Previews Archive

Carseat Roundup from the 2016 ABC Kids Expo

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New & Improved Carseats & Boosters for 2017

We’ve already brought you detailed posts highlighting many new products that debuted at the 2016 ABC Kids Expo. Here’s the roundup of what else is new and coming soon from Baby Trend, Britax, Cardiff, gb, Evenflo, Hauck, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna & UPPAbaby.

Baby Trend

A running change on Baby Trend infant seats includes a redesigned lower anchor system. A different webbing design will allow connectors to fit better in cars with more prominent anchors, and a baby-trend-secure-snapfit-signnew routing of the strap’s “tail” will allow users to pull upward, giving more leverage and making the strap easier to tighten.

Infant seats will also start shipping with a foam wedge to allow smaller babies to fit better in the harness. The insert goes under the cover and can be used until the baby fits well without it. Seats will start shipping with the insert at the beginning of the year, but existing owners who find they need one can call the company to order one.

Currently the Hybrid combination seat has dual splitter plates to hold the harness at the back of the seat. Soon that will be changing to a single splitter plate, which should eliminate some confusion. The Hybrid will also start shipping with a dual-length crotch strap to allow for more room for larger kids.

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Finally, the Yumi folding booster will also feature a backless mode.

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Britax

I’ve been in the car seat world for a long time now, and I knew the “Brit” in “Britax” had something to do with Britain, but I didn’t know what the “ax” was for…until now. Britax is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Back in 1966, the company launched as British Accessories: Brit-ax… (cue lightbulb-moment). We’re glad the company made its way across the pond and is now making amazing car seats for the U.S. market. Happy birthday, Britax!

In other news, Britax is reviewing its inflatable seatbelt policy. The company will likely add the B-Safe 35/35 Elite and the ClickTight convertibles to its list of seats that can be installed with Ford’s inflatable seatbelts. That would mean that all Britax seats could be used with those belts. Look for that change to occur in the next few weeks.

Britax will also be introducing some new fashions: Poole, Static, Mosaic, Venti, Confetti, Baxter, Oasis, Vue, Vector, and Kate.

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A few fashions will be going away, including the popular Kaleidoscope and Onyx. Cowmoo is here to stay, though, so don’t worry about that.

There are now ClickTight Boulevards and ClickTight Advocates shipping with the anti-rebound bar in the box, although consumers can still purchase them separately, too. Purchasing them together as a boxed set will save $10 off the MSRP vs. purchasing them separately.

Cardiff

Heather recently wrote a review of the Cardiff Travel Headrest, so there’s not too much new to report. They do have some new fashions, though: Camo, Polka Dot, and Melange.

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Cybex

See our full update on the new Cybex Sirona M convertible seat.

Diono

2017 Kiddy Cruiser 3 Highback Booster Preview – Look How Much You’ve Grown!

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kiddy-logo-newWe had a chance to visit the Kiddy USA booth at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas and we were pleasantly shocked by the new Kiddy Cruiser 3 Highback Booster that will be coming to the U.S. market in the 1st quarter of 2017! This new improved version of the Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro is considerably taller than the original model. We measured 23″ to the bottom of the belt guide in the tallest height setting! Check out the pics – it’s even taller than the discontinued Kiddy World Plus booster. This. Is. Awesome!!!

cruiser-3-front cruiser-3-side cruiser-3-belt-guide-height

Kiddy Cruiser 3 Specs & Features:

  • 33 – 120 lbs.
  • Up to 63″ tall (that’s 5′ 3″!)
  • Highback booster only (cannot remove back and use as a backless booster)
  • Height and width adjusts simultaneously
  • Seat depth (leg support) is also adjustable
  • Rigid LATCH attachments
  • Unique shoulder belt guide traps seatbelt so it cannot slip out of guide unintentionally
  • Various types of thick energy-absorbing foam (Honey Comb V2, EPP & EPS)
  • Kiddy Shock Absorber “crumple zone” technology in lap belt area
  • MSRP $259
  • Available 1st Qtr 2017

 

Open the guide to slide the shoulder belt inside – release it and it’s locked inside!

