how to loosen straps on graco car seat

How to Loosen Straps on Graco Car Seat – Step-by-Step Guide on all Straps


While there may already be many video guides on how to loosen Graco car seat straps, sometimes, simple is better. Yes! Written guide to video guide.

Another way, the pictorial guide could be what you need.

Both have been included in this guide on how to loosen straps on Graco car seat. I made this guide as detailed as possible to also cover how to loosen anchor straps and adjust harness straps.

There are different straps in a car seat, depending on the model. They include the top tether strap, harness straps, lower anchor strap, buckle or crotch strap, and the harness adjustment strap. Here, I cover all as much as possible.

I went the extra mile to include a detailed guide for not just Graco brand in general, but specific models you may have. Feels relieving, right?

Okay, getting down to business…

How to Loosen Straps on Graco Car Seat

General Rule of Thumb

When do you have to loosen or adjust Graco Car Seat Straps?

As you will learn in about a second, there is a slight difference between adjusting the straps and loosening the straps.

You adjust the harness straps when securing your child in the car seat while you loosen the straps when removing your child from the car seat.

You also adjust a car seat strap to meet your child’s growth in height.

While this might sound so straightforward, there may be a little confusion when you read different things about loosening Graco car seat straps.

This is to clear the air and bring to your conscious mind when securing your child or getting them out from the car seat.

To clarify, I’ll go over a part of Graco car seat installation and start with removing a child from the car seat while you can read through to get the vital part.

Removing Child from Car Seat – Loosening the Harness Strap

To loosen the harness strap on Graco car seat,

  1. push down on the harness release lever while pulling out the harness straps at the chest clip towards you.
loosen the harness
loosen the harness
  • Squeeze the chest clip release buttons and pull apart to release the chest clip.
  • Unbuckle the tongues and then remove your child.
  • Easy peasy, right? In just three steps, you have learned how to loosen Graco car seat straps and also remove your child.

    Securing Child in Car Seat – Adjusting the Harness Straps to Fit Child

    This should have come before the above process. Let’s call it reversing the process. Now you can go over to reread the above after you get through with this. #smiles.

    Ensure to have your car seat properly installed according to the car seat manual. Before installing your car seat, you need to determine the correct harness position of the strap that will fit your child. Remember, in rear-facing; the harness straps should be “at or just below the child’s shoulder,” in forward-facing, the harness should be “at or just above the child’s shoulder.

    The Graco car seat manual for each model was referenced to make this guide as accurate as possible. For clarity on what you are reading, you are encouraged to check with your car seat model manual. You can find all Graco car seat manuals here on the Graco car seats expiration page.

    To adjust graco car seat straps:

    1. Place your child in the car seat.
    2. Place the harness straps over your child’s shoulder.
    3. This is where you know if to adjust the straps or not.
    4. Check if the harness height is positioned correctly according to the recommendation for rear-facing and forward-facing; then, you can skip this process; otherwise, you proceed.
    check harness height
    check harness height
  • To adjust the straps to the correct height, loosen the straps at the back and remove the left side of the harness from the splitter plate.
  • remove the left side of the straps
    remove the left side of the straps
  • Then pull out the harness straps from the front of the seat.
  • adjust graco car seat straps
    adjust Graco car seat straps
  • Insert the harness strap into the new harness position that fits your child’s height, at or just or above the shoulders.
  • Repeat steps 5-7 for the right strap.
  • Now you can secure your child in the seat.
  • Here’s a video guide as backup:

    After securing your child in the Graco car seat, you should always check for the tightness if it fits well, is too tight, or is too loose. You will need to adjust the tightness accordingly so your child will be comfortable.

    To check for harness tightness:

    1. Place two fingers, your thumb and index fingers, on the harness straps at the shoulder and try to snap it.
    2. If your fingers snap off the straps without pinching them, it fits enough. In simple words, it is tight enough.
    pinch test to check tightness
    pinch test to check tightness
  • If otherwise, then you need to adjust the straps accordingly.
  • You tighten the harness by pulling the harness adjustment strap.
  • How To Loosen Anchor Straps on Graco Car Seat

    Loosening anchor straps from a Graco car seat will usually be in two stages; when you want to install in either rear-facing or forward-facing for the first time, or when you are converting from one seating position to another.

    Either way, follow these steps to loosen the lower anchor straps:

    1. Press into the car seat with your full weight (the knee point will be a perfect part to use).
    2. To loosen the lower anchor strap from the lower anchors, push in on the red buttons and pull them towards you.

