One carseat to contain them all

By Mir
May 18, 2010

I know we talk a lot about the Britax being the ultimate in baby/toddler carseats, but the reality is that not everyone can afford one of those (obviously).

The good news is that there are plenty of cheaper options that are also very well-rated and have the same sort of flexibility in terms of weight/height accommodations. Take a look at the Graco Nautilus, which is currently $135 at Amazon if you get the “Matrix” color. It works from 20 to 65 pounds, as a 5-point restraint, a high-backed booster, and a short booster. That’s a lot of years (and a lot of bang for the buck) out of a single seat.

This one does not do rear-facing, though, so it’s not the seat to start with, but it’d theoretically take you through the end of carseat days if you need it for a little one who’s already forward-facing.

(Insert your own joke about just throwing the kids into the trunk here, depending on how your day is going.)


  1. Great seat for older kids.

    For those with younger ones, remember to keep them rear-facing as long as possible! Ideally until they outgrow a rear-facing convertible seat, but especially until they turn 2.

  2. We have this car seat and I love it!

  3. this is the one i have in my car. we’ve been using it about a year and a half…we really like it.

  4. (oh, and you can’t see it very well in the picture on amazon, but there are big numbers on each section indicating the weight the child should be before “graduating” to the next style. i find that very helpful.)

  5. We have several of these and love them!

  6. we’ve had this for a year and half now, very satisfied w/ it, and it’s a great deal.

  7. My parents always used the roof rack idea, rather than the trunk. Just stick the kid up there with the skis 🙂

  8. This is the seat we have been using for about a year now – and it still looks great and feels comfortable for my 4 1/2 yr old. She loves it, and all of it’s little cubby holes and pockets to put her “things” in. She will be in this chair until she is 8!

  9. We have two of these so far, for my 7 and 5 year olds. (both are still harnessed even.) My almost 4 year old is in a Britax, and she’s been jealous of their seats since the day they got them, lol! (hers doesn’t expire for another year or two, but this deal is making me consider it.)

  10. The Nautilus really is a great seat for kids who have outgrown their RF seat. (That doesn’t mean their baby bucket, that means a rear facing seat that goes to 35 or 40 or even 45 lbs now.)

    I know the seat says it is for 20lbs and up, but honestly, my youngest son is nearly 30 lbs and there is NO WAY I would let him use this seat – he’s too small yet.

    My nearly 5 year old has this seat in matrix, and it is comfortable, easy to install, easy to clean and to remove the cover for washing, etc. A great seat for older toddlers and young kiddos.

  11. We DID ride in the trunk once, back in the mid-70s. But we WANTED to, and my mom left a crack for air. 😮

  12. I too was going to list the Albee Baby site. They have the Britax Marathon in Sutton and a couple of other designs for $199, reg. price was $279. I got all 3 of our Britax seats this way!

    As for children being rear facing until 2, I have to ask “how?” My son’s knees were in his face at a year. Once he hit 22 lbs. (the minimum for his Britax car seat), I took him out of the rear facing seat and put him in that. I was TRYING to keep him rear facing as long as possible but realized that I was cramming him in and he was uncomfortable and I couldn’t imagine that was really safe. Maybe I have a freakishly long child!?! 🙂

  13. Suzanne-you teach them to sit with their legs crossed.

  14. My daughter is in the 75% for height and she has no problem still being rear facing. We have the sunshine radian and the britax decathlon and she is completely comfortable in both. Just google extended rear facing and you will find many images of children much bigger than 22 lbs rear facing comfortably.

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