Reflective panels & a dot pattern that represent a Morse Code message: "Kiddy - we love our kids."

Reflective panels & a dot pattern that represent a Morse Code message: “Kiddy – we love our kids.”

Compared with KIddy World Plus booster. Same overall height but belt guide are placed higher on Cruiser 3.

Compared with Kiddy World Plus booster. Same overall height but belt guides are situated differently on Cruiser 3, allowing for a taller child – up to 63″.

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2017 fashions for Kiddy Cruiser 3 Booster

Currently, the Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro Booster is on our exclusive list of Recommended Seats and we have a full review of that model HERE. We look forward to reviewing the Kiddy Cruiser 3 model as soon as it becomes available.

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Carseat Preview – ABC Kids Expo 2016

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graco-snugride-snuglock2017 Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Carseats

These new SnugLock 35 models will be available 1st qtr 2017. There will be various “trim” models with different features. All models will have front harness adjusters. There will be an “Elite” model ($219 Amazon), an “Elite with Safety Surround” model ($219 Target exclusive) a “Platinum” model ($219 BRU exclusive) and a “Platinum XT” model ($249 BuyBuyBaby exclusive).  These will have minor variations.

SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Specs & Features

  • Rear-facing only 4-35 lbs. and up to 32″ tall
  • No-rethread harness
  • 4-position premium SnugLock base with belt tensioner/lock-0ff
  • Safety Core energy-absorbing feature
  • “Texas-sized” Canopy
  • MSRP $219

Graco SnugRide SnugLock Elite Carrier:

The carrier for the SnugRide SnugLock Elite is basically a SnugRide 35LX ClickConnect with a Rapid-Remove cover. The SnugLock carrier will also feature a new “Texas-sized” canopy that glides open and closed almost silently.

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Graco SnugRide SnugLock Base:

We were very impressed with this base. To achieve a secure install, you simply thread through and attach the lower anchor strap or seatbelt, and just remove any excess slack. Then you can easily push down on the large lever, which tightens the belt and serves as a lock-off. (Always check for less than an inch of movement at the beltpath to make sure.) We were able to install the base properly in less than 30 seconds.

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If you need to uninstall the seat, unlocking the lever is a snap…but it won’t snap your fingernails. Kecia referred to it as “manicure-friendly.”

You can see our installation video here:

The base features a 4-position spring-loaded recline foot and a bubble level indicator. It also has a honeycomb-like “Safety Core” to help absorb energy in a crash. A handy storage slot allows the manual to be stored inside the front of the base, and it can be accessed without needing to uninstall the seat or remove the carrier.

If you need an extra base for your SnugRide SnugLock or any existing SnugRide Click Connect model, the SnugLock base will be available separately for $89. (A more simplified base with a similar but smaller “arm” will retail for $59. That base will also be available with a lower-priced carrier.)

The SnugRide SnugLock 35 models will be available in early 2017. Graco is working on certification in Canada.

 

The New Diono Radius Infant Carseat (and more!) at ABC Kids Expo 2016!

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One of our early stops at the ABC Expo this year was the Diono booth. I think we were all hopeful that we’d see something new and exciting from a brand we have long trusted and we were not disappointed. In addition to their existing line up of seats (with a few changes that we’ll get to later), Diono is officially previewing their brand new rear facing only car seat, the Radius!

Before we dig in, I want to throw out a disclaimer that the folks at Diono were very clear that the Radius Rear-Facing Only Seat we were seeing was a prototype, so while we took some measurements and pictures, you should expect some minor tweaking of the product between now and the official release. The skeleton and the essential components of the seat will remain pretty consistent throughout the production process, but other less essential components are subject to change.

And now, the Radius!

