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Monthly Archive:: September 2011

ROADTRIP!!! ABC, here we come!

We’re going to Kentucky,

We’re going to the Fair [Expo],

Who wants to see a picture

of Darren

with a flower in his hair?  :D

LOL!  So Darren picked me up at O’Hare this morning and we’re making the drive down to Louisville for the 2011 ABC Expo in a Mazda 5 Touring (review coming soon).  Heather is meeting us there this afternoon.  Can you guess where we had lunch?  

It’s going to be a busy few days and we are psyched!  The fun starts this evening with the New Product Showcase Reception. We’re not expecting to see anything really exciting (to us)  but you never know.  The major news /updates will start Friday morning.  We’ll be tweeting and posting on our facebook page frequently and then following up with blog posts and lots of pictures when we have a bit more time.   If you’re not following us on fb and/or twitter yet, now would be a good time to start! 

http://www.facebook.com/carseatblog

http://twitter.com/#!/CarseatBlog

2011 and 2012 Buick Enclave: Kids, Carseats & Safety Review

The 2011 - 2012 Buick Enclave is similar to the 2011-2012 Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia.  All three vary in trim levels and features, but share many of the same general characteristics as found in this review.  Crash test results apply to all of them.  There are no major changes for 2012 on these popular models.  I received the very nicely equipped 2WD, 7-passenger CXL-2 version for review (An 8-passenger trim is optional, as is AWD).

This review is mostly going to focus on some safety related and carseat related issues with a few other comments.  Detailed technical specifications and comparisons can be found in mainstream auto reviews.  As for crash safety, it gets top overall results from the IIHS and NHTSA and is one of the safest vehicles as listed by InformedForLife.Org.  We generally concur with InformedForLife in many cases where a full set of crash test results is available, as is the case with the Enclave.

Taking to the water

A few times this summer I have written about my daughter’s journey into the world of swim lessons, spurred by my overall passion for water safety and, specifically, her falling into a pool.

As of my last update, the lessons hadn’t been going too well. Anna was still suffering from some separation anxiety, and although her screaming had diminished, she still didn’t enjoy swimming. At all.

Now, as summer winds to an end, I am happy to announce that her lessons are going much better, and she actually seems to enjoy them! No more screaming, no crying, no coaxing or forcing her into the pool, and she actually speaks fondly of the lessons afterwards.

The breakthrough actually occurred far from the pool where my kids take lessons. It happened at a campground on our way back from a trip to Sequoia. We had promised our son some time in the pool, so we got our daughter Anna suited up as well. At first she was apprehensive, no doubt because of her negative swimming lesson experience.

But once we got in the water she refused to get out, despite the fact that the water was cold enough to turn her lips blue. I think the difference is that she realized it was possible to be in the water with people other than her instructor. (Yes, we live in Southern California. Yes, we have numerous pools at our disposal. No, I’ve never taken her to one.) She realized that swimming can be fun! It also helped that she had a new bathing suit and kept saying that she wanted to tell her instructor, Robert, about it at her next lesson.

She happily splashed around with me, kicking and laughing and yelling at her dad to look at her. After about 10 minutes I finally had to force her out because the water was just really, really cold.

But at her next lesson, Anna was genuinely excited. She showed Robert her new bathing suit and told him how we went swimming at the campground. Since then, she has done great, even allowing Robert to take her under water a few times, and coming up smiling.

I am relieved that we have cleared a major hurdle. It will still be a long time until she’s able to swim on her own, but she’s learning new skills each week, and happily taking it all in.

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.