Previews Archive

Unboxing: The First Years True Fit C685 with I-Alert

Summer is over and the news has been full of tragic stories of children left in cars.  The risks of leaving unattended children in vehicles do not disappear along with summer temperatures.  The First Years’ new version of the True Fit aims to help eliminate the issue of children unintentionally left in the vehicle—and many others—with its new I-Alert system.

A full review will be coming soon, but in the meantime, here’s an unboxing of the True Fit C685 convertible with I-Alert. Stay tuned for more!


Safety 1st Incognito Kid-Positioning Seat Preview

Safety 1st Incognito - stockThis week at the Kidz In Motion (KIM) Conference, Dorel unveiled an exciting new product. It wasn’t anything flashy or high-tech but it did elicit a lot of praise. It’s the Safety 1st “Incognito” Kid-Positioning Seat which is appropriately named because it’s meant to blend in with the vehicle interior and be less conspicuous. I can attest to this claim because I walked right past it at the Dorel booth without even noticing it! Lol.

The Incognito is special because it’s meant to be “the seat after the booster”. It was specifically designed for older kids and Tweens who still need a little help getting the adult seatbelt to fit properly but who probably aren’t using a booster anymore. With its very low profile and covers designed to blend in with vehicle interiors, the Incognito should be more appealing to older kids who may be self-conscious about using a more traditional-looking booster. This is extremely important because one of the biggest challenges we face as CPS Technicians and advocates is getting the message out to parents and kids that they are NOT ready to ditch the booster and move directly to the adult seatbelt at age 7 or 8.

Safety 1st Incognito - stock

The Incognito will be rated from 60-120 lbs. and from 47-60″ tall. Currently, Dorel does not have the dummies they would need to crash test and rate the seat to weights higher than 120 lbs. So for now, we have to be happy with what it does offer – which is a lot. I’ve seen the questions and comments about older kids who weigh less than 60 lbs (27 kg) and honestly, I think kids who are considerably smaller than average for their age would probably be better served by a traditional booster. However, if I had a 10 yr old who was in the 10th percentile for weight and didn’t quite weigh 60 lbs yet, I know *I* would be comfortable making the parental decision to use this product if it was really important to my child. I get that being a 4th or 5th or 6th grader who is still using a traditional booster can be upsetting for some kids. I’ve had one of each type of kid so I know first-hand that some kids (like my 9 year old DS2) are perfectly happy in their boosters, while some other kids (like my DS1) are/were embarrassed about it.

Personally, I want to throw my arms around the Dorel people who decided to make the minimum weight 60 lbs. They absolutely did the right thing here and I really appreciate that. This product is targeted to kids in the 8-13 year range and the weight minimum reflects that. It really is meant to be “the seat after the booster”.

Incognito is made of dense foam so it’s extremely lightweight. It’s firm and supportive but not as hard as sitting on plastic.

Careful attention was paid to the belt guide design so it would be quick and easy for kids to thread the lap belt portion of the lap/shoulder belt through the guide correctly every time. If the seat is staying in the vehicle then the child can leave the seatbelt threaded through the guide on one side and only have to thread it into the guide on the buckle side each and every time.




Height: 2.5″ tall

Depth: 16.5″ from back to front

Width in back (narrowest point): 12″

Width at widest point: 16″

Incognito  Incognito  Incognito  Incognito

The Incognito does have the potential to be useful in some 3-across situations but it’s not a narrow booster so I predict that results will vary depending on the situation. It’s going to “play well” next to other seats because there are no armrests but you still need the space for it.

Since there were no real kids at the conference (only dolls and grown-ups acting like kids ;)), we had to improvise. Special thanks to Betsey Mowery, CPST-Instructor from University of Arkansas Medical Center, for being a good sport and modeling the Incognito in a 2013 Toyota Sienna! At 5’2″ tall, Betsey is technically above the 60″ height limit but you can see that she fits very nicely in this product anyway. FYI – there is no age limit on this product so if you are a small-in-stature adult and you don’t exceed the height or weight limits of this product – then you can use the Incognito too! Jockeys rejoice!

Betsey modeling the Incognito  Incognito in Sienna

Incognito should be available on Amazon.com in a few weeks. There will be 4 cover choices. Price will be around $20. It will go to Canada eventually but there is no estimated ETA on that right now.


