Our Review of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat

The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 infant car seat first joined the extensive Graco family of child restraints back in 2005. Since then it’s been through a few iterations, one of which was to lower the minimum weight range from 5 to 4 pounds to better fit preemies.

The newer seats also have a longer expiration (7 years instead of 6) to better allow for extended rear-riding (to 2 years old) according to the AAP’s recommendation. The ClickConnect technology was designed to make it easy to attach to both a base and stroller with one step.

It’s on the upper range in prices among the other Graco SnugRide models, but it’s still a pretty affordable seat compared to similar models of other brands. While not a huge investment for most families, you still want to get what you pay for.

Is the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 worth the investment, and is it a safe and reliable seat for your baby? Let’s break down the stats so you can decide for yourself.

Key Features of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35

  • 4 color options
  • 7 year lifespan
  • FAA approved
  • Can install without the base
  • 2 places to adjust harness length
  • One crotch strap/buckle position
  • 3 harness height positions
  • Adjustable base
  • EPS foam throughout entire upper shell
  • Machine washable covers (drip dry)
  • Large, rotating canopy
  • Carry handle can be left upright in the car

What are the child size limits for the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35?

Graco SnugRide Sizes

The 35 in the product name applies to the maximum weight range for this seat – 35 pounds. That’s becoming a fairly standard max weight in car seats, but there are still models like the SnugRide 30 that max out at 30 pounds. But 35 pounds does allow for extended rear-facing to age 2 or older.

  • Weight range: 4 – 35 pounds (rear-facing only)
  • Height range: Up to 32 inches (or until head is 1″ below top of seat)

While the SnugRide 30 has matching weight and height numbers of 30 pounds and 30 inches, the height limit of the SnugRide 35 tops out at only 32 inches. Some parents noted that the infant insert in the SnugRide 30 and 35 didn’t seem to have enough head support for newborns.

There is another version called the SnugRide 35 LX with an infant insert that better restricts head movement. So if you will be driving on bumpy, curvy roads, the LX model may be a better option for your newborn.

How big is the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 and will it fit in your vehicle?

  • Carrier weight: 7.5 pounds
  • Weight w/ base: 14.17 pounds
  • Seat depth: 30.67 inches
  • Seat width (outer): 18.66 inches
  • Seat height: 15.59 inches
  • Seat width (inside): 11.75 inches
  • Lowest harness slot: 6 inches w/ infant insert
  • Harness slots without insert: 7 inches, 9.5 inches, 11.5 inches
  • Width of base at belt path (width needed in back seat): 9.5 inches
Graco Aire3 Click Connect Travel System

The best thing size-wise is that this seat will likely fit in the backseat of most compact and other small cars. The only real issue with size we found involved the weight of the seat.

A few parents noted a weight discrepancy from Graco’s reported weight for the carrier. While they list the SnugRide 35 as 7.5 pounds, parents reported the weight as 9 – 9.5 pounds. It’s unclear if this included the infant insert or any other accessories.

A couple of pounds difference isn’t much until your baby is approaching 10 pounds. Some parents found this to be the case. You might find your arm getting really tired if you try to tote the carrier around for very long.

Buying this seat as part of the Graco Aire3 Click Connect Travel System would be a good idea if you want to use the carrier outside the car. The stroller is a slim profile, lightweight (just 22 pounds) three-wheeled model. It will hold your child well after they outgrow the car seat, up to 50 pounds.

Note: Customers have reported that this seat will only attach to Graco Click Connect strollers and not older Graco strollers.

How safe is the Graco Snug Ride Click Connect 35?

Graco SnugRide on Car

This car seat has been crash tested to meet and exceed US federal car seat safety standards. Graco has its own safety testing facility in Georgia and a program called SafeSeat Engineering, with standards that meet or exceed government test requirements. Additionally, they focus on 3 key areas: catastrophic crashes, extreme environments, and side impacts.

