At first glance, the features of the Safety 1st Grow And Go Ex Air is rather impressive and can easily convince you to use it. Yet I will say that I will forego and look at other available options. Keep reading below to find out why I came up with this decision. Also, share your thoughts.
|Rear-Facing Weight:||5 to 50 pounds|
|Rear-Facing Height Limit:||19 to 49 inches|
|Forward-Facing Weight:||22 to 65 pounds|
|Forward-Facing Height Limit:||29 to 49 inches|
|High-Back Booster Weight Limit:||40 to 100 pounds|
|High-Back Booster Height Limit:||43 to 52 inches|
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children should remain in the rear-facing position until the age of 2. With the Safety 1st Grow and Go EX Air, the child could sit rear-facing until about age 6 to 7 since the maximum weight capacity of this seat in the rear-facing is 50 pounds.
Nowadays in the US market for car seats, several other child restraints are marketed with extended rear facing features. Some of these options include Clek Foonf and Clek Fllo, Diono Rainier, Nuna Rava and Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit.
The above extended rear-facing child restraints are either too pricey or only have two modes to offer. Knowing the Grow and Go has a price point that is comparatively cheaper than the others and even has 3 modes of use to offer, it can be an attractive product to buy for your children.
The car seat can be placed in the forward-facing position once the child is at least 1-year-old and meets the weight and height requirements. However, considering that it has amazing extended rear-facing capability, the child might skip the forward-facing mode and convert straight to booster mode if they meet all parameters.
- Booster Seat
This seat can be finally converted into its booster mode once the child has outgrown the forward-facing harness, as per recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. This usually occurs when the child is about four years old. Grow and Go EX-Air is said to have IIHS Best Bet rating for its booster mode. This means that it can provide a good vehicle belt fit for children 4 to 8 years in almost every vehicle (SUV, minivan, car).
Previous recommendations for a car seat usage in booster mode is that the child should be at least 3 years old, so we can consider this 4 years old minimum age requirement of Grow and Go safer. Still, with its height and weight limits (52 inches and 100 pounds, you might compare it with other similar options like Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit (with rear-facing, forward-facing, high back booster and backless booster) and recognize that the additional money could give you a car seat that the child can use far longer (up to 57 inches and 120 pounds). This cost efficiency factor is only one thing to consider among other factors like installation, ease of use, etc.
Will It Fit In My Car?
According to the manufacturer’s response to the inquiry on Amazon about whether this child restraint will fit in a Dodge Intrepid/Jeep Grand Cherokee or not, the dimension of this product that the customer service could refer to are:
- Upright position 1: 24 inches height, 23.75 inches length,
- Semi-reclined position 2: 19.5 inches height, 29 inches length,
- Fully-reclined position 3: 16.5 inches height, 31 inches length
The width, of course, remained at 19 inches.
If you look further at more customer reviews, one parent said that they have this car seat in their GMC Terrain and there is still a lot of space for the other children to get in and out of the car. A bit of leg room was also still available for the front passenger when this was installed in fully-reclined position inside a 2017 Subaru Forester.
Other cars where this was installed nicely include 2011 Subaru Impreza and crew cab Silverado.
|Do I need to use a pool noodle/rolled towel?||Yes|
|Easy To Install Rear-Facing by LATCH?||Relatively|
|Easy To Install Rear-Facing by Seatbelt?||Relatively|
|Easy To Install Forward-Facing by LATCH?||Relatively|
|Easy To Install Forward-Facing by Seatbelt?||Relatively|
|Easy To Uninstall?||Yes|
|Recline Positions:||3 recline positions
3 or 2 for rear-facing; 1 for forward-facing
|Lower Anchor Weight Limit:||40 pounds|
- Pool Noodle/Rolled Towel
In an Amazon review, the owner of a Mazda CX-5 was required to place a rolled towel under this child restraint so that they can achieve the proper recline for their child. This is allowed, according to the instructions on the manual.
In another review, a grandparent said they did not have problems installing this car seat in the rear-facing except when the fully reclined position is required so they brought the car and the car seat to the local police where the person in charge placed a piece of pool noodle underneath it since the vehicle car seat could be sloped.
- LATCH Installation
The LATCH connector is a j-hook style so some parents who prefer the push on style for ease of use chose to install the seat using the vehicle seatbelt.
For rear-facing installation, you may watch and learn from this video.
How To Install The Safety 1st Grow And Go Ex Air Rear-Facing Using LATCH
If you want to see how to install this in forward-facing using LATCH, here is a visual demo available for all Grow and Go Air car seat series.
How To Install The Safety 1st Grow And Go Ex Air Forward-Facing Using LATCH
How To Install The Safety 1st Grow And Go Ex Air Rear-Facing Using The Seat Belt
Remember that you may install this child restraint with any kind of seat belts except those that are inflatable or have airbags, such as in numerous Ford vehicles and those that are centered in side panels such as in Chrysler or Dodge minivans.
Also, the Ex-Air car seat does not have a lock-off device or feature, which can be necessary when installing using the vehicle seat belts.
How To Install The Safety 1st Grow And Go Ex Air Forward-Facing Using Seat Belt
- Belt Positioning Booster
LATCH, seat belts and top tethers are not allowed to be used in the booster mode, so the car seat itself is basically placed on top of the vehicle seat and not installed on it. Therefore, when it is not occupied, the seat belt has to be buckled in so it will not projectile during crash and impacts.
