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News Archive

Graco Updates Carseat Buckle Design

gracozoomAs we have noted in the past, the buckles Graco has used on many of their carseats were changed a couple years ago.  Many of our readers and forum members have mentioned that the current ones can sometimes be more difficult to buckle and unbuckle than the previous design.  Part of the problems some owners experience appear to develop over time, as the mechanism gets dirty from routine spills, crumbs, dust and other stuff.  A proper cleaning can resolve some of these issues (see below), but Graco has also announced an update to the design being phased-in on various products!

 

The seats that will have the updated buckle include the MyRide 65/70, Size4Me/My Size 70/Head Wise 70 featuring Safety Surround, Nautilus and Argos car seats.

Consumers will begin to the see the updated buckles on some seats at the end of this month.

 

GracocurrentGracoupdated

 

The change can be seen on the current (left) and updated (right) Graco Nautilus Car Seat above.  It’s no secret that CarseatBlog has often preferred the buckle systems made by IMMI (SafeGuard), and we are very happy to see that Graco will be using them!  Be sure to stay tuned next week for an awesome Graco giveaway at CarseatBlog!

For those having an issue with the buckles on a Graco model they already own, do not despair!  Graco’s great customer service has provided some options for you:

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible – now with rear-facing tether capabilities!

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio convertible - Alcantara fashionWe think very highly of the Peg Perego Viaggio Convertible and that’s why it’s on our list of Recommended Seats. Recently Peg Perego added the option to tether this seat in the rear-facing position. Rear-facing tethering isn’t required but it’s an added bonus if you have a suitable location in your vehicle to use for this purpose.

For those who are unfamiliar with the practice of “Swedish Style” tethering and its benefits – please see Heather’s very informative blog on the subject: How to Use a Rear-Facing Tether

Peg Perego added the rear facing tether strap to the 570 convertible seat in March 2013. All seats manufactured after 3/2013 include the additional RF tether strap. Anyone with a 570 Convertible made prior to March 2013 can obtain the rear-facing tether strap by calling Peg Perego during regular business hours at  (800) 671-1701.

PegViaggioConvertible - RF tether instructions

 

PegViaggioConvertible - RF tether instructions 2

 

The Peg Perego tether connector strap looks like this:

Peg RF tether strap

 

Peg strap compared with the current style Britax tether connector strap (Peg strap on top, Britax strap below). The current Britax “D-Ring” is just a hair longer (maybe .5 cm longer).

Peg vs. Britax RF tether strap

 

Peg Perego Viaggio Convertible installed RF with tether strap accessory:

Peg Viaggio Convertible installed with RF tether

 

For more information on the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 5-70 Convertible see our complete blog review HERE.

 

The Peg Viaggio Convertible is sold directly from Amazon.com for $329.99 with free shipping and free returns.

Making the Back Seat Safer for Kids

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Today the brilliant and dedicated team from the Center for Injury Prevention and Research at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) released a new CPS Issue Report “Optimizing the Rear Seat for Children – April 2013” which highlights some of the various ways that vehicle rear seats could be optimized to protect kids too big for “add-on” child restraints. Unfortunately, tweens and young teens (who typically are out of boosters and using just the adult seatbelt) have much higher injury rates than the younger kids who can and do benefit from using a carseat or booster. I’d like to think we’ve made some good progress getting the message out about kids in the 4-8 age group needing an “add-on” CR but clearly something needs to be done to make the occupant restraint systems in the back seat more suitable for tweens and teens. Ideally, all kids should use a booster until they can pass the 5 Step Test  but that means keeping most 9, 10 and some 11 year olds in boosters. Sure, my almost 9 year still uses a booster and he will continue to do so until he passes the 5 Step Test in our vehicles but the reality is that almost none of his 3 grade classmates are still using a booster. I’m not sure why we’re failing so miserably at keeping kids in boosters until they are actually large enough to fit well in the adult seatbelt but all it takes is one quick look around your local elementary school parking lot to come to the conclusion that we are failing. Parents either aren’t getting the message or they are getting the message but ignoring it.

