News Archive

Locking Clips – No Longer Standard Issue

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Locking ClipIt used to be that you could expect a metal locking clip to come with every carseat that didn’t have a built-in lockoff but those days are gone. Both Evenflo & Dorel have recently decided to exclude the locking clip on their carseats. Why? Because parents misuse them more often than they actually need to install their carseat using one. In other words, the locking clips were more often part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

I have to say that I agree with this assessment. In the field, I see more locking clip misuse than proper use. Most parents have no idea what that metal clip is for but if the carseat comes with it then it has to go somewhere, right? Wrong. Most of the time – a locking clip is not needed. More on that below.

Retail models of Evenflo convertible and combination carseats now come with a statement attached to the harness alerting consumers to the change and providing information on who to call if you really do need a locking clip. You can also buy a locking clip from a local baby store or even use one that you took off a different carseat. Locking clips are the ONLY component that you can swap from seat to seat, even across brands.

Evenflo infant seats and institutional models sold to CPS programs will continue to come with locking clips.

Locking Clip Notice - Evenflo

 

Dorel seats have also gone locking clip-less across all their brands (Cosco, Safety 1st, Eddie Bauer & Maxi-Cosi). Unlike Evenflo, who continues to provide locking clips with their infant seat models, none of the Dorel seats have locking clips included anymore. So if you’re purchasing any Dorel infant seat that doesn’t come with a lockoff and you’re planning to install the carseat with seatbelt – consider yourself warned. You may want to order a locking clip before you need to install the seat, just in case you wind up with a tilting issue. Read on for more info on that. Below is a page from a Dorel instruction manual.

Locking clip info - Dorel manual

 

Now, let’s review the reasons you would actually NEED to use a locking clip and some reasons why you might WANT to use one.

You NEED to use a locking clip (or a carseat with a built-in lockoff device) if all 3 of these conditions exist in your vehicle:

  • Your vehicle was made before Model Year 1996 AND
  • You have a lap/shoulder belt that is one continuous piece of webbing AND
  • The lap/shoulder belt has a sliding latchplate and an ELR retractor (this means the seatbelt has no pre-crash locking features and the seatbelt will only lock in emergency situations like hard breaking or a crash)

If your vehicle was made AFTER 1996 then your seatbelts are required to have some way to lock to keep a carseat in place tightly during routine driving. If you are installing a carseat and you’re not going to use lower LATCH anchors in your vehicle, and your carseat or infant seat base doesn’t have a built-in lockoff device, it’s imperative that you understand how your seatbelt locks. Most vehicles have switchable retractors but some vehicles or specific seating positions have locking latchplates instead. It’s very important to know what your vehicle has and to understand how these features work before you install any carseat with a seatbelt. See your vehicle’s owners manual for specific information on how to install a carseat in your vehicle using the seatbelt. If you have questions, please visit our car-seat.org forum and we’ll be happy to help answer them.

You may WANT to use a locking clip if you are installing an infant seat base with seatbelt under these conditions:

  • You are installing with a lap/shoulder belt that is one continuous piece of webbing
  • Your infant seat base does not have a lockoff device for the seatbelt
  • Your vehicle has a switchable retractor
  • Your base starts to tip sideways over time due to the locked seatbelt exerting pressure on the side of the beltpath
Base tipping - locked retractor

Infant seat base tipping sideways

 

For more info on proper use of locking clips please visit Heather’s very helpful webpage:  http://www.carseatsite.com/lockingclips.htm

Britax B-Safe 35 & B-Safe 35 Elite Infant Seat Preview

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Happy Birthday B-Safe 35

 

UPDATE: See our complete Britax B-Safe 35 Elite review here.

Greetings from the Britax launch event in NYC! Today Britax USA officially introduced the newest member of their carseat family to the world. Welcome, Britax B-Safe 35 & B-Safe 35 Elite rear-facing infant seats!

Check out yesterday’s Sneak Peek blog for all the official specs and features. Today I will focus on pictures and first impressions.

Britax B-Safe 35 Top View Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Fit

What I love:

  • Unique, center-pull lower LATCH anchor installation with premium push-on lower anchor connectors
  • SafeCell impact-absorbing technology in the base
  • Dimensions small enough to fit preemies well
  • Wide beltpath guides on carrier for easier installation without base
  • Spring-loaded adjustable base with 3 positions
  • New cinching lockoffs for seatbelt installations
  • New smaller chest clip design
  • Extra large canopy
  • Easy-to-remove cover on Elite model
  • Designed to take up less space in the vehicle
  • Made in USA, a rarity for infant seats!

