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More ABC Kids: Kiddy and Evenflo

Kiddy is coming!  They’ll be introducing an infant seat and their booster seat with energy absorbing shield around May 2011.  They didn’t have a prototype of the infant seat to look at, so we focused on the sport’n move stroller.  It’s a nice stroller with shocks, a single paddle brake for both back wheels (I’m sure there’s a technical term for this and that’s why we have a stroller team covering strollers ;)), a reversible seat, a carry cot, and a small light on the handle for night-time visibility.  There’s also an adapter bar for Peg Perego and Maxi Cosi infant seats and they’re working on other adapters as well.  $349  The lights are also available aftermarket for other uses, but I forgot to ask how much they are.

The Comfort and ComfortPro boosters have the energy absorbing shields on them that can be used with LATCH (to vehicle weight limit–40 or 48 lbs.; they’re still working on weight limits) or the seatbelt.  20-40 lbs. with shield, 40-110 lbs. bpb and again available around May 2011.  Pricepoint will be around $269-$289.  The fashions range from very luxurious to kid-friendly Capt’n Sharky.  The purple pattern will lose the additional white applique before it’s released here in the US.   

       

       

   

Evenflo is improving the Symphony again.  They’ve beefed up the headwings by increasing the size, adding their E3 side impact system to the seat, adding an aircraft aluminum bar in the base for energy absorption, and some seats designated for independent retailers will have the TruTether, which has a red/green indicator on the casing of tether strap latchplate.  They also have higher end fashions.

     

The Serenade has been brought back with a stroller as a travel system and rebranded the Secure Ride 35.  There will be versions with and without the E3 side impact system.

 

The Tribute is also now available at Wal-Mart.  We also saw some concept Amps with very artistic covers and painted bases–very hip and cool looking.  They also had a hybrid Amp/Big Kid booster on display to get feedback.  Unfortunately, we were asked not to take photos of these concept seats because they might not make it to market.  I have to say the Amps were impressive-looking and I hope they move forward with the idea.

We do have more photos, but Kecia has them this time ;).  Really, it’s not as though I never take pictures–I do!  It’s just that my assignment was to write, lol.  (I feel as if I have to explain myself!)  And Kecia will write lots more too as she was dictating her notes!

ETA: Kecia’s photos – sorry about the cell phone quality but the flash on my camera wasn’t working properly!

New from Learning Curve/The First Years

More more more! new seats from the ABC Kids Show!  YES!

The First Years has a new combo seat coming called the International B830.  Relevant facts include:

  • 20-65 lbs. with harness
  • 30-100 lbs. as a booster
  • approx. 18″ top slots (the seats they had there were prototypes and subject to change)
  • EPS head liner, cupped to cradle a child’s head
  • front-to-back adjustable shoulder belt guides, like on the B570 booster
  • 2 crotch strap positions
  • 2 cupholders
  • 3 position recline
  • approved for LATCH in booster mode, but not tightly installed–just to keep the seat from becoming a projectile
  • back adjust harness height adjustment with a pull knob
  • $229
  • available in spring 2011

 

The First Years Via 35 infant seat has some great features.

  • lockoffs on the carrier itself
  • yes, you can install the carrier baseless!
  • base has self-ratcheting built-in LATCH with mini-connectors: push on LATCH connectors and push down on base to tighten
  • 4 recline positions on base
  • base not compatible with other Via models
  • angle indicator on carrier
  • single crotch strap position
  • 5 position shoulder slots
  • handle recommended in forward rebound position
  • will be available in Canada

Another New Product: Summer Infant Prodigy

OK, this one is perhaps the biggest news of the ABC Kids Expo from a carseat perspective.  It’s all-new, and it’s from a company new to child safety seats.  It’s the Prodigy from Summer Infant.  It’s not available yet, so please don’t contact them for information until next year!  It should appear at a Babies R Us store near you around January, 2011!

