Safety 1st Guide 65 Review (2023) - Unbiased Assessment

safety 1st guide 65 review

Table of Contents

When space and size of a car become a major point of need when considering a car seat, the Safety 1st Guide 65 is your best shot, but not just for a small car, even a regular big vehicle – you’ll save more space and be able to use three car seats comfortably for your growing family.

This Safety 1st Guide 65 reviews and recommendation is based on complete transparency to help you make the right decision and not just coax you into buying a car seat.

Much research and consideration were put into this, and further insights were made beyond just what the manufacturers provide, but rather from what actual users have shared across boards.

Before delving in, I’ll like to prompt you on a personal approach to buying products generally. I always take considerate time to read reviews from other users and draw insights from them alongside researching the individual component of a product and how it works before deciding to buy.

All this personal approach was used in writing this review, which is why it took so long to come up.

So, take it that you are reading a genuine assessment of the Guide 65 convertible car seat devoid of bias or sentiments.

For readers who trust our verdict and want the summary from this review very early, here are highlights from the summit

Pros and Cons of Safety 1st Guide 65

Unbiased Safety 1st Guide 65 Review

The Safety 1st Guide 65 car seat is credibly an excellent car seat for small cars because of its compact size. However, there is the challenge of installing the car seat securely. This can be done by a CPST to ensure proper installation.

Other than that, other boxes for a good car seat are ticked with this Guide 65.


Table 1: Safety 1st Guide 65 Specifications

Product Dimension
20.2 x 18.5 x 27.2 inches
Product Weight
15 lbs.
Recommended Weight Range
5 - 65 lbs.
Recommended Height Limit
52 inches
Rear-facing Weight Limits
min. 5 lbs.;
max. 40 lbs.
Rear-facing Height Limits
19 - 40 inches
Forward-facing Weight Limits
min. 22 lbs.; max. 65 lbs.
Forward-facing Height Limits
34-52 inches
Life span (expiration)
10 years from the date of manufacture

Table 2: Safety 1st Guide 65 Features

Safety Features
  • side impact protection

  • 5-point harness system
  • Safety seat belt
Ease of use
  •  5-point harness with center front adjustment
  • 5 harness heights, and
  • 3 buckle locations
Longevity and Suitability
  • more extended use in rear-facing and forward-facing;
  • narrow size to fit three seats across the back seat;
  • suitable for small cars
Comfortability for a Child
  • multi-position adjustable headrest
  • good room space
Quality Features
  • premium fabrics,

  • removable body pillows, and

  • cup holder.

Who is it best for?
  • growing families,

  • families having small cars or second vehicles

Quick Overview of Key Decision-Making Factors for a Convertible Car Seat

Here is a quick overview of key decision-making factors to help you decide if this Car Seat is right for you.

I explained in this article how to choose a convertible car seat. The several factors to look out for in a convertible car seat include:

  1. Installation features: of all things, this would be the first and primary. What installation features does your vehicle have? What installation features will you be more comfortable with? LATCH or Seat belt?
  2. Compatibility with a vehicle: after the installation features present in your car, the compatibility feature with your vehicle is the next factor, including how many seats you may have available in the back seat.
  3. Size: convertible car seats are generally bulky and can be inconvenient to carry, but what is the size of the Guide 65, and will it be a choice seat when it comes to size?
  4. Ease of usage: ease of use daily is another factor to consider. Features that ease usage include harness holders, an enhanced harness system, chest clip, etc.
  5. Comfort and growing room space: as a convertible car seat, you want to be sure the car seat can comfortably accommodate your child as they grow (rear-facing and forward-facing), and there is enough space. Features such as an adjustable headrest also provide extra comfort for a child.
  6. Weight and height requirement: as a long-term plan, a convertible car seat should be able to accommodate your child for longer in terms of height and weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that infants ride rear-facing for a minimum of 2 years and to an upper limit of 4 years, possibly.
  7. Safety: even though all car seat manufacturers produce car seats to very stringent federal standards and beyond, there are extra safety features some manufacturers go the extra mile to include in their car seats. This gives additional confidence that a child will experience more comfort and protection.
  8. Extra features: removable body pillows, removable cup holder

Table 3: Comparing the Factors Above with What the Safety 1st Guide 65 Offers

Key Decision-making Factors Guide 65 Features Verdict
Installation Features
  • Seat safety belt;
  • both difficult

Fair (recommended to visit a CPST for proper installation)

Compatibility With Vehicle
  • Compact design for small cars,
  • Can install three Guide 65 in the back seat of ‘bigger’ vehicles


  • Product dimension – 20.2 x 18.5 x 27.2 inches
  • Product weight – 15 lbs.


Ease of Usage
  • 5-point harness with up-front adjustment;
  • 5 harness heights, and
  • 3 buckle locations for proper fit.

Very good

Comfort And Growing Room Space
  • Multi-position adjustable head rest for growing children;
  • Removable body pillows;
  • Premium fabrics;
  • Removable cup holder.

