The ratings on convertible carseats are in and . . . Consumer Reports agrees with the Blog! No, it’s really not *that* cold yet, but it is nice to have the publication that many parents trust agree with you on what the best convertible seat may be (see our Recommended Carseats page). Before I get to the CR top rated picks, let’s talk about what the “best” convertible carseat is. We say this all the time as techs, but it really does ring true, hence why it’s repeated so often. The best carseat is the one that fits your vehicle (the best), your child (the best), and your wallet. A carseat that, when installed, seems like it’s made for your vehicle AND your child, is the one that is the best carseat for you. It may not be what your neighbor or best friend uses and that’s important. A loosely installed carseat or one where you can’t easily adjust the harness to be snug on your child is not safe. Ultimately what the carseat does is contain your child in a crash. By being coupled to the vehicle, it allows the vehicle to crush and lengthens the ride down time, reducing your child’s chance for injury. Sure, we’d like to imagine that all that EPS foam/EPP foam/air pads really do reduce injury–it certainly does in bike helmets–but we don’t know for sure because the government hasn’t specified a way to measure its effectiveness in carseats. So this all points back to having a correctly fitting carseat.
On Friday, January 27, 2012, Britax announced a voluntary recall of all Chaperone infant carseats manufactured between September 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011. The model numbers included in the recall are E9L692J, E9L692K, E9L692L and E9L692M. All Chaperone infant seats made before 9/1/2010 or after 4/30/2011 are not affected by this potential issue. However, I recommend that if you own any Chaperone model, that you check the rivet in question regardless of when it was made. And I don’t say that because I have any info suggesting a larger problem but only because it makes good sense to check once you’re aware of a potential issue. Also, it should be noted that there was a previous, unrelated recall on certain Chaperone models made from April 2009 through May 2010. If you have an older Chaperone model – please check to see if it may be included in the previous recall. Click HERE for more details on the previous recall issue.
Regarding the current recall:
The rivet used to attach the harness adjuster to the shell may have been improperly
installed. As a result, the harness adjuster may detach from the shell. Should the harness adjuster detach from the infant car seat shell the harness straps will not properly secure the child resulting in increased risk of injury in a vehicle crash.
IF the harness adjuster on your Chaperone Infant Car Seat detaches, please discontinue use of the product immediately and contact our Customer Service Department at 1-888-427-4829.
To address this issue, BRITAX is providing a remedy kit including a harness adjuster clip and instructions for properly installing it. All Chaperone Infant Car Seat owners should confirm whether their child restraint is affected by verifying the date of manufacture and model number.
No later than February 6, 2012, remedy kits and instructions for using them, will begin shipping to all registered Chaperone Infant Car Seat owners with affected seats.
The white sticker label with the model number and DOM (Date of Manufacturer) is located on the underside of the seat.
We received the following email from Peg Perego yesterday. We were hoping for some clarification before we posted but the day came and went without a response so we’re putting the info out there and we’ll update as soon as we have anything more to share on the subject.
We would like to inform you that after further evaluation and testing, we have determined the 35 inch height limitation to be no longer necessary for the Primo Viaggio SIP 5-70 Convertible in rear facing mode. The following guidelines should be used for rear facing mode:
1) Use rear facing with children who weigh between 5 and 45 pounds
2) Use rear facing if head is at least one inch below headrest edge
3) Use rear facing when the shoulder straps are located at or below shoulder level
If you saw our extensive preview of the Primo Viaggio Convertible from the ABC Expo, you know that we were impressed by the quality and features of this new seat but were very disappointed with the 35″ stated height limit which was clearly printed on the sticker label and in the manual. We did provide specific feedback on the product at the Expo and we’re thrilled that they listened and made some changes before the seat went to final production!
However, it’s still unclear as to what the maximum height headrest position is going to be in rear-facing mode – which is ultimately going to determine how long this seat will last kids before they outgrow it by height using the 1″ rule. The headrest, which extends considerably beyond the shell on its tallest setting (see pics in ABC blog), did not seem to be substantially reinforced which makes me question how far above the shell they’re going to be willing to allow. Fingers crossed that it’s a reasonable height setting that will make this a competitive model in the current convertible market. I just don’t want anyone to get their hopes up that this is going to be great extended rear-facing seat until we get clarification from Peg on the max height setting.
Stay tuned – we promise to update when we have more info!
You will see it all over the news today and tomorrow. It will be on national morning shows, local news broadcasts, in newspapers and online. There will be a lot of good information, but there will also be the usual misinformation. Is your child safe just because you bought a 2011 IIHS “Best Bet” booster? Should you panic if you have one that is “Not Recommended”? Does that mean it is dangerous or unsafe? Of course, you came to CarseatBlog for the in-depth, expert analysis, right? As always, we have some answers and commentary, too. 🙂
Before we get to the ratings, consider that most safety advocates suggest that kids be at least 4 years old before moving from a 5-point harness to a booster. Even at age 4 or 5, some kids will not be mature enough to remain seated properly in a booster. Squirming, slouching, continually leaning out of position or putting the shoulder belt behind their back or arm are all indicators that they may not be ready to handle the freedom of a booster seat. Thankfully, there are many 5-point harnessed seats on the market which are rated to 65 lbs or more and can accommodate bigger kids who still lack the maturity needed to be adequately protected in a booster seat.
All infants and toddlersshould ride in a rear-facing car safetyseat (CSS) until theyare 2 years of age or until they reachthe highest weight orheight allowed by the manufacturer oftheir CSS.
All children2 years or older, or those younger than 2 yearswho have outgrownthe rear-facing weight or height limit fortheir CSS, shoulduse a forward-facing CSS with a harness foras long as possible,up to the highest weight or height allowedby the manufacturerof their CSS.
All children whose weight or height is abovethe forward-facinglimit for their CSS should use a belt-positioningbooster seatuntil the vehicle lap-and-shoulder seat belt fitsproperly,typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches inheight andare between 8 and 12 years of age.
When childrenare old enough and large enough to use the vehicleseat beltalone, they should always use lap-and-shoulder seatbelts foroptimal protection.
All children younger than 13 years shouldbe restrained in therear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
Boosters are recommended until at least age 8, though most kids will need to use one until they are 4’9″ tall (57″) and can pass the 5-step Test in each vehicle where they ride. I have three kids, including a 13-year old and an 11-year old who are tall enough to be out of a booster in most vehicles, but somehow still squirm out of their shoulder belt frequently, usually in order to poke or kick each other! They ride in a seatbelt, but for younger kids, a forward-facing carseat with a 5-point harness remains the safest choice until a child can sit correctly in a booster for the duration of a trip. For example, my 6-year old rides in a 5-point harness or a booster, depending on the vehicle and what I have installed at the moment. Here is a video of him in a few “Best Bet” boosters: a BubbleBum, a Clek Oobr and a Britax Frontier 85 SICT.
Finally, many parents want to know if a backless booster is really safe. Other parents want to know if it is really necessary to spend the extra money on a high-back booster.