A quick blog with photos of the upcoming Clek Oobr and Britax Advocate.  This should quell some anticipation before Heather or I can write more about the ABC Kids Expo!  Both of these should be available by the end of this year or in early 2009.  Not much else to report from the wine and cheese media reception for new products that Heather and I attended tonight.  Only the Oobr was on display; almost everything else was in other baby product categores.  We will hopefully have more to report tomorrow!  So, without further ado:

Britax Advocate CSWorried that True Side Impact Protection isn’t enough?  Worried that child in a booster sitting next to the child in the carseat might bruised or worse if they strike it during a crash?  Worry no more with the Britax Advocate CS, just announced at the Britax USA website for the ABC Kids Expo debut.  For the most part, it’s pretty much the same basic seat as the Britax Boulevard.  The noteworthy change is the addition of side impact cushions on each side of the shell.  These air filled, rubber cushions can absorb crash energy from a side impact.  They’re also a lot softer for an adjacent child to hit in a crash, compared to a hard plastic shell, anyway.

This is a true innovation from Britax in the area of side impact protection.  There’s nothing else like it on the market.  While it’s impossible to say how effective these cushions would be in a crash, on paper any type of energy management is a good thing.  Considering side impact crashes are the most deadly to properly restrained occupants, any innovation is a step in the right direction.

So, everything is a trade-off, you say?  Well, no drawbacks here in terms of safety.  There is a drawback, though.  The side cushions make it a bit harder to access the shoulder belt lockoff and harness height adjustment knob if space is tight.  The cushions also make the Advocate wider than the Boulevard.  It’s enough of a difference that it could be problematic fitting the Advocate next to another child restraint.  This would be something to consider if you have a 3-across or side-by-side installation.  If not, the Advocate CS is a top choice for side impact protection!

The “CS” stands for “Click & Safe,” a feature introduced on the Boulevard CS.   Carseatblog.com will have a full review when we have a production sample, but the prototype (shown above) looks like a winner!

While we haven’t met with Magna Clek yet, we did get to snap some photos of the Paul Frank Julius inspired Oobr on display!  The Oobr looks like a very nice booster overall and a nice companion to the Clek Olli.  There’s no secret that I love rigid LATCH on child restraints and the Oobr is one of the few models in the USA with this feature.  The LATCH system looks even a bit easier to use than the Jane Indy Plus!  It also has a nifty height adjuster more like an automobile head restraint than a typical booster.  More details when one of us has a chance to write more, but you can see some basic measurements in the photos!

We also hope to have a full review of the Oobr as soon as we have a production sample to evaluate!