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Graco’s Junior Baby is an award-winning car seat that will safely transport your baby through their first year. It can also form part of an easy-to-use travel system with any Graco pushchair and offers great value for money.
Most new parents worry about travelling with a newborn baby. And, whilst it’s unlikely that in the first few weeks you’ll drive over 20mph or get out of second gear, you still want to know that your new addition is super safe.
A newborn baby should only travel in a rear facing, Group 0 or Group 0 +, car seat. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), it’s best to keep your baby in a rear facing seat for as long as possible; rear facing seats provide greater protection for your baby’s head, neck and spine than forward facing car seats. Children should only travel in a forward facing seat when they’re over 9kg, or the top of their head is over the top of the seat.
The Graco Junior Baby (formerly called the Autobaby) is a portable car seat featuring side impact protection, a thick, padded, seat, machine-washable seat cover and a correct position indicator (a dial that shows when the seat is fitted at the right angle). It’s a Group 0+ car seat, meaning it will last from birth to 13kg, which is about 12-15 months.
The 5-position carry handle doubles up as an anti-roll bar and the car seat is compatible with any Graco pushchair to make a travel system. A removable foam wedge under the head support means that newborn heads are extra protected.
A 3-point harness clicks easily into place and the harness is adjusted using the buckle in the footpad of the seat. An elasticated canopy keeps the sun out of your baby’s eyes. An optional extra is to buy the Graco Junior Baby base, which stays buckled in the car and the car seat slots into the base, so you avoid fastening the seat belt each time you go out.
What we love
The Graco Junior Baby car seat is a bargain. At only £79.99 it represents one of the best buys on the market.
The ‘correct position indicator’ is a novel feature that ensures that you get the correct fit – a dial shows a fluorescent orange strip if the position is incorrect. The AA estimates that around two thirds of car seats are fitted incorrectly, so this is a real plus.
The Graco Junior Baby is surprisingly roomy; at 9 months and 7.5kg, Minnie didn’t look at all squashed and because the seat padding is machine washable I wasn’t too bothered about letting her eat (read: smear food around!) in the back of the car.
Another useful feature is the grooved adjustment button for the carry handle, which makes it easy to bring the handle forward or back. The base is slightly rounded so that baby can be rocked to sleep in the car seat.
What to watch out for
For a Group 0+ car seat, the Graco Junior Baby is a little on the bulky side – two of these in the back would leave little room for a third passenger, unless you were Twiggy-thin. And, it is heavy. At nearly 4kg, it is one of the heaviest on the market.
The carry handle can be used in five positions (I am not sure why you need so many positions) and moves fluidly, except when you are trying to bring it forward over the hood – I had to force it over the sun canopy in order to get it into the carry position.
Being able to take the cover off is a big advantage but as a result the seat cover gapes in places to the extent that you can see the polystyrene shell. Putting the cover back on after stripping the seat down was hard work and resulted in a lot of bad language and a badly fitted seat cover.
The harness height can be adjusted but there are only two options (some car seats feature three heights) and threading the harness straps through the slots was fiddly. The newborn head support is easy to remove but flaps all over the place and when I put my neighbour’s 12-week-old into the seat, it slipped down behind the baby’s head.
Who is the Graco Junior Baby car seat best for?
Parents on a budget after an economical choice to see them through the first year.
The Graco Junior Baby is a basic no-frills car seat that’s easy to fit and roomy enough to last for the first 12 months. Offering great value for money, the Junior Baby has some interesting features, such as the correct position indicator but feels a little flimsy.
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|Model||Junior Baby car seat|
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 15 months|
Dimensions & Weight
|Car seat installation||Non-isofix base|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Positions of carry handle||5|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|
|Optional extras||Graco Junior Baby Base|