Graco SnugRide32 Car Seat: The Baby Bucket Is A Staple

04/20/2009 at 10:30 AM ET
Graco SnugRide32 in LemongrassGraco SnugRide32 in Lemongrass

The infant car seat that almost everyone has now has a higher weight and height limit. The SnugRide32 Car Seat ($150-190) now holds babies up to 32 pounds and 32 inches.

We always called our SnugRide “the Baby Bucket.” Ours was used by our two boys plus a friend’s child and shows little wear and tear. You’ll see SnugRides wherever you go. They’re just a staple for parents everywhere as they are one of the most highly safety rated and reasonably priced.

We don’t have the facilities to run our own crash tests (though the SnugRide consistently earns high ratings) but we certainly can give a parent’s perspective on usability and convenience. The SnugRide, like all car seats, can be a challenge to install the first time. It’s always a good idea to take your car to a certified installer to ensure that you did it right. But after you get the base locked in correctly it’s a snap to pop the seat in and out. Definitely install it before that first contraction!

The SnugRide infant car seat ($80-180) safely accommodates children from 5-22 lbs and 29 inches tall. The seat without the base weighs 7.5 lbs. The SnugRide32 ($150-190) works up to 32 inches tall and 32 pounds.

The larger seat is good if you have big babies, but I can’t imagine carrying a 22+ pound baby outside of the car in the seat. The SnugRide32 seat weighs 9.5 lbs without the base, so you would carrying more than 40 pounds! We switched ours to a rear-facing convertible seat at around seven months or 18 lbs when it just got too difficult for me to lug him around in the bucket. Carrying heavy babies in the seat can be awkward but it’s nice to not have to wake a sleeping infant by unbuckling him every time you stop the car.

Many parents don’t realize that the SnugRide does not require the base at all. It can be safely installed with the seat belt across the top of the car seat (by following the directions to the last detail, of course). The only drawback to this installation is that you have to buckle it back in each time. Additional bases are available if you’re installing the seat in Daddy or Grandma’s car frequently.

The SnugRide comes with a removable sun shade and a seat cover that can be machine washed. Choosing among all the models available can be challenging, but the design of the seat is the same. In addition to the added capacity of the SnugRide32, they come in different fabrics (you’ll pay more for the luxe versions) with different features like a winter foot muff or infant head support.

Many brands of strollers are compatible with the SnugRide, though some require adapters. All Graco strollers are compatible and you can even purchase a Graco Travel System that include a stroller and the SnugRide. (Check out our review of the Quattro Tour Travel System here.)

The Verdict: The SnugRide Infant Car Seat is affordable, safe and reliable.

— Kristen

Check out our other reviews of Graco products:

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Rebecca on

We never used an infant carseat with our second, we just used a convertible carseat from birth. It was so much easier, pop her in the sling and go! This left both hands free to wrangle my older kidlet, who was 2 1/2 years old at the time. Don’t understand the obsession with bucket seats personally, they really put you at a risk to damage your joints.

Alyssa on

I’m due with my first child in October and we’re pretty set on purchasing the Snugride 32. I like the amount of foam padding behind the fabric. My favorite print is the ‘Townsend’ line since I’m a fan of blue and brown. It will work with either a boy or girl….we’ll be finding that out on May 27th.

Megan on

I purchased the snugride 32 for baby number 3. I tend to have long lean babies, both my sons were under 20lbs at a year, but 34″ at least. My second son was 22″ at birth! The downside with going right to a convertable at birth, not all actually fit a newborn and some hospitals won’t let you take baby home in one.

vero on

I have the standard Snugride for my daughter (love it), she is also long and lean. I wouldn’t recommend the Snugride32 for small woman. At 19 lbs/27 in(7 months), I can’t wait to change to the next car seat. It has been really heavy for quite some time already. Basically, if you can handle that much weight, go for it. You need another car seat after anyways…

Kat on

just so you know, just because a seat CAN be popped in and out doesn’t mean you HAVE to use it that way.

