When it comes to car safety, you can focus on driving safely and you can focus on choosing a safe car. However, if you have children, you also need to focus on choosing a safe car seat. This is one of a series of reviews I’ll write on what I consider to be the best car seats currently available in the United States.
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit – What’s the big deal?
The Dorel Maxi-Cosa Pria 70 with TinyFit is essentially an infant car seat built into a convertible. In terms of functionality, this is one of the most impressive seats on the market. It’s a convertible car seat, which means it can be used in two configurations, including as a rear-facing infant seat, and as a forward-facing seat. It’s a rather unique approach to car seat safety by Dorel, and aims to make the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 safe for premature infants while enabling parents to eventually use it to rear-face their children longer. Is it worth it? Read on to find out!
Maxi-Cosa Pria 70 with TinyFit Limits for Weight and Height
Rear-facing: 4-40 pounds. Your child’s head should not reach past 1″ below the top of the main shell and should be less than 40″ in height. The TinyFit must be used when the baby is between 4 and 18 pounds and is optional between 18 and 22 pounds as long as your child’s head does not extend past the top of the insert.
Forward-facing: 22-70 pounds, and between 34 and 43″ in height. The tips of your child’s ears need to be below the top end of the shell. Your child should be at least 1, and it’s recommended that s/he is at least 2. Of course, research into car safety indicates children should remain rear-facing for as long as possible (the average is 4 years in Sweden, which posts the lowest child fatality rate on Earth), and after rear-facing, the child should remain forward-facing as long as possible.
Dimensions of the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit
The seat is 20″ wide and weighs 22 pounds with the TinyFit insert and slightly less than 20 pounds without it. It’s not the lightest seat on the market by a long shot, but it’s not bad for a convertible.
Using the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit
When you open the box, besides the seat, you’ll also find a chest clip specifically designed to keep small infants secured, and it will do a much better job than the regular chest clip that is pre-threaded into the harness. If you have a small infant, the first thing you’ll want to do, then, is switch that chest clip.
There are 12 harness height positions to choose from in total. Nine of those don’t involve the TinyFit, and range from 9.5″ to 17.5″ in 1″ steps. When the TinyFit is added, you get three more slots that range in 2″ steps from 5″ to 9.” You can adjust the harness height from the front of the Pria 70 even after the seat has been installed; you do this through squeezing the back of the handle and pulling it either up or down.
You have three recline positions to choose from with the Pria 70. You get them by pulling the recline handle; it’s the big red handle behind the restraint on the bottom. If you’re rear-facing, you’ll want to use positions 2 or 3, while if you’ve got a forward-facing child, your recline positions will depend on the weight of the child. If the child weighs between 22 and 40 pounds, you’ll need to use the 2nd position, while if the child weighs more than 40 pounds, you’ll need to use the 1st position.
As with virtually all convertible seats, you can achieve a safe install with a seat belt or with a LATCH system. I prefer to use the seat belt install as it makes it easier to install multiple seats across and it is also often the only safe option for an install in the center seat. A tether is available for forward-facing use only. However, although it is best practices to use one, it is not required by Dorel.
Why Buy the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit?
This is the meat and potatoes of this car seat. The Maxi-Cosa Pria 70 with TinyFit is one of several seats in the United States that allow you to rear-face a child for up to 40 pounds. This isn’t as good as it gets anymore, but it’s still decent. Every pound is precious, as the longer you rear-face, the safer your child is. In the US, parents tend to turn their children around into the line of fire at 1. In Sweden, this typically isn’t done until 4. Children in Sweden are far less likely to die in car crashes than children in the US. It makes that much of a difference. This alone is reason enough to buy the Maxi-Cosa Pria 70 with TinyFit.
However, the primary reason why I’m a fan of the Pria 70 with TinyFit is: the Tiny Fit insert! The majority of convertible seats on the market come with lower limits of 5 pounds. However, many of these seats don’t work well with small babies due to harness slots that are too high on the lower end. The Pria 70 with TinyFit changes this with its lower 4 pound minimum weight limit and low bottom harness slots. On the other end of the spectrum, the seat will work well with larger and older children due to its 70 pound weight limit. That makes the seat more versatile than many other convertibles like the Dionos. I love preemie-friendly seats, as they’re so hard to find, but so necessary.
The biggest strike against the Maxi-Cosa Pria 70 with TinyFit is the fact that there are seats that allow you to RF significantly longer by weight. It’s also a rather heavy and bulky seat, and the harness straps that are included cannot be removed or replaced. You also have to switch to using a seat belt installation if your child weighs more than 40 pounds, which might be a bother to parents who prefer the LATCH system.
However, if the ability to fit smaller newborns, practice ERF, and enjoy ease of installation are important to you, the Maxi-Cosa Pria 70 with TinyFit will give you what you’re looking for. Finally, I do like that the seat is FAA approved for aircraft use. I do wish it had more than a 6 year lifespan, though, and I also like that it is made in the United States.
I recommend the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit wholeheartedly. You can buy the Maxi-Cosa Pria 70 with TinyFit in two colors here.
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