FAQ: Graco Smart Seat™ All-in-One Car Seat

*This post was originally created when Smart Seat first launched in 2011, but it’s so popular we thought we’d post it again!*

We’ve seen a lot of excitement around Graco’s Smart Seat™ All-in-One Car Seat. We’ve also seen a lot of questions! Here are some of the questions we’ve heard most frequently so far and the answers from the team here at Graco:

Will the Smart Seat fit my infant?

Yes. The Smart Seat is approved for children 5-100 lbs. Graco has conducted extensive testing to ensure that the seat offers a proper fit for both infants and toddlers. The Smart Seat also comes with an infant insert to help ensure the right fit for infants.

Does the Smart Seat fit into a stroller to become a travel system?

No, the Smart Seat is not designed to be a travel system, or to act as a carrier. The Smart Seat is designed to stay in your car and either move from rear-facing to forward-facing, or from car-to-car if you have an extra base. The base allows this seat to easily be installed one time so you don’t have to reinstall it every time you need to change the direction of the seat or move it to another car.

This seat seems pretty large and heavy…

Yes, the Smart Seat is heavy – both the seat and the base are steel reinforced for durability and strength.

When does the Smart Seat expire?

The Smart Seat expires 10 years after the manufacture date.

Can you talk more about the amount of recline that is recommended on the Smart Seat?

The amount of recline will depend on the pitch of the seats in your vehicle. When rear-facing, as long as the car seat is within the approved area of the level-indicator, the level of recline is acceptable. Typically, 2-3 recline positions are available in the rear facing mode while staying in the window of the level indicator. When your child turns forward-facing, all levels of recline are acceptable up to 40 lbs.

What other Smart Seat questions do you have? Let us know and we’ll answer them here!

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23 Responses to “FAQ: Graco Smart Seat™ All-in-One Car Seat”

  1. Meredith February 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    What are the rear facing capabilities of this seat? I would like to know the maximum height/weight for rear and front facing

  2. Summer February 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    I would like to see pictures of the car seat in his various stages and pictures of children at different sizes. It looks like a very small seat for a 100 lbs limit.

    Does it require full rethreading as a child grows or can the straps be adjusted to different heights in another way?

  3. Kristen February 22, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    Is the seat FAA approved for airline travel? I think that may come up as a question as more people become informed that flying with a lap child is sooooooo unsafe!

  4. Kathi February 22, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    how does the size of this seat compare to a Snugride from 2004? Expecting #2 and going to need at least a new infant carrier.

  5. Kelly Voelker March 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi Kathi — The Signature Series Smart Seat is a convertible car seat so it is completely different in size from an infant car seat/carrier. With the Signature Series Smart Seat, you have the longevity of a car seat that fits a child from 5 to 100 lbs. With a SnugRide infant car seat/carrier, you have the convenience of it snapping into the stay-in-car base (which Smart Seat also has), but the SnugRide has a carry handle and can snap into a stroller (the SnugRide also weighs less than Smart Seat). So, it just depends on what you prefer: longevity or portability. Please email us at blog@gracobaby.com if you have more questions and we can help you out further!

  6. Kelly Voelker March 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi Kristen – Great question. The Smart Seat is not FAA approved for airline travel. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Kelly Voelker March 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Hi Summer – Thanks for the suggestion! We will pull together a follow up post with photos of children in the seat. Hopefully that will help you – check back soon for it… we should be posting it soon.

    As for your question about re-threading: No it does not require re-threading. The one-hand, adjustable headrest with no re-thread harness lets you automatically adjust the harnesses by pulling up on the headrest.

    I hope that helps!

  8. Nicole September 9, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    I just purchased this car seat and will be flying. The seat will be checked since my little girl is only 6 months but what I need to know is do I need to take the base? In other words, I’ve seen convertible car seats that are front and rear facing with NO base. Does this carseat HAVE to have the base? I’m also in the market for a travel bag to protect the seat from being trashed in transit….is there a bag that specifically fits this carseat? If not, is there one any of you have purchased that work well with this seat?

    Thank you!

