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Carseat Roundup from the 2016 ABC Kids Expo

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New & Improved Carseats & Boosters for 2017

We’ve already brought you detailed posts highlighting many new products that debuted at the 2016 ABC Kids Expo. Here’s the roundup of what else is new and coming soon from Baby Trend, Britax, Cardiff, gb, Evenflo, Hauck, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna & UPPAbaby.

Baby Trend

A running change on Baby Trend infant seats includes a redesigned lower anchor system. A different webbing design will allow connectors to fit better in cars with more prominent anchors, and a baby-trend-secure-snapfit-signnew routing of the strap’s “tail” will allow users to pull upward, giving more leverage and making the strap easier to tighten.

Infant seats will also start shipping with a foam wedge to allow smaller babies to fit better in the harness. The insert goes under the cover and can be used until the baby fits well without it. Seats will start shipping with the insert at the beginning of the year, but existing owners who find they need one can call the company to order one.

Currently the Hybrid combination seat has dual splitter plates to hold the harness at the back of the seat. Soon that will be changing to a single splitter plate, which should eliminate some confusion. The Hybrid will also start shipping with a dual-length crotch strap to allow for more room for larger kids.

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Finally, the Yumi folding booster will also feature a backless mode.

baby-trend-backless-mode

Britax

I’ve been in the car seat world for a long time now, and I knew the “Brit” in “Britax” had something to do with Britain, but I didn’t know what the “ax” was for…until now. Britax is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Back in 1966, the company launched as British Accessories: Brit-ax… (cue lightbulb-moment). We’re glad the company made its way across the pond and is now making amazing car seats for the U.S. market. Happy birthday, Britax!

In other news, Britax is reviewing its inflatable seatbelt policy. The company will likely add the B-Safe 35/35 Elite and the ClickTight convertibles to its list of seats that can be installed with Ford’s inflatable seatbelts. That would mean that all Britax seats could be used with those belts. Look for that change to occur in the next few weeks.

Britax will also be introducing some new fashions: Poole, Static, Mosaic, Venti, Confetti, Baxter, Oasis, Vue, Vector, and Kate.

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A few fashions will be going away, including the popular Kaleidoscope and Onyx. Cowmoo is here to stay, though, so don’t worry about that.

There are now ClickTight Boulevards and ClickTight Advocates shipping with the anti-rebound bar in the box, although consumers can still purchase them separately, too. Purchasing them together as a boxed set will save $10 off the MSRP vs. purchasing them separately.

Cardiff

Heather recently wrote a review of the Cardiff Travel Headrest, so there’s not too much new to report. They do have some new fashions, though: Camo, Polka Dot, and Melange.

cardiff-colors

Cybex

See our full update on the new Cybex Sirona M convertible seat.

Diono

When Carseats Attack

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pill-bottleA couple years ago I wrote a post about the time I sliced my nose open while carrying a carseat box through the house. Many readers also shared stories of times their carseats caused them injuries. It seems to happen a lot. Since then I’ve gotten a few more scrapes and scratches, but never in my life have I had to seek actual medical attention due to a carseat-related injury…until now.

The day before the ABC Kids Expo began in Las Vegas, I was among a group of people helping carry some carseats from a building to someone’s car. (I’m going to let that person remain nameless because this truly wasn’t her fault at all, as she hadn’t even asked for help carrying the seats to her amazing, self-driving electric car. But I digress.)

In retrospect, I could have stayed on the concrete walkway. I should have stayed on the concrete walkway. But seats are heavy and the car was much closer if we cut across the landscaping, which in this case was a bunch of rocks because that’s how environmentally conscious entities landscape in Las Vegas.

At this point I should mention that I was wearing flip-flops and that, because of the carseat, I couldn’t really see where I was walking.

I had just joked that we should watch out for rattlesnakes when my left foot plunged into a hole. I felt jagged rocks tear into my skin on the way down and then again on the way back up.

A few things I should be thankful for:

  1. There were no rattlesnakes.
  2. I didn’t twist or break anything—structurally my foot and ankle were fine.
  3. I didn’t fall over. I did have to run several steps to avoid it, but I stayed upright.
  4. I didn’t drop the carseat.

When I got back into the building I tried ignoring the pain emanating from my foot. (“It’s only a flesh wound!” I told myself.) In fact for a few minutes I didn’t even look at it, figuring it probably wasn’t a big deal and sort of hoping that ignoring it would make the problem go away.

When I did finally look down, I saw minor scratches—a lot of them—but also several deep, bleeding gouges. I bummed a baby wipe and a couple Band-Aids off a well prepared CarseatBlogger and figured that was that.

That was not that.

By the following evening, my foot hurt so much that the lightest touch made me wince. I struggled to put my left shoe on. I ended the night limping, but I wasn’t going to let that slow me down.

