Key features of the Graco Affix Group 2/3 Highback Booster Seat
Age suitability: 4 to 12 years (15-36kg)
Installation: Three-point seatbelt, with ISOCATCH connectors to secure seat in place when not in use
Seat position: Forward-facing only
Additional features: Multi-stage seat; adjustable headrest; cup holder; pull-out storage tray; side impact protection; machine-washable fabrics
Graco is a brand many parents turn to whether it’s for their range of strollers, high chairs or car seats. The Graco Affix is its latest car seat and has everything you would expect from the brand: it’s easy to assemble, simple to install, feels durable and it has great safety credentials.
It’s a Group 2/3 car seat, meaning it will last your child from around age 4 to 12 – a long lifespan given the £86 price tag. You can buy the Graco Affix from Amazon, Argos and Mothercare.
But while it’s considerably cheaper than fellow Group 2/3 car seat Britax Kidfix II XP SICT, which is a rather pricier £180, for me there is no comparison. Britax’s seat uses ISOFIX and it has the Secureguard – the piece that sits between your child’s legs to keep the seatbelt in place and offers extra comfort.
The Affix is also much cheaper than the gb Elian-Fix Group 2/3 car seat (£190) although this seat wins points for its reclining headrest and how the height and width can be adjusted for your growing child.
The Hauck Bodyguard (£149.99) is similar in that it also doesn’t have ISOFIX connectors and uses solely a seat belt to secure it in place. But it does have a recline function and it also has adjustable width which means it can grow with your child.
How we tested this product
Rebecca Gamble tested the Graco Affix Group 2/3 Highback Booster seat with her 5-year-old son Fergus. She used it in the family’s Audi A4 Avant and Audi A3 on the school run, the nursery run and shopping trips.
My first impressions of the Graco Affix were good. The fabric felt nice and smooth, and it’s the lightest car seat I can remember using, weighing just 4.5kg. It was also very easy to put together – you just snapped all the bits into place.
The Graco Affix is a Group 2/3 chair – what’s the best age child for this car seat and why?
It’s suitable from approximately 4 to 12 years old, or 15kg to 36kg. In terms of size, it was great for Fergus, who is 5, and it has an adjustable headrest to grow with him.
Find out which Group 2/3 car seats won the MadeForMums Awards 2018
How does it install in the car – is it ISOFIX?
No, you attach it with ISOCATCH connectors and then use the seat belt to secure your child in the seat. With Group 2/3 stage car seats, ISOFIX is only a safety feature to keep the seat in place when your child is not in it and make it easy to install. The three-point seatbelt is what keeps your child secure. Tests show if other methods are installed correctly, like ISOCATCH, they are just as safe.
Tell us about the one-hand, front adjustable ISOCATCH connectors – what are they and how do they work?
The seat comes with two ISOCATCH connectors. These are metal clasps that are attached to connectors at the back of the car seat. You clip them into the ISOFIX connectors in your car and then secure the seat in place by pushing a latch on the front of the car seat and pulling the tether tightly.
The purpose of them is to keep the seat secure in the car when your child isn’t in it and the seatbelt isn’t being used. But it seems like a missed opportunity for me. I don’t understand why they didn’t just put in simpler-to-use ISOFIX connectors instead, which you are more likely to fit correctly.
What is the weight, and does it feel light or heavy?
It’s 4.5kg and it feels very light compared to others I have used. I think it would be great for people who use taxis a lot or who like to take their own car seat when flying abroad.
How is strapping your child in?
Very straightforward. You just make sure the belt is running through the red seat belt loop above their shoulder and pull the seatbelt over your child and connect it into the buckle.
What do you think of the design?
I like the design, it looks quite sleek and stylish.
Does it feel sturdy?
Despite being light, it does feel sturdy. It feels pretty solid to me.
What’s the headrest like?
The headrest is adjustable, feels comfortable and solid, and I like the fact it has side wings. I feel like they offer the head a bit of protection. If Fergus fell asleep in it I think it would help support his head.
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How many positions does the headrest have and is it easy to adjust?
It has six positions and it’s easy to adjust with one hand. It’s intuitive to do, you just squeeze a handle at the back of the headrest and move it up or down. It clicks into place.
Do you think the Graco Affix’s side wings provide good protection?
They feel solid, it certainly feels like there is a lot of support on each side of Fergus’s head.
Tell us about the side impact protection
According to Graco, “Affix features Safety Surround Side Impact Technology, which gives your child the best head and body protection”. It has two wings either side which have passed side impact testing safety standards and contain energy absorbing foam.
High-backed or backless booster – which car seat should you choose?
What do you think of the size of the car seat?
It feels quite roomy for Fergus but it’s hard to say how well it will grow with my children. It has fixed arm-rests which restricts how wide a child can be when using it.
Are the storage tray and cup holder useful?
For me I think it’s a ‘nice to have’ rather than a key feature. It’s not something I would use as I prefer my children not to eat or drink while I’m driving, but I imagine some people would find it useful.
Is the car seat easy to clean?
Yes, the fabric is wipe clean. For bigger spillages it’s easy to remove the cover and it can go in the washing machine.
Is the Graco Affix value for money?
Yes, it’s pretty reasonably priced at £86. However, while I’m happy to use it in our second car, which only gets used for short local journeys, I wouldn’t want to use it as Fergus’ main car seat. We go on a lot of long motorway journeys and I don’t feel it’s as secure in place as his Britax Kidfix II XP SICT which uses ISOFIX.
Read our full review of the Britax Kidfix II XP SICT
The Graco Affix is lightweight and affordable, and if you use taxis a lot it’s a great option. But you might prefer to pay more for an easier-to-install ISOFIX seat or one with recline and width-adjusting features for comfort.
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