Monthly Archive:: May 2009

Carseat Quandry: Part II

In Part I, I discussed some issues regarding universal child seat fitment and cooperation among automobile and child restraint manufacturers.  The example happened to be about some new Volvo-branded child restraints that will be available in some countries later this year.  It’s not clear if these child restraints are actually all that new or unique, let alone safer or easier to use than similar models already on the market.  On the other hand, if Volvo has developed a new and improved fitment system unique to Volvo automobiles, that would be impressive, especially given that there was cooperation with a child restraint manufacturer.

This is the Quandry.  Why don’t these companies work more closely together to make a system that is very easy to use and very difficult to misuse?  Why don’t we have child restraints in the USA that simply “plug-in” and work?  Wouldn’t it be great if we had child seats that could be installed tightly, without needing a 300 pound fireman to push it into the vehicle seat cushion so far that permanent gouges are left in the fabric?  Wouldn’t it be great if the average parent could get a rock-solid installation of a 5-point harness child seat in just a few seconds, using only one hand and little effort?  I give you the answer in video format:


So our new Quandry is this.  We clearly have the technology.  So, why do we still have so many kids improperly restrained and being seriously injured or killed in motor vehicle crashes? 

Car Seat Quandry: Part I

Last Month, Volvo introduced three new child restraints, developed by Britax Römer (article also viewable courtesy of Sweedspeed). 

- The child restraints are available in three models for children of different ages and sizes:
1. Infant seat, from newborn up to 13 kg, up to about one year old.
2.  Convertible child seat, 9-25 kg, from 9 months to about age 6. Can be turned forward facing no earlier than age 3, preferably age 4, and the child must weigh at least 15 kg.
3. Booster seat with backrest, 15-36 kg, from 4 to about 10 years, preferably longer.

Perhaps of the greatest interest is their convertible child seat that can be used rear facing, “from nine months until the child is about six years old, which is a breakthrough in safety for children in cars.”  It can then be fitted forward facing starting once the child is at least 15kg (33 pounds) and has outgrown the rear facing settings.

Why do CR Manufacturers continue to ignore boys?

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’m jealous.  Every time I see a new girl cover hit the market it makes me mad.  Helloooo…. what about boys?  Do CR manufacturers think boys don’t care what their seat looks like?  Do they think parents of boys don’t care?  Maybe they think the seat will be so dirty in a week that no one will be able to tell that it’s a boring brown/tan/black/gray.  

Whatever their reasoning is, it’s wrong and it’s gone on for too long.  With very few exceptions, even the small number of boyish covers in the last 5 years have been less than thrilling.  It just isn’t fair.  Boys like covers that “speak to them” as much as girls do.  

Combi Dakota Review

Friends of mine in the CPS world have sung the praises of the Combi Dakota backless booster for years now. I recommended it right along with them, usually for older, larger children, but never truly understood the magic of this seat. What could be so great about plastic and cloth that I should NEED to add it to my already-vast booster collection?

But finally I broke down and got one and my 9 year old sat right down in it and proclaimed it her all-time favorite booster.  I asked what she liked so much, and she declared, “It’s cushy for my tushy. And it’s so tall! And the cup holder is big and easy to use. And it’s really easy to buckle”

Of course I read the manual before we went out to the car to test the seat. It has broad weight and height limits: 3 years/33 pounds/33 inches, up to 100 pounds/57 inches. And the instructions are standard for a backless booster, such as requiring a head restraint and shoulderbelt. One interesting warning I found was: “NEVER allow child to buckle themselves in this Booster Car Seat”. I do applaud Combi for encouraging adult involvement in the buckling process, but I think for my own child I’ll just be sure to make a visual check that she’s secured properly.  

Harmony Secure Comfort Deluxe Booster Review Part II – Belt Fit

It finally stopped raining long enough yesterday for me to get outside and snap some pics of my boys in the Harmony backless booster (aka the Harmony Olympian).  Last week I posted my initial review of this seat and compared it with the Combi Dakota backless booster.  DS1 was less than thrilled to model the Harmony but I bribed him with the promise of a Churro and Icee at BJ’s.  DS2 was a little easier to coax but he wanted a Churro and Icee too!  LOL!