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Diono Radius Specs and Features

  • Weight limits: 5-35 pounds
  • Height limits: Up to 35 inches, with 1 inch of shell above head. They said it “may” fit premature infants, but that is yet to be determined
  • No rethread harness with well padded headrest
  • Rigid lower anchors with red/green indicators
  • Seatbelt lock off
  • Active Deceleration System in the base that will dissipate crash forces on the base and seat by up to 30%
  • Indicator to show when the base has been involved in a significant enough collision to require replacement
  • Anti-rebound bar that is part of a full steel frame
  • Aluminum handle for improved side impact protection
  • Deep recline without bubbles or level lines
  • Energy absorbing foam lining the entire seat
  • Canopy extension that covers the entire seat with magnetic connectors at the bottom

Radius Measurements

  • Width of base at the belt path: 13.5″
  • Widest point of the base (roughly in the middle): 15″
  • Length of base: 24.5″
  • Width of the carrier at the widest point: 17.5″
  • Lowest harness height: 6″
  • Tallest harness height: 8.5″
  • Total shell height: 17.5″, with ~16″ being the seated height limit on the prototype.

laThe Radius has rigid lower anchor connectors that can extend outward to make attachment easy and a button to ratchet the base tightly into the vehicle seat. It also has a seat belt lock off will allow the seat to be installed without switching the retractor into locking mode or without use of a locking clip. The seat itself will weigh 9-10 pounds and the base will be a hefty 20 pounds because of the steel frame. While there isn’t a load leg on the current prototype and there won’t be on the first version to be released next year, the folks at Diono hinted pretty strongly that future versions will likely have some sort of load leg.

recline-comparisonThere aren’t any recline bubbles or level lines on the base- if the baby does not have adequate head control, the base should be fully reclined (and it is a DEEP recline!) and once baby has head control, they can be as upright as the base will allow. The recline is easily adjusted with a turn knob on the back of the base and can be adjusted with the seat installed. The upright recline is especially nice because with limits of 35 pounds or 35 inches, this is one of the longest lasting rear facing only seats on the market. (Note: the vehicle seat this is sitting on is completely flat, which makes it more reclined than you’ll likely see in any real life vehicle).

The Active Deceleration System, which is a pulley system within the base, is also pretty unique. It functions similarly to the safestop- in a crash, the pulley system will pull apart and allow the crash forces to be spread over a wider area, thus reducing the crash forces by up to 30%. And after a crash, the base has an easy to read crash indicator signaling that replacement is required. This is a great visual system that will make the decision to replace after a minor crash much easier for parents.

The base and the seat aren’t terribly compact and Diono is working on how to manage the potential for overhang in vehicles with shorter seat pans. They said the rules regarding overhang, which will likely be limited to <20%, will definitely be present and clearly described in the manual, but we (and Alanna at Diono) are also hopeful that a sticker on the base will be added to show at what point the overhang exceeds the recommendation.

The Radius will be available in Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby in April 2017 and widely in July 2017 for around $329. And great news for our neighbors to the north- the Radius will be coming to Canada as well!

Still within the realm of car seats, Diono is discontinuing the Pacifica and Olympia, but will be continuing forward with the Radians and with the Rainier and will be releasing some new covers for the Rainier in 2017.radian

They will also be phasing out the regular Monterey booster for the new Monterey XT booster. The Monterey XT is a blend of the Cambria bottom and the original Monterey back, and will come with lower anchors with dual pull straps, EPS foam lining and a dial on the back. The Monterey XT will have an MSRP of $99 and is coming soon.

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Diono is also releasing a stroller, the Diono Quantum, which will be compatible with the Radius, and with Maxi Cosi, Nuna and Cybex infant car seats. The stroller has all the things you would look for- an extendable handle, a simple fold with a carry handle and a one hand open, a “flip flop proof” brake, and a seat that can be transitioned easily from a basinet for newborns and infants under 10 pounds, to a typical stroller seat for children up to 50 pounds. The canopy is out of this world, we literally gasped when they expanded it fully. And of course there will be accessories for whatever climate you stroll in and several different fashions to fit your preferences.

stroller

Look for all these great new products and new fashions from Diono in 2017!