Graco SungRide 35

Last updated date: December 11, 2018

DWYM Score
7.6

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We looked at the top 1 Infant Car Seats and dug through the reviews from 10 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Consumer Reports, BestReviews, Baby Gear Lab, Car Seat Blog, Good Housekeeping, Best Car Seat Hub and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Infant Car Seat you should buy.

Overall Take

It's easy-to-use LATCH clips, compatibility with affordable travel systems and lightweight design, make the Graco SungRide 35 well-loved by parents. While the fabric cover is machine-washable and comes with a built-in boot for the winter, the quality and seat comfort have some detractors. In our analysis of 106 expert reviews, the Graco SnugRide Graco SungRide 35 placed 4th when we looked at the top 13 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note March 15, 2019:
Checkout The Best Infant Car Seat for a detailed review of all the top infant car seats.

Expert Summarized Score
7.0
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.9
1,045 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
It's also about $50-75 cheaper than the Chicco or Britax, so that's something to keep in mind. Like our top-ranked car seats, this holds babies as small as 4 pounds (with the infant insert) and goes up to 35 pounds, and has a 32" height limit (which is quite high).
- Mommy Hood 101
Very good ease of use and LATCH installation Handle can be in any locked position during travel Adjustable crotch strap
- Consumer Reports
The seat's lightweight design makes it easily portable between cars and strollers. Employs the simple Click Connect safety system. Has been thoroughly crash tested.
- BestReviews
Graco has the clip style LATCH anchors that are a simple and effective.
- Baby Gear Lab
November 1, 2015 | Full review
SnugLock. 1-hand adjustable handle. Silent Shade™ generously-sized canopy. Deluxe push-on LATCH connectors. Euro-routing for baseless installs. Bubble recline indicator with recline positions for 2 age ranges. Deluxe base provides more legroom for older babies. Machine washable cover.
- Car Seat Blog
Babies require a lot of stuff. And thanks to this reasonably priced car seat, at least one piece of gear can be light. At just seven and a half pounds, it’s easy on the arm muscles (and easy to move in and out of the car). It also has a higher weight limit (35 pounds), so the seat will last a bit longer.
- Baby List
The cover is machine washable, the seat angle is easy to adjust, and a cold weather boot and detailed instruction manual are included
- Good Housekeeping
August 6, 2012 | Full review
The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 is proven to perform safely in both crash tests and real-life crashes. The SnugRide 35 will most likely fit in your vehicle, which is a big plus. 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.
- Best Car Seat Hub
Overall the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat has excellent reviews and is well loved by many parents due to it’s lightweight and easy clicking features. Though there are downsides these can be limited with proper installation and a quick check to make sure the car seat is secure, which is something we should be doing every time anyway. I am 8 months pregnant and already have a rear facing infant car seat however I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase this for any future children we may have.
- Experienced Mommy
August 29, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Still, we likely would have recommended the SnugRide as a budget pick had it not been for this seat’s performance in our commissioned side-impact crash testing.
- New York Times Wirecutter
August 21, 2017 | Full review
One of our chief complaints about this seat is that it didn't seem big or wide enough to fit babies over 25 pounds baby, especially if the baby has broader shoulders. We also thought the fabric wasn't quite as breathable or comfortable as it could have been, and some of the plastics felt flimsy.
- Mommy Hood 101
Even with a dual range level indicator this seat can be installed overly upright for a newborn infant Belt Locking clip is needed to prevent tilting in many installations
- Consumer Reports
Fabric feels low-quality, particularly the headrest. Straps can dig into neck.
- BestReviews
This seat is not the most comfortable or the best quality in our opinion.
- Baby Gear Lab
November 1, 2015 | Full review
Canopy is designed to be quiet, but this model has crinkly fabric along grab edges so it may still disturb sensitive infants.
- Car Seat Blog
As the name implies, this seat is snug. There’s plenty of cushioning for a cozy ride, and it comes with a removable newborn head support. While this infant carrier is compatible with all Graco strollers, you’ll need an adaptor for other brands.
- Baby List
The harness must be rethreaded when you adjust the height, and the straps are difficult to move through the small slots. Also, the canopy can get in the way when you're adjusting the handle.
- Good Housekeeping
August 6, 2012 | Full review
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. The LATCH installation (and removal) can be a pain if you have an older vehicle with hidden LATCH anchors. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to shop around before deciding on this one.
- Best Car Seat Hub
False Clicking. Expiration Date. Small Canopy. Overheating Baby Risk.
- Experienced Mommy
August 29, 2018 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

