Today started with the child restraint manufacturers session.   Mostly, we heard about revisions to existing products and manuals.  There really wasn’t much for new products.   At least one of these new products was just announced in a press release, so hopefully I can say more about it in this space very soon! I suspect the new products I hoped to discuss will be on display at the ABC Kids Expo in September.   Heather and I will be there as media attendees, so hopefully we will have much more interesting news and photos to share then!

In the mean time, I’ll discuss what the representative from Chicco USA had to say about some of the most common issues they hear about on the customer service line.

In regards to the great KeyFit line of infant seats:

  • The head support and strap covers are optional
  • The newborn insert is optional, unless needed to make a proper fit
  • The recline indicators must be followed at all times as shown in the manual.
  • The handle may be put into any locked position while traveling
  • The shoulder belt lockoff can be switched, but this should be done AFTER the seat is installed
  • The KeyFit must only be used with standard 11″ lower LATCH anchor spacing
  • Structural changes have been made to both the base and carriers.  Parents must follow the weight limit listed on the carrier, not the base.  New labels have been added to the handle hub and bases to clarify the weight limits in case a base and carriers are interchanged.
  • The KeyFit 30 will not fit on the old base
  • Both the KeyFit 22 and KeyFit 30 will fit on the new base.

The Strada booster is coming soon!  Preliminary information is that it will fit a 33-100 pound child from 38-57″ as a high back booster.  As a backless booster, it will accommodate a 40-100 pound child from 40-57″ tall.  A cup holder has been added and it has a level adjustment to avoid tipping!  The torso wings will be width adjustable.  The head and torso wings will adjust together for height settings.  EPS energy-absorbing foam is used liberally throughout the Strada.  Stay tuned for more information and hopefully a review of both the updated KeyFit 30 and the Strada! 

Britax, Graco, Dorel, Sunshine Kids and Angel Guard also presented.  I’m running out of time for now, so I may have to let Heather cover the key points of those discussions.  There will also be a vehicle and manufacturer round table panel where we may get some more details.

We’re leaving the Kidz in Motion conference tonight, as we were late arranging travel plans and it was the only day we could get a family cabin on the train back to Chicago.  So, I’ll add to Heather’s entries tomorrow or next week when I return.  Overall it was a good conference.  I am told attendance was close to 300 and has increased each of its first 4 years.  On the minus side, there really wasn’t a lot of exciting news this time in terms of new products.  We will be posting some new product information and reviews here as soon as we can over the next few months!  Until then, please visit our Car-Seat.Org Forums for the latest rumours!

While the conference wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped, the trip was good overall.  I was a little disappointed overall in the conference hotel, the Sheraton Denver (formerly Adams Mark).  Our reservation was lost a while back when Sheraton took over, and the room I requested was no longer available.  Our suite was very nice inside.  Plenty of room for the three kids and a large parlor for a reception I hosted for Car-Seat.Org moderators, sponsors, members and some of our chat sessions guests.  On the down side, we happened to stay while the International Key Club was having their convention.  This basically meant parties of very loud high school age kids in the halls until midnight, with no chaperones or hotel security to be found.  The high point was when they set off the fire alarm in our building… Enough said. 

Our room had a lot of street noise even once the kids settled down after midnight.  The hotel layout was also a bit confusing as it stretches across two buildings.  Our bill was a nightmare, too.  They charged us over $1300 more than shown on our confirmation for the two nights.  It took 20 minutes and a front desk manager to get it all sorted out.  I’ll be checking my credit card.  I’d be typing more, but we couldn’t get a late checkout.  Apparently a “VIP” is arriving and they need our room:-(  We stay in hotels a reasonable amount, and this is the first time I’ve not been able to get an extra hour or two in a room on the day of checkout.  So, time to pack up the kids and grab some lunch!

Darren