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Conference/ABC Expo Archive

2014 ABC Update: Graco

gracoIt’s time to hear about Graco, baby, and the changes they’ve made to their lineup for 2015. Let’s start with rear-facing only infant seats and move on up through boosters.

SnugRide Line

Graco has decided to remove the entire Classic Connect line of SnugRides. They’ll be phasing it out by Q1 of 2015, though stock will vary by retailer. This leaves 6 Click Connect SnugRide models: one 22 lbs. model, two 30 lbs. models, two 35 lbs. models, and one 40 lbs. model.

All models of stand-alone Click Connect SnugRides will have an upper weight limit of at least 30 lbs. to accommodate babies to toddlers. Entry-level Click Connect 30 seats will have non-adjustable bases and a rear-adjust harness to keep cost down. Starting price will be $99. The Click Connect 30 LX at $129 will have a removable flip recline adjustment piece: turn the piece over for an increase/decrease in recline of 4°. The LX has the same base otherwise as the entry-level CC 30.

Graco SnugRide 30 entry

Graco Click Connect budget base top Graco Click Connect budget base

Graco Click Connect budget base w-foot flipped Graco Click Connect budget base w-foot

There were no changes to the CC 35 or 35 LX.

The CC 40 will be off BRU exclusivity in Q1 of 2015, so that will open up possibilities for other retailers.

There will be a Click Connect 22 sold exclusively as a travel system at Wal-Mart, so the 22 lbs. rear-facing only seat won’t be going away completely.

Also, Graco has announced that any CC infant seat may use any CC base as long as the lowest weight limit of either is followed. For example, if you use a CC 30 seat on a CC 40 base, you may only use it up to 30 lbs. maximum.

MyRide

The MyRide received an update and a decrease in price. Seriously?

2014 ABC Expo Update: Clek

ClekLogolargeThe big news from clek this year is the introduction of their infant insert for the foonf and fllo. The insert—currently and likely permanently called the “infant thingy,” will allow the seats to be used from 5 lbs.

The insert consists of two pieces: a head pillow and a body pillow. The head pillow has tabs that slip into a set of harness slots to keep it in place. The body insert is separate and helps boost the child up a bit in addition to filling space between the baby and the sides of the seat, offering a more snug fit. The headrest of the insert is less padded than the body portion, allowing baby’s head to rest back naturally instead of being pushed forward. The head pillow can continue to be used once the body insert is no longer needed.

Clek infant insert

clek is also introducing a lower set of harness slots to help accommodate smaller babies. This change will be added to seats going forward, but here’s an important note: If you have an existing seat without the lower set of slots, you can use the infant insert EVEN IF THE LOWEST SLOTS ARE ABOVE THE CHILD’S SHOULDERS. This information will be provided in writing in the instructions that come with the insert. Although a bit unconventional, the seat has been tested and has passed in that configuration.

The insert will be available only in black, and it sounds like they do not plan to add other colors or patterns.

But speaking of colors and patterns, clek has a new denim-ish fabric, and Julius might be coming back!

clek fllo oobr more clek fllo oobr clek foonf fllo clek julius oobr clek leather olli clek tokidoki olli

In other news, clek is coming out with a cleaning kit for car seats. The kit will include a brush and two bottles of cleaning product, one for protein-based messes, and one for dye-based messes. The kit will likely retail for $29.99.

clek stain remover kit

2015 Britax G4.1 Convertibles and ClickTight Convertibles Comparison

Britax logo Greetings from the ABC Kids Expo! We knew our readers would be interested in comparison photos of the 2015 Britax G4.1 convertibles and the new ClickTight convertibles.

20140907_095037

G4.1 Convertible Updates: 

Lower LATCH anchor limits will change

  • Roundabout G4.1, Marathon G4.1 and Blvd G4.1 – Rear-facing up to 40 lbs. (unchanged from current G4 models); Forward-facing up to 50 lbs. with LATCH (after that you must use seatbelt to install seat)
  • Advocate G4.1 – Rear-facing up to 40 lbs (unchanged from current G4 models); Forward-facing up to 45 lbs. with LATCH (after that you must use seatbelt to install seat)

SafeCell branding: Roundabout & Marathon will be “Complete”; Boulevard “Complete Plus”; Advocate “Complete Max”

Shorter tether strap length (extenders will be available for rare cases where strap isn’t long enough to reach tether anchor)

Boulevard G4.1 and Boulevard ClickTight:

Pictured below are the 2015 Britax Boulevard G4.1 (red) and the new Britax Boulevard ClickTight (green).

