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With fun designs and a decent price, the Graco Junior Maxi Plus car seat has something to appeal to little ones and their parents, but it’s probably worth paying a bit more for extra protection.
When my Disney Cars crazy boy first saw the box for the Graco Junior Maxi Plus car seat, he thought Christmas had come early. It arrived in a batch of car seats I was reviewing, but as soon as he spotted the familiar image of Lightning McQueen on the box he said, “Is this for me? Is this for me?” before grabbing the box from me and trying to drag it away in case I changed my mind.
This was a ‘good sign’. Like probably many children of his age (3½), Arron is always trying to get out of sitting in his car seat. We have had tears, tantrums and just-plain bad tempers. I’ve provided plenty of entertainment for the neighbours as I’ve run from door to door trying to grab him as he leaps around the car’s front and rear seats. So, I thought, any car seat that he has fallen in love with like this has to be worth a try.
And it has a good pedigree of course. Graco is a name synonymous with car seats and other quality child products. The Graco Junior Maxi Plus, a Group 2/3 car seat, has also won a Best Value award from Practical Parenting magazine.
What we love
Like most people, I’ve neither the time nor patience for complicated instructions and time-consuming set-ups. If something needs a degree in engineering, I’m against it from the start. But the Graco Junior Maxi Plus is simple to fit, with colour-coded tabs to show you where the seatbelts go, easily adjustable headrests and armrests, so you can make the car seat fit your child as closely as possible.
The two pull-out cupholders have proved a big hit for keeping drinks, toys, and other goodies that small children deem essential for car travel.
With the Graco Junior Maxi Plus easily converting into a booster seat, by taking off the back, you’ll get plenty of years of use out of it.
The Disney design comes under both likes and dislikes! Arron loves it, and if your child is a reluctant car seat user, that’ll be a big bonus. Personally, I found it a bit on the bright side, but at least it’s not the same old grey, khaki or navy – colours I am beginning to loathe as they loom at me every time I walk into a boys’ clothes store. Girls get the delights of the pink Disney Princesses, which may or may not be to all girls’ (or parents’) liking.
The Graco Junior Maxi Plus car seat is also amazingly light, which makes it perfect if you have to move it in and out of different cars, perhaps if your child is looked after by grandparents or a childminder or gets transported in both mum and dad’s cars.
What to watch out for
We’d already tried out the seat’s stable mate, the Graco Logico L X Comfort, and I was expecting the same level of comfort, but there was nowhere near the same amount of padding. Arron was still bedazzled by the Disney images, so didn’t notice at first, but after an hour-long trip up to Nanny’s house on the other side of London, he had to do a lot of leg shaking. So if you do a lot of long journeys, this may not be the seat for you and your child.
Arron also nods off in the car sometimes, and his head kept lolling from side to side, as the headrest doesn’t extend around the side as much as on some other seats.
Who is the Graco Junior Maxi Plus car seat best for?
Mums who mostly take shorter journeys and swap cars a lot.
The Graco Junior Maxi Plus car seat is a decent car seat that offers good value for money and fun Disney designs that will delight young fans. But if you want more protection and a softer seat, it’s worth spending a few more quid.
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|Model||Junior Maxi Plus car seat|
|Child age (approx)||4 years to 12 years|
Dimensions & Weight
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|
|Side crash protection||Yes|
|Height adjustible headrest||Yes|