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When you’re a parent, nothing is more important than keeping your child safe. From the minute they are born, you work to make their world as comfortable, fun and hazard-free as possible. You never want any harm to come to them. While some things are preventable, others are not. Accidents happen both around the home and on the go. You can’t predict them or guarantee your child will come out unscathed. You can, however, do your best to buy the best products your budget allows to keep your child as secure as possible.
One of the most significant purchases you as a parent will make is a car seat. With drive times increasing and hazards on the road doing the same, now more than ever purchasing the best child safety seat is a critical decision. The market is flooded with options. Walking into any store or browsing selections online can be overwhelming. How do you know what is really safe and what just appears to be safe?
One of the most trusted brands in products for your baby is the Peg Perego Company. It is a preeminent producer of high-quality toys, car seats, high chairs and strollers. It has been around since 1949, and the Italian-based company takes its attention to detail and push to produce the safest and ground-breaking child products very seriously. It prides itself on being a true groundbreaker when it comes to developing new ways to keep your child safe.
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio (Convertible) car seat is one of their top-selling products. What makes this car seat so popular? What are some of the key features? How does it compare to other similar products? The answers to all those questions follow in our full review.
We began our review by doing some research on the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio car seat including safety rating, comfort, ease of installation and use and overall quality. Below are the basic facts about the car seat.
1. Crash Test Data
The most critical piece of information when it comes to choosing the right car seat is how it fared in crash testing. It’s good to know how the crash test data is generated. A crash test dummy child of varying heights and weights are strapped into the car seat. The sensors that are given the most attention in this type of test are the head and chest. These two areas of the body are prone to the most G-force destabilization during an actual accident; therefore, it’s important to know how a car seat can minimize the impacts to a child in these two areas.
First off, the Primo Viaggio rated high in these tests. It scored above average in head and chest sensor data. The seat scored below the maximum limit for the chest and head data accumulated during the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration standard tests. The sensors did indicate higher G-force impacts to the head and chest than other car seats in the same category as the Primo Viaggio; therefore, it doesn’t offer any additional margin for safety.
2. Ease of Installation
Installation is a vital part of the overall function and protection the unit provides. If a car seat is not installed correctly, it will not protect your child in a crash situation. In an accident, if the seat is too loose, it will jostle the baby and increase the amount of force your child is subject to. The Primo Viaggio comes with a standard LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system to make installation in the car safer and more manageable. This type of system consists of two small straps lashed to the main frame of the car seat. These straps contain metal anchors that clip securely into the metal tether brackets that are located next to seatbelt receptacles in the back and third-row seats of your vehicle. These metal bars are attached directly to the frame of your car and are the safest way to restrain your child. The LATCH installation system on the Primo Viaggio is easier to use than some of the competitors.
If you don’t wish to use the LATCH system, you can use the seatbelt to attach the car seat safely to the car. Using this alternative was just as easy to use as the LATCH system. The pathway the seat belt slides through is large enough to fit your hands, making installation easier. There is a clip on each side of the car seat to slide the extra belt into to keep it tightly secure.
It didn’t matter which way the seat was being installed. Securing it in the car either rear facing or front facing was easier than many competitor brands. One thing to note is the recline button at the foot of the seat that can be difficult to use when in rear-facing mode. Access to the button is more limited in this direction.
3. Ease of Use
Once the Primo Viaggio is installed, it is relatively easy to use. The most important thing you need to be able to do is to adjust the harness to fit your growing child. In this seat, the harness does not need to be removed and re-routed through varying slots. The design of the Primo Viaggio allows it to lift with the adjustable headrest. There are ten adjustment options on the Primo Viaggio, and as your child grows, the headrest can be moved up, raising the harness mechanism with it. Unlike many other convertible car seats, you can make this adjustment while your child is sitting in the seat. This is a huge plus for ease of use.
The button to make the harness tighter or looser is one of the easiest to use. It is located on the base of the unit near the foot. The button can be easily accessed in either rear-facing or front-facing mode.
The unit weighs in at 21 pounds. It is one of the heavier seats out there. While this is important to note unless you live somewhere you need to uninstall and reinstall the seat continually, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. The more important measurement is the width. If you have multiple children in and out of car seats, you should know if you can fit this seat in your backseat along with others. The width of this seat measures 18.25 inches making it one of the narrowest options out there.
4. Comfort and Quality
The cover on the Primo Viaggio appears to be a high-quality, well-made fabric. The area around the headrest portion of the car seat is a reinforced fabric and is more absorbent, which is perfect for catching drool and spit-up. The cover can be removed, but it is a little more difficult to take off than some of its competitors; however, it is machine washable. The plastic seat can be wiped down easily as it is one of the smoothest and seamless surfaces we reviewed. It fits perfectly on the unit, covering all the plastic pieces that could come in contact with your child. There is more than adequate padding provided, making the seat more comfortable for your child. We were unable to feel any of the underpinnings and slots from the plastic chair below.
The Primo Viaggio is moderately priced at $350 from the manufacturer. You can purchase this seat at retail stores such as Target and Walmart. You can also purchase it from Amazon and other online stores. A word of caution: You should never buy a used car seat from shops like eBay or at a garage sale. This is because you don’t know if that seat has been involved in a car accident. Once it has, the integrity of the unit may be compromised, and it may not be up to safety standards anymore. Car seats need to be replaced if you get into a car accident, whether your child was in the seat at the time or not.
How It Compares
We’ve taken a good look at what makes the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio a good car seat, but how does it match up to other similar products? Below we’ve put together a list of the competitors to make comparison shopping easier.
1. Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB
The Britax Boulevard ClickTight is the highest rated car seat in terms of ease of installation. The LATCH system on the Boulevard consists of two hooks, which make it more challenging to come loose. Using a seatbelt to install the seat is even more straightforward, and the unique construction of the belt pathway makes this the most secure way to connect the seat.
Ease of Use
Ease of Installation
Comfort and Quality
2. Clek Foonf
The Clek Foonf may have a strange name, but it delivers when it comes to child safety. The Foonf is a steel-frame seat with the most unique LATCH system available. Instead of anchors or clips on straps, the system uses two bars that come out from the bottom. This innovative LATCH system means you never have to be bothered with trying to tighten belts to keep the seat in its place.
Ease of Use
Ease of Installation
Comfort and Quality
3. Essentials by Britax
The Essentials is the second Britax seat to make an appearance on this list. This unit scored the highest in crash tests, meaning that it provides an extra margin of safety than some of the other seats. (Note that all the car seats reviewed passed the safety crash test.) It was the most difficult to install. The Essentials has the most amount of padding. It is the lightest and most budget-friendly car seat on this list.
Ease of Use
Ease of Installation
Comfort and Quality
Pros and Cons
There are a number of pros and cons when it comes to the Primo Viaggio child safety seat. On the plus side, the unit is easy to install and provides a comfortable ride for your child. On the negative side, it didn’t fare as highly in crash test ratings as some of the other options available. It is also on the higher end of the budget, especially with the lower rating. For the same amount of money, the Britax Boulevard ClickTight scored higher on safety and was easier to install.
When it comes to making sure your child is safely restrained in your vehicle, you want the best option available. Peg Perego is a company that has built a solid reputation for creating child safety products through innovation. The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio is a reliable car seat with many features that place it above the middle of the pack. However, it’s lower than average crash test data, and higher price point garners it a three-stars out of five.
We know that safety is essential and you won’t have peace of mind if you don’t get the best. For this price point and lower, however, there are options that are better in some categories and just as good in others. With that being said, if you opened the Primo Viaggio as a shower gift, if installed correctly, it can provide the safety and security your child needs.