The next morning, I noticed my foot was extremely red. I thought it might have been a reaction to the Band-Aids (my skin tends to be sensitive with some types) or maybe from the adhesive irritating the many smaller scratches surrounding the larger gouges. I FaceTimed with my husband, a fireman, to get his take.

The first thing he asked was, “Why is it so swollen?” Until that point I hadn’t even noticed that the outer part of my left foot had grown abnormally large, which probably explained why I couldn’t get my shoe on the night before. That led to a call to my insurance company to find the closest Urgent Care I could go to, which turned out to be less than a mile away. A quick Uber ride later, I was there.

My foot had gotten infected, and the doctor recommended a shot of antibiotics followed by a 10-day course of oral antibiotics. My first question was whether I could still drink. (After all, when in Vegas…) I agreed to everything, of course, and assumed the shot would be given near the wound. Nope. It wasn’t.

The doctor told me to keep off my foot and elevate it as much as possible, which was much harder advice to follow than his “just drink a little” warning. My whole reason for being in Las Vegas was this huge trade show in a huge convention center. I did manage to prop my foot up a few times, but overall I did not do a good job following the doctor’s orders.

The good news is that just a day later, the swelling had gone down considerably and my foot only hurt if I touched it hard—no more cringing in pain because a bed sheet lightly brushed against it.

As I write this a week later, I’m still on antibiotics and I still have a gross-but-kind-of-cool-looking injury. But I also have a good story to tell, and I’ve learned my lesson about wearing flip-flops and blindly walking on rocks while carrying a carseat, just in case I ever find myself in that position again.

EZCarSeat preview from ABC Expo 2016

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ez-darrenCarseatBlog is at the ABC Expo in Las Vegas, and in addition to meeting with established manufacturers, it’s always nice to find new and unexpected products. While we were wandering around this morning, we saw a booth for something called EZCarSeat and went to find out more.

Turns out the EZCarSeat is a product to make it easier to install car seats, especially for people with big hands, short arms, or narrow belt paths. (The narrow belt paths would be on the car seats, not on the people, obviously.)

It’s a plastic guide that easily clips onto a seatbelt to allow people to shove it through a beltpath more easily. It also unclips once the belt is routed and buckled, so there’s no worry about anything interfering with the performance of the car seat.

You can see a quick video here:

It should be noted that the company allows EZCarSeat to be left on the seatbelt once it’s installed, but we strongly recommend removing it as it could interfere with the belt’s function otherwise. The back of the box does say to follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions, so those would also require the product’s removal.

You can purchase an EZCarSeat on the company’s website for $12.

ez-box

gb Asana 35 DLX Infant Carseat Review: A Load (Leg) of Features

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asana stockCarseat aficionados in the United States have long drooled over foreign seats with load legs that extend to the floor of the car to provide extra stability in a crash. Seats with that feature have slowly started to become available in the US market, and now there’s another one: The gb Asana 35 DLX infant seat. In addition to the load leg, the Asana also features a belt-tensioning lock-off, a no-rethread harness, and more. Let’s take a closer look!

gb Asana 35 Specifications

  • Weight range: 4-35 lbs
  • Height limit: 32″ and at least 1″ of shell over the head
  • Lowest harness height: 7″ (measured without infant insert)
  • Highest harness height: 11″
  • Crotch buckle positions: 4″, 5″, 6″
  • Interior shell height: 20″ (1″ of clearance would allow a child’s bum-to-head height of about 19″)
  • Interior seating width: 9″ at hips, 9″ in shoulder area
  • Interior seating depth: 12″
  • Exterior width at widest point (handles): 17″
  • Exterior width at narrowest part of base (near belt path): 14″asana naked
  • Overall length of carrier from foot to back: 27″
  • Weight of carrier: 9 lbs.

Features

  • Load leg (on DLX model)
  • Fit-loc belt tightener/lock-off
  • Multi-position recline foot
  • Premium LATCH connectors
  • Two acceptable recline angles, one for babies under 20 lbs. and one for children 20-35 lbs.
  • Infant insert
  • Lots of EPS foam to help absorb energy and enhance side-impact protection in a crash

The Asana 35 comes in DLX and LTE models. The difference between the models is that the DLX version has the load leg and the LTE does not. This review is for the DLX version (with the load leg) but the rest of the information here pertains to both models. Prior to October 2015, the Asana was available in the Asana 35 and Asana 35 AP models. Those seats had a different harness-adjusting system (more on this below) but are otherwise the same as the current models. The Asana 35 AP had a load leg; the Asana 35 did not.  We believe load legs for rear-facing only infant seats are an important crash safety feature and the Asana DLX is one of the least expensive models to feature a load leg in the USA!

Installation/Fit to Car