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Monthly Archive:: July 2012

Britax Advocate 70 G3 Convertible Carseat Review – 3rd Generation Improvements & Updates

What can I say?  It’s a great seat that has been improved with a couple minor updates.  This quick review will not be as detailed as many of our reviews, because the G3 series models are nearly identical to the previous models.  Please read our current reviews of the Pavilion 70-G3Advocate 70 (and Boulevard 70), Marathon 70 (Part I, Part II and Part III) and Roundabout 55.  So, yeah, we’ve covered them pretty well and for good reason.  While they may not have the very highest weight or height limits around, they do tend to be very easy to install and to use, compared to many other products.  They also tend to be very compatible with most vehicles, and can even fit rear-facing where some other models won’t.

Here is a list of the current Britax G3 convertibles.  Pricing is as of Nov, 2012, and includes free shipping and returns from Amazon.com .  Please see our review of the newer Britax Marathon, Britax Boulevard and Britax Advocate G4 review as well!

Britax Advocate 70 G3, currently $288.39 at Amazon, MSRP $379.99

Britax Pavilion 70 G3, currently $264.99 at Amazon, MSRP $339.99

Britax Boulevard 70 G3, currently $243.99 at Amazon, MSRP $319.99

Britax Marathon 70 G3, currently $227.49 at Amazon.com, MSRP 289.99

So, what’s new?

After a Crash

I’m fortunate to have only been in a few small fender-benders, all in parking lots or on streets where it was easy to pull over. I’ve often wondered what people are supposed to do when their crash happens in the middle of a busy roadway. Do you move out of traffic? Do you stay put so the police can see where the cars wound up, and therefore determine fault more easily?

My instinct, especially as a mother and safety advocate, is that I should try to get my car out of traffic, but is that the right choice?

I decided to stop wondering and called up Officer Chris Goodwin with the California Highway Patrol to get his advice.

“Our number-one priority is safety,” Officer Goodwin said. “Documentation is second.” Many accidents start off as minor property damage but turn fatal when other cars strike the vehicle or people stopped in a roadway.

Here are Officer Goodwin’s tips.

  • If you can move your car out of traffic, do it. If you’re on a busy city street, turn onto a side street or into a nearby parking lot. If you’re on a freeway, pull to the shoulder. If you’re near an exit, you can get off the freeway entirely to find a safe place to park. As soon as you do, call 911 to let them know you were in a crash and exited the freeway for safety. This will let police know where to go and will also document that you’re not trying to commit a hit-and-run.
  • If you’re in the middle of a freeway or busy street and can’t move your car, put on your flashers, keep your seatbelt on, and call 911. Do not step out into traffic! Goodwin said it’s not uncommon for people to start exchanging information right in the middle of freeway lanes. Don’t be one of those people!
  • If your car is disabled in the lane closest to the shoulder or sidewalk, exit carefully and stand where it’s safe (i.e., out of traffic lanes), preferably behind a guardrail if you’re on a freeway.
  • While you’re waiting for police to arrive, get out your license, registration, and insurance information. (And before you get in the crash, make sure you have your most current information in the car.) Goodwin said people often don’t have those ready, and it causes delays.
  • Use that camera! Almost everyone has cameras on their cell phones these days. If you do, put it to good use. While the police are taking statements, photograph all of the cars involved on all sides, even if a side doesn’t have damage. Better yet, take video and narrate as you’re doing it. Take photos or video of all the people involved, too. Goodwin said that insurance fraud is rampant, and documenting damage and the people involved will help keep other parties from claiming subsequent damage or claiming that additional people were involved. When you get home, upload the video to your computer, and burn one disk for yourself and one for your insurance company.

As for determining fault, the police can do that even after cars have been moved. They’ll look at statements from witnesses and the parties involved, and will examine crush damage, debris, and skid marks. “That’s what we do for a living,” Goodwin said. “We’ll dig and dig until we figure it out.”

Our Grand Afternoon Adventure

It’s another summer day. I roll out of bed sometime well after my 8a alarm goes off (set because, you know, I’ve planned to get up early and actually accomplish something), mutter some general words of acknowledgement to my 12 year old who has no doubt been on his computer since 6a, notice that my 10 year old dd is nowhere to be found—must still be lying in bed, taking after her mama, lol. After I’m attacked by my little mutt who is desperate to see me after a long night away from me, her favorite person, I make my way downstairs to gag down some breakfast and read the newspaper. The rest of the day follows in similar lazy fashion. That’s a typical summer day. But today was different! We had a purpose today!