B-Safe 35 seats will be shipping in late December and should be available in stores by late January.  Elite models will follow about a month later. Price point for B-Safe 35 is $209. Elite is $249. “Shower Collection” fashions for Elite model (bright colors) will be available in early March. O Canada – you will be getting your new B-Safe 35 (and yes it will be rated to 35 pounds!) sometime in January!

Britax B-Safe 35/Elite Base Britax B-Safe 35/Elite Base Bottom View

Britax B-Safe 35 Base Seatbelt Lockoff Britax B-Safe 35 Lockoff Closeup

Britax B-Safe 35 Recline Angle Indicator Brtiax B-Safe 35 Elite in B-Agile Stroller

Britax B-Safe 35 & B-Safe 35 Elite – Sneak Peek at New Infant Careats from Britax!

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Britax B-Safe 35This week Britax USA has officially unveiled the newest members of their carseat family – the B-Safe 35 and B-Safe 35 Elite rear-facing child safety seats. We have additional info and pictures from the official Britax launch event in New York City HERE.

B-SAFE 35: Pre-Order at Amazon.com (Release Date February 1, 2015)

B-SAFE 35 Elite:  Coming Soon to Amazon.com

The B-Safe 35 currently retails for $209.99, the B-Safe 35 Elite will retail for $249.99 and extra bases retail for $99.99.

 

B-Safe 35 Elite

Providing advanced levels of safety, comfort and convenience, the B-Safe 35 Elite is the ideal infant car seat to keep your baby safe and secure on the journey ahead. SafeCell Impact Protection surrounds your baby in safety features that work together to protect beyond the established standards. The Impact Absorbing Base absorbs crash energy and our Impact Stabilizing Steel Frame gives strength where you want it most. Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS offers an advanced layer of protection with an energy-absorbing headrest designed to keep your baby’s head and neck extra secure in the event of a crash.

To ensure the best fit, the Quick-Adjust Harness grows taller with your baby at the push of a button and our SafeCenter LATCH Installation features convenient center-pull straps that make correct installation painless. The B-Safe Elite also features an Easy-Remove Cover that pulls right off for convenient cleaning and Premium Fabrics with Plush Foam Padding for superior comfort.

The B-Safe Elite Infant Car Seat is rear-facing only (for babies 4 to 35 lbs) and has been designed to surround your baby in comfort and best-in-class safety, giving you the peace of mind to travel with confidence.

Safe and Secure

  • SafeCell Impact Protection is an integrated system of safety components that work together to protect your child beyond the established standards.  Including our Impact Absorbing Base, Impact Stabilizing Steel Frame, and Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS, SafeCell means your child is surrounded in best-in-class safety.
  • SafeCell Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS gives your child an advanced layer of protection with an energy-absorbing head restraint designed to keep your baby’s head and neck extra secure.
  • SafeCell Impact Absorbing Base reduces the potential for injury by compressing to absorb crash energy
  • SafeCell Impact Stabilizing Steel Frame gives you peace of mind knowing there is strength where you want it most, at the connection point to the vehicle.
  • Made in the USA with global components

Fit & Comfort

  • Premium Fabrics with Plush Foam Padding surround your child in comfort.
  • Ergonomic Handle makes carrying comfortable for the hand or forearm.
  • Removable Infant Body Pillow ensures newborns are properly positioned and cozy.
  • Extra-Large Canopy provides sun and rain protection.

Smart & Simple

    • Streamlined Design takes up less space in your vehicle while providing best in class comfort and protection.
    • Quick-Adjust Harness grows taller with your child at the push of a button ensuring a proper fit without needing to re-thread the harness straps.
    • Easy-Remove Cover pulls free of the car seat for convenient cleaning without having to remove the harness.
    • SafeCenter LATCH Installation provides simple, convenient LATCH installation through the use of easy center-pull straps that cinch down quickly.
    • Easy-On / Easy-Off LATCH Connectors lock into place with an audible click and are easily released with the push of a button.
    • Built-in Lock-Offs ensures a snug vehicle seat belt installation with minimal effort.
    • Spring-Assisted Recline and Dual Level Indicators make setting the proper installation angle simple and easy.
    • Click & Go System featuring a quick-release handle makes for an easy and secure attachment to the any Britax stroller.
    • Easy-Release Button makes it simple to loosen harness straps.

