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Throwback Thursday: Seeing Green

Traffic_light_redTraffic lights are pretty predictable these days. Throughout the country, they’re more or less the same: red, yellow, green. Some might be vertical while others are horizontal, and some places might use arrows more than others, but nothing is too surprising about traffic lights in general.

It wasn’t always like that, though. At one point, traffic was more likely to be directed by police officers than by automated lights. Some places only had two colors, while others had four. Some included “stop” and “go” signs that popped out when the colors changed, and sometimes yellow would appear before red and before green. Crazy, huh?

This 1937 video explores the inner workings of old-timey traffic lights and the cities that used them. Enjoy!

 

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ABC Expo 2014: What’s New and Coming Soon from Dorel

Dorel logo

cosco logo  maxi-cosi  Safety1st logo   Eddie Bauer logo  Quinny logo

As usual, Dorel had a large exhibit booth this year to display all their newest products. They also had food and a cappuccino bar so we found various reasons to visit their booth almost every day of the show! Here are some of the highlights.

What’s New & Coming Soon from Cosco:

New Scenera Next Convertible

  • Rear-facing 5-40 lbs., up to 40″ tall
  • Forward-facing 22-40 lbs., 29-43″ tall, AT LEAST 2 YEARS OLD
  • 5 sets of harness slots (5″, 7″, 9″, 11″, 13″)
  • Walmart exclusive
  • Price under $50
  • Available Jan 2015

Updated Apt 50 Convertible

  • Rear-facing 5-40 lbs., up to 40″ tall
  • Forward-facing 22-50 lbs., 29-43″ tall, AT LEAST 2 YEARS OLD
  • 5 sets of harness slots (5″, 7″, 9″, 11″, 13″, 16″)
  • Price $65
  • Available Jan 2015 at Target, Amazon, and other retailers

For additional pictures of the Scenera Next and Apt 50 see our previous blog from the KIM Conference.

Cosco ABC Expo 2014 DSCN5490

New fashions for Cosco Light n’ Comfy Infant Seat

DSCN5492 DSCN5495

 

What’s New & Coming Soon from Maxi-Cosi:

Mico Max 30 Infant Seat

  • 4-30 lbs.
  • Base with anti-rebound bar
  • Lightweight; 8.5 lbs.
  • Larger canopy
  • Easy remove cover that is machine washable and dryer safe
  • Fully customizable with choice of white, black or pink shells (2-3 weeks for delivery direct from Dorel)
  • ETA December 2015
  • Canada ETA sometime in 2015
  • MSRP $229

Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 DSCN5500 DSCN5501 DSCN5502

Maxi Taxi

  • Accepts Mico & Prezi Infant Seats

Maxi-Cosi Maxi Taxi DSCN5524 DSCN5526

Pria 70 with TinyFit

  • No changes; will continue to be available in 2 fashions (black & walnut)
  • MSRP $289

Pria 85 Convertible (no TinyFit)

  • 14-40 lbs RF; up to 40″ tall (this is a Stage 2 seat meant to be used after the infant seat)
  • 22-85 FF; 29 – 52″ tall
  • Currently available in 3 fashions (black, navy, pink)
  • Slightly wider seating area
  • Wider spacing inside headwings
  • Air Protect technology in headwings
  • Same bottom and top harness height adjustments as current Pria
  • Harness holder clips to help keep harness out of the way while loading/unloading child
  • New fashions with sweatshirt “jersey” fabrics
  • Easy to remove cover (it has snaps!) that is also machine washable and dryer safe
  • MSRP $299

Maxi-Cosi Pria 85

Updated Pria 70 Convertible (no TinyFit)

  • 7-40 lbs. RF; up to 40″ tall
  • 22-70 lbs. FF; 29 – 52″ tall
  • Same tall top harness slot as all other Pria models
  • Bamboo, self-wicking fabric
  • Easy remove cover is machine washable and dryer safe
  • ETA December
  • MSRP $279