You can buy an infant seat to give you the option when you really need to leave baby in there for a quick errand or in cold weather, and while baby is young, but as baby gets older, you can just leave the seat in the base as you would with a convertible seat…

GSV on

Just to be real, my kid hated the infant bucket seat once he reached about 4/5 mths. He started screaming in the car, cartrips were miserable,etc. So we went out and bought a nice convertibe seat and installed it rear seating, and problem solved, he was happy as a clam. The bucket seats are great in the beginning, but once your child starts growing and can sit up more, etc., moving up to a convertible seems to be a good idea, rather than waiting til 12 mths. I have met many friends who say somewhere from 4-6 mths their child had issues being happy in the infant seat as well, car rides became unpleasant, etc., and then when they switched to a big boy/girl seat rear facing, all was well in the world when doing car trips.

mmh on

So my soon-to-be 3-year-old would still fit in this?!!!!!!!

Nichole on

Just an FYI – the 32″ height limit is NOT set in stone. As with every other child seat, the height limit on the seat is proportional to your child’s torso length. For all rear facing seats (convertibles and infant carriers), you have until there is less than one inch of hard shell left above the child’s head (be sure to measure hard shell – not over the padding!). For longer torsoed babies, this is less than 32″, for shorter torsoed babies, this will be beyond 32″. For the record, the 32 lbs limit however, is set in stone.

Opinion on

Ahhh! My first thought was, “great, now people will leave their poor children in those seats for even longer.” I’m not talking about a quick errand here or there. I’m talking about leaving your child in it for hours on end. The women around here really do that. How do they resist their snuggly babies?!

They are so easy to carry in a sling-at least until 15 lbs! After that, it pays to know how to use a great carrier. 🙂 I like the Ergo. 🙂

We used a Britax Roundabout from birth (convertible seat) and at 20 months, my daughter will jump into it herself because it is just that comfortable. Naturally, we buckle her! It’s also still rear-facing because the Injury Prevention Journal came out with research supporting that.

Niki Alvey on

We had a regular Graco SnugRide for my two boys that worked great. When we had my daughter we used it also. At about 3 months she started hating it, crying anytime we put her in it. We drove out to Cape Cod last summer when she was about 4 months and it was the worst trip, she cried the whole time even though I was right next to her.

As soon as we got there I got on Amazon and researched car seats. Both boys are now in Britax Marathon’s including my 6 year old but I still wanted an infant car seat. The SafeSeat (now renamed SnugRide 32) had great reviews so we got it. She loved it. Never cried again. I guess it is more comfortable for her.

If she is asleep when we go somewhere I leave her in the car seat with the snap ‘n go stroller, but if she is awake, we just leave the seat in car and either carry her or put her in her regular stroller.

This is a great car seat.

Marie on

I just showed this to my husband, who was the one to lug around our son in his Graco carseat. Told him we could fit our now nearly-3-year-old son back into one of those things. His response? “Who the (bleep) would want to lug around a 32lbs baby in one of those?!!” LOL

We transitioned our son to a rear facing convertible at about 6 months old and never looked back. He’s a lean kiddo and even at his light weight, lugging that carrier was a pain. I’m glad Graco could up the standards of this carrier for parents who have larger babies, but personally, I’d carry my child to and from the carseat instead and into a stroller or sling.

MiB on

I think that it is great that Graco has upped the limits for one of their infant car seats, seeing a) that they don’t offer rear facing car seats for older children and b) that many parents still put their children in forward facing car seats once they outgrow their infant seats. Before you jump at me, I would never do it if I could avoid it since I think children should face backwards until as long as possible due to the risk of internal decapitation, but many people till see “upgrading” their children to forward facing car seats as a milestone (because they grew up with it) and many people turn their children forward facing because they can’t afford convertible seats. Now if they could only start selling convertible carseats too…