    How To Loosen the Top Tether Strap

    1. Using your index finger, lift up on the tether lock to release the tension on the strap.
    how to loosen tether strap – tether lock
    how to loosen tether strap – tether lock
  • Press in on the hook’s spring. Push the tether hook in, lift it up and pull out away from the tether anchor.
  • push the tether hook in and lift up
    push the tether hook in and lift up

    How To Loosen Car Seat Straps for The Following Graco Models

    While loosening straps from Graco car seats may be similar across the product lines, there are some differences in some specific models like the Graco Snugride 35, Snugride 30, Nautilus, Extend2fit, 4ever.

    How To Loosen Car Seat Straps Graco Snugride 35

    The Graco SnugRide® series, which includes the SnugRide 35, SnugRide 30, and others, comprises infant car seats and follows the same process for all models under this series.

    As with infant car seats, they are to be installed in rear-facing and, for infants and toddlers up to 2 years of age.

    At a time, you’ll need to loosen any of the straps.

    The peculiar straps with the SnugRide® series are the LATCH/LUAS/ISOFIX straps and the harness straps.

    Remember, you should never use both the vehicle seat belt and the LATCH strap simultaneously.

    You should also never attach two LATCH straps to the same lower anchor point in a vehicle.

    How to loosen the LATCH straps

    1. Push the gray button in while pulling out the LATCH strap to loosen.
    push in the button and pull-out latch
    push in the button and pull-out latch
  • Press and hold the LATCH connector release hinge.
  • press the latch release hinge
    press the latch release hinge
  • Press in on the hook’s spring. Lift the hook, then pull away from the anchor point.
  • push in the hook and lift up
    push in the hook and lift up

    How to loosen the harness straps

    While you may need to adjust the harness straps to fit your child, ensure the harness fits well and is tight enough. A loosely adjusted harness can lead to a strangulation hazard.

    The process of adjusting or loosening the harness straps on the Graco Snugride 35 series is similar to the process at the beginning of this article.

    Here are video guides as well:

    How To Loosen Graco Nautilus Car Seat Straps

    While the Graco Nautilus car seats have the Nautilus 65 and the Nautilus 65 LX variants, they are both harness booster seats and have similar car seat straps and LATCH, top tether strap, buckle strap, harness straps, and harness adjustment straps.

    The rest of the straps have been covered earlier, and they have a similar process for loosening. Just the buckle strap now.

    How to loosen buckle strap

    You will need the buckle strap when installing as backed booster seat or when securing your child.

    1. Step 1: Loosen the harness straps.
    2. You follow the same process as loosening the harness straps.
    3. Then unbuckle the buckle strap
    buckle strap
    buckle strap
  • To remove the buckle strap, rotate the metal retainer on the bottom of the car seat.
  • bottom car seat to rotate metal retainer
    bottom car seat to rotate metal retainer
  • Now you pull the buckle strap from the car seat as shown:
  • pull the buckle strap
    pull the buckle strap
  • You can then do what you need with the buckle strap. Either when changing the buckle strap slot or when installing as backed booster seat.
  • How To Loosen Straps on Graco Extend2fit Car Seat

    The Graco Extend2fit car seat series are in the all-in-one car seat family of the Graco product lines.

    As with all-in-one car seats, they can be used in rear-facing, forward-facing, and as backed booster seats.

    The different straps you will encounter in the Extend2fit car seat from all the straps is the crotch strap, although similar to the buckle strap.

    You will usually need this when the car seat is in forward-facing and securing a child with a 5-point harness.

    To adjust the crotch strap:

    1. Recline the car seat to find the metal retainer under the seat shell.
    recline the car seat to the rear
    recline the car seat to the rear
  • Now, rotate the metal retainer and insert it upwards through the shell and pad. Then pull out the crotch buckle from the top of the car seat.
  • rotate metal retainer and insert upwards
    rotate metal retainer and insert upwards
  • Next, reach the car seat underneath and pull the metal retainer through. Then you insert it in the new buckle slot.
  • insert metal retainer in new slot
    insert metal retainer in new slot
  • Ensure the crotch is secured after this adjustment. To confirm, pull up on the crotch.
  • pull up on the crotch strap
    pull up on the crotch strap

    Final Wrap Up

    While it may look overwhelming on the various straps on a Graco car seat and how to loosen or adjust them, I’ve tried to cover as many straps as possible with pictorial aid to guide. All resource found on this page is credit to the Graco car seat manuals for various models.

    You are advised to refer to your car seat model manual for ultimate guidance. This article does not replace your car seat manual.

    One more note, you should NOT immerse the harness straps or latch straps in water when cleaning. This will weaken the straps and devoid them of their purpose of protecting your child in the event of a car crash.

    Thank you for reading to this point, and I do hope you learned a thing or two on here.

    Have any questions? Do not hesitate to leave one in the comment section below.

    Cheers to raising your child as a parent or guardian.

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