The First Years True Fit Premier convertible car seat review
The First Years True Fit Premier convertible car seat:
A Comprehensive Review from experienced consumers. Read about the Pros and the Cons and where to get the best price for this safety seat.
Table of Contents for The First Years True Fit Premier, Model C670: (Jump ahead!)
- Best Price
- Video Overview
- Ease of Strap Adjustments
- Ease of Installation
- Customer Reviews
- Pros and Cons
The new True Fit Premier C670 models is an improvement over the Learning Curve’s prior model, the First Years True Fit model 630.
The most interesting feature on the True Fit Premier is that it has an anti-rebound bar for rear-facing use, which rotates forward from under the car seat and rests against the vehicle seat back. (This is the red bar you can see in the photo on the left – it is rotated outwards in that picture for rear-facing use.) This anti-rebound bar, which Learning Curve calls a â€œrear-facing rebound management bar,â€ keeps the car seat from rebounding or hitting the vehicle seat back after a crash. It also absorbs more energy during an accident, which deflects impact from your child.
Specs and Dimensions of the True Fit Premier:
This is a convertible (rear-facing and forward-facing) child restraint for kids 5-65 lbs. who are less than 50â€³ tall. Rear-facing the seat is rated from 5-35 lbs. Forward-facing, it can be used for children over 1 year old who weigh between 23-65 lbs.
Lowest Harness Height: 7.75 in. w/ infant padding; 9.5 in. without padding
Highest Harness Height: 17 in.
Shortest Buckle Position: 5.5 in.
Longest Buckle Position: 7 in.
Crotch Buckle Length: 5 in.
Internal Seating Depth: 11.75 in.
Internal Seating Height: 19.5 in. to red line / 26.75 in. to top of removable headrest
Internal Bottom Width: 12.5 in.
Internal Shoulder Width: 12-15 in.
External Seat Width: 19.5 in.
Seat Weight: 18.5 lb.
Safety of the First Years True Fit Premier:
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We all want the best and safest car seats for our children, and it can be challenging to understand which safety features are truly necessary. I want you to know that I met several car seat technicians who use this True Fit Premier car seat for their own kids! That definitely says a lot!
All car seats sold in the USA meet government safety regulations, and we cannot really know if one seat is safer than another with any degree of accuracy. (Unless you want to spend the millions of dollars it would cost to run several crash tests!) Each manufacturer does their own independent safety testing.
Consumer Reports does independent tests, however they do not divulge most of the results; they will only show you shaded circles, which do give you any information about whether the car seat scored high or low within its shaded circle category. Consumer Reports gave a good grade to the original True Fit convertible car seat, which you can see on that page, but they have not yet reviewed this Premier version.
The NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – gave this seat 3-5 stars for all of the categories which they use to rate car seats: I posted an image of the star ratings below for your convenience. These ratings are among the highest in the entire convertible car seat category.
Is the True Fit Premier Comfortable?
If you plan to order your car seat online (which will save you money over the prices in brick and mortar stores 95% of the time, based on my research), then it can be difficult to determine the comfort of a seat from the pictures alone. So, you’ll be pleased to know that the True Fit Premier is one of the plushest car seats on the market. In fact, more than one mom has stated that she wished that she would have a recliner that would be this comfortable!
The True Fit Premier comes with two optional pillows for use with small babies, which you’ll remove as time goes by and your baby grows. You can remove one at a time, for a customized fit in this car seat.
The fabric of the True Fit Premier is very soft, unlike some inferior brands which are made with scratchy material. The fabric does not cause sweating or retain too much heat when you park your car in the sun — which is a significant problem with other brands in warm locations.
The shell of the True Fit Premier is the same as that of the regular True Fit, so both seats will fit children exactly the same way.
How easy is it to adjust the straps of the True Fit Premier?
The ingenious system of raising the harness straps by simply squeezing two levers on the side of the car seat are one of the best features on this car seat. This means that you do not need to re-thread the harness each time you need to adjust it for height. This is an exceptionally useful and time saving feature if you will be using this seat for multiple children of various heights for car pools and play dates.
The First Years True Fit has a different type of harness system than those commonly found in five-point harness convertible car seats, called a continuous harness. Based on the thousands of reviews I can honestly tell you that some parents adored it while other parents disliked i! The continuous harness means that the right and left sides of the straps are connected internally, so in reality, the harness is all one long strap. Therefore, you can borrow a bit of harness from one side to another. Place your child in the car seat, pull up on the hip strap to get some slack, and then put one arm through the strap. Then, pull on the other hip strap, which will tighten the first side and give you slack on the second side. Put the second arm through. Afterward, you can even out the straps by adjusting at the hips.
In the rear-facing position, the center strap adjustment is a bit challenging to reach, although it is much easier than it was in the non-Premier True Fit. There is some space between the seat and the rebound bar which allows you to reach the center strap adjuster. Note that due to the continuous harness, you only need to use that strap adjustment to make the harness longer every few weeks, as your child grows. When the True Fit is forward-facing, the center strap adjustment is easily accessible.
The crotch strap has two positions, and it does not require re-threading: simply push a button down and move the strap to the next slot.
Another good think about this car seat is that the head wings will hold onto the harness straps while you are placing your baby in the seat, so that you won’t need to fish the straps out from underneath her after she is sitting.
Video Overview of the True Fit Premier:
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This video, which is just over two minutes, shows Tiff demonstrating some features of this car seat. She starts talking around seven seconds into the start of the video:
Installation of the True Fit Premier car seat:
This car seat has a removable head-rest, which aids in installation. When your baby is under 22 lbs, you can remove the head rest, and then this seat will fit well in the rear-facing position. However, if you plan to keep your child riding in the safer, rear-facing position past 22 lbs, then you’ll need to put the head-rest back onto the seat, and that makes this seat that much bigger. It will fit in mini-vans and sedans such as the Toyota Camry; however it may not fit well in smaller vehicles in the rear-facing position.