 

B-Safe 35 Specs & Features:

  • 4-35 lbs., 32″ or less
  • 4 Sets of harness slots: 5″, 7″, 9″, 11″
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions: 4″. 6″
  • New lockoffs for installation with seatbelt
  • Deep, protective shell for enhanced SIP
  • Impact-absorbing base with SafeCell Technology
  • Center-pull lower LATCH strap installation
  • Premium push-on lower anchor connectors
  • Easy-to-read level indicators (one on each side of base)
  • Extra large canopy
  • Compact design takes up less space in vehicle
  • Wide beltpath guides for easier install without base
  • Carrier weight: 10 lbs.
  • 3 fashions: Black, Red & Sandstone

Britax B-Safe 35 - Stock red Britax B-Safe 35 - Stock red 2 Britax B-Safe 35 - base 2 Britax B-Safe 35 - base

B-Safe 35 Elite Specs & Features:

  • 4-35 lbs., 32″ or less
  • No rethread harness: 5.5″ – 11″
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions: 4″. 6″
  • New lockoffs for installation with seatbelt
  • Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS
  • Impact-absorbing base with SafeCell Technology
  • Center-pull lower LATCH strap installation
  • Premium push-on lower anchor connectors
  • Easy-to-read level indicators (one on each side of base)
  • Extra large canopy
  • Compact design takes up less space in vehicle
  • Wide beltpath guides for easier install without base
  • Carrier weight: 11.5 lbs.
  • 5 fashions: Cowmooflage, Red Pepper, Vibe, Domino, Cactus Green

Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - stock cowmoo Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - stock cow 2Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - cactus green Britax B-Safe Elite B-Agile together Britax B-Safe Elite TS

 

For more info see our follow-up coverage from the official launch event:

Britax B-Safe 35 & B-Safe 35 Elite Infant Seat Preview

 

Consumer Reports on Potential Britax ClickTight Boulevard & Marathon Convertible Carseat Safety Issues

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Britax ClickTight convertiblesSome New Britax ClickTight Convertible Carseats May Have Loose or Detached Harness Straps

Today Consumer Reports published an article detailing safety concerns over the new Britax Boulevard ClickTight and Marathon ClickTight convertible seats. Although not mentioned in the article, it is possible that the Advocate ClickTight models may have the same issues. We want to emphasize that this only applies to the brand new “ClickTight” convertible models. All other Britax convertibles, such as the “G4″ models, are NOT affected. Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 Combination seats with ClickTight are also NOT affected. 

Link to full CR article:

Two Britax car seats could pose safety risk
Consumer Reports finds potential problem with the Britax Boulevard ClicktTight and the Britax Marathon ClickTight

Fortunately, this should be easy for customers to remedy. In fact, the five-point harness design allows for repositioning the straps on their anchors to adjust for different-sized children. Our car seat installation experts found that if they followed Britax’s online instructions for adjusting the harness length, they were able to properly re-secure the harness strap themselves, paying particular attention to engage the straps inside the hook.

Here at CarseatBlog, we agree completely with the advice to check your Britax CT Convertible models and make a correction if necessary. Once the straps are properly secured to the anchors they should NOT be able to free themselves from the anchor. The thickness of the harness strap webbing combined with the shape/design of the anchor makes it highly unlikely that the strap could free itself from the anchor if it was attached properly in the first place. We’re not in the business of speculation but it seems highly probable that the issue with these seats is an error somewhere in the factory assembly process. 

Britax CT Infographic

 

We’ll keep you posted on this issue as more information becomes available from Britax in the near future. Parents can find basic instructions and video on how to locate and adjust the harness straps at the Britax USA Website. These videos show the basic procedure to attach the harness straps in the shorter or longer length as needed. They also demonstrate how to reattach a loose harness strap if yours is not secured properly:

In the mean time please share this info with your friends and family so we get the word out to as many Britax CT convertible owners as possible. There does not appear to be an immediate need to stop using the carseat, as it only takes a minute or two to re-attach the harness strap if it is found to be loose. In this case the only thing we need to keep children safe is information on what to look for and how to fix it!