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Monthly Archive:: September 2011

Britax Roundabout 55 Review: Continuing the Legacy (*picture heavy*)

I’ll admit it, I have a special place in my heart for the name “Britax Roundabout”.  Yes, I know we aim to provide straight-forward and factual reviews here at CarseatBlog but sometimes I can get a little sappy if I’m reminiscing about my past [carseat] loves.  And the original model Britax Roundabout was my first true love back in 1997 so what can I say… the first cut is the deepest, right?

Okay, I promise not to wax nostalgic over the discontinued original Roundabout.  This is a new era and an entirely new Roundabout model which is part of a whole new lineup of Britax convertible carseats.  But is this new model a worthy successor to the Roundabout name?  Read on to find out!

Each Roundabout 55 model comes with a matching belly pad, infant body pillow, harness strap covers and a tether connector strap (aka D-ring) for tethering the seat “Swedish style” in the rear-facing position.  Unlike all the other convertibles in the new Britax lineup (Advocate 70, Boulevard70 & Marathon 70), the RA55 does NOT have the rubber HUGS pads on the harness.  This can be a pro or a con depending on how you feel about HUGS.  An accessory cup holder and newborn positioning insert (for babies 5-11 lbs) are available separately for purchase.

The pattern shown in this review is a soft, plush fabric called “Smokey Pearl”.  There are several Britax “fashions” available for the Roundabout 55 if polka dots just aren’t your thing.  MSRP is $199 but you can usually find better prices online.

Ongoing Stroller and Carseat Deals

Save 15%-25% on Select True Fit Car Seats (ends 10/15)

Buy a Britax B-Ready Stroller, get an infant carrier, bassinet, or second seat for free (ends 10/15)

Quinny Buzz Stroller Bassinet Offer (ends 9/30)

Save 20% on the Graco Nautilus Car Seat in “Gabe” (ends 9/30)

Save 20% on Select Clek Boosters (ends 9/30)

20% off Mutsy Strollers (ends 9/30)

Save 15% on BOB strollers, through September 21 (ends 9/21)

Shop for infant seats, boosters, convertibles, and more 

Shop for all your strollers needs: from tandems to joggers to umbrellas, Amazon’s got them all

Amazon’s Baby Store September Sale -  Many special offers on Baby items in the baby store as well as free MP3s and Android Apps for parents and kids.   Limited time deals on strollers, car seats, gear, feeding, maternity wear, baby clothing and more.  Make sure to check back for weekly lighting deals on great baby products as well. 

A Very Grand Idea Indeed

Last week I had an idea. It was a great, even terrific idea, if I do say so myself. One of those slap-yourself-on-the-forehead ideas that was so obvious that I didn’t know why I hadn’t thought of it earlier. So tonight I set about researching the feasibility of my super-fantastic idea and I quickly became disappointed, then mad because it looks like I won’t be able to implement it.

OK, so it’s not an original idea. In fact, I stole it from a Facebook posting. But still, it’s pretty forward-thinking for my area (can you tell I’m proud of myself?). What is it? I’m sure you’re exasperated to know by now. It’s texting a donation to my local Safe Kids coalition. Yes, the simple act of typing a little code into your phone to donate money is very appealing to this CPS tech who parent after parent, event after event, asks if we take a credit card for donations. We can’t take credit cards at events because we have no way of processing them. We’re usually in the middle of a parking lot with no access to power. The best I can do now is to provide a PayPal account that they can access when they get home. Unfortunately, we’ve never seen a donation from one of these well-meaning parents who, upon hearing of our donation button on our website, say, “Oh great! I’ll do it when I get home.” Nope, not a one. I don’t blame them–their heads are swimming with all the information we’ve just given them then they have to drive home with their kids who probably distract the memory of the donation out of them. *I* can barely remember my name after an event, so I have no doubt they are simply forgetting.

So I looked into texting donations. Apparently it’s only available to non-profits who earn over $500,000 per year. Yeah right. How many are there that can do that? Only 16% can. The rest of us who scrape by with perhaps a positive balance in the bank account this month don’t qualify. There are two clearinghouse companies in the country who do this sort of thing and then you have to be approved. Holy cow! Small non-profits with little to no paid staff are going to be daunted by the process.

In other countries, it’s very easy to set up text donating. In fact, I found several UK sites able to get us started right now with no minimum income–if only we were based in the UK. I’m disappointed (as if you can’t tell) it can’t be done here in the US. Non-profits usually get a break on fees (surveymonkey.com is one online company that does discounts for non-profits) because they are non-profits and usually need money. While I don’t doubt that the huge non-profits like the American Red Cross need money as well for disaster relief, it’s the little guy that benefits most from a service like this.

I know. There are fees and fees and fees and by the time the money actually gets to it’s receiver, a chunk has been taken out, but isn’t some money better than none? If we’re able to pay the fees and at least break even on it, who’s it hurting by letting the small non-profits use these services? Seems to me that as usual, it’s some guy who wants to make a huge buck and we’re suffering for it. Figures. I’m applying anyway for our coalition. They can always say no, but perhaps they’ll start allowing exemptions and realize, as we do in child passenger safety, that they need to pay attention to the exceptions.

