PROCEED WITH CAUTION: I realize I am about to write a blog post on a topic many feel very, very strongly about. I have personally been crucified by a fellow mother for a Facebook post on Halloween with my 3-year old son in his Halloween costume in the Graco Highback listed below (please note: my son is above the specs listed for the Graco Highback and the state of Minnesota does not have regulation past the requirement of matching car seat specifications). So I am well aware and prepared for others to have an opinion on my opinion which is completely okay with me.
I know your probably thinking, why.. I mean why, does she have experience with so many different seats? Well we had a few cars at one point and with grandparents and so forth, you get variety. I first want to say if I had an endless bank account ALL vehicles transporting my children would have Dionos. I enjoy every feature the Diono's have to offer, though they do take some time to setup (2 hours on my first install :-/). You will need to revisit the owners manuals more than once. The Dionos ARE the way to go if you can support the cost. Now another mom might say how can you put a cost on your child's life and though I agree to some extent, growing up I had many near death experiences that my parents could have likely prevented. I am still here today.
I know this is going to be another extreme statement, but do you believe when it's your time to go you will be taken? If god needs your child for a greater good, do you believe it could be the car seat you pick or a random wrong jump off a toy or something else? Do I want to do everything I can to keep my children with me for as long as I can... YES. With that, if you can choose a Diono.
All three of my children have had the same Eddie Bauer SureFit above. Two of my children screamed the whole time they were in it. I graduated both kids to the Evenflo SureRide rear-facing as soon as I could come to terms with carrying them to the car from daycare in all Minnesota's weather conditions. Why with my first did I choose the Eddie Bauer Surefit? Well, it came with the perfect jogging stroller and being the fitness mom that I am it was obviously a more important feature than researching car seats to the point I have now at number three. Would I pick something different now, yep, probably. How many times did I use my jogging stroller you ask? Like twice. Do not pick a car seat because of a stroller.
Two of my children have used the Evenflo SureRide both forward facing AND rear-facing. I enjoy this seat and believe it to be a great seat for its price. I would buy it again.
The Cosco Highback's are in grandparents cars for transporting my son. They are low priced and well lets just say you get what you pay for. My son does not seem to mind the Cosco Highback and everything seems to secure well. I believe the price point is accurate for what you get and for infrequent, short transports that this is a good route to go.
Finally, the Graco Highback is an amazing deal, be prepared to get a rath if you put a picture up on social media with a child under 5 years old in the seat. I understand all the statistics and research done behind car seats. I do believe we have a right to our own opinions and do what we believe is best for our children.
Ultimately, I now have Diono's for each of the children. They are space savers and offer top of the time security I personally do not believe you will get with any other seat. As I said above, invest in Diono.