Quantcast

Author Archive

Guest Blog: A kindred spirit in Groucho

While I was busy at a recent carseat check event in Mount Vernon, Washington, my husband wandered down the road to a street fair, locating a little bookstore along his way.  Being an old movie fan, “The Groucho Marx Letters” caught his eye.  The next day, as we drove 900 miles between California and Canada, we found a kindred spirit in Groucho.

TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE CHRYSLER CORPORATION

December 1, 1954

Dear Mr. Colbert:

My mother always told me that if I had anything of importance to discuss, to go to the top.

Each year the motor manufacturers hammer home the idea of more horsepower.  I realize a reasonable amount of power is necessary, but I think it would be much smarter if emphasis were placed on safety rather than on additional speed.  Perhaps the ads next year should read, “prettier, faster and safe.”  I also think that if a device could be installed on the carburetor (I understand there are such things) that would eliminate the belching of carbon monoxide through the city streets, the Chrysler Corporation could create an enormous amount of good will, particularly in big cities where the carbon monoxide problem is especially acute.

Every morning the front page reports of people killed in auto accidents.  A good percentage of these fatalities could be eliminated if the motorist had a reasonable amount of protection.  The average car driver in a modern automobile is a sitting duck.  There is nothing to protect him.  The records show he would be far safer on a battlefield.

Your new cars look good, but the fact of the matter is that all the new cars look good, and I firmly believe that the first automobile company that starts stressing safety instead of speed will win far more than its share of the business.

Sincerely yours,

Groucho Marx

Groucho in a Volvo three-point belt

Groucho in a Volvo three-point belt

Volvo first produced a vehicle with three-point seatbelts in 1959–5 years after Groucho’s letter to Chrysler.  Yet they were not required in all seating positions until 2007–53 years after Groucho’s letter.

Chevrolet first tested airbags in consumer vehicles in 1973, but they were only fitted in government fleet vehicles.  This was almost 20 years after Groucho’s letter.  Passive supplementary restraints were still not required in vehicles for another 15 years on passenger vehicles, and an additional 6 years (21 total) for light trucks.

Honda’s Insight, the first mass-production hybrid vehicle, was first made available in 1999; Or 45 years after Groucho’s letter.

According to the CDC, motor vehicle collisions are the #1 cause of death among individuals aged 1-34.  According to Edmunds.com, “the average car in the U.S. spews out 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from its tailpipe each year”.  It’s 2010–56 years since Groucho’s letter to Chrysler.

Sources:

The Library of Congress.  “Grouchy.” The Groucho Letters: Letters from and to Groucho Marx. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967. 170-71. Print.

Guest Blog: I won the carseat lottery – Evenflo Momentum 65 DLX Review

It was just another sunny day as I scanned one of hundreds of spam email messages I receive weekly.  As I reached for the “d” key (I’m still retro in shell-based pine mailer) I had second thoughts.  Could it be?  I mean, in my 7 years as a carseat technician I had never actually been given anything more than a t-shirt…and yet suddenly I had won the carseat geek lottery?  Naturally, I was skeptical of Evenflo seemingly offering me a free seat just for completing my mandatory CEU units on their website, but I forwarded along my name, address, and phone number to the friendly lady on the other end of the email address–which didn’t end in .ng (Nigeria), I might add. 

The very next day, I received confirmation from Evenflo that my brand new Momentum 65 DLX would soon be en route to my Washington State address.  Now as many of you know, I’m a fickle sort of carseat technician…flirting with British Columbia one day, and Washington the next.  The Momentum 65, at the time not available in Canada, was the cherry on top for this Momentum-virgin Canuck.  Having played with the Momentum’s cousins, the Symphony and the Triumph series, I waited in anticipation for my Momentum.  So what do I think of my prize? 

Guest Blog: The latest, the greatest, and the safest.

I’ve always had to have the latest and greatest when it came to my family’s vehicles.  The new Sienna came out, and I was there.  Then the Odyssey Touring finally had my beloved (and often behated) 8th seat–guess what?  I was there!  And when you think about what vehicle manufacturer is hands-down considered creator of the safest fleet on the road, you think Volvo right?  Guess what DH drives?  Yup, I’m a safety geek through and through.

BLI to OAK via SEA

BLI to OAK via SEA

Our teenaged son will be driving next year, and I’ve spent hours, days, and perhaps even weeks, going through various safety ratings and reading reviews on all of the potential new driveway jewelry on his list.  I’m agonizing over all of the options, all the while balancing safety, fuel economy and style.  Is there a perfect car?  One that looks great, sips at the tank, AND can propel into a brick wall at 80mph without so much as a scratch on my beloved offspring?

