Graco 4ever All-in-One Car Seat Review 2018

Graco 4ever All-in-One Car Seat

The Graco 4ever All-in-One convertible car seat is meant to last from birth to when your child no longer needs a safety seat. Many of these seats are dependable in this regard, but most lack some versatility. Either they lack enough recline in rear-facing mode or children grow out of them way before the listed maximum weight, among other things.

We’ve reviewed lots of convertible seats, and like most multi-function equipment, they perform each job decently, while single-function seats often perform their one job better than any convertible can. While this one isn’t perfect, the Graco 4ever All-in-One is about the closest it comes in the realm of convertible seats.

The newest versions of this seat include more fabric options and a lower price than the originals. While not super expensive, it still costs enough that most families will want to research all the pros and cons before making the investment. We’ll break them down for you here.

Key Features of the Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

All-in-One in this case means a 4-in-one car seat, with four different configurations.

  • A rear-facing seat that allows for extended rear-facing to 40 pounds
  • A forward-facing seat
  • A high-back booster seat
  • A backless booster seat (often lacking in convertibles)

In addition, you’ll find these features:

  • No-rethread 5-point safety harness
  • 10 position headrest
  • 6 recline positions (3 rear-facing, 3 forward-facing)
  • Bubble-level indicator
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Push on lower LATCH connectors
  • Two built in cup holders
  • 10 year expiration date
  • Washable cover
  • Up to 10 color options
  • Storage compartment for harness when in belt-positioning booster mode
4ever Design

All the color/pattern options, quality fabric and adjustability make it a nice-looking, versatile seat that easily adapts to each stage of your child’s life and your lifestyle.

The two cup holders have solid bottoms so kids can have their snacks and drinks close by while on the go – something that will come in handy as you child gets older and you hear, “Mom, I’m hungry!” more often. They’re roomy enough for storing crayons and small toys too. Plus, they’re easy to remove for cleaning or if you need a couple more inches of space in the back seat.

Most parents think the cover is easy to take off. It’s machine washable and drip dry. It’s not one solid cover (3 separate parts), so you can remove just the part that needs cleaning most. There’s also a removable body/head support cushion for newborns. It’s washable too.

Like other convertibles, it will not serve as a portable infant carrier, nor will it fit on strollers. It’s meant to stay in the car at all times. The good thing is you don’t have to remove the harness when switching to booster mode. You just tuck the harness in the built in cubby, although the compartment is a bit small. Converting to backless booster is really easy too.

What are the child size limits of the Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat?

We were pretty impressed with the 40 pound weight limit to allow for extended rear-facing. Most other convertible seats top out at 30 to 35. The size limits can get a little confusing, so keep your manual in the car for quick consultation.

  • Rear Facing: Ideal for children between 4 and 40 pounds; height limit is when the child’s head is one inch below the headrest adjustment button when the headrest is fully extended.
  • Front Facing: Ideal for children between 22 and 65 pounds, height should be less than 49”; child should be at least one year (12 months) old, preferably 2 years old or more.
  • High-Back Booster: Ideal for children weighing between 30 and 100 pounds, height should be 38 to 57”; children should be able to hold themselves up in the seat and at least four years of age.
  • Backless Booster: Ideal for children 40 to 120 pounds; recommended height is between 40 to 57”; and the child should be at least four years old.

rear-facing seatforward-facing seatbooster seatbackless booster seat

How big is the Graco 4Ever All-in-One convertible car seat, and will it fit in your vehicle?

Convertible seats are often bulky, since they have so many jobs to do. If you have a larger vehicle like an SUV or hybrid, the seat will likely fit just fine unless you need to stick 3 car seats in the backseat. Then, you’ll want to measure your interior and compare it with the below measurements.

  • Width: 19.5 inches at the widest part (at cup holders)
  • Width of base (widest point): 15 inches
  • Seat weight: 22.75 pounds
  • Seating depth: 12.5 inches deep
  • Width of seat area at narrowest point: 13 inches
  • Shell height: 24 inches, extends to 34 inches
  • Lowest harness height (with infant pillow): 7 inches
  • Highest harness height: 18 inches

For sedans and compact cars, definitely take measurements first. Some parents noted that there wasn’t much legroom left for the front passengers when this seat was in rear-facing mode, even on the minimal recline setting. Note that you can remove the cup holders if you need a couple more inches of wiggle room across the back seat.



How safe is the Graco 4Ever All-in-One convertible car seat?