Graco seats are constructed with materials that can perform differently in different temperatures. Most safety tests are performed at room temperature, but they also test at temperatures of 0 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, several parents noted that the SnugRide 35 wasn’t as breathable as other models, so their child’s back ended up really sweaty on warm days.

Real-life crash experience: In 2015, a mother reported that her car went off the highway and rolled down a hill. Her 6-month old baby was unharmed while riding in this seat.

What we noted from several reports was that there seem to have been changes in quality control since the pre-2011 models (those that had minimum 5 pound weight). Parents who owned the earlier models and the more recent ones have said the new versions of the SnugRide 35 feel cheaper overall, with less padding and lower quality fabric.

Possible design flaw: Some parents reported that the seat often got stuck when trying to remove it from the base, so they weren’t always able to use the carrier. Also, a few parents discovered that just because they heard the “click” when putting the seat in the base didn’t always mean the base was attached. So don’t depend on hearing the “click” – always check that the seat is attached by pulling straight up on it.

How easy is the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 to use and install?

Click Connect installSnugRide LATCH

This seems to depend on who you ask. Many parents who were new to car seats thought the seat was easy to install and use. However, parents who had used earlier versions of this seat or other car seat brands noted various flaws in both design and installation.

The LATCH system may be harder to use than it should be. The clip-style LATCH anchors are difficult to attach to U-shaped vehicle anchors and removing them (especially if you have anchors that are deep in the backseat cushion and hard to see) is a pain in the neck. Once you have the LATCH clips attached, it may be hard to tighten the straps enough for the seat to feel secure.

Another issue some people had was with the canopy. Oftentimes, it couldn’t be used with the carrier handle still up. This could be a pain on really sunny or rainy days, especially in summer if it’s too hot to cover your baby with a blanket.

One good thing to note about installation is the adjustable recline feature on the base. There’s a color coded guide to help you get the right angle on the seat for baby’s age (newborn to 3 mon & 3 mon +). That’s a fairly unique feature among infant car seats.

Possible design flaws: Depending on your backseat, you may still have to use rolled up towels to achieve the proper angle, particularly for a newborn with little to no head/neck control. We were surprised that this is also advised in the user manual, which is not something car seat manufacturers usually recommend.

It also would seem that the SnugRide 35 doesn’t have a no-rethread harness, which means you’ll have to remove the harness straps from the slots and rethread them in higher slots as your child grows. While perhaps a minor inconvenience, it is worth noting.

Best Car Seat Hub’s final verdict

pros
  • Fairly affordable
  • Fits in most small vehicles
  • Adjustable recline feature
  • Allows for extended rear-facing (up to 35 pounds)
  • Large canopy
  • Machine washable cover
  • FAA Approved
  • Fits with all Graco Click Connect strollers
cons
  • Infant insert may not offer good head support
  • Carrier may be heavier than product specs list
  • Canopy cannot easily be used while handle is up
  • Carrier may get stuck in base
  • “One-click” base attach may be unreliable
  • Harness requires rethreading for height adjustment
  • LATCH system may be difficult to use
  • Fabric may not be breathable

Final thoughts

Graco SnugRide

The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 is proven to perform safely in both crash tests and real-life crashes. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a disappointment with some design and installation features.

If you have a preemie, the infant insert that comes with this seat may not offer enough head support. Using after-market inserts is not something we’d recommend, but you could call Graco and see if they have an alternative infant insert.

The SnugRide 35 will most likely fit in your vehicle, which is a big plus. Depending on the angle of your backseat, however, you might need some rolled up towels under the base to get it to the right angle.

The LATCH installation (and removal) can be a pain if you have an older vehicle with hidden LATCH anchors. It shouldn’t be an issue with newer models of cars, but you can install the seat securely with just the seat belt.

The price is decent for this car seat, and if you have a newer, smaller car, the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 could be a good option for you. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to shop around before deciding on this one.

Check Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Price

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