Author Archive

Safe and (Relatively) Inexpensive Newer Cars


Teen rdriversMany families put a high priority on vehicle safety for their kids.  Unfortunately, for various valid reasons, many are not able to go out and buy a brand new car with the latest safety features.  Perhaps others are buying a car for a teen or college student and want something safe, but don’t want them wrecking even a newer car!  Last year, the IIHS recently evaluated hundreds of cars to produce a list of models recommended for teens and recently updated the Safe and Affordable Used Vehicle Recommendations for Teens list for 2015.

I have somewhat different criteria for my teen driver.  For example, while I also exclude the smallest sub-compact and “micro” vehicles, I have no issue with my teen driving a compact sedan if it is close to 3,000 lbs., as long is it has great crash test results.  While compact cars do give up a little in terms of weight in a frontal crash, they are generally more maneuverable and easier to handle and park.  That’s a big deal for new drivers.  Not to mention the lower cost up front and for gasoline!  I am also more concerned about having top results in all the actual crash tests, including the new IIHS small overlap test, and less concerned about certain other results.

Unfortunately, the IIHS excludes compact sedans, even top models with many safety features and decent all-around crash test scores, including their own small overlap test.  In fact, some models they recommend do poorly in this newer test.  Most of their recommendations are well over $10,000.


My Requirements?

  1. 2011 or newer.  That means a much greater chance of finding critical safety features like stability control and side curtain airbags.  Plus this is the year the NHTSA began crash testing with its newer crash test system that doesn’t compare to models before 2011.
  2. Good visibility and handling.
  3. Stability control and side-curtain airbags.
  4. 4-star or better NHTSA overall rating
  5. No “Marginal” or “Poor” IIHS crash test results in ANY test, including the newer small overlap test
  6. No “2-star” or “1-star” ratings in any individual NHTSA crash test or rollover rating.
  7. Around $10,000 or less to buy (or lease over 3 years).
  8. No minicars, sub-compacts or any model below 2,750lbs.  Weight is a bad thing on roads, I know.  More mass means more kinetic energy and more wasted fuel.  But when the other guy is driving a 5,000 lb. truck, the smallest cars become splatter.  On the flip side, smaller cars are easier to drive and generally offer better handling as well.


Carseat Comparisons: Measurements and Features Data


Compare Child Restraint Safety Features and Carseat Dimensions

It’s been a very long time in the works, but we’re finally able to make public our database to compare carseat measurements and features, just in time to finish CPS Week, 2015.  The comparison tool uses measurements we take when we review products.  For products we haven’t measured ourselves, we use data contributed by Car-Seat.Org members.

Since measurements can vary from one person to another and even one day to the next, we caution that your own measurements may vary.  Plus, manufacturers update carseats from time to time, so there is absolutely no guarantee that these measurements are accurate or will reflect your own product.  This information is provided simply for rough comparisons among models.  To compare up to four carseats within a category, simply use the “Compare Carseats” pull-down menu option at the top of this page, click the links on the sidebar or click the “Go to” jump menu on mobile devices or click one of the category links below:

Compare Carseat Features ExampleCompare Rear-Facing Carseats

Compare Convertible Carseats

Compare Combination Carseats

Compare All-In-One Carseats

Compare High-Back Boosters

Compare Backless Boosters

Compare Carseats (Main Page)

More information, along with individual Carseat Data Capsules can still be found at Car-Seat.Org.

Among other measurements, we have compiled highest and lowest harness slot heights, crotch buckle depths, seating width and depth, and product weight as well as child age, weight and height ranges.  Where possible, we have also included valuable features like seatbelt lockoffs and product information such as lifespan.

CarseatBlog is not responsible for inaccurate information, omissions or other errors.  Some products have incomplete data and we apologize for any missing information.  We will slowly confirm or replace submitted information with our own measurements, but for many products we rely upon contributors to supply these measurements.  We would like to give a big Thank You to MomToEliEm and everyone from who contributed to this project over the years.    It originally was going to be hosted at the now defunct website, but technical hurdles made it too difficult.  The best intentions to create a new website just to host the comparison tool also ran into some challenges, but now it has found a home at CarseatBlog and better late than never!  We hope you find it useful when shopping for carseats or giving advice to friends and family.