If your car has been manufactured after 2002, then your vehicle is equipped with the Latch system. The Premier version of the True Fit has the Latch attachments moved for easier access, which eliminates a complaint from the earlier model.
The True Fit Premier should be reclined at a 45 degree angle for infants, and then, as your baby grows, can be installed more upright, at a 35 degree angle. You can use a rolled towel or pool noodle (car seat techs say that the pool noodle is safer) to help achieve the 45 degree angle if your vehicleâ€™s seats are sloped significantly. This Premier version of the True Fit now has a level indicator with a ball, showing you exactly which angle to use. This takes care of a complaint on the non-Premier True Fit, which was that the stickers indicating the correct level often peeled off the car seat body.
This seat with built in lock-offs, making installation that much easier than other car seats which require the use of locking clips. The lock-offs open at the bottom, which means that as you thread the seat belt through them, the seat belt often falls down. A third pair of hands is useful for getting this installed more easily. (Note to the Learning Curve: If you would turn the lock-offs upside down, meaning rotate them 180 degrees, this would eliminate this problem, due to gravity.)
There were a few complaints that the Latch belt was too short for use in cars with bucket seats. The Britax Marathon has a longer Latch belt.
Best Price for the First Years True Fit Premier
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This particular car seat is not sold in any of the stores near my home, but I called around to other merchants to get the price. I found the best buy at Amazon.com. It was interesting to see the very same model number car seat retailing for over $60 more than Amazon at other websites!
One interesting thing about Amazon — sometimes they do not show you the price of this item and give you a message that you can see the price after you add the item to your cart. This is their policy when they offer a product for sale at a price lower than the manufacturer’s recommendation. You can easily remove the product from your cart, just be aware that making that extra click with your mouse can save you quite a bit of money. (Take the extra dollars that you save over what you would have been prepared to pay and put it in your child’s college account!)
Pros and Cons of the First Years True Fit Premier car seat:
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Pros of the True Fit Premier:
This car seat’s 7-year expiration will give you an additional year of use over similar car seats that normally expire after six years. (The expiration date is due to the fact that the plastic components will become more brittle over time.)
The cup-holder is generous in size.
The seat cover is soft and plush, and there is thick padding in the seat, which means your child will definitely feel comfortable.
The seat cover comes off easily with snaps, and you do not need to uninstall the car seat in order to remove the cover for washing!
These Pros are Advantages over the older version, the First Years True Fit convertible, model 630:
Easy to read center angle indicator with two position settings for forward-facing and rear-facing positions. This replaces the simple stickers on the older True Fit, which sometimes peeled off the seat.
The anti-rebound bar is a first in its class: This bar is manufactured to absorb energy in the event of a crash and deflect impact away from your child. The bar is flipped outward for use in the rear facing position, and then turned inward and positioned under the car seat when used in the forward facing position.
The True Fit Premier now has external latches, which simplifies the installation process of this car seat.
“The seat may look big in images, but it is surprisingly compact. It installed in the center of our 2007 Chevy Impala, with room in the front to spare. My fiance is very tall, 6’3″, so space was a big concern I had. He can recline his seat the way he likes and comes no where in contact with the TFP.” from Madi
Cons of the True Fit Premier:
The instruction manual is not clear in certain places. Car seat technicians found several errors in the manual. The pictures and diagrams, though, were all accurate.
The True Fit is made in China, which does bother some people.
The strap in the center front which tightens the harness strap can be difficult to pull; it requires some muscle to pull it.
In the rear-facing position in many cars, the harness adjuster strap is challenging to reach.
The seat cover is not machine washable, so you will want to wash the cover of the True Fit Premier by hand in the tub or a basin.
One experienced parent recommended that before you install this car seat, take off the seat cover so that you can get a good look at how you will be installing it. This will make your installation process go more smoothly.
Tip to help with the harness accessibility: In rear-facing, you canâ€™t grab the strap to tighten the harness, so you either make do or you unbuckle the seat when you need to tighten the harness. I ran the strap down the front of the TrueFit and then underneath so it is accessible in the hollow underneath the TrueFit, at the front of the carâ€™s seat cushion. You can get just as much pull in that position as you can if the adjustment were fully accessible. I can still reach the loosening tab just fine, the rebound bar creates an open area right there.
Customer Reviews of the True Fit Premier car seat:
My 7 yr old 48â€³ 47 lbs. dd still fits with about Â½â€ before she reaches the top slots and she said she was very comfy in the seat. The anti-rebound bar addresses a concern that many parents have about rear-facing seats: they donâ€™t want their kids rebounding into the vehicle seat, yet they donâ€™t want to mess with a rear-facing tether. With all the EPP foam lining the seat, the lock-offs to replace using a locking clip, non-twist straps, and other thoughtful features on the True Fit Premier, itâ€™s definitely a restraint worth considering for your child.
~from a Car Seat Technician
I have 2 C630s, have had them for over 1 year now. I just purchased the C670 because once again it is the highest rated convertible car seat on the NHTSA website. I had to purchase this seat because two weeks ago we were rear ended, when the accident happened our first concern was out 19 month old son. I remember looking back at him, terrified and he was smiling watching a DVD, it is as if nothing happened to him. We got paramedics to check him out and they were impressed with his demeanor. I thank God for saving us all, but I also attribute his safety to the The First Years True Fit C630 he was sitting in. Due to insurance requirements we have to replace the car seat and it was a no-brainer for us to stick with this brand and model. Thank you First Years/Learning Curve for making a good product in this era of recalls and substandard materials. ~from C. Lee on Amazon. Read more reviews here.