Very good

Weight And Height Requirement
  • Rear-facing:
    • weight min - 5 lbs. ; max: 40 lbs. and
    • height min: 19 in.; max: 40 in.
  • Forward-facing:
    • weight min - 22 lbs. ; max: 65 lbs. and
    • height min: 34 in.; max: 52 in.


  • 5-point harness system,
  • Side Impact Protection

Very good

Insight to this Review Based on the Features – PROS and CONS


Convenience in Carriage: Size, Lightweight, Suitable for Small Cars

Measuring 20.2 x 18.5 x 27.2 inches and weighing 15 pounds, this gives the car seat an incredibly lightweight and compact size without compromising comfort and safety at an affordable price.

Parents attest to this and give it that credit. The car seat is also great for carrying around also.

Advantage: suitable for parents having a small car or who want more car seats in the back seat of a regular vehicle or for a second vehicle. There’s no disadvantage to cite here.

Disadvantage: none.

Weight and Height Limits

This seat is very comfortable when it comes to accommodating a child based on weight and height for a longer period till the child outgrows the limits –

rear-facing min: 5 pounds; max: 40 pounds and min: 19 inches; max: 40 inches.

Forward-facing min: 22 pounds; max: 65 pounds and min: 34 inches; max: 52 inches.”

Most parents noticed that at 3 years, a child would be about 40 inches in height, riding forward-facing, and still using the 3rd harness.

Advantage: this means more room for growth and to accommodate for longer. 

Disadvantage: none.

Comfort and Growing Room Space/Ease of Usage

The Guide 65 features premium fabrics, removable body pillows, and an adjustable headrest.

What do these mean, or what benefit do they have, and do they really perform as expected?

From parents who have had different things to say praised the padding on the seat and how it keeps their kids comfortable for hours riding in the seat with no pressure marks left on the skin.

Though there may be an issue with head positioning in rear-facing, the adjustable headrest gives room to position the head more comfortably by bumping the headrest to a suitable position position for the child.

The lower buckle is also easy to use to buckle the baby safely.


This car seat has quite a long extensive usage duration of 10 years. The expiration date is calculated from the date of manufacture, which can be found on the label on the back of the car seat. You can find the expiration dates for other safety 1st car seats here.

Advantage: Owning to the higher weight and height limits, you’ll be able to maximize the life span of this car seat. That also depends on the car seat laws in your state and if you decide to follow the laws or the car seat manufacturer’s instructions which most states’ laws recommend.

Disadvantage: none.


Where does this product lack?

Despite the pros of this product, it has its cons, just like any product.

More installation videos are provided after this section.

Difficult to Install

While some parents find the Guide 65 car seat relatively easy to install with both the LATCH and seat belts, more parents find it very difficult – both with the LATCH and seat belt, it requires rugged strength to tighten the anchor straps and safety belt.

This is owing to the fact that you must not compromise on the tightness of the seat after installation, and some parents often overlook this which is wrong. A car seat should not move more than 1 inch when pushed front-to-back or side-to-side.

Notwithstanding, here is a guide for installing safety 1st car seats. You are also recommended to visit a CPST or a car seat check clinic in your locality. Follow the directory on this car seat laws page and click on your state of residence. You will find a list of car seat inspection stations closest to you for each state. This is the best way to overcome this CON.

Difficult to Clean and Maintain

While this may be a secondary issue for a car seat, it comes off worthy of mention to know what to expect.

It can be challenging to fix the car seat cover again after washing. This is due to the steps to take when removing the cover and following those steps in reverse.

However, the cover is to be hand-washed with warm water (it is also machine washable) and air dry. The harness straps are to be spot cleaned. You are not to dry clean or use bleach or other harsh cleaners.

To make up for these cons, if those are what may be more important for you or if you want an overall car seat experience that include those missing features, you may want to consider the following models from Safety 1st and other brands.

Safety 1st Guide 65 Installation

Safety 1st Guide 65 convertible car seat known to be very difficult in installing doesn’t make it impossible to install.

Tip: you need a little more extra strength.

Final Wrap-up

Why you should consider the Guide 65 and why you may need a second thought.

Finally, to wrap up this Safety 1st Guide 65 Review, I’d love you to have a second thought which may help you consider buying it or looking at a second brand?

  • Are you stuck on a budget?
  • Do you consider the installation challenge, or will you be able to access a CPST?
  • Do you consider the inconvenience of washing and fixing back the cover?
  • How often will you need to carry the car seat?
  • Will you be considering more kids very soon?

If you answered confidently in the affirmative to three or more questions here, it is a big yes for this product.

If you answered two confidently and were shaky for the others, you may consider a different brand. If you had just one positive answer, this model is not for you.

On the other hand, this Safety 1st Guide 65 car seat is credibly an excellent car seat for small cars because of its compact size. Besides the installation challenge, every other box for a good car seat is ticked with this Guide 65.

Here is the home category page to look through other models of safety 1st car seats, other brands, or to go through the overall best car seat; however, the latter may not exceed some parameters you may have, like, budget and convenience; otherwise, it is worth giving it a try.

Thank you for reading.

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