Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Review

Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Review

Graco has several stellar toddler car seats – actually, several car seats in general – so it’s not surprising there are 3 or 4 that I’ve researched from their lineup.  Here’s a quote from their site:

Graco offers a wide variety of child car seats with a range of options, so there’s sure to be a good match for your child, no matter how big or little. All of our seats are made from top-quality materials and designed for durability and ease-of-use.

And I have to admit, that’s actually quite true, and not your standard marketing propaganda.

This is one of the first car seats that I looked at when it came time to upgrade Micah’s car seat from an infant seat to a toddler car seat.  And since we didn’t want to be continuously buying car seats over the next few years as Micah grew, we decided that we would invest in a convertible car seat.  Actually, we should’ve done this from the get-go.

Since one of the most important factors when choosing a toddler car seat, or any car seat for that matter, is the specifications, let’s quickly go over those for the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1.


  • Minimum weight recommendation: 22 Pounds
  • Maximum weight recommendation: 120 Pounds
  • Minimum height recommendation: 27 inches
  • Maximum height recommendation: 57 inches
  • Orientation: forward-facing
  • Harness type: 5 point

Can I take it on a plane?

If you plan to do any flying with your child, you need to know the rules and regulations around car seats.  You’ll be happy to know that the Nautilus has been approved to be safe for in-flight use.  This means that you’ll find an FAA approved sticker on the bottom of the seat.  One of the tests that a car seat must pass to be FAA approved is that the child will remain buckled safely into the car seat, even should the plane begin to fly upside down.

But let’s hope that never happens!  Besides the FAA approval, it’s comforting to know that the Nautilus has been thoroughly crash tested, and either meets or exceeds all US safety standards.

Lifecycle of the Graco Nautilus

When we purchased Micah’s infant car seat, we had a specific model in mind and it wasn’t a convertible model.  So clearly, once he passed the infant stage, we had to begin the search for a new car seat.  And for this we made the decision that we would go with a convertible model, one that would work as a toddler car seat and beyond.  And the Nautilus certainly fits the bill for that.

Current car seat safety regulations state that you should keep your child in a seat that has a five-point harness for as long as possible.  And since the Nautilus 3-in-1 has a harness that will support children up to 65 pounds, you would be able to do so.  Once your child has grown past 65 pounds, you convert to the highback booster which will support children up to 120 pounds.

This car seat has the ability to recline in three separate positions, and is also nicely padded with memory foam, all meaning that your child will be safe and comfortable.  If you’ve ever seen a baby horribly slumped over in their car seat while asleep, you’ll be pleased to know that that shouldn’t happen with this car seat.

What if I have a taller child?

If you have a taller child, rest assured that this is a perfect car seat for them.  This is due to the fact that the Graco Nautilus has its harness slots situated higher than average.  The headrest also extends further than most.  And once your child has reached the stage where they no longer need a car seat that provides both back and headrest, you can once again convert this into a backless booster.


  • Convertible 3-in-1 car seat for use from 20 to 120 pounds
  • Repositions into a high-back, belted seat
  • Repositions to a backless booster
  • Steel reinforced frame.
  • Available in five colors.
  • Mesh fabric will not heat up due to sunlight.

My verdict

Since I’ve already talked extensively about all the pros, I’m not going to discuss them further here, but I will mention a few cons that have been pointed out.  This toddler car seat is heavier than most, but since that’s due to a pro, which is that the seat is made from a steel reinforced frame; I can’t find much fault with that.  The other is the position of the crotch strap and that it can’t be adjusted. All together this is a car seat that your toddler can be proud of.

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