I’m still here in Orlando enjoying a few extra days with the family. It’s been a hectic week with the KIM Conference, family obligations & lots of networking (and Mojitos)!  Tonight I’m giving my liver a break and trying to catch up on work-related stuff. 

Overall, it was a great conference attended by many of the most dedicated CPS professionals in the industry.  I had attended the 1st and 2nd KIM Conferences here in Orlando but missed all the subsequent ones so it was nice to be back and see how its grown over the years.  Darren and I presented a workshop on Day 1: Using Social Media to Expand & Enhance CPS Education in the Era of Technology.  I thought it went really well and we received positive feedback and comments so hopefully our attendees were pleased with the information they received.  Ryan from Dorel offered to hold my “baby” during the presentation and he was so cute with “him” that I had to snap a pic.  Thanks, Ryan – you’re the bestest baby holder in the whole world!    

I also attended sessions on Scale to Fit: Providing Superior Occupant Fit in Child Restraints, Child Restraint Regulations in the US and Abroad, Side Impact Testing with Real Life Consequences, CPS Techs at the Manufacturer: Making a difference, not just a product, and Special Needs CPS Loan Program: Keeping Children Safe Statewide.   There were also two separate Manufacturer’s Panels, Plenary Sessions and a “Hot Topic” roundtable discussion.  Additionally, I was honored to be invited to an after-hours Evenflo social event where myself and a select group of advocates had the opportunity to ask questions about and provide feedback on some new and prototype Evenflo CR models. 

I missed most of our own car-seat.org party for that event but did manage to make it in time for the awesome 10th Anniversary Car-Seat.org cookie cake that one of our forum moderators, skipspin, had baked for us.  Thanks again!  You are so talented and it was delicious! 

I think most of the new “News” is out of the bag already so I’m only going to summarize and maybe expand on a few topics.

Sunshine Kids is going through a name change and will soon be “Diono”.  The press release will be out in a few weeks and a new website will be rolled out.  All the CRs and accessories will be rebranded with the Diono name and logo. The Radian convertible has been transformed into a 3-in-1 product going forward.  It will be available in a really bright green color which I can’t wait to see at ABC.  The Diono rep explained that it would be very similar to the color of the polish she was sporting on her toes.  Of course I had to take a picture! :)  They pleaded with us not to pester the CS reps for more info or details in the mean time.  They promise that they will share everything when it’s ready to be shared/launched.          

I have a bit more info on the Foonf convertible from my conversations with Clek.  First, they were never planning to release a combo seat but had originally thought Foonf would be a FF only harnessed seat. Convertible is obviously better than FF only so I’m thankful for that.  Second, rigid LATCH attachments will be for FF only. I have to assume that means it will have flexible LA attachments for RF usage.  I should have asked if they plan to allow RF install with non-standard LATCH spacing.  I’ll make sure we get an answer on that at ABC next month.  Lastly, I commented that I was so excited that I didn’t even care what the price point was. His reply was “good, because it’s going to be expensive”. I don’t know what that means exactly but we’ll find out at ABC.  I realize that many parents and caregivers may not be able to afford Foonf (or won’t be able to justify the cost), but I’m always thrilled by super-cool innovation and I understand that usually comes with a hefty pricetag, at least initially.

Evenflo is almost ready to launch their new expanded weight range Evenflo Embrace 35 with front adjuster and 4 lb minimum. It’s going to be a nice infant seat at a GREAT price point that’s going to fit preemies and low birth weight babies really well.  Bottom harness slots are super low and the fit on the preemie doll was excellent.  There will be no more rear-adjusting Embrace models (hurray!) but the Discovery will continue to be rear-adjust only. The handle still can’t be used in carry position in the vehicle and the infant seats still need to have 1.5″ of clearance (they actually told us why they require this and I’ll share that info when we do a full review of the new Embrace 35) but they gave us an awesome anti-rebound handle position which makes up for that as far as I’m concerned!  The new Embrace 35 will actually hit the Canadian market before it hits shelves in the US.  Look for it North of the Border sometime in the next few weeks.

   

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now and it’s getting late here so I’m going to wrap and catch some Zzzzzzzs. Going to visit Shamu tomorrow!

PS: Can anyone tell me what kind of birds these are that we have wandering around the hotel grounds? They’re not afraid of people and like to be fed goldfish crackers but that’s all I know about them!