News Archive

First Look – New Hauck ProSafe 35 Infant Carseat!

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It’s a busy morning here at the Lifesavers Conference and we’re happy to see that Hauck/iCoo is here showing off their new infant carseats for the US and Canadian markets! We first saw the prototype of this new infant carseat at the ABC Expo last fall and we’re excited that it’s almost ready to ship to retailers.

Hauck is a German company that has been in existence for nearly a century and already has carseats in the European market. The ProSafe 35 has already passed US and Canadian testing, and will be rated from 4-35 lbs. and up to about 33″ tall. (Currently they only have the height as 85 cm, but it will be conferred for US manuals.) The iCoo version of this infant seat hasn’t been named yet (only the Hauck model will be called ProSafe 35) but we will update when we have more info.

Hauck ProSafe 35 infant carseat Hauck ProSafe 35 infant carseat Hauck ProSafe 35 infant carseat

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. At ABC, they only had a thin prototype of the insert, but they now have a nicely padded one that will be used in production models.

MSRP on the Hauck version is $199 as a stand-alone seat. A travel system will be available in the future.

Icoo stroller

The iCoo version will be available as a travel system for $799 or $899, depending on model of stroller.

Available May 2015 in the USA, and August in Canada.

Clek’s New “Baby” – Infant Thingy Insert for Newborns!

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ClekLogolargeWe’re reporting from the Lifesavers Conference in beautiful Chicago! Clek is proudly showing off their much-anticipated “Infant Thingy” insert for use with all current and previous Clek Fllo and Clek Foonf convertible models. The Infant Thingy allows parents to use their Clek convertible seats with newborns and younger babies – something that wasn’t possible until now.

Our beloved Baby Jack doll was happy to model so you can get an idea of how it works and how it will look.

20150315_094653 20150315_094716 20150315_094736 20150315_095005

Infant Thingy

  • Rated from 5-22 lbs.; 19-33″
  • Remove Headrest when using Insert Head Support
  • Body support cushion is required until 11 lbs.
  • Body support cushion is required if the Head Rest (part of shell that came with Foonf/Fllo) is attached
  • Use either Headrest that came with Foonf or Fllo or use Head Support from Infant Thingy
  • Will allow bottom harness slots to be used even if baby’s shoulders are below them as per Infant Thingy manual which supersedes all Foonf and Fllo instruction manuals
  • Can be used with all Clek Foonf & Fllo models (current and previous models)
  • EPP foam in head support
  • MSRP $69.99
  • Available April 2015

See our full review of the Clek Fllo here.

See our full review of the Clek Foonf here.

Both Clek Foonf and Fllo are on our list of 2015 Recommended Carseats.

CarseatBlog’s Recommended Carseats List – 2015 Update

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The-Best-RibbonIt’s been a little over 7 months since we last updated our list of recommended child restraints. In that time some models have been updated, some discontinued and new products have been introduced. A few weeks ago we started the process of revising and updating the entire list and after much thought and discussion we arrived at a consensus. Behold our Updated 2015 List of Recommended Carseats!

We acknowledge that many certified child passenger safety technicians have had it ingrained upon them that they are supposed to act completely neutral toward child restraints. All current seats pass the same FMVSS 213 testing, they are all safe when used correctly, etc., etc. In the course to become certified, most techs were told never to tell a parent that one child seat or brand is better than any other. Instead, technicians are instructed to tell parents that the best seat is the one that fits their child, installs well in their vehicle and is easiest for them to use correctly. Nothing wrong with that.

However, the reality is that once you’ve installed even a dozen different seats, you quickly learn that there are real differences. Some child restraints do tend to install better in general, while some really are easier to use in general. Features like lockoffs for seatbelt installations and premium push-on lower LATCH connectors do make a difference in the vast majority of installations but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every seat that lacks those features is a bust or not worthy of your consideration.

Many years ago, the mighty NHTSA started recommending seats. They didn’t make these recommendations based upon crash testing. No, they were made upon a subjective determination of factors relating to ease-of-use. Ironically, these factors were no more likely to apply to someone’s child and vehicle than the recommendations of an experienced technician! Enter another respected institution, the IIHS. A few years back they began rating booster seats based on fit to a standardized 6 year old dummy. Again, no crash testing whatsoever. Again, no guarantees that the results would apply to your child in your vehicle.