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 - 2015

New Vello 65 Convertible

  • Basically a lower price-point Pria
  • Rear-facing 14-40 lbs.; up to 40″ tall (this is a Stage 2 seat meant to be used after the infant seat)
  • Forward-facing 22-65 lbs.
  • No-rethread harness
  • Very tall top harness slots (same height as regular Pria)
  • Fabric cupholder
  • No Air Protect cushions in headrest
  • ETA December
  • MSRP $229

Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 DSCN5505 DSCN5506

Pria & Vello Convertible Canopy Accessory

  • ETA 1st Qtr 2015
  • MSRP $29.99

Maxi-Cosi Pria & Vello Canopy Accessory DSCN5510

What’s new & Coming Soon from Quinny:

Quinny Moodd Stroller

Quinny Moodd Stroller DSCN5537 DSCN5538

Quinny Yezz Stroller

Quinny Yezz stroller

Evenflo Embrace 35 Rear-Facing Only Infant Seat Buckle Recall

evenfloEvenflo is recalling some Embrace 35 rear-facing only infant seat due to the buckle being difficult to release.

Embrace 35 with 20" Newborn Doll - inner crotch strap position (not shortened)

Recalled Buckle

These are the same AmSafe QT buckles that have been part of recalls affecting other Evenflo, Graco, and Baby Trend carseats earlier this year. Models were manufactured between December 1, 2001 and May 31, 2013 only. Model numbers include:

30711365
31511040
31511323
31511400
3151198
3151953
31521138
46811205
46811237
48111200
48111215
48111215A
48111218
48111234
48111235
48111235A
48111462
48411391
48411391D
48411392
48411504
48411504D
52911307A
52921040
55311138
55311238
55311292

What should you do?

Determine if your buckle is affected by looking for your information sticker, usually found on the bottom of the seat. If it is, register for a free buckle at Evenflo’s website or call Evenflo at 1-800-490-7591. Replacement buckles may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to arrive. Evenflo has more information on the recall at www.embracebuckle.evenflo.com.

Evenflo DOM Sticker - recall info

In the meantime, if your child has been eating in the carseat, clean the buckle by dunking it into a cup of water and allowing it to dry upside down. If you haven’t had problems with your buckle, no worries, but do replace it since it does have the potential to stay locked. If your buckle is still giving you problems even after cleaning, switch your child to a rear-facing convertible carseat until you receive a replacement buckle.

The Safest Vehicle? 2014-2015 Acura MDX Review: Kids, Carseats & Safety

What’s the safest vehicle you can buy today?  It may well be the 2014 and 2015 Acura MDX, especially among vehicles for 6 or more passengers.  It aced the IIHS crash tests, achieving a “Good” result in every test and in every single sub-category evaluation for each of those tests.  It’s the only 3-row vehicle to accomplish that!  With the tech package, it earns a “Basic” IIHS front crash prevention score and a Top Safety Pick+ rating.  The Advance package has a full set of advanced safety features including autobrake and active lane keep assist, earning an “Advanced” IIHS front crash prevention rating.  It also earned a 5-star NHTSA overall crash rating, with 5-stars in all five crash tests as well!  It’s one of a few SUVs and minivans that earned a top overall ratings from both agencies, and one of a handful of vehicles in any class to get top results in each and every crash test from both agencies.  At nearly 4400 lbs., it has the advantage of weight in a frontal crash combined with handling that is better than average for a midsize SUV.

What You Get:

The MDX was redesigned for 2014 and the 2015 model reviewed here is essentially identical.  Acura really left nothing on the table when it comes to safety, except that more of these features could be standard or at least available on the base model.  You sort of expect to pay more for advanced safety features on mainstream sedan, but when Subaru offers them for less than $1200 on most of its family vehicles, even mid-level trim versions, we do wonder what some luxury brands are thinking when it comes to a 3-row family hauler.