Britax G4 and ClickTight  Britax G4 vs ClickTight front

Britax G4 vs ClickTight back to back  Britax G4 vs ClickTight side

Britax G4 vs ClickTight top 2  Britax G4 vs ClickTight top

As you can see the shape of the shell is different but overall the new ClickTight Boulevard isn’t wider than the current Boulevard G4 model.

Quick Comparison of G4, G4.1 and ClickTight Specs:

All Britax convertibles (G4, G4.1 and CT models) are rated from 5-40 lbs. rear-facing

G4 and G4.1 models are outgrown rear-facing by height once the child’s head is 1″ from the top of the shell (not the headwings)

All ClightTight models are outgrown rear-facing by height once the child’s head is 1″ from the top of the headwings (Note: Boulevard  CT and Advocate CT models are taller than the Marathon CT model)

All Britax convertibles (with the exception of Roundabout) are rated from 20-65 forward-facing and up to 49″ tall.

ClightTight models have taller top harness slots than G4 and G4.1 models.

Finally, an update to our earlier previews with a forward-facing ClickTight installation.  (Rear-facing install shown in our previews linked below)

For more detailed info on the new ClightTight convertibles see our comprehensive Boulevard CT review and our previous posts on the subject:

Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Review – Sometimes Things Just Click

Rear-Facing Space Comparison: Britax G4 Convertibles vs. New Britax ClickTight Convertibles

Order Britax ClickTight convertibles at Amazon.com

Order Britax ClickTight convertibles at Albee Baby

2014 ABC Expo: *NEW* Hauck/i’coo Infant Carseat

hauckicoologoAs we were wandering around the ABC Expo, we stumbled upon a new seat we didn’t even know was in the works. It’s an infant seat from Hauck, a German company that has been in existence for nearly a century and already has seats in the European market. The seat, which has yet to be named, has already passed US and Canadian testing, and will be rated from 5-35 lbs.

The seat has an extremely tall shell, with a seatback height of about 20 inches, meaning it could potentially fit a 2-year-old child. There is also a well contoured infant insert for use with newborns and small babies. One really nice thing about the infant insert is that it is reversible between a “summer” and “winter” side, with slick and fleecy-feeling fabric, respectively.

Hauck icoo rear-facing only  Hauck icoo measurement  Hauck icoo rear-facing only seat  Hauck icoo winter summer insert

There are four harness heights that get progressively wider as they get higher, to fit larger children better. Possibly the neatest feature of the seat is in the base: The angle adjuster is built into the belt lockoff. That means that you can adjust it to exactly where you need it while it’s sitting where it will be when installed. Here’s a demonstration:

As you saw if you watched the video, the seat is also extremely easy to insert into the base. No wiggling or rattling is necessary: Just drop it in, and the base guides the seat into place. Other nice features are pictograms on the handle showing proper positioning for in and out of the car. In the car, the handle is to be moved forward into an anti-rebound position. (Keep in mind this is a prototype. On the actual seat, the pictures will be more noticeable.) The prototype had two sets of loops on the harness for different-sized children. Pictures on the loops themselves make it clear which is which—a great idea for eliminating confusion. European belt routing is likely for baseless installs. The seat will also be available under the higher-end i’coo brand. The i’coo versions will have a larger, ventilated canopy and different fashions. The Hauck and i’coo infant seats will all be compatible with the companies’ strollers without the need to an additional car seat adaptor. Production on these seats is set to begin toward the end of the year, with seats hitting the US AND Canadian markets as early as January. Price-points for the US seats will be around $200 for the Hauck version and $229 for the i’coo.

Hauck icoo base  Hauck icoo handle labeling  Hauck icoo RFO Hauck icoo harness loop labeling