But what could top that Volvo XC90 and Odyssey Touring in the driveway?  In fact, what vehicle could have me giving up my much-loved XC90 for something new?  What could be safer than Tank Volvo, right?  And why did I just travel 900 miles to find said vehicle?  Better yet–will I ever allow my teens to drive it?

Quassmobile

Quassmobile

We’ve had to make a few compromises.  Life is full of compromises.  Not everyone can afford the 2011 Odyssey Touring–some of us are stuck babying that 1995 Plunko Calciomamma with 7 passenger seating and 4 top tether anchors…for just a few more years. (Fingers crossed.)  The new Quassmobile has air conditioning and power doorlocks and windows–heck, it even has power mirrors.  But, a few things are missing–like top tethers.  It has none.  Zero.  Ziltch.  It’s also shy a few airbags as compared to my Odyssey–but what vehicle isn’t, right?  Okay, I have to admit–the Quassmobile is completely absent of airbagage.  Again–zero, ziltch..Naaada.

Mason w/ Porsche (Photo: Malcolm Parry, Vancouver Sun)

Mason w/ Porsche (Photo: Malcolm Parry, Vancouver Sun)

My new car is fun to drive, will tow the kids’ boat, and can navigate well off the beaten track.  Every dollar we’re able to bank by “downgrading” our vehicle is another dollar we can put towards buying the latest and greatest once again–but for the next chapter in our lives.  I gained the Quassmobile, and sometime in the next 12 months our oldest son will be behind the wheel of his own new car–and I full well anticipate that one will be nicknamed the Airbagmobile.

Guest Blog: A Peg Perusal… The Long Awaited Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible Preview from ABC Kids 2010

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio

For updated info on the Primo Viaggio SIP Convertible - please see our more recent blog from the 2011 ABC Kids Expo: http://carseatblog.com/13395/abc-expo-2011-whats-new-from-peg-perego-primo-viaggio-sip-convertible-viaggio-hbb/

Perhaps one of the longest awaited convertible seat launches in carseat history is the Peg Perego (pause–any guesses here?) Primo Viaggio convertible seat. The market has been anticipating the arrival of a convertible seat from Peg for longer than I would hazard a guess at, and according to the aptly-named Nicolas Perego their newest seats should be hitting the market early next year. Although the convertible carseat market is fiercely competitive right now, it does seem that the PV Sr. should at least hold it’s own in the current marketplace.

I had this opportunity to meet with Mr. Nicolas Perego at the ABC Kids Show in Las Vegas to discuss the company’s newest seat. What became immediately clear was that the show displays were prototypes, and many of the details of the seat are not yet set in stone with the company. Many of the details Mr. Perego was able to provide on the seat are still tentative as the product is still in the development stage.

Primo Viaggio

Primo Viaggio

Here’s the skinny on the stats–skinny, indeed; The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Sr. is expected to have a 65lb forward-facing weight limit, with a current estimate of the rear-facing weight limit being 30lbs but “maybe 35-40lbs”. The occupant total height estimate is 49″, and because I was seriously lacking a tape measure at ABC (as if I didn’t already feel like a pack mule?) I didn’t get to measure the top harness height on the prototype. The overall height looked very similar to a Britax convertible, as would be expected with that 49″ number. Rear-facing tethering seems to be on Peg’s radar, but there’s no confirmation either way by the company. Nicolas did confirm a 22lb forward-facing starting weight, but that remains to be seen when Sr. hits the market… And when might that be?

Prototype - Lockoff

Prototype - Lockoff

According to Mr. Perego–initial production may begin in Italy, and then later be moved to their United States production facility. Initial production is expected this Winter (Dec-Jan) and there is some possibility that Sr. will hit the Canadian market shortly after hitting shelves in the United States.
As the Italians say…Non lo so! Peg really doesn’t seem to have much of anything set in stone, but we hope they will look to Carseatblog.com for a comprehensive review when the first production seats come off the line!

Pereghi?

Pereghi?

Aww, who couldn’t love the adorable folks at Peg Perego? They were wonderful hosts at ABC, and after looking at the Primo Viaggio Sr., I moved on to explore my other obsession… ;)

Guest Blog: The ABCs of ABC Kids. ++Giveaways!

The sea of exhibits and exhibitors in the Las Vegas Convention Center this past few days for the 2010 ABC Kids show might have been overwhelming at first, but I found my inner child and began at the beginning…of the alphabet. This is the A-to-Z of ABC.