  9. tonya October 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Hi! I was wondering if you guys updated the strap covers at all? I know they have that thick foam and are required for rear facing, also they cannot be used for forward facing. Also what is the stance on using it more upright for older children? My daughter is going to be 2 in a month but I plan on keeping her rear facing for at least another year being shes only 25lbs now. She is not comfortable being so reclined and strains to pull her neck up to see out the windows. If I put the seat in a more upright position the bubble on the angle indicator is not completely between the lines. Shes so used to being between 35-30 degrees on her current seats ( My Ride and a Britax Roundabout).
    Ive been saving for a few months and hopefully will have enough to purchase the Smart Seat in a month or two for her. Its a big purchase for me and I want to make sure I make the right choice ;)

  10. Anastasia October 30, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    It is a great item, I’m very interested in this seat. Could you please advise me whether this car seat can be shipped to Russia? Maybe some retailers can do it… I really hope.
    Thank you for your answer in advance!

  11. Andrea November 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    I was wondering if the signature series has rear facing capabilities without the base?

  12. ReubenGreene January 15, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    I just bought a Graco Pack and Play for my child who is due this week…

    1. The instructions may as well have been in Russian. they were extremely confusing.

    2. It was a pain in the rear to put together.

    3. I am taking it back tomorrow… There is a reason why the retailer discounted the unit $60.00…

    This unit is a joke…..

    Reuben Greene

  13. Kelly Voelker January 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Hi Reuben – Please email me at blog@gracobaby.com – I might be able to help you. Plus, we have some videos on assembly, so if you let me know your model number I can point you in the right direction. Thanks and sorry to hear you are having trouble.

  14. Emalee January 26, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    I like this carseat, but have twins and I want them to be able to sit next to eachother so no one is behind the drivers seat. Will they be able to fit next to eachother? My vehicle does not have the clip ins, we would be using the seatbelt to lock in the bases.

  15. Tracy January 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    I would like to know the rear facing height maximum.

  16. Jenna March 4, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    Does the Graco SmartSeat fit into the Graco Infant Car Seat Stroller Frame?
    If not, Are there any stroller frames that this car seat will fit into since it cannot be attached to a stroller?

  17. Tiffany March 15, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    It does not fit into a stroller.

    The seat takes up a lot of room. I have had my daughter refacing behind me and it’s fine, my husband can’t have her behind him when driving. They are also a bit wider so it will depend on your car on if they will fit next to each other.

    The only time you do not need a base is once they are in booster mode.

    I LOVE our smart seats! I have a son who is 42″ tall and is still able to use the harness. My daughter sat backwards until she was 2 in this seat, new laws here, and was more than comfortable. I only wish they had this 6 years ago when I had my son. I highly recomend getting a 2nd base! We tried to get by with the 1 that it comes with but was too much of a hassle to install in each car and finally broke down and bought a 2nd.

    I can’t say enough good things about this seat.

  18. Megan August 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    I love our smart seat All-in-One but we’re having a really hard time finding a travel bag that it will fit in. The car seat is just too big for all the standard bags. Is Graco thinking about making a travel bag specifically for this seat? Or do you guys suggest a bag that we should use?


  19. Danielle K. August 4, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Like a few others, I’m also in need of a travel bag for this seat. I’ve checked dimensions on all of the most popular travel bags and it seems like it won’t fit in any of them. Can anyone recommend a bag it WILL fit in??

  20. caitlin October 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    We just bought this seat and I was wondering how long you are supposed to use the infant insert? My son is 5 months old and weighs about 16 1/2 lbs. Also it seems the crotch strap already needs to be adjusted to the larger position because it’s not easy to buckle. Could that be possible at his age/weight?

  21. Brittany November 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    I have the same question as Caitlyn, until what size is the insert appropriate? Also my daughter is 8 months old and weighs 22 pounds the crotch strap seems like it is wedged under her diaper all the time.. Should I have it on the largest setting already?

  22. Tiffany F. June 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    We have the Graco Smart Seat (which we love!) and we are traveling from VA to OR in few weeks. We are renting a car upon arrival, but I’d rather NOT rent a car seat. I want to big our Smart Seat, but I cannot find a travel bag to fit it. Does Graco make a travel bag specifically for this car seat? Are there any other bags out there that will fit that I’m not finding? Also, I don’t remember and I haven’t read the manual again yet, but does the car seat HAVE to have the base to be installed in a car? Our daughter is now front facing but I can’t remember if the base is necessary or just for convenience to transfer between cars. I’d rather not have to take the base across country too, but if I have to, I will. PLEASE ANSWER! Thank you :)


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