The SnugRide Click Connect 35 infant car seat is designed to protect babies rear-facing from 4-35 lbs and features a comfortable seat to keep baby safe and cozy. SnugRide Click Connect 35 is equipped with Click Connect technology providing a one-step secure attachment to all Graco Click Connect strollers making it easy to create a travel system that best fits your lifestyle.. Machine-washable seat cushion, Metal and plastic parts may be cleaned with mild soap and water, Buckle may be cleaned with a damp cloth, Rear-Facing Only. Weight- 4-35 pounds Height- up to 32 inches Head must be more than 1 inches from the top of the headrest Infant car seats made 2011 or after have an expiration date of 7 years from manufactured date. STOP using this car seat and throw it away 7 years after the date of manufacture. Look for date of manufacture label on back of the car seat. Infant car seats made prior to 2011 have an expiration date 6 years from manufactured date.(General Warnings) The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) and National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend that children ride rear-facing until the age of 2 or until they reach the maximum rear facing height or weight rating for their car seat. Always remember to check your local or state laws regarding car seat usage.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Chicco KeyFit 30
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 11
2. Peg Perego Primo
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 10
3. UPPAbaby Mesa
Overall Score: 7.6
Expert Reviews: 10
4. Graco SungRide 35
Overall Score: 7.6
Expert Reviews: 10
5. Evenflo LiteMax 35
Overall Score: 7.2
Expert Reviews: 7
6. Maxi-Cosi Mico NXT
Overall Score: 7.2
Expert Reviews: 4
7. Chicco Fit2
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 8
8. Baby Trend Inertia
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 3
9. Evenflo Advanced SensorSafe
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 6
10. Cyber Aton
Overall Score: 6.8
Expert Reviews: 8
11. Recaro Performance Coupe
Overall Score: 6.7
Expert Reviews: 5
12. Baby Trends EZ Flex-Loc
Overall Score: 6.6
Expert Reviews: 5
13. Britax B-Safe 35
Overall Score: 5.9
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Infant Car Seats

You’re probably already nervous about your first ride home with your tiny bundle of joy. On top of that, you have to try to pick the best infant car seat from a seemingly endless array of options. From the ease of installation to fabric comfort and whether or not it works with your stroller system, it can be overwhelming, to say the least. It’s simple to break down the basics of what you need in an infant car seat so you can find the right infant car seat for your growing family.

Infant car seats — sometimes called bucket or pumpkin seats — are rear-facing and made for infants and toddlers up to two years old. The height and weight requirements vary from seat to seat but they typically work for babies from around 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches in height. Some seats, like the Chicco KeyFit 30, are preferred for preemies but only go up to 30 pounds and 30 inches. The seat usually clicks into or attaches to a base that stays in the car.

Many infant car seats have a carrying handle and an adjustable shade. They also have various types of cushions and inserts that can be used for the smallest infants and then taken out as your child grows.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that children stay rear-facing at least until two years old or when they reach the height and weight limit for the seat. According to the CDC, using a car seat reduces the risk of injury in a car crash by 71 to 82 percent. Overall, kids may end up using a car seat or booster up to the age of 12, based on their height and weight.

Knowing that their child will be using a car seat for such a long time prompts many parents to opt for a convertible car seat. Unlike the infant car seat, a convertible car seat starts rear-facing and can change its configuration to a front-facing car seat and then finally a booster. They are just as safe as an infant car seat and must meet the same standards. While this option can certainly be budget-friendly and you may be able to keep your child rear-facing longer, there are some trade-offs.

For some, the biggest deal breaker is giving up the ability to easily transfer a sleeping baby in and out of the car while still in the seat. Since convertible car seats are meant to stay in the car most of the time, they also don’t typically work with strollers and don’t have carry handles. And, since they’re larger to accommodate a growing child, they may not fit well in all vehicles. You’ll want to make sure to consider how you’ll be using the car seat and if it’s important for you to be able to keep your child in the car seat when you’re out and about. Many infant car seats work with a complimentary stroller or travel system, like the UPPAbaby Mesa, and you may save money buying this as a package deal.

