With over 30 years of industry experience, Safety 1st is one of the few manufacturers that we’d trust to turn out a good 3-in-1 car seat.

Their commitment to user-friendly design means that you’re unlikely to run into those all-too-familiar fitting problems, and their eye for fine detail means that you’re all-but guaranteed a product that will be easy to use on an everyday basis.

The Grow and Go is the perfect example of their prowess. Standing head and shoulders above most of the competition, it’s one of the best 3-in-1 seats that we’ve reviewed, and we’d happily recommend it to any parent.

It’s bulky, and you probably wouldn’t want to carry it onto a plane, but it’s also incredibly comfortable, well-built and easy to use. It can be set up in a matter of minutes, and it’s designed to be adjusted on the fly – making it a great choice for parents that want a seat that’ll grow with their baby.

FMVSS-213The Grow and Go has an enviable safety record too: It meets or exceeds all federal standards, it has won many commendations for its safety features and it’s also one of the few 3-in-1s that’s designed to be kept in the rear-facing position until your little one weighs over 40lbs.

An in-depth review of Safety 1st’s Grow and Go

Here, we’ve set out to provide an in-depth review of Safety 1st’s Grow and Go: Highlighting all of the features we loved and drawing attention to a few of the seat’s flaws so that you can decide whether it’s right for you.

We’ve also tried to give a good overview of the care, maintenance and setup, so that you know exactly what you’ll be working with if you do choose to buy one for yourself.

Important Statistics

ModeWeight LimitsHeight LimitsReclining positionsHarness Type
Rear-facing5-40 lb19-40”2-3Rethread (6-10 inches) and no-rethread (10+ inches)
Front-facing22-65 lb29-49”1-2No-rethread
Booster40-100 lb43-52”1N/A

Pros of the Safety 1st Grow and Go

First things first, it’s important to point out that the Grow and Go definitely looks the part: It’s a plush, chunky seat with plenty of comfortable padding and a host of extra mod-cons. It also boasts some wonderfully attractive, high-contrast piping in a variety of colors, and we’re pleased to report that it looks every inch the modern, high-end car seat.

Safe and reliable

The Grow and Go is much more than just eye candy though. Like most of Safety 1st’s product range, it’s been built from the ground up with your little one’s protection in mind. The plastic shell is reinforced with energy-absorbing foam that’s capable of soaking up the force of an impact, and the whole seat looks to be very well built.

Having handled the Grow and Go for a few days, we can honestly say that it’s a robust piece of kit, and we have no doubt that it would last the full length of its 10 year lifespan.

10-yearsWe’re also really pleased to say that it meets or exceeds all federal safety standards. The manufacturer has also had the seat tested for side-impact collisions. This kind of extra testing isn’t strictly necessary, and we feel that it does go to show just how committed Safety 1st is to providing trustworthy products.

It’s also worth noting that the seat feels incredibly secure. You can strap it in using LATCH tethers or a seatbelt and once the Grow and Go is in place, we’re pleased to report that it sits nice and tight. In fact, it could even be a part of the car, and that goes for all three of the seat’s configurations.

One of the big drawbacks to Safety 1st’s old Alpha Omega car seats was the booster mode’s poor fit and lack of extra security, and it’s good to see that Safety 1st have obviously addressed this issue with their new seats.

It’s also good to see that they do anticipate you using the seat right up until your child is at the 100lb weight limit, and that things like the booster functionality aren’t something of an afterthought anymore.

Grow and Go - weight limit

Real focus on comfort and support

It’s not all about safety though: The safest seat in the world can still be plenty uncomfortable, and if your baby doesn’t enjoy being strapped in, you’re going to have a real headache on your hands!

Fortunately, the Grow and Go does offer plenty of comfort. In fact, we honestly think that it’s one of the comfiest seats we’ve reviewed.

The plush padding on the seat, back and sides offers plenty of give, but it’s still firm enough to offer real support for your child. There’s also something to be said for the way that the back and sides are angled to offer plenty of support as your little one grows.

 

Grow and Go - rear-facingEverything is covered in soft, supple fabric too, and the weave on all of the cushion covers is tight enough to prevent snagging, which is a big plus. Oh, and even the harness straps have plenty of cushioning, which is something that’s often overlooked. All in all, it’s fair to say that the Grow and Go feels like a luxurious, high end product, and it’s ergonomic enough to offer real comfort on even the longest drive.

It’s also worth mentioning that the seat is built with three different recline positions, which means that you’re all but guaranteed to find an angle that suits your little one. Better still, you can alter the recline with one hand, without the need to take the seat out, or unstrap everything just to get your infant sitting comfortably.

Grow and Go - baby paddingAnd then there’s the infant insert, or ‘body pillow’ as Safety 1st calls it. This incredibly plush little ad-on makes the world of difference for little babies; giving them the extra padding they need to sit comfortably and bolstering the amount of cushion should an impact occur.

This is the kind of car seat that you could use day in, day out. It’s obviously been designed with comfort in mind, and we’re confident that even the fussiest babies will be able to snuggle back and relax while you drive.

Grow and Go - 3-position recline

Easy to set up

Best of all though? The Grow and Go is incredibly easy to set up and adjust. Most 3-in-1 car seats have some sort of adjustable harness, but Safety 1st’s offering actually boasts a sturdy, 5-point harness that can be adjusted without rethreading, which means that you’ll find it very easy to switch between the different positions.

If you have a fast-growing baby, this means less time spent trying to poke straps through a tiny slot or cursing as you realize that you’ve threaded them into the wrong position for the umpteenth time.