For example, with the MDX, you must add the $4,300 Tech package to get the Blind Spot Information system, a basic Forward Collision Warning system and Lane Departure Warning.  Definitely opt for at least this trim level.  To equip a frontal crash prevention system competitive with the $1,200 Subaru Eyesight system, you must tack on over $12,000 to get the Advance Package with Entertainment Package.  Yes, that is 10x the cost to protect your family!  The Advance package adds an IIHS Advanced rated Collision Mitigation autobrake system with front seatbelt pretentioners as well as a Lane Keeping Assist system.  You also get the handy Adaptive Cruise Control with the unique low-speed follow system and an array of parking assist sensors.  I’m not a fan of leather seats without ventilation in the summer, but Acura also forces you to buy the most expensive model to get this feature as well.

mdxheadlightAside from these marketing issues, the MDX is quite simply an excellent vehicle.  Plus, with the new 3.5L engine, fuel economy got a nice bump and you can now order a 2WD version with even better gas mileage, up to 20mpg city.  The styling is sharp and more aggressive than the previous generation.  The Jewel Eye headlight treatment is very slick.  Kudos to Acura for avoiding the trend to add ubiquitous Christmas tree running lights around their headlights.  The interior is also very nice, though I wish luxury manufacturers would use more realistic-looking wood trim if they must use wood grain at all in their interiors.

The Drive:

Unlike the Infiniti QX60 I drove recently, the MDX is a much nicer driver’s vehicle.  The Integrated Dynamics system is adjustable.  I prefer the Sport setting for a heavier steering feel and a little more performance tuned throttle and more aggressive transfer of power in turns.  A driver with another keyfob could have their preferences saved to Comfort, for easier turns and more conservative throttle.  A nice setup that automatically switches for each driver!  In any setting, the MDX is a better handling ride than the QX60 and many other larger midsize SUVs.   The only peculiar thing I noticed is a little cabin vibration at idle, mostly on the steering wheel and armrest.

acuramdxwheelI also found the transmission to be very smooth overall, but perhaps a bit quick to downshift in Sport mode when coasting.  Paddle shifters let you override this one quibble.  Acceleration, emergency handling and braking all seemed competent overall.  Zero complaints.  No, it’s not like a sport sedan, but it’s far superior to any truck-based SUV.  The 290 hp V6 engine has plenty of power, but can also shut off three cylinders to bump its fuel economy to 20/28/23 in 2WD trim and 18/27/21 with SH-AWD.  My SH-AWD tester managed 19mpg around town.  Not all that good overall, but still respectable for the class.  With the optional tow package, you can pull 5,000 pounds.

Access is pretty easy front and back, even for kids.  I found the seats to be pretty comfortable and supportive overall.   All the adjustments were adequate.  Visibility is mediocre, typical for a midsize SUV.  With the rear head restraints UP and the entertainment screen DOWN, the rear-view mirror is all but worthless.  Thankfully a backup camera is standard.  The gauges and forward display are great.  The split-screen console stack is a little confusing at times and has a little more of a learning curve than some others, but ultimately is fine once you learn the setup.

Overall, it’s an excellent vehicle on the road.  Smooth, quiet and it just has that well-built and solid feel to it that many other vehicles lack.  I rate it very close to the Mercedes GL450 in this regard and that is high praise.  I also appreciate the adapative cruise with low speed follow.  One of those features that just strikes you as making a difference.

Fitting your Precious Cargo:

The second row is an oddity for midsize SUVs.  It not only has three top tether anchors, but it also has three separate pairs of lower LATCH anchors.  Combined with two more top tether anchors in the third row, it is nearly as flexible in this regard as the Honda Pilot.  The 2nd row does have some issues with the center seat, as is the case in many midsize SUVs.  With the plastic seat hardware, a somewhat narrow width and some issues with seatbelt and LATCH anchor crossover, it’s not nearly as easy to fit 3-across carseats as it is in a Honda Odyssey minivan.  It can be done with careful selection, though.  The third row is mainly for kids, especially on long trips. Access is relatively easy and it is comfortable for kids in forward-facing carseats, boosters and pre-teens as well.  We wish manufacturers would add more rear-seat USB or other charging outlets in their family vehicles, though.

 Gallery:

Below left, a handy spot for a rear-facing tether accessory strap as can be used on a few select convertible carseats, like those from Diono, Combi or Britax.