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Graco Contender™ 65 Convertible Car Seat

I was a kid of the 1980s and experienced a lot that kids today just never will.  I remember going to the park all the time from a young age without an adult.  I remember making mixtapes and recording “radio stations” with my brothers tape recorder.  I remember sitting down to Saturday morning cartoons religiously. 

I remember having to wind down the windows in my dad’s brown Buick Skylark and I remember how things got really fun if the car had been sitting in the sun as the buckles and window winder were metal.  I remember sitting in my dads lap “driving” his car up and down the street.

I remember when seat belts were optional in all my friends cars, and how awkward I felt buckling up anyway.  I remember sitting in a backless booster seat at the age of two.  When it comes to the last two memories, I am grateful they will not be experienced by my own children.

 Graco Contender™ 65 Convertible Car Seat   

Thankfully for them, and all Canadian children, thing have changed and seat belt laws are actually enforced.  We are also lucky that there are great options out there for car safety including the Graco Contender™ 65 Convertible Car Seat.

We now know that extended rear-facing is the safest way for children to ride until they reach the height and/or weight limits.  The Contender™ 65 Convertible Car Seat is an affordable option that makes extended rear-facing more accessible to Canadian parents. 

The Contender allows infants to sit rear facing from 5-35 lbs and for toddlers to sit forward facing from 22-65 lbs.  The high weight and head room limits means you’ll be able to use this car seat for a long time to come.  It also means that you can keep your child rear-facing until they do reach 35 lbs as recommended by both Transport Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society.


Graco Contender™ 65 Convertible Car Seat

We know that rear-facing is the safest position for a child in a moving vehicle so it is a good idea to keep them rear facing until they do reach the limit.  There is a rule for rear facing that your child’s head must be at least 1″ below the top of the head rest when the head rest is extended to its maximum height.  Since the height of the headrest is impressively tall, the majority of children will reach the weight limit before outgrowing rear facing by height. 

The headrest itself is pretty awesome, it can be adjusted with one hand quite easily and adjusts through 8 different positions to easily adapt to your growing child.

Every adjustment available on the Contender has been made easy for one parent to do on their own.  For example the Simply Safe Adjust™ 5-point Harness System has been designed to be a one-hand, no re-thread harness that automatically adjusts.

Graco Contender™ 65 Convertible Car Seat

Changing from rear-facing to forward-facing has been made easy too.  Simply turn the seat over and there is a flap you can flip to change the angle of the car seat. How smart is that?

It also comes with removable head and body support that goes a long way towards making the seat comfortable for rear facing infants and helps you to get a better fit.  For that extra bit of luxury, there is a removable cup holder included too. 

My car does not have lower UAS anchors so I was unable to test of the UAS connectors.  Installing using the seat belt option however was a simple matter to achieve made even easier by the level indicator.  Generally installing via UAS is an even simpler matter.

Graco Contender™ 65 Convertible Car Seat

Here’s an example of how not to wear a harness! When we are actually riding in the car, the harness straps are tightened and the chest clip is lowered to armpit level.

Of course the most important factor when buying a car seat is its performance should the worst happen.  The Contender is build with EPS, an energy absorbing foam for effective impact energy management.  It’s also been carefully engineered and crash tested to help keep your child safe.

The Contender is available to purchase at Canadian Tire now.  Stay up to date with Graco on Facebook for more information!

Sheryl Brown

Thursday 30th of June 2016

Yep I remember when we used to ride around on the back of a pickup truck LOL. Anyhow, this is quite a good write up on the Graco Contender. About moving from rear facing to front facing the recommendation is that you keep the child rear facing until they are at least two years. Weight and height may be good indicators but they are not that reliable given that children have different growth rates. However, at two years old, most children will be fully developed anatomically to be safe in the front facing position.

Julie @ Happy Baby Reviews

Monday 20th of June 2016

I really like that this car seat comes with removable head and body support and that it can expand with as the little one grows up. Thanks for your review!

kathy downey

Saturday 28th of November 2015

I recommened this brand to my friend who is due with her first baby in the New Year

kathy downey

Wednesday 21st of October 2015

This is such a functional car seat. It’s good to know that will last for a long time.

kathy downey

Tuesday 13th of October 2015

Very nice seat,i really like Graco products