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Monthly Archive:: July 2008

LATCH Then and Now

Costco Triad

 It is a sad moment.  My trusty Cosco Triad is finally going to the carseat graveyard.  It was returned to me last week by a friend who borrowed it years ago.  I had forgotten all about it.  Though it served 3 kids very well in its day, at 8 years old it is beyond its useable lifetime, so it is headed to the junk heap.  The sentiment reminded me of this video…  Back in 1999, I became involved in Child Passenger Safety when I couldn’t get a Century Smartmove to fit in a Saturn SL2 sedan.  If an engineer couldn’t do it, who could?  (Well, turns out those happened to be among the most difficult carseat and vehicle combinations at the time but I didn’t know that!).  It didn’t seem like it should be rocket science, but in some cases it certainly is.  There was hope, though- a new system called LATCH was coming.  In late 2000, I bought one of the first LATCH carseats on the market, a souped-up Cosco Touriva called the Triad.  Despite the cumbersome 2-ring tether adjuster, it installed quite nicely in my 2001 Honda Odyssey, also equipped with LATCH.  Less than a year later, I made a webpage (that’s a link to the archived version that appeared in spring/summer 2001) to help other parents learn as much as I did.

Kia Sedona Mini Review

Kia SedonaJust a short recap on our Kia Sedona rental I mentioned previously.

Our 2008 Sedona proved to be an excellent minivan overall, really on par with the offerings from Toyota and Honda.  While there are some advantages and disadvantages as I mentioned previously, I think it will appeal to many families.  I’ll add to my earlier post that braking was very good throughout our trip, especially in the mountains.  Unlike the steering and accelerator pedal, I had no complaints at all about the brakes in terms of performance or feel.  Traction was solid on dry pavement, rain and even a couple hail storms on the Trail Ridge road in Rocky Mountain National Park. I drove it for a week and couldn’t come up with any major complaints at all.

The interior was really up to par, too. There were no rattles or squeaks of any kind. The controls all worked well and had a good feel to them, even though they were sometimes awkward in placement and function compared to our current vehicles. While this was an LX model without power sliders, the manual ones operated easily enough that our 7 and 9 year olds could open and close them.

The price is right too, as the LX sells for under $25k and even less when the big rebates are in effect. I wouldn’t trade in my Odyssey EX-L for one, but if I was shopping for a new vehicles at this price and had safety as a top priority, the Sedona Base would be a finalist.

The Train Ride Home

As I wrote in a previous entry, we opted to take the Amtrak California Zephyr home, rather than fly.  Our youngest loves trains and we thought it would be a fun thing to do.  As a bonus, airports are always a bit stressful with 3 kids so the train had to be better, right?

CPSDarren . . . Our CPS Hero and the Last Day of KIM

Each year, the Kidz in Motion Conference recognizes individuals who dedicate themselves to keeping children safe in vehicles.  This year, our very own CPSDarren was nominated and recognized as a CPS Hero.  Besides being a SafetyBeltSafe USA board member and coordinator of his local Safe Kids (no small feats indeed), we know him best as the founder of www.Car-Seat.org, our favorite car seat and vehicle safety question forum where we can hang out and discuss all things car seat.  Please bear with me as I wax nostalgic for a moment.  Back when c-s.org (as we affectionately know it) started in 2001, we had the occasional question here and there.  I noticed the questions tended toward the technical side rather than the fluff side and there were many more posts by men.  Made me wonder where Darren was advertising the site, lol!  In the past few years, membership has grown phenomenally and we no longer are just about car seats and vehicles (and the vast majority of questions and participants are women!).  We have a strollers forum, an area for swapping items, an off-topic area–the fun and community abounds.  And that’s what we love–the community.

So thanks, Darren, for giving us a community.  Thanks for giving volunteer techs a place to go where they can prove they are every bit as valuable and professional as their paid counterparts.  Thanks for giving us a place to earn our CEUs with interesting chats when our local resources don’t have anything available.  Thanks for giving us an outlet to practice our communication skills.  Thanks for giving parents a place to go to ask questions.  I remember being that parent 8 years ago who had questions and nowhere to go.  Who knows how many thousands of parents have been helped or how many kids’ lives have been changed because of the help they’ve received at Car-Seat.org?

Now, to switch gears back to the last day of KIM. 

The Grand and Spectacular?

I must say that Darren puts a lot of pressure on me to write something grand and spectacular!  As I sat savoring my grilled cheese and vanilla shake comfort food at Johnny Rockets this evening after the conference sessions ended, I tried to think about what to write, but I was too busy watching the, ahem, colorful figures of downtown Denver go past, lol.  As for the conference, the only conference I have to compare it to is Lifesavers, to which I’ve been several times.  I decided not to go to Lifesavers this year in part because of its overwhelmingness (is that a word?), thinking that KIM would satisfy my need to connect on a smaller, more roundtable level–that I would actually sit and talk and discuss crash tests and head excursions and the nitty gritty and maybe even network a little.  Well, there was the opportunity to network, but you’d think after 30<smears hand across mouth> years I’d know that I’m truly an introvert at heart and I’m an observer really.  Bah!  The conference itself was similar to Lifesavers in that there were sessions in rooms with chairs; not really a roundtable, small college-class setting like I thought it might be.

So what am I supposed to comment on?  Oh yeah!  News from the car seat manufacturers!  That’s what you’re really here for, isn’t it?