More info can be found on the Dorel website here: http://safety1st.djgusa.com/en/djgusa/safety1st/booster-car-seats/incognito-booster-seat–bc093blk

Stay tuned to CarseatBlog for a full Incognito review coming soon!


Sneak Peek: Maxi-Cosi RodiFix Booster Preview!

Maxi-Cosi-RodiFix-BoosterExciting news to share! Our sponsor, Maxi-Cosi, will soon be launching their new RodiFix booster here in the US! RodiFix will hopefully be the answer to a lot of wishes for a great booster with NO ARMRESTS!!! If you or your child have ever struggled on a daily basis just to buckle the booster because it was difficult to access the buckle – this could be the seat you’ve been hoping and waiting for!

The fact that RodiFix also has rigid lower LATCH attachments, deep sidewings and headwings with AirProtect technology for enhanced protection in side-impact crashes, is height and width adjustable, has a front access recline feature and an innovative “EasyGlide” shoulder belt guide that your seatbelt can never slip out of unintentionally, and… OMG – someone hand me a paper bag because I’m about to start hyperventilating! Okay, seriously, I don’t want to get too worked up over this until I’ve had a chance to see it and play with it in person but I am so stoked about this seat!!!

A huge “thank you!” shoutout to our friends at Dorel/Maxi-Cosi for bringing us this awesome European seat so we don’t have stare longingly at some distant UK webpage, drooling over something that we can’t have.

I know there will be questions about this product that we just can’t answer right now until we see the seat and read the US instruction manual but please comment and post those questions anyway and we’ll do our best to get some answers as soon as possible. This is what little we do know at this time:

Maxi-Cosi RodiFix Highback Booster

  • Highback only – back not removable
  • $250 MSRP
  • Expected availability next month (September)
  • 30-120 lbs

*Please keep in mind that all details and images are preliminary and may not be representative of the final production model. Photos of product shown below (in red fashion) are of the European RodiFix model. 

Initial fashions for the US model are Total Black, Steel Grey, Sweet Cerise (pink) and Walnut Brown.

maxicosi_rodifix_tall    maxicosi_rodifix_recline

maxicosi_rodifix_easyglide  maxicosi_rodifix_adjust


Britax 2013 Parkway SGL and Pioneer 70 Unboxing

Please stay tuned for our reviews of the 2013 Britax Parkway SGL and Pioneer 70 in the next month or so!  For now, here’s a quick video.  You can also check out our weekend giveaway of the current (pre-2013) Parkway SG at Car-Seat.Org .  No entries here or on Facebook for this one, sorry!


Britax Pioneer 70 Combination & 2013 Parkway SGL Booster Preview

Britax Pioneer 70 - KiwiI had the opportunity yesterday to see a final production model Britax Pioneer 70 and a prototype model of the new 2013 Parkway SGL. We were on the 5th floor of a Manhattan hotel so I wasn’t able to install anything in a vehicle but Darren will be receiving both of these models very soon so he’ll be able to comment on installations in the near future.

If you’ve been following along on the related threads at car-seat.org then you already know many of the details. Here’s a closer look at some features and measurements:

Britax Pioneer 70 Combination Harness-2-Booster

  • Value-priced combination seat with many premium features; MSRP is $229 (compared with $329 MSRP on the Frontier 90)
  • 25-70 lbs (and at least 2 years old) with 5-pt harness; 40-110 lbs. as highback booster
  • SafeCell Technology; integrated steel bars; “True Side Impact Protection” designation, rip-stitch tether
  • Same no-rethread harness, recline mechanism, buckle positions and armrests as the Frontier 90 & Pinnacle 90
  • Includes harness strap covers (with velcro for easy on/off) and a standard belly pad
  • Lacks the ClickTight system found on FR90 & Pin90 but some of the ClickTight components are still on this seat (more on this in comments section below)
  • Since there is no ClickTight – there is no lockoff device on this seat for seatbelt installations. You must lock the vehicle seatbelt according to the instructions in your vehicle owners manual. For older vehicles (pre-1996) that don’t have any pre-crash locking features, you will need to use a locking clip.
  • Energy absorbing EPS foam instead of EPP foam used on FR90 & Pin90
  • Top harness slot  measures 18-18.5″ (lower than FR90 & Pin90 by 2″)
  • Belt guide for booster mode is approximately 20″ at max height which is also lower than FR90 & Pin90, but it is otherwise the same belt guide
  • Lacks HUGS pads (doesn’t need them but they can be purchased separately from Britax and added on if the consumer desires to do that)
  • Lacks new EZ-Buckle belly pad (again, this can be purchased separately, if desired)
  • Not FAA approved at the moment but that may change in the future – just don’t expect the change to be retroactive because I doubt Britax is going to send out new labels. I could be wrong about that but it seems unlikely. Personally, I wouldn’t want to lug anything this bulky through airport security and onto the plane but if you really wanted to have that option – you might want to wait a while to see if they change their stance on this issue.