Three recline positions are available. Positions 2 and 3 are for rear-facing children who still cannot sit on their own. Position 1 is for forward-facing and for booster mode. The level indicator of this child restraint is a red line on the decal sticker at the side.
The Safety 1st Grow and Go EX Air is not a product with generally positive reviews. In fact, it has some critical reviews that are often about how parents find it hard to install. Parents who do not like the LATCH connector of this product, choose the vehicle seat belt installation, but later feel more annoyed and disappointed mainly because the seat tends to tilt at an angle because its base is not as wide as they thought it should be.
One parent claimed that this is a top heavy car seat that should have a wider base. Some reviewers decided to return the product because they cannot tighten it and claimed there was a major design flaw. It is interesting to see that the manufacturer took time to read customer reviews and for such comments about tightening issues, the manufacturer even encourage the customer to return the seat to its Customer Care Team.
One might think that the faulty products are rare so it still deserves some consideration. Yet, a father who gave this a 1-star rating, said that they have 2 Grow and Go EX-Air and the tilting issue persisted on both seats.
The lack of belt lock-off might be the reason why the more the belt is tightened, the more that the car seat tilted.
This father’s review triggered other parents to share their sentiments and claimed they also experienced the same problem. They wonder why this product has not been recalled yet.
|Country Of Origin:||USA|
|Side Impact Tested:||Yes|
|Approved For Airplane Use:||Yes|
|Easy To Buckle And Unbuckle?||No|
- Country of Origin
This is a US made product, which patriotic consumers will definitely love. However, there are instances when this perception is not always practical and sensible. Safety 1st car seats are US made products that have price points that can compete with Chinese made products. Yet, these Chinese-made options sometimes offer more preferable features. As discussed earlier, many US-made Grow and Go EX-Air car seats have some quality issues and design flaws.
From the reviews of parents who eventually realized that they cannot securely install this car seat in their vehicles, you would read that many of them decided to instead get a Graco Extend2Fit, which is made in China.
- Newborn Harness
Not to be scared off by negative reviews, there are still more parents who express their appreciation for this product. Disregarding critical reports, Grow and Go EX-Air actually has some worthy features to offer and one of them is the newborn harness.
This feature will allow parents to use the car seat for the tiniest passengers 5 pounds in weight. However, you may read reviews and find that some parents only feel comfortable placing their tiny newborns and preemies in an infant car seat. Only average sized babies weighing at least 7 pounds were tested on this car seat and they approve the newborn harness.
The newborn harness is not part of the no-rethread harness system, but you will only need to manually route this newborn harness twice, if ever. One is when you need to install it and start using it with your baby and the other time is when you need to remove it because the baby can already start using the no-rethread harness.
- Air Protect Feature
The Safety 1st Grow and Go EX Air meets and exceeds federal safety standard FMVSS 213, just like the regular version of Grow and Go. The Ex Air version has additional Air Protect feature where in the head cushions are said to be air-filled. It also offers extra protection with its advanced cushioning. Of course, it is understandable that no matter how impressive the safety features of the car seat are, if it cannot be installed properly in a car, these features would all be put to waste.
|Is The Material Breathable?||Relatively|
|Seat Weight:||20 pounds|
|Machine Washable Cover?||Yes|
|No-Rethread Harness?||Yes (excluding newborn harness)|
|Comes With An Infant Body Support?||Yes|
|Easy To Remove Cover?||Yes|
|Comes With A Cup Holder?||Yes, 2|
|Shoulder Harness Has Pads?||Yes|
|# Of Headrest Positions:||Based on the child’s height|
|# Of Crotch Strap Positions:||3|
- Breathable Cover
The fabric cover of this child restraint is of polyester blend. There were reviews that claimed their child felt cool and comfortable, but there are also others who said otherwise. Breathability may be affected also by the cushioning or the padding of the car seat, which in this case, is rather ample so some babies tend to sweat more on this seat.
I think that the harness system of Grow and Go Ex-Air can offer a more customized fit for babies as compared to harness systems that has measured slot heights. You can adjust the harness and headrest together according to the child’s height.
However, the top seat belt guide is considerably low, which means you could not use the booster mode longer so you might prefer other 3-in-1 or all-in-one car seats with higher and more realistic parameters.
- Cleaning and Maintenance
The Grow and Go EX Air has a fabric cover that is easy to remove for cleaning. Even without uninstalling the car seat, the cover may be unsnapped and removed if it needs to be machine washed.
I think that the Safety 1st Grow and Go EX Air has some notable points to consider such as:
- extended rear-facing
- extra safety features (Air Protect)
- easy to remove washable cover
- 10 years lifespan
- more custom-fitting harness
Yet, whenever 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 car seats are discussed, one cannot help but think more about other factors especially if you are to invest at least $200 on an item. You may want something narrower that can fit 3-across and could let you install both with LATCH and with seatbelt in forward-facing, then there is Clek Foonf for you. If you want a travel car seat that you can fold and carry like a backpack, there is Diono Rainier. If you want a car seat with booster mode that is more effective, then there is Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit.
I personally think that I will skip the Grow and Go EX-Air even though it is cheaper than the alternatives mentioned above. Even if my need is basically for extended rear-facing only, I would not take the risk of buying a product and later on regret my decision because I cannot install it properly without tilting or I cannot tighten the straps accordingly. I would rather add a few more dollars to my budget and choose another car seat that has much better reputation installation-wise.
What do you think?
I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments section below!