Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

Whenever I visit a baby store I can’t help but head over to the car seat section to see the newest models, even though we are done having babies (our youngest is 17 months). I want to see what improvements have been made since I last bought car seats and what little extras manufacturers are adding to make installation and use a little easier on us parents.

With our oldest son, we adored his Recaro convertible car seats (all discontinued models now) and used them until they expired. We have also owned and used car seats from Britax, Diono, Graco and The First Years.

We were given the opportunity to review the NextFit Zip convertible car seat from Chicco and it’s really blown me away with the ease of use and some pretty nifty features.

I am someone who usually dislikes installing car seats using LATCH. There are lots of rules when using LATCH (which I have no problem following) and in all honesty, I have rarely come across a car seat that was actually EASY to install using LATCH. I end up getting frustrated and unable to get the straps tight enough. 90% of the time, I prefer to install car seats with just the seat belt. The seat belt is just as safe, but LATCH was designed to make car seat installation easy, right??

Chicco really wowed me with their LATCH Tightener. It took me about two minutes to install the seat with no difficulty tightening the straps at all. Their fancy tightener takes very little effort to get a perfectly snug fit. I literally got it snug with one finger!

Oh, and if you aren’t using your LATCH straps, there’s a handy storage space for them!

Having a seat that can recline at nine different positions also really wowed me. One complaint I have with other car seats is the difficulty getting the recline correct, specifically when rear facing. When it’s wrong, my son’s head tips forward when he falls asleep. We travel a lot, and we don’t always have a spare beach towel or pool noodle with us to prop under the car seat to ensure the recline is correct on other car seats. I REALLY dislike having to do that.

Having nine settings and a nifty bubble level on each side makes it oh so easy to get the recline perfect for the angle of your seat and for your child, no matter what car you’re using. A bubble level, what a thought!!

A feature that I really love is the seemingly simple ability to adjust the height of the shoulder straps without having to take the whole seat apart. Most of us install the seat in our everyday car and we leave it there. Thank you to the engineers who made it possible to adjust the seat for growing children without having to rethread the straps and then re-install the whole seat. I really mean it, thank you!

One tidbit that I only really noticed this week because I moved the car seat from my minivan to my four-door sedan: the NextFit is significantly shorter than most of the other car seats we’ve owned. In my four-door Nissan, we usually have to have the passenger seat pushed all the way forward to accommodate a rear-facing convertible car seat. With the NextFit in the back, I was able to put the front passenger seat in a comfortable position for my 5’9″ self. It was very nice for a recent road trip to not have to ride with my knees practically on the dashboard.

Now, I hope this doesn’t mean that my son will outgrow this seat in height sooner than normal, but I’m hoping that the adjustable height will accommodate that. Fingers crossed!

The Next Fit Zip has a chest clip that adjusts for growing kids and the shoulder pads are easily removed for washing. The pads that rest along baby’s hips are handy too, they keep the clips from falling into the seat so they are easy to grab when buckling your baby in. It’s a feature I didn’t even know I wanted in a car seat.

The “Zip” feature is something pretty awesome that I don’t think any other car seat manufacturer has. The cover comes off without having the take the seat out of the car. You read that right. So in the event of an epic blowout or vomit fest, you can easily remove the cover and machine wash it.

Check it out! Pretty awesome, right??

I only really have two little complaints with this car seat:

1. It feels a little bucket-like when compared to other convertible car seats we’ve used. My youngest can’t see out the window as well as he can in our other car seat (a Diono Radian). This is a minor complaint really, and not a deal breaker. It’s very possible that it bugs me more than it bugs my son. We’re driving from Utah to California this week with this car seat, so we’ll see how he does!

2. This car seat comes with a pretty hefty price tag at $349. You can get a Chicco NextFit without the zip-off cover and save about $30. But in all honesty, you are paying for some really amazing features and incredibly easy installation. There’s even a removable, insulated cup holder.

Chicco created this infographic for us to share that includes some of the most common questions and misconceptions when it comes to convertible car seat installation and safety:

One Response to Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

  1. The extra information Chicco provided is very helpful. I like the idea of the leveler with the numbers so you get the correct tilt of the seat.

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