What’s the big deal?  First, it goes from 4-32 pounds and they say it should fit preemies well with their infant insert.  Next, it has an innovative mechanical ratchet system to tighten the LATCH strap or seatbelt.  It is reminiscent of a certain aftermarket product we know, but it’s built-in to the infant seat base and we had a chance to try it first hand.  It works very well!  Plus, it’s integrated into a digital display with smiley faces that tell you if the recline angle is acceptable and when the seatbelt or LATCH system is tight enough using the ratchet system for a good installation.  And last, but not least, it features IMMI/SafeGuard harness system components, including their new “Belt Tightening System” that automatically adjusts to the proper shoulder height and tightness.  The IMMI LATCH attachments have indicators to verify proper attachment to the vehicle as well.  The crotch strap has two positions, while the handle has three positions that may all be used in the vehicle.

It was impressive enough even in prototype form that I have to say it is “Best Exhibit in Show”.  Well, the fact that they had free food and beer may have swayed the judges a bit!  The Prodigy will retail at $179 for the infant seat with base, $299 in a travel system with the matching stroller (rated to 50 pounds) and $89 for an extra base with the patent pending digital display and tightening system.  No photos or videos were allowed, but we hope to have some stock images for you soon.

Like many established manufacturers, Summer Infant has also built a nice team with a lot of expertise in child passenger safety, including a CPST-Instructor advocate.  Granted, it was a prototype, but it looked very impressive already and we love to see innovations that advance ease-of-use to keep kids safe.  We also hope to have a review in the not-to-distant future!  Until then, we ask that you please don’t pester them for more details until the official launch early next year when the Prodigy will be available.

The All New Graco Smart Seat 3-in-1!

Here is the first of our new product announcements for today.  It’s the Graco Smart Seat, a true rear-facing to forward-facing to booster seat!  Unfortunately, there was only a sneak peek at the show.  Kecia or I will be attending the official launch in Atlanta on November 2nd.  Short of slipping them a Hamilton or Franklin, we did our best to convince them to allow us to take some photos and video, but it was still in prototype trim so the great people at Graco provided us some stock photography for your perusal.  Fortunately, we can share some of the details!

It will arrive at Babies R Us and/or Toys R Us in February of 2011.  There will be at least one neutral fabric and one girly fabric.  It will start at $299 and an upscale version with additional padding and inserts will retail at $329.  An extra base will be $99.  Base, you ask?  Yes, it’s a steel-reinforced base that installs with a seatbelt or lower attachments.  You install the base once and then the actual seat can be removed from the base like an infant seat to change it from rear-facing to forward-facing!  A heavy duty locking system and fool-proof indicator make sure the seat is correctly attached at all times.  The base is not used in booster mode.  While the base is quite wide overall, the seatbelt routing path is internal and much narrower so it should be compatible with more vehicles in terms of getting a good installation.  The lockoff system looked similar in appearance to the one on the Snugride 35.  The LATCH attachments are heavy-duty extra width hooks with a tilt-lock adjuster.

Ratings?  5-40 pounds rear-facing.  20-65 pounds forward-facing.  30-100 pounds as a belt positioning booster.  An internal harness and head restraint system has 6 height positions.  We were unable to take measurements on the prototype, but it does not appear that it will have unusually low or top harness settings.  Rear-facing height limits are based on the child’s head being 1″ from the top of the shell, rather than the adjustable head restraint section.  The shell appeared to be similar in height to the Graco My Ride, but we could not tell for sure.

Once installed, there is a 5-position recline system built into the seat that can be changed on the fly when forward or rear-facing.  There’s a single cupholder and flip-up armrests.  A level bubble is built-in to make sure you have the correct angle for babies.  There are two adjustments for the crotch strap depth.  EPS foam lines the area around the head.  The seat itself has tubular steel re-inforcements and like the base, it is relatively wide.  The harness is not removed completely for booster mode, but rather it pulls through the cover andstows away in a compartment behind the cover.

Beyond that, we can’t tell you a whole lot just yet, but we hope to learn more in the next month or two!