It also means that you can adjust on the fly, which is great if you sit your baby down for a long trip, and suddenly find that the safety harness isn’t quite sitting right.

Grow and Go - 5-point harnessBetter still, the harness is linked to the seat headrest using Safety 1st’s unique “QuickFit” system, so you can adjust both together. We think that it’s this kind of flexibility that really makes the Grow and Go stand out. After a couple of weeks with the seat, we found that it was always responsive, adaptable and wonderfully easy to use.

We also found that the accessibility of all the extra features meant that we were much more willing to try out all the different angles and seating positions.

Like most parents, we tend to steer clear of features that look like they’d be a lot of hassle to use, and we have to admit that we’re often quite reluctant to diving in and adjust something like the angle of recline unless we absolutely have to.

Here, the renewed focus on simplicity meant we were much more open to experimentation, and our little tester had a much greater chance of enjoying a comfortable ride as a result.

Grow and Go - forward-facingThe only slight caveat? The no-rethread functionality only works for the options geared towards large babies and toddlers. If you’re using the seat for a new born, you will need to use the separate, small infant straps that do need to be rethreaded manually.

Your child will quickly grow into the seat though, and this small headache should only last for a few short months. In our opinion, this is one of the most convenient and user-friendly 3-in-1s we’ve reviewed, and we think it’s definitely a seat that will appeal to parents that dread the hassle of constantly re-fitting a bulky car seat.

Cons of the Safety 1st Grow and Go

It’s important to note that there are a few things about the Grow and Go that we didn’t like. These aren’t major flaws. In fact, most of them are minor nit-picks

But, we think it’s important to provide a truly unbiased review, and it’d be remiss of us to flag up all of the wonderful pros, without giving some space to the seat’s cons.

For starters, the bulk. While this seat is quite light, it’s also fairly wide, and it’s very unlikely that you’d fit more than two in the back of your car. That’s not a problem if you’ve just got the one baby, but if you have multiple children you may find yourself struggling for space.

Grow and Go - boosterThe Grow and Go is quite long too – particularly in the rear-facing position where it needs to be reclined quite far back. The fact that the headrest is extendible, and can be socketed down into the seat does help to keep things more compact but there’s still no getting around the fact that it’s some 24 inches tall, and probably won’t fit in very small cars.

Note
If you do have a compact car, take measurements before you buy, and double-check that it’ll fit!

Aside from these concerns, the only other niggles are to do with the buckles on the harness, which can be surprisingly stiff. You may need to use two hands, or even enlist the help of your partner/friends for the first couple of goes, although repeat use does seem to ‘break in’ some of the stiffer clasps.

Fitting via the LATCH method can be quite the hassle too. This isn’t something that’s really unique to the Grow and Go. In fact, most seats that we’ve fitted via the LATCH fittings tend to be quite troublesome, but the real issue here was getting enough tension on the belts to get the seat in nice and snug.

Grow and Go - hassleWe found that it often required two hands, and took around 10-15 minutes in the rear facing position because it was so difficult to get good leverage. If you intend to use the LATCH fittings, it’s worth considering whether or not you’re going to be taking the seat out a lot, as you may find the Grow and Go quite frustrating to re-fit.

That said, if you’re looking for the kind of seat that you can ‘set and forget’, and you have a moderate sized car, the Grow and Go is still one of the best 3-in-1s you’ll find. It’s worth pointing out that all of these problems are purely installation issues too. Once the seat is up and running, you’ll find it super easy to adjust, and wonderfully easy to use.

Using the Safety 1st Grow and Go

We’ve talked about day-to-day use of the seat above, but it’s worth going over some of the basic care, fitting and maintenance here too.

The Grow and Go is packed with modern conveniences; from harness holders that stop you needing to fish around for the straps in a hurry, right through to the little cup holders that you can use to secure your baby’s drink in place.

Grow and Go - cup holdersThese little mod-cons make the whole thing very easy to use, as do things like the unique “QuickFit” harness/headrest adjustment, and the one-handed recline functionality.

Care and maintenance

We love that the Grow and Go has fully-removable and machine washable covers. Spills are inevitable, and the fact that you can just pull off the covers and stuff them into the washing machine makes keeping things nice and clean a breeze.

The seat pads are also fully removable, and can be machine washed too, although the infant inserts are hand wash only. This means you’ll never have any problems with food or debris building up in the gaps, or behind the covers. It’s also easy to keep things hygienic, which means you’ll find it nice and easy to maximize the seat’s lifespan.

Grow and Go - bottom view

Bottom View

Fitting

Fitting is done via the LATCH fittings in your car, specialized belt paths or tether points. There are plenty of different options, and it’s dead simple to fit the car in a variety of different ways.

As noted above, actually getting the seat to fit can be quite time consuming, but Safety 1st have tried their best to help you out by including a built-in level to help you make sure the seat is angled correctly, and providing a comprehensive instruction manual.

 

Conclusion

Despite being quite time-consuming to fit, the Grow and Go is one of our favorite 3-in-1s. It has all of the safety features you need to be able to sit back and relax, in the knowledge that your little one is safe.

It’s also incredibly comfortable, and very well built – with thick foam padding and the kind of soft, machine-washable covers that you can rely on to last for the full 10-year lifespan.

If you’re looking for a good, everyday car seat that’s adaptable enough to grow with your child, you can’t go wrong with this option. This is also one of the better seats for ease-of-use. If you’re sick of struggling with rethread harnesses or taking out your seat just to change the angle of recline, we’d strongly recommend that you check out the Grow and Go.