Anyhow, the injury rates according to 2007 data from the Partners for Child Passenger Safety study paint a very clear picture – injuries to kids in motor vehicle crashes increase with age:

4.5 injuries per 1,000 children for 0 to 3 years

7.0 for 4 to 8 years

15.5 for 9 to 12 years

20.6 for 13 to 15 years

“This is due in part to the different ways they are restrained at each age, where they sit and other crash characteristics. In addition, as children age, the vehicle’s rear seat and associated safety features may not be able to offer the optimal protection that younger occupants are provided by add-on restraints.”

I encourage everyone to actually download and read the entire report because there is a wealth of information in there on the subject that goes way beyond a simple blog or a comment shared on facebook. Back seat occupant protection seems to be the final frontier of vehicle safety and let’s be honest – there is a lot of room for improvement there!

Kristy Arbogast from CHOP has a wonderful blog “Putting the Rear Seat First” on the subject here:  http://injury.research.chop.edu/blog/posts/putting-rear-seat-first?utm_source=Child+Passenger+Safety&utm_campaign=5262666229-CPS_Issue_Report_Rear_Seat4_26_2013&utm_medium=email#.UX6H5rWsiSo

 

Motor Vehicle Deaths by Age

According to the CDC leading causes of death reports from the WISQARS database, the total fatalities by age in the “MV Traffic” category from 2001 to 2010 (the most recent decade available) are as follows:

Age 0-12 months:  1,208

Age 1: 1,147

Age 2: 1,201

Age 3: 1,119

Age 4: 1,085

Age 5: 1,075

Age 6: 1,040

Age 7: 982

Age 8: 991

Age 9: 1022

Age 10: 997

There is no information provided about the whether a child restraint was present or not.  If a restraint was present, there is no information about misuse.  We don’t know if alcohol or distracted driving contributed to the fatality.  We really know nothing else about this data, other than the total number of children killed at each age.

Even given the lack of specifics on this raw data, do these numbers surprise you?  Would you have expected toddlers age 1, 2 or 3 to suffer fatal motor vehicle related injuries more frequently than babies under 1 year old, those presumably more likely to have been rear-facing in 2010 and earlier? Would you have expected booster age children age 4 and up to have more fatalities than younger kids that are more likely to be in a 5-point harness?  Or, is a pretty even distribution just what you would have expected?

Discuss!

 

Still Made in North America

Kecia and I toured the great new Dorel technical center, adjacent to where they manufacture many Cosco, Safety 1st and other child restraint products in Columbus, Indiana.  Kudos now to Britax, who opted to keep their main manufacturing facility in Charlotte, moving just across the border from North Carolina to South Carolina.   They are currently moving into their shiny, new digs!  I have seen it from the outside and hope to blog about a tour of the facility in the future :-)

Other manufacturers, like Evenflo, still have major manufacturing plants in the USA as well.  We know some parents prefer products made in North America, Western Europe and certain other countries for a variety of reasons.  Keeping good manufacturing and technical jobs domestic to support local economies is a major one.  Concerns over workers’ conditions, environmental issues and product quality control are other very legitimate concerns about losing manufacturing to Asia and other regions with ultra-cheap labor and minimal government oversight.  Managers of some programs receiving funds from certain federal and state grants may be required to purchase products primarily made in the USA.  For that reason, we are also compiling a list of carseats still made in the USA, including some made in Canada, Mexico and Europe.

CarseatBlog does recommend carseats that are manufactured outside North America.  Location of the corporate headquarters or manufacturing is not usually a factor as to whether we recommend or do not recommend any particular child restraint.  Even though where a product is made does not typically affect our opinion of a carseat, we do try to mention it in our reviews.  That is so those interested in buying the product may have this information, in case it is a factor in their own purchasing decision!