This seat has held up in real-life crash situations. One such experience occurred with an 11-month old baby involved in a terrible rollover accident. The baby was completely unharmed. This seat was crash tested only in the US, so if you’re outside the US, check with your country’s specific safety standards. Or call Graco to see if there is a specific model sold in your country.

For overall safety, the 4Ever is a great option, including the ability to use LATCH in booster mode (up to 42 pounds). But there are a few things to note. When extended to full height, the seat can block some rear visibility depending on your vehicle, but it shouldn’t be enough to pose a safety risk. If you have a particularly small vehicle, make sure to get measurements so you can better determine if visibility will be a problem.

Some smaller issues were noted that may affect comfort and peace of mind more than safety. A few parents thought the seat felt too loose in rear-facing mode and flopped side to side too much. Once the infant insert was removed, other parents felt the seat was too uncomfortable for their child. Some parents also noted that the fabric didn’t seem breathable enough, so their child was very sweaty after riding in the seat for a while.

Useful tip: One complaint involved not being able get the harness straps to remain tight enough, which seems to be a recurring issue in Graco convertibles. But here’s a useful method some parents use to overcome that. Make sure to pull up all the slack in the harness in the hip area first, then pull out the slack in the harness behind the car seat BEFORE pulling the adjuster strap to tighten the harness. Also, tighten the harness BEFORE you buckle the chest clip.


How easy is the Graco 4Ever All-in-One convertible to install and use?

Graco Installation

The Graco 4Ever All-in-One is an easy seat to install in almost all modes. You may have a little more trouble fitting this one into a sporty car with bucket seats due to the width of the base. However, the belt paths are all clearly labeled and color coded so that you can figure things out without having to consult the manual every time.

Unlike some Graco convertibles, the 4Ever All-in-One has only one set of LATCH straps for both rear and forward-facing, so you will need to switch the straps manually when converting. There is no lockoff device for seat belt installations, so you’ll need to know how your seatbelts lock, particularly if you have an older vehicle. To be on the safe side, consult your vehicle owner’s manual to see if there are specific instructions for car seat installations.

For a lot of the conversion steps, it’ll be necessary to take the seat completely out of your car. This isn’t a complicated process, but it can be a bit of a pain. Make sure you’re not in a hurry when converting the seat from one mode to the next.

In rear facing mode, there are three recline positions (1-3) so that your baby can have the utmost comfort. The same goes for the front facing position (4-6), but position 4 must be used for children under 40 pounds.

There is a bubble indicator on the seat that allows for easier leveling when installing rear-facing.

The 4Ever CAN be installed with inflatable seat belts in certain models of Ford vehicles, but not all. If you have a Ford with inflatable seat belts, be sure to consult your vehicle manual and Graco to confirm if your model is compatible.

There were a few notable usability issues. While the seat cover is removable in 3 parts, the harness straps are NOT removable, so some parents had issues with keeping the straps clean, especially after spit-ups and other smelly messes.

Possible design flaw: One of the biggest complaints, which isn’t so much ease of use, but more a case of sanity, involves the headrest. According to several parents, it rattles. A lot. It doesn’t seem to pose any safety issue, however. The rattling seems to be worse the higher up the headrest is moved and when the car seat is empty. If this happens, Graco may be able to exchange your seat, but there’s no guarantee it will not rattle.


Best Car Seat Hub’s Final Verdict

pros
  • Easy installation
  • Easy converting between modes
  • Wide weight range
  • Allows extended rear-facing
  • 2 removable (solid bottom) cup holders
  • No-rethread harness that doesn’t need to be removed in booster mode
  • LATCH available for booster mode (up to 42 pounds)
  • Easy seat belt installation
  • Proven crash safety record
  • 3-part cover for easy removal and washing
cons
  • Headrest rattles
  • Bulky, especially in rear-facing mode
  • Fabric not very breathable
  • Harness can be tricky to tighten
  • Harness not removable for easy cleaning
  • At full height, can block rear visibility somewhat
  • No lockoff device for seat belt install
  • Only one set of LATCH straps for both rear and forward-facing

4ever All in One and Baby

Optional accessories

There are a couple accessories that might provide a more comfortable and cleaner experience when using the Graco 4Ever:

Car Seat Protector with Thickest Padding
This slip-proof, extra large seat cover is made with PVC leather. It’s water-resistant and will protect your vehicle seat from spills, keep crumbs out of the cracks and prevent markings on the upholstery. There’s also a 3-pocket compartment in the front for extra snack or toy storage.
Car Kick Mats Back Seat Protector 2 Pk
Keep the backs of your front seats clean and scuff free with these kick mats. Designed to provide a barrier against dirty shoes, they’re also a handy storage area with stretchy pockets to hold books, crayons, snacks, and mobile devices.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Graco 4ever All-in-One is a great choice for those who want a convertible car seat. Because it’s bulky and not portable and not the most comfortable seat on the market, we recommend this one for your everyday drives. For longer car trips, your child would likely be more comfortable in a one-tasker seat that delivers more in terms of cushioning and portability.

