Monthly Archive:: September 2010

Graco Nautilus Elite: First Look Review

Graco Nautilus EliteThe original Graco Nautilus model has been a popular forward-facing seat for many years. The Nautilus Elite model distinguishes itself with shoulder belt lockoffs to aid with seatbelt installations.  It also has adjustable width side wings on the head restraint section.

The Graco Nautilus is a very popular combination seat that converts from a front-facing child safety seat with a 5-point harness to a booster, either high-back or backless.  Because of these three modes, Graco calls it a “3-in-1″, though parents should be aware that it does not install rear-facing like some other “3-in-1″ products.  The Nautilus accommodates kids front-facing with harness from 20 to 65 pounds, from 27 to 52 inches tall, subject to other height restrictions.  It can also be used as a high-back booster from 30 to 100 pounds for kids 37 to 57 inches tall.  Finally, it can be used as a backless booster from 40 to 100 pounds for kids 40 to 57 inches tall.

4’9” / Age 8 / 80 lbs.: Does Your Kid Still Need A Booster?

I’ve been patiently waiting, just like other parents, for my oldest child to grow up—he’s 10 and a half now (born New Year’s Eve, 1999, and yes, we had our bathtub filled with water—did you?).  I know, I know.  They’re only little once, I should appreciate him being small while he is, yada yada yada.  Small is not a word I’ve ever associated with my ds.  He was big from the get-go and only got bigger, lol.  Since I’ve been a child passenger safety technician for most of my ds’s life, I’ve had a keen interest in how he fits in carseats and vehicles.  Now that he’s 4’11.5”, he’s tall enough to be riding in just an adult seatbelt, right?

You’d think so.  When he’s walking around in his shoes, he’s definitely 5’ tall, little bugger.  He’s catching up to me ;) and is taller than some women already.  Generally the only kids taller than him in his class at school are the girls.  So why is he still in his backless booster when he’s clearly over 4’9” and close to 80 lbs., which is what NHTSA tells us is the safe height for kids to move out of boosters?  Even the Ad Council has these great ads educating us about 4’9”.  Twenty states have laws based on 4’9” and of those twenty, five states have added provisions about 80 lbs.: children must ride in boosters or some other form of child restraint until they meet the height and/or weight criteria before moving to an adult seatbelt.  Only two states, Wyoming and Tennessee*, have laws requiring kids to ride in boosters to age 8.


Remember with peace, love and tolerance.

Kecia, Heather and Darren

2011 Honda Odyssey First Look Review Part II: The Ultimate Family Truckster

In Part I of my review of the 2011 Honda Odyssey, I covered the child seating and safety aspects of this new minivan pretty extensively.  This part will touch on some of the performance, electronics and luxury features.  Most of these aspects will be thoroughly discussed in mainstream media reviews and on other websites and blogs, so no need to go into boring specifications, tables and numbers.

I’ll also discuss my trip to the lovely Estancia resort in La Jolla, California, where I was able to preview the new Odyssey along with bloggers from various other parenting and mommy-centric websites.  My trip started on a Thursday evening with a “business elegant” dinner in a conference room where the new Odysseys were on display.  About 20 mommy-bloggers and I were present at this event.  Mainstream media attended the previous day, followed by international media the following day.  On Friday, we started with a multimedia presentation and Q&A session on the new Odyssey.  We then paired up and were given directions for an extended test drive around San Diego, ending at Qualcomm Stadium.  I partnered with Kacy, from Every Day I Write the Book and Design Mom.  Instead of following the rest of the crew immediately onto the drive route, we hung back a bit to take care of the most important aspect of a nice drive in the country. 

2011 Honda Odyssey First Look Review Part I: Kids, Family and Safety

Are you tired of 7-passenger vehicles that can’t fit all your kids and cargo?  Sick of wagons and vans that lack features found in luxury cars?  Well now your troubles are over!  The rumours you’ve heard.  The videos you’ve seen.  It has arrived!  Hi folks, CPSDarren here, to tell you that the 2011 Honda Odyssey is the ultimate Family Truckster!  Hauling lots of children along with their friends and gear?  Want great seating flexibility with much better fuel economy than monster SUVs and full size vans?  Looking for safety and high-end entertainment possibilities?  Look no further!  The new Odyssey is now king of the carseat and kid cruiser category, usurping the role from the 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna 8-passenger models.  With the exception of the basic Odyssey LX trim level that lacks an 8th seat, every other model in the lineup has tons of convenient family seating solutions.

As seen on TV!  In the amazing new Odyssey, you can now easily fit most combinations of child safety seats 3-across in the second row.  Really.  On the right, I installed two Evenflo Titans and a Safety 1st onBoard 35 with plenty of room between.  Honda claims there is plenty of room even for larger carseats known to be problematic side-by-side and I can easily see that this is probably true.  They accomplish this with a few inches more width inside overall, a new “wide” seating mode and a much wider “Multifunction” middle seat.  This seat even features LATCH, the lower anchors and top tether anchors (circled, left) not present on the PlusOne middle seat of the previous Odyssey.

Yes, it’s true!  Three LATCH positions in the middle row for all EX and Touring models.  In the third row, there are two LATCH positions in the outboard seats (right) and a third top tether anchor for the middle seat.  All three top tether anchors for the third row are on the back of the vehicle seats.  So, that’s a total of 5 LATCH positions in the 8-passenger EX/Touring trims and 4 LATCH positions for the 7-passenger LX trim level.