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Monthly Archive:: August 2010

Buckle Up Takes Center Stage at Smithsonian

Two of the most influential characters in modern American advertising history were recently inducted into my favorite museum, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.  Vince and Larry, the crash test dummies from the ‘80s and ‘90s made it cool to wear seatbelts by showing us with humor how dangerous it is to go without them.

Also gifted to the museum were other auto safety items, like a 1961 Volvo vehicle seat with lap/shoulder belt, a Hybrid II crash test dummy from Denton ATD, and a padded dashboard invented by a reconstructive surgeon.

If you’re in the DC area, be sure to stop by and cave in to your inner CPS geek to see these awesome treasures.  You’ll definitely make me jealous!

Chicco KeyFit Strada: A Review Stile Italiano

Booster seats are an important step after a child outgrows a harnessed seat because they aren’t big enough to fit into an adult seatbelt.  A booster seat raises the child up so that the lap portion of the lap/shoulder belt falls across the bony hips, not the soft, easily injured abdomen.  High back boosters, like the Chicco Strada, have headrests with shoulder belt guides to keep the shoulder belt from irritating a child’s neck and more importantly, keeps the shoulder belt on the hard bones of the shoulder.  Booster seats should always be used with a lap/shoulder seat belt.

Who should use this seat?

Chicco recommends this seat for children who are about 4-10 years old, weigh 33-100 lbs., and are between 38″ and 57″ tall.  The back can be removed and used for children who weigh 40-100 lbs.  The versatility in having a highback booster with a removable back is that if you travel by plane, the back can be removed and you can take the base with you as a carry-on.  I would never recommend a booster for a child under age 4 and really would aim for closer to age 5 or 6 as my preference.

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.

Paw Paw Paradise Playground

Last year it was so hot in Paw Paw, we decided to go again!

This time, I needed a couple models for comparing the new Britax Marathon 70 to the current Britax convertibles.  A couple moderators from Car-Seat.Org joined me again and I also asked a couple forum members from the area who had expressed interest in a recent thread about the new Marathon 70 and also had some kids near the rear facing weight limits.

The results of our gathering on the humid, sunny day with temps above 90 in the shade can be found in this thread.  Given the heat and all the kids with us, we were not able to be as comprehensive as we might have done on a nicer day.  Plus, measurements are always subjective, so please take our opinions and photos with a grain of salt, though we did generally agree on our conclusions.

I do think the kids enjoyed the park.  It was relatively large, delux and new within the last couple years.  I just hope the next child seat with this much anticipation is released in the spring or fall!