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The GO is Back

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.38.07 AMPerhaps no car seat in history has had such a varied history as the GO.

The GO was originally launched by IMMI in 2006 as the SafeGuard GO. After a few improvements were made – it became the SafeGuard GO Hybrid. The design was then sold to Dorel, who marketed the seat as the Safety 1st GO Hybrid. The Safety 1st GO Hybrid was on our list of Recommended Seats until it was discontinued. Then the GO went away, only to pop up a few months ago as an exclusive car seat for Uber cars. Many people wondered if it would be available for individual purchase again, and…it finally is.

The seat is now back in the hands of IMMI (owners of SafeGuard) as the IMMI GO, and can be ordered through the IMMI Go website. It retails for $199, and is currently available in only one color (black leather). There are no plans for other colors or fabrics in the immediate future.

The GO is a unique seat in that it doesn’t have a hard shell. The forward-facing harness is connected to a solid bottom (that can be used on its own as a backless booster), and a flexible back that is held in place by a top tether. Because of this, the GO must be installed in a location with a top tether anchor when using it as a harness. The benefit of the GO is that it’s a fantastic travel seat since it caScreen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.38.43 AMn fold down to a size just larger than a backless booster, and comes with its own travel bag.

The IMMI GO appears a bit different than the previous models. Instead of coming with a separate carry bag, the bag is now attached to the seat itself, and, according to the installation videos on their website, needs to be rolled under the seat before installing.

We’ll bring you more details as we get them.


Why New Parents Get it Wrong

Most expectant parents spend countless hours making sure everything for the new baby is just right. They paint the nursery, pick coordinating crib sets, pour over catalogs and roam stores looking for the perfect coming-home outfit, type up their birth plan, and misuse swaddledebate names for weeks.

Yet as soon as these parents put their baby in the car for the first time, almost all of them make at least one critical mistake. Car seat advocates and experts have known this for a long time, but a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics is highlighting it again: Almost all car seats are installed and/or used incorrectly.

After checking the usage of more than 250 families being discharged from a hospital in Oregon, researchers found that 93% of them made a serious error with their car seats. Nearly 70% left the harness too loose, and 43% didn’t install the seat tight enough. Thirty-six percent had a seat adjusted to an incorrect angle, and 34% positioned the chest clip too low. Other misuse included having the harness straps in the wrong position and using unapproved after-market products.

Why do doting new parents misuse seats like this? That’s a question safety advocates have asked for a long time. Usually it’s not because they don’t care; it’s because they don’t know.

Many parents fail to read the manual that comes with their car seat. I know manuals can be tedious and boring, but when it comes to a piece of safety equipment, it’s necessary. Just do it!

Another reason is that car seats are confusing. If they were easy, we wouldn’t need to have certified technicians to help people with their seats. Again, much of the confusion can be cleared up by reading the manual, but even that can’t solve everything. Car seats often need to be demonstrated, not just talked about on paper.

Finally, a lot of people just don’t understand crash dynamics. Most people have never been in a serious or even moderate crash. They don’t understand how strong crash forces can be, and what kind of effect they can have on a human being—especially a tiny one. It’s certainly not something I had thought about until I became involved in child passenger safety, and even now it’s sometimes hard to wrap my head around. Many parents just don’t understand the lifesaving role a car seat can provide, and how that safety can be compromised by not using them correctly.

How can new parents be better prepared? Here are some tips to help reduce the most common mistakes.

  • Read the manual! Really.pileomanuals
  • For rear-facing seats, the harness should be at or below the child’s shoulders—not above.
  • Tighten the harness so you can’t pinch any webbing between your fingers at the collarbone. On most seats, you’ll want to pull up excess slack from the hip area before tightening.
  • The chest clip should be level with the baby’s armpits. That puts the clip over the strongest part of the baby’s torso—not on the neck, and not on the tummy.
  • Install the seat with the seatbelt OR lower anchors, not both (unless your seat and vehicle both explicitly allow it, which is rare).
  • If you use lower anchors (LATCH) make sure the position in the car allows for it. Most vehicles don’t have dedicated LATCH anchors in the center seating position, and most don’t allow for borrowing outboard anchors for use in the middle (check your manuals).
  • Check to make sure your seat is installed tightly enough. Use your non-dominant hand to give a firm tug where the seatbelt or LATCH strap goes through. As long as the seat moves less than an inch, the installation is tight. It’s important to check for movement ONLY at the belt path. Checking at the top of the seat will make the installation seem looser than it is, and will probably wind up loosening up an otherwise good installation.
  • Check the side of your seat to make sure the angle is correct for a newborn. Some seats have a line that needs to be level to the ground, while others have indicators that include balls, bubbles, or colored disks that show how reclined the seat is. For newborns, the seat should be at or close to the maximum allowed recline.
  • If you’re using a rear-facing-only or infant seat, make sure the handle is in an allowed position in the car. Some seats require the handle to be up, some require it to be down, and some allow any position, so read the manual to find out what’s allowed on your seats.
  • Don’t use aftermarket accessories unless they’re specifically approved by the car seat manufacturer. Also, don’t attach hard or heavy toys to the handle of the seat while it’s in the car.
  • Don’t swaddle your baby or use heavy jackets or snowsuits in the car. Check our tips for winter weather to learn more.
  • Make an appointment with a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician before your child is born. A good technician will teach you to install and use your seat properly. A list of CPSTs can be found here, and car-seat.org also maintains a list of techs among its members.
  • Read the manual!