Updated News: Cybex Aton and X-Fix

We like the Cybex Aton, as you may have noticed in our review.  In fact, one of our regular contributors, Jennie, is brewing up a baby for us just to test it out in the daily routine!  Sadly, we were informed today that Cybex apparently will not continue to market the Aton in the USA for 2012.  We were told this is entirely a financial decision due to fixed costs associated with the product and an issue with a major retailer.  Cybex will continue to sell their remaining 2011 stock and will continue to provide service and warranty for the Aton as it continues to do business in Germany and Europe.  The Solution X-Fix booster may also be affected, but we are awaiting an official press release for confirmation of the details.

It is always unfortunate to see innovative products from great companies leave the USA market.  In this economy, though, it is a reality that even some very good products don’t sell as well as they should.   We want to thank the great people at Regal Lager and Cybex for their cooperation and support over the last few years and wish them the best in the future!

Update 9/20/2011, I found this in the morning’s email.  It’s from ThinkPR, the public relations firm for Cybex.  We are glad to hear that the earlier decision is being reconsidered!

CYBEX TO CONTINUE SELLING THE ATON AND SOLUTION X-FIX IN THE U.S. MARKET

 New York, NY (September 19, 2011) – Regal Lager, the U.S. distributor for CYBEX, recently announced that they will no longer sell the CYBEX Aton and Solution X-fix within the U.S.; It is important to reiterate CYBEX’s commitment to the U.S., let consumers know that we are currently working with Regal Lager to find a solution which will guarantee the continued sale of CYBEX car seats within the U.S. market. This is not a quality or safety issue nor will it have any impact on the sales and distribution of CYBEX strollers and baby carriers. The CYBEX range of strollers and baby carriers will continue to be sold throughout the U.S.

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ABOUT CYBEX:

CYBEX develops and distributes safe, innovative and lifestyle-led infant and children’s products for parents. Our vision is to achieve the seemingly impossible. This finds expression in the CYBEX S.D.F. Innovation Principle, which aims to provide above-average Safety and quality, coupled with distinctive Design and ingenious Functionality. For more information please visit www.cybex-online.com

Chicco KeyFit Bokoo Cover *GIVEAWAY*!

 

Yes, folks!  Step right up!  It’s another awesome CarseatBlog giveaway!  This time we’re pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with the lovely Adriana from Bokoo Covers to offer one lucky winner their choice of a Chicco-approved KeyFit cover.  And since the KeyFit (22 lbs model) is also sold in Canada, our friends North of the Border are eligible to enter as well! 

Shipping costs will be the sole responsibility of the winner, regardless of where you reside.  In good faith, we ask that you enter to win only if you actually have a use for a KeyFit Bokoo cover.  This cover is made specifically for the Chicco KeyFit & KeyFit 30 and will NOT fit any other model of infant carseats.  Check out our review of the Chicco KeyFit 30 here.

About Bokoo KeyFit Covers:

  • Covers fit both KeyFit and KeyFit 30 models.
  • 3-piece matching set includes covers for the head support insert and the newborn body insert.
  • Optional matching canopy cover is available (at winner’s expense).
  • Optional embroidery/personalization available (at winner’s expense).
  • Bokoo Covers are easily removed without disassembling the entire carseat or even detaching the harness straps from the splitter plate.
  • Crash tested on the Chicco KeyFit.
  • Specifically approved by Chicco for use on any of their KeyFit models.
  • Special anti-crumb design and waterproof breathable liner prevents crumbs and liquids from permeating and soiling the original cover underneath.
  • Covers available in certified organic fabrics (including organic fleece).
  • All non-organic covers are made from GreenGuard certified fabrics, which are hypoallergenic, fade-resistant and stain-resistant.
  • All Bokoo Covers have been lab-tested and approved for ECO Textile Class 1 for Babies (equivalent to the Oeko Tex 100 standards which limits over 100 potentially harmful substances and chemicals). This ensures that Bokoo Covers are easy on both your child’s skin and the environment.
  • Great for babies with sensitive skin and/or skin allergies (including eczema).
  • Great for sweaty babies or very warm climates.
  • Perfect for sprucing up a previously used KeyFit or for boy/girl fashion dilemmas! 

How to Enter:

To enter to win, click on this link to the Bokoo Covers website, decide which cover you would choose if you won and reply with a comment letting us know what your pick would be.  Only one entry per household please!  By “voting” for your cover preference you are also providing Bokoo with valuable feedback.  Check them out on facebook too!  We know they “Like” that!  There’s also a nice pic of Darren and I with Adriana at the KIM Conference on their wall.  It would be even nicer if there wasn’t a giant baby trying to smack me in the back of the head! ;)

A random winner will be selected by Adriana herself, when we see her again on Friday, 9/23, at the ABC Kids Expo in Louisville. Good luck to all who enter!!!

Congrats to our lucky winner, Sherri!