Spotlight Product Review: First Years True Fit Premier Car Seat

The True Fit Premier is the newest addition to the First Years True Fit Convertible Car Seat family. This seat has all of the standard features from of the original True Fit with a few major improvements! 

With a removable headrest, The First Years True Fit Convertible Car Seat has changed the convertible car seat to allow for a more universal fit when rear-facing. For use with children 5 to 65 lbs (or 50 inches), this convertible seat will take mom from birth through almost 5 years old depending on the height and weight of the child. First Years has really paid attention to safety, convenience and comfort when designing this seat.  

Since it’s a car seat, let’s start with safety on the True Fit. The True Fit Premier has a unique feature on the world of convertible car seats – a patented Rebound Energy Management system.  The True Fit Premier is the only convertible car seat on the market to have a rebound bar!  This flip-up rebound bar is used when the seat is installed rear-facing to help manage the rebound in the unlikely event of a crash. According to First Years:  Managing Rebound Energy helps reduce the chance for broken bones in the legs, hips and waist that can be significant in a violent crash.  Therefore, we like the rebound bar! 

We love was that seat has a 5 point harness can be used up to 65 lbs (or 50 inches). While many other seats force you to use the vehicle’s seat belt (instead of harness) after 40 lbs, we love this higher weight limit since keeping your child in a 5-point harness as long as possible is much, much safer.

The True Fit Premier can be installed easily and quickly using LATCH or seat belts rear facing up to 35 lbs and the forward facing up to 65 lbs. (Make sure you check your vehicles limit on LATCH because many cars have a limit of 40 lbs on the anchors so you may have to switch to installing with the seatbelt.) This seat has deep side wings that have been side-impact tested, a full EPS foam liner for impact energy absorption, and built-in lock offs to provide secure installation.

We had no problem installing this seat with both the LATCH and seatbelt in a variety of cars.  Everything is clearly marked and the built in lock offs and the rebound bar (for rear facing) are great for getting a tight, secure installation. First Years even added a center angle indicator in the front of the seat to use when installing in the rear-facing position. This indicator helped us to determine if we installed the seat correctly by indicating if it had the recommended 45 degree angle for rear facing or 35 degree angle for forward facing. Since car seat safety is at the top of our priority list and we cringe to think of how many car seats are installed incorrectly, we always recommend that you read the manual entirely before attempting to install it. Also, if you have any doubt in your ability to install the seat 100% correctly, we encourage you to take your vehicle to a car seat check which certified CPS techs can install it correctly.

So, it’s a safe seat and of course meets or exceeds FMVSS 213, but what about convenience. The First Years has taken convenience to a whole new level with the removable headrest. For convenience for mom and dad so that they don’t have to ride with their knees in the dash as their front seats are pushed so far forward to accommodate a rear-facing convertible seat, the removable headrest is genius. The seat can be used rear-facing without the headrest for infants up to 22 lbs (and whose head is less than 1″ from the top of the shell). This shortens the seat to make it much easier to fit. With the headrest removed, the True Fit Premier is almost 10 inches shorter than many other convertible car seats, making it great for smaller cars.  There is even a line and a reminder right on the seat to let you know when and if your child is tall enough or heavy enough to add the headrest. If you think that a convertible car seat is too big to use rear-facing from birth, you will change your mind with this car seat. Without the headrest (for under 22 lbs), this car seat takes up about the same amount of room as an infant car seat. Remember the headrest always has to be used forward facing though.

Another convenience is the shoulder straps and crotch strap are both adjustable from the front of the seat, and neither will require rethreading. No more uninstalling the seat to adjust the harnesses? Brilliant!  And the harness adjusters are so easy to do!  There are large shoulder belt height adjusters on each side of the seat that you pull and slide up or down.  Plus, they are clearly marked with the recommended four positions based on whether you are installing in a rear- or forward-facing position.  We found the harnesses were very easy to tighten and loosen and didn’t twist.

The last notable convenience feature in the True Fit Premier is the easy to remove cover. The 3 piece seat cover easily snaps on and off for cleaning without having to re-thread the harness or uninstall the car seat. We don’t have to uninstall and completely take apart the seat and remove the harness to clean it? YEAH!!! To clean the cover, the manual says to hand wash in cold water with mild soap and air dry. With previous seats, we’ve had to use tools and completely un-thread the harness leaving us with a seat that was tricky to get back together. We love that the True Fit Premier cover literally snaps on and off so easily that we find ourselves washing the cookie and dried milk off the seat more often.

So, what about comfort? The seat is so comfortable for our little riders!  We wish our front seats were as padded and comfortable as the True Fit Premier for long drives.  (When we are not driving – just riding – of course!) This seat is fully-lined with EPP foam and has deep side wings that are not only for safety but they also give our sleepy kids a place to lay their head. The soft fabric, well padded and roomy seat keep little ones more comfortable on long car rides. Included with the seat are two super comfortable inserts: an infant insert and a height adjuster insert, both that are removable without re-threading the harness. Our 9 month old tester was snuggled in the seat with all the padding and happy as a clam to be riding along.  There is even a belly pad to protect the child from the buckle.  And for bigger kids, there is a drink holder that easily snaps on/off on either side.

Retailing for $269, the True Fit Premier is more expensive than the original True Fit but we think it is worth it for the Rebound Energy Management System.  All in all, we love the True Fit Premier for its attention to safety, Rebound Bar, convenience, supreme comfort and overall great design with a removable headrest! Genius!

SHOP The First Years True Fit Premier Convertible Car Seat

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Baby Gizmo founder Hollie Schultz is the proud mom of three adorable kids. This certified CPS (Child Passenger Safety) Tech and baby gear expert is the host of the Baby Gizmo video reviews giving moms the inside look at baby products before they purchase them. Hollie is also the co-author of The Baby Gizmo Buying Guide. A former resident of Los Angeles, she and her family now live in North Carolina where she is having a blast designing and decorating her new home.

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