This is still a work in progress.  We will be adding new products, filling in missing data and making other improvements regularly, so please check back again when comparing carseats.  We do welcome suggestions for products, comparison categories and general feedback about the appearance and usability of our data.  Please keep in mind that it is a commercial software product so we are limited in how it looks and feels.  Feel free to leave us a comment by replying to this blog!

All information is Copyright© 2001-2015, Carseat Media LLC, All Rights Reserved

CPS Week Giveaway: Britax Boulevard ClickTight


This summer marked seven full years of! We can hardly believe it. In some ways it seems like we’ve been blogging forever about child passenger safety and vehicle safety. And in other ways it feels like things are just beginning to click. Lol! Along the way we’ve shared a lot of laughs, made some amazing friends, written about 1,250 blog posts and oh, yeah – reviewed over 100 carseats and boosters!
RibbonWhether you’re new to or have been with us since the start in 2008 – we’d like to share our celebration with you. You are the reason we’re still here 7 years later, still blogging away, always looking for ways to improve our content and better serve our readers.  The field of Child Passenger Safety is just starting to heat up and we can’t wait to see all the awesome advances in safety, technology and innovation that the next 7 years is going to bring. We hope you stick around and enjoy the ride with us!


For Child Passenger Safety Week 2015 and the grand finale of our Blogiversary giveaways, we’ve partnered with our generous friends at Britax to give away one (1) Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible to each of two lucky winners in the USA or Canada.  This giveaway is for the updated version that resolves a recent recall issue.  Check out our full review of the Britax Boulevard CT.

britax-blvdCT-metro britax-blvdCT-splash britax-blvdCT-kaleidoscope

This promotion is closed. Thank you for participating ~ winners will be announced soon!

Britax Boulevard ClickTight Giveaway

To enter you MUST leave a comment on this blog and then click on Rafflecopter to qualify yourself. For extra entries, follow the Rafflecopter instructions and visit our Facebook page, visit the Britax Facebook page and tweet about our giveaway! You also get additional entries for each time a friend enters our giveaway using the unique URL you receive from Rafflecopter when you enter. Share it on facebook and social media for up to 10 additional entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms) – Winner must have a USA or Canada shipping address to claim the prize. Only two prizes will be awarded, one to each of two different winners; fashion will be subject to availability, so please include your first choice and one or two alternate choices of fashions. Ultimate Comfort Series and retail-specific fabrics are excluded. Ship date can/will be 4-8 weeks. You are not eligible if you have previously won a carseat or any sponsored giveaway at during 2014 or 2015 (our own giveaways of goody bags and such don’t count if no sponsor was mentioned).  Blog writers and editors are also not eligible. Only one entry per household/family, please. If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count. We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above. We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules for any reason. The contest will close on September 27, 2015, and two random winners will be chosen shortly thereafter. If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize within 7 days, a new winner will be selected. Good luck!

Good luck!

Please note: If this is your first comment at CarseatBlog, or if you are using a different computer/device or a new email address, your comment may not appear immediately. It will not be lost; it may just take a few hours for it to be approved. Thank you for your understanding and patience as this is the only way we have to reduce comment spam.

Cleaning Out Old CPS Stuff


My carseat throwback “stuff” only goes back around 15 years.  I know some people have accumulated carseat stuff for twice that long or more, including some genuine vintage carseats.  I freed up a lot of space recycling what seemed like 100 pounds of paper stuff alone.  Anyone else have some old goodies to share?  Feel free to add!



Oh and see that nice, orange Chicco roller bag in the background?  It needs to go as well, and there are a few interesting child passenger safety odds and ends inside of it.  This giveaway won’t be random, though, and I’ll give an advantage to Car-Seat.Org community members who are still reading;-)  It’s a simple question:  What are the names of the two kitties?  I call them both Foofy at this point, in homage not only to their great excess of fur, but also an old carseat forum joke about Britax carseats that Britax later turned into a fashion!

So, the first response with both cat names correct wins the goody bag!  One entry per person/household please.  I reserve the right to select one winner from all entries if more than one answer is reasonably correct.  Everyone is welcome to enter, except for CarseatBlog editors.