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If you’re expecting, you’re probably doing everything you can to make sure your baby enters the world as safely as possible. Don’t skimp on safety once he or she is out of the womb.

Britax Combination Seats: Booster Lap Belt Guide Changes

Earlier this year, we reported some improvements to the Britax Pioneer 70 along with some changes for all Britax combination harness-to-booster models.   Britax has made some additional improvements to all these models in response to a “Check Fit” rating from the IIHS that we reported last year.   For many kids, there was no issue at all.  For some, especially smaller kids in certain vehicles, the booster fit was not as good as it could be.  Britax resolved this issue immediately by offering a SecureGuard clip upon request to owners using these products as boosters.  This not only improved lap belt fit in booster mode, but also provided a 4th point of restraint, unique to Britax boosters.

In mid-July, Britax revised the lap belt guides to improve lap belt fit without the need for a SecureGuard clip.  Below you can see some comparison photos between the original and revised products.  In general, the original design is on the left, while the updated design is on the right.  The improvement is modest, but can make a difference depending upon the child and vehicle.

The Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 are on our Recommended Car Seats list.

 

BritaxPioneerIIHSFront BritaxPioneerIIHSSide2

BritaxPioneerIIHSoldC BritaxPioneerIIHSnewC

BritaxPioneerIIHSoldB BritaxPioneerIIHSnewB

 

BritaxPioneerIIHSoldA BritaxPioneerIIHSnewA

 

BritaxPioneerIIHSTop

 

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

Today we wrapped up the 10th annual Kidz in Motion (KIM) Conference in beautiful, sunny, New Mexico. It was another great conference and a good time was had by all. While I was here I had the opportunity to do some comparison testing of the current G4 Britax convertible models and the brand new Britax ClickTight convertibles that now available for pre-order. I was particularly interested in seeing how the seats compared side-by-side when installed rear-facing.

The vehicle used for this comparison was a 2014 Dodge Charger. Both the driver seat and the front passenger seat were set in the same positions at the same recline angle in order to accurately compare how much room each seat took up while rear-facing. On one side we installed the Britax Boulevard G4, on the other side we installed the new Britax Boulevard ClickTight. Both seats were installed with seatbelt.

Britax Blvd G4 and Blvd CT

Since the new ClickTight convertible models have 7 recline positions that can be used to achieve an appropriate recline, I took several different measurements so you can have an idea of how these new seats will fit rear-facing in backseats as compared with the Britax G4 convertible models which have a reputation for fitting exceptionally well in tight spaces.

Installed at a recline angle appropriate for a newborn or young baby with the headrest in a low height setting- the Boulevard ClickTight model took up approximately 3/4 of an inch (.75″) more room than the G4 model did. That’s still better (space wise) than most other convertibles currently on the market.

Britax Blvd CT and Blvd G4  Blvd ClickTight - recline angle closeup

Installed at a angle that was more upright (which would be consistent with the overall comfort of a toddler or older rear-facing child) with the headrest fully extended, the ClickTight model took up slightly less room than the G4 model did. And I do mean slightly – the difference was only 1/4 of an inch (.25″).

Britax Blvd CT - installed RF upright  Britax CT convertible - more upright install angle 

Installed at an angle that was bolt upright – suitable for older children who really don’t need any recline at all (basically it’s how they would be seated if they were forward-facing). The ClickTight model took up a whopping 3″ LESS space than the G4 model did! I was really shocked by that because as I stated earlier, the G4 convertible models are already known for being great seats for tight spaces. In reality, most parents probably won’t install the CT models this upright rear-facing because it is VERY upright. But I asked the Britax engineer how he felt about it and we both agreed that there is no such thing as “too upright” for older RF kids who don’t have any special healthcare needs. If your older kid is comfortable sitting at 20 degrees from vertical – Britax has no issue with that.

Britax Blvd CT - max upright position  Britax CT - angle indicator max upright

The new ClickTight models offer a wide range of recline angles and these options create more potential for finding a suitable recline angle and taking up less space in the vehicle. Children under 6 months old generally need more recline but as they grow and gain good head and neck control – the seat can be installed more upright. The recline angle indicator on these new models is excellent and pretty self-explanatory. For rear-facing, the angle indicator should be in the light blue zone for younger babies and in the dark blue zone for older babies, toddlers and preschool age kids who still ride rear-facing.

I took a few pictures of the Blvd ClickTight forward-facing as well. I just set the seat in the vehicle – I didn’t bother to install it because we were short on time but this will give everyone a general idea of what the Blvd CT looks like forward-facing.

Britax Blvd CT FF  Britax Blvd CT FF  Britax Blvd CT FF

Britax Blvd CT FF

Last but not least – here are a few measurement pics since the ones I took of the Advocate model at the launch event in NYC weren’t 100% accurate because those seats were still prototypes. The top harness slots on the Blvd CT and Advocate CT models measure about 19″ tall and the overall internal height with the headrest fully extended is about 29″. The Marathon CT is a little shorter both in terms of overall height and top harness slots.

Britax Blvd CT top harness height Britax Advocate overall internal shell height

 

For more info see our comprehensive review of the Britax Boulevard ClickTight posted here:

Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Review – Sometimes Things Just Click