The most important part of any car seat purchase is safety. Each car seat uses different materials and features, but they all have to meet the same federal safety standards. Some may choose to do additional safety testing, like the Evenflo LiteMax 35, which is rollover tested. There are a few things you’ll want to look out for, such as a five-point harness and a base that clearly indicates when the seat is attached and positioned correctly with a color change or a bubble level like the Chicco KeyFit 30.

Actually installing and using the seat the right way can be stressful for any new parent, so the easier it is to do, the better. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains an ease-of-use rating system to help parents find seats that have clear instructions and are easy to install and use. Anything rated 4 or 5 tends to be more intuitive.

All cars are now required to have a LATCH system (which stands for lower anchors and top tethers) that allows you to attach the car seat with clips near the seatbelt base and behind the headrest or seat. It can sometimes be a struggle to make the connectors the right length so the UPPAbaby Mesa self-retracting option may be a major plus if you have to take the base in and out more frequently. 

Finally, it’s important to consider overall comfort, for you and for baby. Look at features like the weight of the car seat, the ergonomics of the carry handle and quality or type of fabric. Infant car seats can vary widely in weight. For example, the Evenflo LiteMax 35 is only 16 pounds, while the UPPAbaby Mesa is 25.5 pounds. That can make a big difference if you plan to tote the seat any distance with your little one inside.

If you live in a warm climate you may want to look for a cooler fabric like breathable jersey found with the Peg Perego Primo car seat.  The UPPAbaby Mesa features moisture-wicking merino wool which is also naturally flame retardant. While buying online can be the most cost-effective and convenient, you may want to go to a store where you can compare the feel of the fabric and other materials.

DYWM Fun Fact

As of 1985, all states finally have laws requiring the use of car seats on the books. But in 1987, only 80 percent of people were using them. It wasn’t until 2003 that all cars we required by federal regulation to be manufactured with LATCH systems (lower anchors and top tethers) for car seats. This helped promote usage by making it easier and more consistent to install car seats.

Still, according to the CDC, car accidents and related injuries are the leading cause of death among children (ages 0-12) in the United States. They also found that in one year, 618,000 children did not use a car seat or booster seat at least some of the time. While there are a number of factors that cause injury in car accidents, the NHTSA did a study that found that 46 percent of car seats and booster seats are misused in some way. Front-facing car seats are the most common misuse, at 61 percent.

The CDC urges the use of car seats as the best way to reduce the risk of injury. In addition to following the recommended stages for car seat use, you can also find a certified child safety technician in your area to get installation instruction and tips one-on-one. The bottom line: it’s better to use a car seat or booster as recommended than not and there are resources to help you install and use your seats correctly.

The Infant Car Seat Buying Guide

  • Any parent or caregiver who has cleaned a car seat mess will tell you how important easy-to-clean fabric is. Even better, look for car seats that allow you to remove the lining or pad entirely and toss it in the washer, like the Evenflo LiteMax 35.
  • If you travel frequently or live in a city where you may need to use your car seat in a taxi or rideshare you may want to opt for an infant car seat like the Peg Perego Primo. It can be used with or without its included base, giving you more flexibility when on the go.
  • You are not alone when it comes to learning how to install a car seat properly. The NHTSA offers free car seat inspection locations (usually at local fire stations) with trained technicians who can show you how to install it and use it.
  • Believe it or not, car seats expire. That’s why it’s not recommended to purchase a car seat from a yard sale or online reseller or reuse one from a friend. Most infant car seats expire in five to six years. Some convertible car seats last up to 10 years. You may be able to find the expiration date on the car seat itself or in the owners’ manual. If you can’t find a date, note the model number and call the manufacturer. Most car seats do end up looking kind of beat up, but the real risk is caused by plastic getting hot and cold repeatedly over the years. This may cause hairline cracks or brittleness that aren’t easy to see, and are very dangerous in a crash.
  • Once you’ve chosen the perfect seat, you also have to make sure you’re strapping in your little one correctly. Straps should be at or below the shoulder without any looseness or slack. Your child may protest but you should only be able to fit a couple fingers behind the strap. The chest clip should be at armpit level in the middle of the sternum. If it’s too high, it could cause neck injury and if it’s too low, your child could be thrown from the car seat.
  • As an added safety precaution you can add a luggage tag or label to the side of the seat with emergency contact info. Include details like your child’s name, parents name, address and phone numbers, pediatrician name and any medical conditions. This way, first responders can find valuable information quickly, in case the parent or caregiver is injured or unable to speak.