We’re not done with the ABC Kids Expo yet!  Probably a few more blogs to come with some other tidbits from companies we didn’t mention, including some details on the new product from Peg Perego.  I imagine a photo dump is forthcoming as well.  Also, one thing I forgot to mention from Britax is that the Chaperone will have some minor revisions, including a slightly redesigned base that is a little shorter than before.  There are also a couple new fabrics and possibly another tweak or two.

Back to the topic of this blog.  Britax has made a very minor change to the built-in lockoff design on their new convertibles. This includes the Britax Roundabout 55Britax Marathon 70, Britax Boulevard 70, Britax Boulevard 70 CS, and Britax Advocate 70 CS.  The change is essentially a small rubber strip on the side of the lockoff area.  All of the new convertibles made after July 30th, 2010 should have this update.  Owners of models made before this date can request a kit from Britax to do the update.  This is considered a convenience feature change.  This change works in conjunction with the updated owner’s manuals that are being published online.  The new guidance from Britax is that you may use only one built-in lockoff, rather than two.  This removes a conflict with tabs built into certain vehicle seatbelt systems.  It may also makes it simpler to tighten the belt through a single closed lockoff, rather than two of them.  Though Britax recommends that one lockoff closest to the seatbelt buckle be used, they also offer an option not to use any lockoffs in vehicles where the seatbelt system can be locked with the retractor or latchplate.

Britax also has a suggestion on closing the lockoffs.  With the new lockoffs, you are supposed to leave the belt slightly loose when you close the lockoff, then pull slack through the closed lockoff to tighten it.  This is different than how the lockoffs worked on previous Britax convertibles, so it can take some time to get used to the change.  Compounding the problem is the natural inclination to push on the tab at the bottom of the lockoff to close it.  It turns out that this takes more force than if you push on the tab just a little higher, especially when a belt with any tension is being clamped.  Britax will add a bridge on the plastic to give a better indication of where to push.  Kecia demonstrates below: