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Guest Blog: The ABCs of ABC Kids. ++Giveaways!

The sea of exhibits and exhibitors in the Las Vegas Convention Center this past few days for the 2010 ABC Kids show might have been overwhelming at first, but I found my inner child and began at the beginning…of the alphabet. This is the A-to-Z of ABC.

I Need Help Finding A New Ride

It’s time for the Sienna to move on to another family who will appreciate it more than I do.  I’m over it.  Done.  Finis.  I was done driving a van when we bought it back in ’05, but my dd was still rear-facing and you just can’t deny the ease of getting kids in and out of vans.  It’s a great people hauler and the stuff we’ve fit into it has been amazing—beds, gigantic TVs, wood, a grill, etc.—but it’s nearly as big as a bus!

I’m at a crossroads as to which vehicle to buy and I could use personal experience input because I’m really torn.  After a recent rental car experience with a Kia Optima (heh, that car had some pickup, I tell you—I finally gave in and drove at 80 mph because that was *its* speed), I’ve crossed sedans off my list because they sit too low to the ground.  I simply had too much trouble seeing around the mammoth vehicles in front of me on the freeway to anticipate what was coming.

I’ve loved SUVs since we bought our first, a RAV4, in 1996.   The smaller SUVs sit just high enough to give me visibility, yet are easy to drive, and they have 4-wheel/AWD, which is something I think I need, but dh disagrees since we already have one.  More than anything, I want to drive something that I *love* to drive, not a utility vehicle, which is what the van is to me.  Sure, the van has some great features that I appreciate, but I don’t love it.

Guest review: Maxi Cosi Rodi XR

My impressions:
The Maxi Cosi Rodi XR is very sturdy seat with nice deep headwings. The cup holder is excellent, one of the best designs I’ve seen, it’s easy to install and remove and the design makes it very stable – thus far we’ve had NO spilled drinks, and most cups & water bottles fit. The seat is easy to assemble, and has a built-in recline to help the seat fit better on various different vehicle seats. The height adjustment is a bit tricky, but not difficult.
The illustrations in the manual are excellent, and the explanations of vehicle seats and seat belts are really well done. The manual can be found here: http://www.maxicosi/.us/media/producthandleidingen/maxicosi/4358-4583.pdf
The seatbelt fit on my 55 lb, 6 .5 year old was pretty good, with the lap belt low on her hips. I tried her 48-lb best friend in it, and it fit him well too. They both said it is a comfortable seat, and Joy has no slumping issues when sleeping in it, although a smaller child might.
My major disappointment with the seat: belt guides are VERY narrow, and in my Suburban the belt tends to get pulled out and not retract, leaving a great deal of slack in the belt. If the seatbelt telemetry isn’t just so, a child who is inclined to move around could easily end up with the shoulder belt two feet from their chest. Because of this, I would only be comfortable recommending this seat to someone VERY CPS-conscious.
Additionally, the seat requires the vehicle seat back or head rest to be above the midpoint of the child’s head. For many families, this means the seat is incompatible with their vehicles. The seat does feel more sturdy than many boosters without this requirement, and it doesn’t fall apart when moved or tip when going around tight turns.
Overall, I really want to love this seat, but because of the small belt guides and the head support requirement, I can’t. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.  A few comparison photos of Joy in the Rodi, the Recaro Vivo and the Britax parkway (old style) can be found HERE.

Skaterbabscpst is a long time moderator at our Car-Seat.Org forums and has her own CPS website.  You can find our original review of the Rodi XR here.  You can also find the basic Maxi Cosi Rodi for sale.  It lacks a few features of the XR, but can be found for under $100.

Get Yer Carseats and Baby Gear Here!

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Check Out Kids.Woot for a True Fit Deal

True_Fit_ConvertibleWe’re Woot lovers here.  Did you know there’s a new Woot just for kids stuff?  Check it out tonight for a $99 deal + $5 shipping on Learning Curve’s The First Years True Fit.  I’ll be upfront: while we’d like you to buy it from our store (c’mon ;) or one of our sponsors), we love a great deal.  Enjoy!