Britax Pioneer 70 belt path  image  Britax pioneer 70 top slot setting for harness   Britax pioneer 70 belt guide BPB mode top ht setting  

 * These were the only fashions on display


First Impression Comments:

Overall, I think the Pioneer 70 is a great seat that is going to be very competitive at this price point. Honestly, for most North American parents who are looking to keep their child in a 5-pt harness until about age 5-7 and then transition to booster mode, this seat will serve them nicely. And while the 20″ max height on the belt guide in booster mode might not get your child to the point where they completely pass the 5-Step Test, it should get them to the point where they can transition to an inexpensive backless booster for the last couple of years that they need a booster.

What is going to strike most consumers, and CPS Techs as odd, at least initially, is the beltpath.  Some of the components of ClickTight are still there but not functional in their originally-intended capacity because they’ve been stripped away in the price-reduction process. The beltpath seems unfinished, because… well, it is!

It’s just one of those things that leaves you kinda scratching your head. It’s not bad – it’s just not what you’d expect. I am a little concerned about the potential for misuse but we’ll just have to see how it plays out in real life. If you read and follow the directions in the instruction manual it should be clear, I just think it may be confusing to those who haven’t read the instructions.

I’m going to do my best to put it into words but Darren will probably have a video in his review that will explain it more clearly. The “mouth” of the ClickTight system is still there (with the LATCH straps stored inside) but the clamps to shut it and lock it into place are gone. The back of the plate is in the beltpath zone but because it’s not locked – it naturally sits away from the shell like a hinged door that is slightly open. When you route the seatbelt (or LATCH belt) in front of the “open door”, tighten the seatbelt and lock it that will close the gap – but probably not shut the door completely. Basically, from what I understand (keep in mind that I didn’t actually get to install the seat), there is going to be a small open gap behind the seatbelt – even when it’s properly installed. The initial thought I had is that the child might feel something in the lower back area but I was assured that they did “extensive testing” on this and concluded that it was not a problem. And I believe that because there is enough cover and padding over the beltpath that you really don’t feel anything behind it. I think it’s going to be a non-issue but again, time will tell.


Britax pioneer 70 beltpath   Britax pioneer 70 beltpath



Updated 2013 Parkway SGL (this model has lower LATCH attachments)

  • MSRP $159 (SG model without lower LATCH attachments MSRP $129) 
  • SafeCell Technology in base improves crash performance
  • One-hand height adjuster is now accessed from top/front of headrest
  • Deeper head wings and deeper side wings (as compared with previous generation PW SG/SGL models)
  • Improved SecureGuard clip
  • Slimmer armrests than previous model


2013 Britax Parkway SGL   2013 parkway Sgl - belt guide max ht  2013 parkway Sgl headwings  2013 parkway Sgl headwings  2013 parkway Sgl armrests


First Impression Comments:

I like everything about the new Parkway SGL model! They kept the things most parents loved about the previous version – like premium push-on lower LATCH connectors, shoulder belt guides that work well in a variety of different vehicles with different belt geometries, and a very tall maximum height setting. They improved side impact protection by beefing up the headwings and torso wings, improved crash performance by adding SafeCell Technology to the inside of the base and made many other minor updates that most consumers probably won’t even notice but they all add up to a more user-friendly product. All this and yet they only increased the MSRP by $10 over the previous version Parkway SGL. For what it’s worth – I thought the armrests on the new model looked lower but when I compared my measurements in the pic above to the current Parkway SGL model that I have – I realize that they are lower but only because they are slimmer. The space underneath the armrest, which is the amount of room that the parent or child has to maneuver the seatbelt to buckle and snug it up – is unchanged.  Therefore, this new model should be just as easy for older kids to buckle themselves (with proper supervision, of course) as the previous Parkway SG/SGL models.