Conference/ABC Expo Archive

ABC Expo 2013: Kids Embrace Update


Turtle Kids Embrace

There we were, walking around the ABC Kids Expo, when we suddenly noticed a Kids Embrace car seat version of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle staring at us. I squealed a little. It’s not that I’m that enthralled with the Turtles, but my son likes them and it brought back some childhood memories… But I digress.

We snapped a photo and put it on Facebook, unsure of the kind of reaction it would get. In the past, Kids Embrace hasn’t gotten a lot of love from the car-seat-enthusiast community. When the seats first came out, the top harness height was lower than other combination seats on the market and that made people worry that little kids would be forced into booster seats prematurely.

Kids Embrace listened, though, and raised the top harness height to 17″. That’s a respectable measurement that will get most kids to a safe booster age. (Remember that 17″ on an upright combination seat tends to be a true 17″, whereas the same measurement in a convertible usually won’t hold a child with a 17″ torso. That’s due to the natural recline of even an upright convertible, and just one of those unexplained mysteries of the car seat world.)

We think it’s time Kids Embrace got more credit and more respect. Their characters are likely to appeal to children in the 3-6 age range, and anything that gets kids excited about car seats and keeps them in a 5-pt harness until a safe booster age (generally 5-6 years old) is a good thing. There are lots of parents who rush their kids into boosters at age 3. In that case, a kid begging for a Batman seat might make all the difference.

But back to the Ninja Turtle. Right now, Leonardo is the only one in the works (sorry, Donatello fans). They’re looking at a release date of December, so keep an eye out if you have a Ninja Turtle fan in your house. (As it turned out, the feedback on our Facebook photo was overwhelmingly positive—lots of people want a Ninja Turtle in their back seat!)

Batman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dora & SpongeBob are all currently available. Prices range from $129-$149. The Batman seat is also going to Canada soon!


Also coming from Kids Embrace is a line of backless booster seats. The ones they had on display were Batman and Super-Man, in “boy” and “girl” colors. Those are cool enough to appeal to the older booster-rider who might be getting hesitant about having to ride in one.

Kids Embrace booster

While we were talking with the Kids Embrace folks, we started brainstorming some other characters they could pursue. We suggested Minecraft (I’m sure my 9-year-old would do ANYTHING for a Creeper booster) and Lego. Obviously we have no idea if Kids Embrace will pursue either option, but I was so inspired that the first thing I did when I got home from Vegas was to raid my son’s Legos to create a “prototype” booster.

Lego seat

Don’t those Lego hands just scream “cup holder”? Tell us what you think.


ABC Expo 2013: What’s New from Cybex


Cybex Aton QAt last year’s ABC Show, Cybex introduced the Aton 2 with the load leg and it’s proven to be a very popular infant seat. The load leg on the base keeps the infant seat from rotating down toward the floor which improves stability and helps absorb crash forces. Cybex has done comparison crash tests against the competition to see how effective the load leg really is in dissipating crash energy, and they’ve found it to be eye-opening, not only in terms of reducing downward rotation of the infant seat, but also in reducing rebound as well (see chart below). When you reduce the downward rotation, it’s essentially reducing the bounce back from the vehicle seat cushion since it didn’t go as far into the cushion as it would have otherwise. The Aton 2 also introduced the Linear Side Impact Protection (LSP) flip-up device on the sides of the handle. These innovative features won the Aton 2 the JPMA Innovation Award for 2012.

Cybex Comp Chart   X-Force

This year, Cybex introduces the Aton Q infant seat. The Aton Q is a part of their Platinum line of products, the top echelon. The Q also won this year’s JPMA Innovation Award, so two years in a row for Cybex! Congrats! What makes the Aton Q different from the Aton and the Aton 2? Plenty. First, it has a larger canopy, but it’s still very Euro, very Aton in flavor. The Q has a no re-thread harness that, as the harness slots move down to fit a smaller baby, the seat pan moves up to boost the baby up to those slots. Innovation anyone? Pictured below is the Euro model with 3-pt harness and no chest clip. The model for the US will have a 5-pt harness and a chest clip. The belt path prongs on the carrier are colored in silver (platinum) plastic, with other silver accents. The Linear Side Impact Protection (LSP) is shifted off the handle and toward the top of the carrier, nearer to the baby’s head. On either side, the LSP telescopes out from the side of the carrier to the depth needed for maximum protection. Perhaps best of all, the Aton Q will fit any Aton base. Cybex is expecting a 1st quarter delivery and a price point of $349.