In the end, the Graco 4ever All-in-One is an affordable option that delivers on all values: safety, ease of use, functionality, price, and comfort. Yeah, it’s got a few issues here and there, but nothing that should compromise safety. As a convertible seat, it’s probably the closest to perfect we’ve seen yet.

Read Graco 4ever All-in-One Manual

Check Graco 4ever All-in-One Car Seat Price

Comments

  1. Kathy Kirkendall says:

    Hello, I have heard there are Safety ratings for car seats on a 3 point scale but I don’t see the rating for this on the Greco site or Amazon. Does anyone know why? It seems like a very important way for parents to assess and compare options.

  2. Princess Apple Arceo says:

    will this fit in a mitsubishi rvr 2018?

  3. Melanie says:

    Does this car seat have extra bases that are sold separately?

  4. Rachel says:

    We just installed our car seat yesterday. I have tried to look online but can’t find an answer to my question. inside the box was a bag that had the two cup holders to attach, the instruction manual and a black strap with a red piece on the end. What is this strap for? I didn’t see anything about it in the instruction manual and can’t find anything online.

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Rachel, thanks for your question. We found an answer from Graco Consumer Services for a parent who had the same question: “Thank you for your interest in our product. The part you are referring to is the shoulder belt positioning clip. It is used when the car seat is used as a backless booster. Please refer to the owners manual for installation.”

      Hope this helps!

  5. Chantelle says:

    My husband and I are having issues tighting the harness. Is it because it’s new so it needs to get worked alittle bit or is something wrong?

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Chantelle, thanks for your question. Others have also had that issue, which seems to be fairly common in Graco convertibles. One helpful method that some parents suggested was to make sure to pull up all the slack in the harness in the hip area first, then pull out the slack in the harness behind the car seat BEFORE pulling the adjuster strap to tighten the harness. Also, tighten the harness BEFORE you buckle the chest clip.

      Try that, but if it still doesn’t work, call Graco customer service at 1-800-345-4109 to see what they suggest.

  6. Mary says:

    My 20 month old granddaughter has been able to unclip herself while my daughter is driving, could the clip be defective or is there something to put over this clip to prevent her from doing this? I have the same car seat in my car and I fear her doing this when I am out and about with her

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Mary, thanks for your question. There are no known recalls for this seat, though it’s possible your individual seat could have a defective part. There are chest clip covers on the market such as this one: https://www.amazon.com/Chest-Clip-Guard-Car-Seat/dp/B01AX47QEU

      However, we don’t recommend adding any aftermarket items to a car seat. They may not be crash tested, and they could void your warranty. So, before you do anything else, we recommend that you call Graco Consumer Services at 1-800-345-4109 Monday-Friday 8am-5pm EST. They are usually very helpful and may be able to offer a replacement part or return.

  7. Katherine Street says:

    Is there an easy way to take the car seat out and leave a base in or is it all one piece? I have babysitters that I leave my son in the car seat when he gets dropped off. Would I have to take the whole seat itself out if my car or does it click in my graco click connect car seat hes in now?

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Katherine, thanks for your question. The Graco 4-ever 4-in-1 convertible car seat does not have a detachable base. It’s all one piece, so to move it from car to car, you will have to move the entire seat. Hope this answers your question.

  8. Luna YOUNG says:

    I have twins so I’m not sure if I can fit two of these in my backseat with my older child’s booster seat.

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Like most car seats, it will depend on your car’s interior. Many parents can fit 2 side by side in cars such as a Honda Civic or Rav4, but don’t have room for any other passengers. If you have a large vehicle like a crew cab pickup, it’s probably possible. Take some measurements and call Graco to check if your car will be compatible.

  9. Paisley Jones says:

    Can I put this seat on a stroller?

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      No. As a convertible seat, it’s not portable like an infant seat. It’s meant to be used in the car only. If you’d like one for a stroller, the Graco Click Connect infant seats would fit most every Graco stroller.

  10. Michelle says:

    What do you mean by “make sure you tighten the harness to fit before buckling your child in”? I’m having trouble getting the harness tightened properly in rear facing mode.

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