So, who is CarseatBlog to go recommending specific child seats? Well, Heather and Kecia are very experienced Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructors. Darren has been a certified technician for 14 years now and has like a zillion websites on the topic. Our newest blog writers, Jennie (an experienced CPS Technician), Alicia (nurse and former tech), and Andrea (long-time CPS Tech and Tech Proxy) are moms with younger kids who can actually use many of the seats that our own kids have long outgrown. We also like to think that we’ve earned a respectable reputation in the child passenger safety community of manufacturers, agencies and advocates.

Most importantly, though, we’re just parents who have used a lot of different car seats. Collectively, we have 15 kids ranging in age from 1 to 17. We’ve been through every stage, survived every transition, and personally used an astonishing number of different carseats and boosters. So, about 6 years ago, CarseatBlog broke the unspoken rule and began providing expert recommendations for carseats to parents. Like many other products we use daily, we know which ones we tend to like in general, which ones we’d use without reservation for our own kids and which ones we are comfortable recommending to CarseatBlog readers and visitors. And like parents, we know all carseats aren’t created equal!

With all that said, please take our recommendations with a grain of salt. They are merely opinions, after all. And while we did thoughtfully consider the pros and cons of each seat and combine that with our personal experiences with the product – there’s no crash testing involved. Some seats were omitted because we opted to include a similar model from the same manufacturer. For others, we simply didn’t have enough experience with the product yet to form an opinion. There are a number of products that we don’t mention just because a list of every seat we like would be too inclusive. Carseats and boosters not on this list may still be worthy of your consideration! Conversely, some seats we do list may just not work well for you, your child or your vehicle. We’re not saying these are the best or safest choices in child car seats, we’re just saying they’re models we think you should consider. If nothing else, it’s a good place to start when you are carseat or booster shopping!

Britax Phasing Out Rear-Facing Tethers on Convertible Carseats

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Britax Versa-Tether on New ClickTight Convertible Carseats for Forward-Facing Use Only

Effective January 28th, 2015 (approximately), production of the Britax ClickTight convertible carseats (Marathon CT, Boulevard CT and Advocate CT) had a running change that effectively removes rear-facing tethering as an option.  Expect some retailers to start receiving updated models in early to mid-February.

  • Rear-Facing Tethering is being removed as an option from user guides and labels.
  • Changes to all (3) ClickTight models happened at same time
  • NOT Retroactive to previous production.  Seats made prior to this date can be used as labeled (seats labeled with option can be RF tethered if compatible with vehicle)
  • Swedish method issues being driven by less compatibility with vehicles, particularly occupant detection systems and vehicle manufacturer concerns
  • Australian method is difficult at best even with an extender.  Also, not preferred by consumers because ingress and egress issues for the child.
  • The Anti-rebound bar (ARB) will be available to purchase as an accessory hopefully in the next 30-60 days on the Britax website http://www.britaxusa.com/store.

G4.1 Convertibles

  • G4.1 Convertible carseat models (Roundabout, Marathon, Boulevard, Advocate) will adopt this change sometime around mid-2015
  • Updated labels and owner’s manuals will determine when a specific model has changed.
  • Prior to that time, newer production may transition to RF tether accessory straps with fabric loops, rather than a metal ring, like the ones that ship with the ClickTight models.
  • Anti-Rebound bar is available for convertible models made after June, 2010, excluding ClickTight and Classic series models.

Rear-facing is still the safest way to travel for young kids, within the limits of their convertible carseat.  Even without a rear-facing tether, Britax ClickTight convertibles will allow many kids to continue rear-facing until 3 or 4 years old.

Rear-Facing Tether On the Original Britax Roundabout

RF Tethering in 2003

The authors of CarseatBlog have endorsed rear-facing tethering since it was introduced in the late 1990s on the original Britax Roundabout.  We also understand that it can be difficult or impossible to accomplish in some vehicles, and may conflict with passenger-side occupant detection systems in other vehicles.  With the lack of real-world data showing how many consumers adopted this technology and a lack of studies about how effective it may be at preventing serious injury, we appreciate the transition to anti-rebound bar systems in general.  We note that most convertible carseats in the USA lack any type of anti-rebound feature, and rear-facing is extremely safe with or without an anti-rebound system.

Our main misgiving about this change is that the anti-rebound functionality will not be included in the box as a standard feature in the USA (The ARB is now standard in Canada).

The Britax Boulevard and Advocate CT and G4.1 models remain on our Recommended Carseats List for 2015.