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Monthly Archive:: November 2010

An Unboxing Video and Our First ABC Bag ‘O Stuff Giveaway

We told you about the Britax Parkway SGL in our ABC Kids Expo coverage.  We’ll be having a full review before it hits the shelves around the end of this month.  In that it is pretty similar to the original Parkway SG, it should be a pretty easy one to write!   The main differences are the new ISOFLEX LATCH attachments, a revised armrest design and a single strap design for the Secure Guard feature.  We had a nice demonstration video in our ABC Blog, but I wanted to give my new Nokia N8 a try to see how the video quality looks (crank it up to 720P HD if you like)!  I watched so many lame unboxing blog videos before I bought my cellphone, it renewed my energy to create lame unboxing videos for car seats!

Speaking of the ABC Kids Expo, we haven’t forgotten about our traditional giveaways of all the assorted promotional items we collected!  We make no guarantees on what you will get, other than you will get a tote bag with at least one baby related item inside.

Graco Signature Smart Seat All-In-One Preview

We broke the story for you a few weeks back at the ABC Kids Expo.  Graco is releasing their first All-In-One carseat, the Graco Smart Seat.  This week, Graco released some additional information at a product launch event.  Unfortunately, no photos or video were allowed, but they did provide some more stock photos.  We hope to have a full review for you within the next few months.  Until then, here are some talking points to tide you over until the Smart Seat appears on shelves at Babies R Us in early 2011.  Yes, I have some measurements and some information from the manual, too, some of which I already posted on the forums and FacebookThe manual was a final draft and the evaluation models were late prototypes.  While they should be representative of the final retail product, changes are still likely. So, please be aware that any information below is still preliminary!

Stay-In-Car Smart Base:  Similar to an infant carrier, there is a unique, wide base that installs with LATCH or seat belt.  Then, you can remove the seat and turn it around and put it back in the base.  You don’t have to uninstall anything from your vehicle to switch from rear-facing to front-facing or back.  The base is not used for booster mode.  Though the base is wide overall, the LATCH and seatbelt routing path inside the base is relatively narrow, making installations fairly easy in the various vehicles we had available.  The base also includes a seatbelt lockoff, like those Graco uses on some infant seat bases.

Registering Child Restraints Online – Direct Links

Two recent recalls of Child Restraint products has really highlighted the necessity of registering your carseats and booster seats with the manufacturer.  If you don’t register your CRs, or if you forget to update the registration address when you move - there’s a good chance you could be left in the dark in the event of a safety-related recall.  In my blog discussing the recent Evenflo Maestro recall – I encouraged CPS Technicians, Coalitions or Programs who may prefer to be responsible for mailing in the product registration cards to do it online. 

“Have you noticed how illegibly some people write?  There have been plenty of instances where I’ve looked at the completed registration cards and I just know that the poor data entry person employed by the CR manufacturer has absolutely no chance of inputting that person’s name and/or address correctly.  And obviously, if it’s not in the system correctly then the parent/caregiver isn’t going to receive the necessary information regarding a recall.  So, if at all possible, take a few minutes after your check event or appointment to get online and register the products yourself on the CR manufacturer’s websites.  Have the check forms handy too in case you need to double-check a name or address spelling.”

Of course, this good advice applies to all consumers – not just CPS techs and programs.  Using the online registration form is going to increase the chances of your info being correctly entered into the manufacturer’s registration database.  Just don’t duplicate your efforts by also mailing in the registration card.  It’s one or the other.    

However, finding the link you need on the CR Manufacturer’s website is sometimes easier said than done.  So, for my own benefit as well as yours – here’s a list of direct links (note: these are generally only to register US Child Restraint models):  

Britaxhttp://www.britaxusa.com/registration

Chiccohttp://www.chiccousa.com/carseatregistration.aspx

Clekhttp://www.clekinc.com/register/

Combihttp://www.combi-intl.com/Customer-Care/Product-Registration-Car-Seats.aspx

Cybex:  ?  (will update with link when I find it or it becomes an available option)

Dorel:  (Cosco, Safety 1st, Eddie Bauer, Maxi Cosi)  http://www.djgusa.com/usa/eng/Registration 

Evenflohttps://plweb.evenflo.com/ProductRegistration/Default.aspx 

The First Years/Learning Curvehttp://www.learningcurve.com/ProdRegistration/productregistration.jsp?locale=en_US

Gracohttp://www.gracobaby.com/Product%20Registration/Pages/ProductRegistration.aspx?productType=1

Harmony:  http://www.harmonyjuvenile.com/registration/

Mia Modahttp://www.miamodainc.com/templates/rhuk_milkyway/registration.php

Orbit Babyhttp://www.orbitbaby.com/en/support/register/consumer/

Peg Peregohttp://us.pegperego.com/babyproducts-site/cpsc-registration-form/

Recarohttp://www.recaro.com/us/product-areas/child-safety/service/product-registry.html

Safe Traffic Systemhttp://www.safetrafficsystem.com/ver3/registration.html

Summer Infanthttp://www.summerinfant.com/register_product.htm

Sunshine Kidshttp://www.skjp.com/en-US/register

My Impending Arrival….

The Good News:  It’s arriving this Thursday. It’s sexy in a big, powerful but quiet way. I’m taking requests for photos of specific positions and restraints. ;)   

The Bad News:  It’s not a hot, young, mail-order groom. I only have it for a week. It will probably make me hate what I already have. 

Here’s your one and only hint:

Hint

Guest Review: Graco Nautilus Elite Follow-Up

So, I’ve been itching for a new seat. My husband, while noticing the various seats stashed around the house and garage- and forgetting that his truck was seat-less at that moment- challenged my desire. I was quick to remind him how nice it is to have extra seats when one of us unexpectedly takes the “other” car or a kid pees through two seats in one day- both of which had just happened that week.  I reminded him that all my seats were purchased at significant discounts.  Then, there is the issue that my Radian won’t go in the third row of my Mazda and the Recaro is about to expire. My reasoning was falling on deaf ears. I was worried he was contemplating about drugging me with Benadryl to cure the itch. Then, it came to me: the blog NEEDS a review. It would be a service to all mankind- or at least mommykind- to do a review. I added the ammunition that I haven’t bought a car seat in (drumroll please) three years. I reminded him of the new toys he’s gotten in the last three years. He smiled. He caved. I didn’t even have to get out the poochy lip.

So, the object of my desire- what is it? A $300+ seat that I had yet to lay eyes on? Nope, I wanted a Graco Nautilus.  See, it’s a seat that all my kids could use- though I won’t put my 18 month old in for a while yet it since he’s much safer rear-facing. My 3.5 year old can use it harnessed and my 7 year old can use it as a booster seat. It fits in any back seat in my car. It has the world’s coolest cubbies and cupholders.  The Nautilus Elite model I’m reviewing has an MSRP $229. You can get the standard model for $139- $179 or less depending on cover style and how much bargain hunting you are willing to do.  Darren’s First Look Review can be found here.

The Elite version has a few nice extras. It has lockoffs, which are great for anyone installing in an older vehicle without locking seatbelts or in a vehicle that may have problems with tipping or other rare but pesky problems.  It also has adjustable headwings that pivot in or out depending on your child’s head size and preferences. My daughter loves headwings that are cozy- but my son likes a more open seat- so it’s perfect. The Elite version comes in two cover choices: “Gabe” and “Monti,” which is shown in these photos. The height limits, weight limits, and dimensions of the seat are the same as the standard Nautilus.