Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat | $225 | Amazon
As I said, no jokes here. A very kind friend of a friend bought this Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 car seat for us when my daughter still had that new baby smell, and we continue to use it almost 5 years later. Right now, it’s on sale for $75 off—this seat only goes on sale a couple of times per year, so if you’re in the market for a baby, you’ll want to take advantage of this deal while it’s on.
Designed for use all the way up to 120 lbs, and convertible into just a booster when your kid races past the age where a car seat is appropriate or necessary, this durable seat grows with your child so you only need to buy it once. It’s easy to remove, adjust, and set, with a built-in bubble leveler so you know when it’s at the proper incline. It easily connects to your car’s built-in LATCH system—that’s the Lower Anchors and Tethers system that keeps a car seat in place far better than the old solution of wrapping a seatbelt around or routing it through the bottom of the seat. It’s comfortable for your kid, has decent-sized cupholders that will hold plenty of everything but the actual drink they’re designed for (this is a joke for parents to get), and perhaps most importantly for your day-to-day, it’s easy to get your kid into, but hard for them to get out of without your help. The straps, thankfully, come with adjustable padding, so they won’t be digging into your little one’s shoulders. Oh, and the straps themselves are extremely easy to adjust on the fly, so you can make sure your kid is always snug in their seat, whether they’re in a t-shirt during the summer or a coat in the winter (although, if it’s doable, you should take the coat off for maximum safety). It’s even fairly easy to get the cover off to wash it, which you will need to do, because kids are disgusting. I can’t personally recommend this seat enough.