Cybex Aton Q  Cybex Aton Q

ABC Expo 2013: Graco Updates & Tranzitions 65 Convertible Preview


New IMMI Graco buckleGraco has good news for anyone in the market for an infant seat: by the end of this year, all their infant seat buckles will be the IMMI buckles! What that means for the Average Josephine is that the release button will be easier push and the buckle tongs will be easier to insert into the buckle. Yay! Trust me, they’re happy about it too. Speaking of infant seats, Babies R Us has renewed their exclusivity contract for the SnugRide 40, so if you or a friend are looking for that particular Graco infant seat, you can only get it at BRU.

Graco is introducing a new Argos 80 Elite model based on the Argos 70 Elite, but with structural changes to beef it up to handle the extra 10 lbs. of kid. So the new weight range will be 20-80 lbs. Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby will carry the Argos 80 Elite starting sometime in the 2nd quarter of 2014. MSRP $219.

Graco Argos 80 Elite

There are some changes to the Size4Me/Head Wise/My Size convertible carseats. Because of 2014 regulatory changes, Graco is reducing the upper weight limit to 65 lbs. You’ll be seeing this happen with a lot of manufacturers’ convertible carseats with current weight limits over 65 lbs. The labels will be changed to reflect the change in weight limit, otherwise the seats should remain largely the same.

Now, I bet you thought nothing was really going on at Graco because I waited until now to tell you about something NEW! I just like to build anticipation 😉 . Graco is adding a new convertible seat based on the Size4Me shell but at a lower pricepoint. In the” Tranzitions 65,” (now known as the Contender; info on the Tranzitions combination seat can be found here) you get the same great height of the Size4Me/Head Wise/My Size seats, but with fewer features. The harness is still a no re-thread adjustment for changing harness height, but they’ve removed the sliding recline feature and added a flip foot for a simple 2-position recline. There’s one LATCH strap instead of 2 and it’s on a bar on the side of the carseat; it has the standard Graco hooks for lower anchor connectors. The labels are also different: there are lots of drawings instead of text, which makes them very easy to understand. Graco’s done a great job of keeping features parents need while keeping price low at $159. The Tranzitions 65 Contender is due out in the 1st quarter of 2014. Initial fashions are Pierce (pictured here), Nyssa & Go Green (pictured at end of blog).

New Graco Tranzitions 65  Graco Tranzitions 65

Graco Tranzitions 65


Affix with Safety Surround in Stargazer fashionAffix highback booster will now be available with “Safety Surround” technology. BuyBuyBaby exclusive. “Stargazer” fashion. $99



A few new fashions:




ABC Expo 2013: New Diono & Little Tikes Boosters




We already covered Diono’s new line of convertibles in a previous blog. Now for info on their new boosters.

Diono is adding two new boosters to its lineup to join the existing Monterey and Santa Fe. These new boosters will have a slightly lower price-point and are made of blow-molded plastic. Diono has included strategic air pockets and interior ribbing to make the blow-molded seats stronger and more reinforced in a crash, improving their performance.

The Cambria is the new high-back booster, and will be rated for 40-120 lbs. It has lower LATCH attachments and swivel-out cupholders/snack trays on both sides. It has six height positions (versus the Monterey’s 11), and will retail for about $99.99.

New Diono Booster - Cambria  New Diono Boosters


The new backless booster is called the Solana. It also features LATCH attachments and swivel-out cupholders/snack trays, and it will also have a 40-lb minimum. Retail price is about $39.99.

Diono Booster  Diono Booster


Diono expects the boosters to be available in the US and Canada around the end of this year.

The other news in Diono boosters is that the company has purchased a license to brand booster seats under the Little Tikes name. Although Little Tikes is often considered a company for infants and toddlers, they are beginning to focus on products for the 5+ age group, so the boosters will be geared in that direction.

The line will include backless and high-back boosters in bright primary colors. The seats are unique from Diono’s existing line of booster seats and will retail for $19.99-$59.99. Little Tikes boosters are expected in 2014 and will also be marketed in Canada.

Little Tikes Boosters  Little Tikes Boosters

Little Tikes Highback Booster Measurement  Little Tikes Highback Booster Measurement

Little Tikes Highback Booster  Little Tikes Highback Booster

Little Tikes Backless Booster  Little Tikes Backless Booster

Little Tikes Backless Boosters