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Monthly Archive:: October 2010

What Interests YOU at ABC Kids Expo?

What happens in Vegas?  ABC Kids Expo, that’s what!  Sadly, this trip may be our last one, since it is moving to Louisville next year.  As a farewell sendoff, Heather, Kecia and I will be broadcasting live via satellite from Las Vegas!  Well, blogging live via internet, anyway.  Our schedule is almost already crammed with child safety seat manufacturers the first couple days, but we still have Tuesday afternoon for anyone else out there who wants to talk to us about sponsorships and giveaways!  We’re also adding a team to cover strollers, bags, accessories and other baby gear, since we had so little time to see anything but carseats in years past.  Even so, we were rejected for the first time this year!  A diaper bag and accessory manufacturer contacted me via email, asking for an appointment with us.  When I replied a few hours later to set up the appointment they suggested, they rejected us!  Oh well, plenty of companies out there looking for good, free publicity!

Anyway, our ABC blogs are some of the most popular of the year and for good reason: many manufacturers are introducing and showcasing new products there.  Plus, we get a lot of shwag that we pass along to you in the form of goodie bag giveaways:-)  So, what do you want to see this year?  Maybe a child safety seat that we overlooked?  Some sporty new stroller that hasn’t been shown to the public yet?  Perhaps we can get the scoop on it for you!  We definitely have one new product coming that will surprise a lot of you!  Feel free to leave us a comment on what you would like us to see!

NHTSA’s New 2011 Vehicle Crash Test Results – What’s New, What’s Improved & Why It Matters

The main purpose of the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) is to provide consumers with vehicle safety information in order to aid them in their vehicle purchase decisions.  If you’ve heard of  “Government’s 5-star crash test ratings”, then you’re familiar with US-NCAP.   Today the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) unveiled the first round of US-NCAP test results from 2011 model year vehicles that have been rated using their new, improved crash rating system.  Drumroll please….. 

Only two vehicles in this round of testing have earned the top overall rating of 5-Stars.  Those vehicles are the 2011 BMW 5 Series 4-dr rear wheel drive (4 stars frontal, 5 stars side, 5 stars rollover risk) and the 2011 Hyundai Sonata “later release” – need clarification on date (4 stars frontal, 5 stars side, 5 stars rollover risk).  Only one vehicle, the 2011 Nissan Versa earned a poor overall score of 2 stars (3 stars frontal, 2 stars side, 4 stars rollover risk).  The biggest surprise came from the 2011 Camry results.  A 3-star overall rating, worse than most other vehicles tested in this round, was probably a big shock to many.  The main reason it did so poorly?  Ask the poor 5th percentile female dummy who probably needed some serious ATD first-aid after the frontal and side impact Camry tests (only 2 stars for protecting her in each of 3 different tests – ouch!).  Other than the Camry and the Versa, the vast majority of vehicles tested in this round earned an overall score of at least 4 which is very good news.    

Before you can fully appreciate what’s new and improved about these ratings, you have to understand how NHTSA previously rated vehicle for crash-worthiness.  Basically, our US-NCAP frontal crash testing regimen had been virtually unchanged since it began - in 1978.  I kid you not.  They did add a side-impact test in 1997 and rollover resistance ratings in 2001 but the frontal crash test protocol has remained mostly the same for the last 32 years.  

Another Top Rated Booster Giveaway! Harmony Dreamtime Deluxe!

Thanks to Harmony Juvenile Products, we are giving away another booster that rated a “Best Bet” in a recent IIHS evaluation.  It’s the Harmony Dreamtime Deluxe.

Enough talk.  How can you win?  Please leave a short comment in reply to this blog with a short story regarding your “Child in Harmony”.  They didn’t specify what that means, so you can be creative!  A random winner will be selected from the entries live at the ABC Kids show and annunced on Monday, October 11th!  The prize will be shipped to a winner in the continental USA only, sorry!

You are not eligible if you have previously won a carseat or sponsor giveaway at CarseatBlog.com (our own giveaways of bags and such don’t count if no sponsor was mentioned).  Also, please note that you may enter and be eligible for any of our other giveaways running at the same time as this one!  Blog writers and editors are also not eligible.  Only one entry per household/family, please.  If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count.  We politely ask that you only enter if you intend to use this booster seat and would also appreciate the favor of a followup comment about the Dreamtime Deluxe.

We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above.  We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules if necessary.  If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize, a new winner will be selected.  Good luck!

Please note: Your comment may not appear immediately if it is your first comment at CarseatBlog, if you are using a different computer/device or if you are using a new email address.  It will not be lost; it may just take a few hours for it to be approved.  Thank you for your understanding and patience as this is the only way we have to reduce comment spam.

Edit: Please note that the drawing may be held Sunday, October 10th or Monday, October 11th with the winner announced as quickly as possible!

Combi Shuttle 33 Review – Is this “the one” for you?

The infant carseat competition is really starting to heat up and I’m loving it!  Gone are the days when your biggest decision regarding your baby’s first carseat was whether you wanted the blue plaid cover with the front harness adjuster or the ugly brown cover with rear adjuster that matched your vehicle upholstery.  Now, savvy expecting parents are asking themselves much more difficult questions like “how important is an anti-rebound feature to me?” and “do I want a lock-off device on the base for seatbelt installations?”  And of course everyone wants to know how much time/usage they can expect to get out of their chosen infant carseat.  While some of those questions can only be answered by the individual parent or caregiver – I’ll do my best to answer as many of the routine FAQ as possible in order to help you decide if this seat is “the one” for you and your baby.

For starters, I shall note that the original Shuttle (model #8087) and the current Shuttle 33 (model #8097) are two totally different infant carseats from Combi, USA.  The Shuttle 33 is the most recent version and is the model being reviewed here. Unfortunately, I do not own or have access to an original Shuttle 8087 model so I am unable to provide any comparative remarks.  However, I do want to point out that there are many differences between this 33 model and its predecessor.  This isn’t a case of a manufacturer just slapping new labels, with expanded weight limits, on an existing seat. The Combi Shuttle 33 retails for around $179.

One of the many unique features of the Shuttle 33 is that it has no listed weight or height minimums  - the labels and instruction manual state that this seat is for children who weigh 33 lbs or less, whose height is 33″ or less and the top of the head is at least 1″ below top of headrest.  An important quirk of this seat is that the base MUST be used if the child weighs more than 22 lbs or is taller than 29″.  For children under 22 lbs and less than 29″, you have the option of installing the carrier directly into the vehicle (or aircraft seat) without the base.

The Shuttle 33 can be paired with almost all  2009 & 2010 Combi 3-Second Fold Strollers (CosmoFlare, Flash EX, Saavy & Twin Sport which can accept ONE Shuttle 33) to create a complete travel system, if desired.  The exception is the Coccoro Flash stroller frame which can only accept the Combi Coccoro convertible seat.  The original Combi Shuttle bases are NOT compatible with the newer Shuttle 33.