster seat? ›
A high back booster seat provides support behind your child's head. High back booster seats are recommended if your car has low seat backs and no head rests, or for younger children who may fall asleep in the car, so they can lean their heads against the side of the seat.Do you use latch with Graco Nautilus high back booster? ›
This car seat can be installed in your vehicle using either the vehicle seat belt OR the LATCH system. Both are equally safe to use. DO NOT USE BOTH AT THE SAME TIME IN THE 5-POINT HARNESS MODE. Graco allows the securing of the car seat with LATCH system in the booster mode, only if the vehicle manufacturer allows it.What seat has the best chance of survival in a plane crash? ›
Most of the survivors were sitting behind first class, towards the front of the plane. Nonetheless, a TIME investigation that looked at 35 years of aircraft accident data found the middle rear seats of an aircraft had the lowest fatality rate: 28%, compared with 44% for the middle aisle seats.Which seat has the least turbulence on a plane? ›
“The smoothest place to sit is over the wings,” commercial pilot Patrick Smith, host of AskThePilot.com said. These seats are close to the plane's center of lift and gravity. “The roughest spot is usually the far aft. In the rearmost rows, closest to the tail, the knocking and swaying is more pronounced,” Smith added.Is it better to sit at the front or back of a plane? ›
According to experts, choosing the seat in front is always a better option. "Our centre of gravity is usually around 28 per cent, and the centre of pressure usually acts around 25 per cent of the mean aerodynamic chord (1/4 of the way down the wing).Where is the least bumpy seat on a plane? ›
A seat directly over the wings (typically found in rows 10 to 30) is your best option to reduce the sensation of turbulence, says Dr. Quay Snyder, the president of the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service.Do you board the plane first with a baby? ›
And then there's the age-old question: Should you board in the first wave with your baby and toddlers? Most gate agents give you the option of early boarding—and with a newborn or infant, that's the way to go so you can get settled with bags stowed and essentials out for takeoff.
According to Doug and Sanjay, the back row of the plane is the best place to sit when traveling with a baby for 5 reasons. Over the next shot of the aircraft's galley, they explain that since the back of the plane is near the galley, it's easier to get up and walk around if a fussy baby needs settling.Is aisle or window better with a baby? ›
Babies and children are safest in the middle or window seats.Where is best to sit on a plane with a 2 year old? ›
What is the best seat on a plane with a toddler? All children over 2 years old require their own seat on the plane. If your toddler is still under 2 years old, and you are planning on flying with your toddler on your lap, try to book the bassinet seat – even if he/she is too big for the bassinet.What is the least safe seat on a plane? ›
According to a 2015 study, seats in the middle of the cabin had the highest fatality rate at 39 per cent, followed by a 38 per cent fatality rate in the front. Seats at the back of the cabin had the lowest fatality rate at 32 per cent.What is the age limit for Graco? ›
Graco® Grows4Me™ 4-in-1 Car Seat is designed for 10 years of use. It's comfortable for your child and convenient for you! It transitions from rear-facing harness (5-40 lb), to forward-facing harness (22-65 lb), to highback booster (40-100 lb), to backless booster (40-120 lb).What is the height limit for Graco sequel 65? ›
Weight and Height Limits:
Rear-facing 4-40 lbs. AND child's head is 1” below gray harness height adjustment handle. Forward-facing 22-65 lbs., 49″ or less, at least 1 year old*
Don't leave a baby in a swing for more than 30 minutes at a time. The AAP warns that leaving your baby in the swing for more than 30 minutes at a time (or a total of one hour a day) can increase the risk of them developing flat spots on their head.When should I switch to backless booster? ›
- Your child is at least 5 or 6 years old.
- They can sit still without leaning forward or to the side, slouching, fooling around, etc.
- Your child is at least 40 pounds.
- Your child is at least 38-43″ tall.
Graco® Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat
The Graco® Size4Me™ 65 Convertible Car Seat holds a rear-facing infant from 4-40 lb and a forward-facing toddler from 22-65 lb. The car seat is designed to help keep your child safe and comfortable wherever you go together.