I had a meeting this morning, so before I left, I told my ds that after lunch, we were heading out for a Big Adventure. He’s the type that needs plenty of warning and lots of coercion to do even fun activities—takes after his dad, sigh. When I returned, we had to eat a quick lunch due to scheduling beyond my control. The kids were not happy. This did not follow our carefree, eat-when-we’re-hungry summer schedule. In order to get out of the house on time, I had to bribe the kids with stale gum. Whatever it takes, eh?

The kids were intrigued when we arrived at the Park & Ride station. We’ve taken buses before in other cities as tourists, but never in our own city. We’ve never needed to since we always have a vehicle available. The Park & Ride station serves as a transfer station, so we when we sat at the proper benches, it was pretty obvious from the signage where we were going. The kids took turns guessing why—“We’re meeting someone at the airport?” “We’re picking up a package from the airport?” “We’re picking up carseats from the airport?” “We’re picking up a package from Ikea at the airport?” “We’re picking up a bike for daddy at the airport?”

Can you guess where we were going?

I was pleasantly surprised by the ride. The bus was perfectly on time. It was clean. It didn’t have any odors. It wasn’t too hot and was pleasantly air conditioned. The bus driver was friendly and joked with my kids and me as we boarded. The other riders weren’t scary. It was everything I wasn’t expecting!

Our grand adventure took about 50 minutes and, despite being an “airport express,” included several stops downtown to pick up passengers. My dh saw our bus as we drove near his building and texted “There you go” and “Bye” as we passed. I saw how the driver secured a wheelchair passenger and my kids saw the passenger sleep soundly as we drove around the city. So, for $6, we had a Grand Adventure to the airport and I didn’t have to worry about traffic at all.

OK, I know you’re dying here—what did we pick up at the airport? ‘Cause this sounds like a one-way trip, doesn’t it? I picked up my latest review, a 2013 Lexus GS 450h. Getting it home was another adventure, as it always is.

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro Booster Review – der beste neue kindersitz? (that’s German for check out this awesome new booster!)

Sometimes good things come to those who wait. This is definitely the case with the Cruiserfix Pro highback booster from German manufacturer, Kiddy. We first previewed this exciting new product in the spring of 2011 and then we waited. We saw it again at the ABC Expo in the fall. Then we waited some more. Just when I was starting to think it had all been a dream we got the word – the Kiddy seats had landed on our shores! But would the Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro live up to all the hype and anticipation? I had my fingers crossed!

 

Kiddy CFP Specs & Features:

  • Weight range: 33 – 100 lbs (15 – 45.3 kg)
  • Height range: 38 – 60″ (Child’s ears must be below top of seat back )
  • Age requirements: No minimum age requirement but product is recommended for children approximately 4 – 12 years of age
  • Highback booster only (cannot remove back and use as a backless booster)
  • Rigid LATCH “K-fix” connectors for lower anchors (optional funnel guides for lower anchors come with seat)
  • Adjustable in both height/shoulder width and leg depth (ht and width adjust simultaneously – not independently of each other)
  • Various types of  thick energy-absorbing foam (Honey Comb V2, EPP & EPS)
  • Additional comfort foam lines bottom and lower sides of shell
  • Kiddy Shock Absorber “crumple zone” technology in lap belt area
  • 8 year lifespan before expiration

    

Minivan or SUV?

It’s a decades long debate for moms and dads.  Accept the minivan stigma?  Or, opt for the “rugged” 3-row crossover or even a monster truck-based SUV with a third row of seating.  Comparisons with advantages and disadvantages are frequent, even at our car safety discussion forum.  In short, by accepting the minivan image, you get a vehicle that generally costs less, offers better interior space, more flexible seating options and improved fuel economy.  On the other hand, SUVs tend to have more readily available options for all-wheel drive and increased towing limit packages.  Let’s take a look at some upscale choices (details provided by manufacturers’ websites and cars.com) including two minivans, two crossovers and three full-size truck based SUVs, ranked in order of overall EPA fuel economy:

2012 Honda Odyssey Touring 2WD:  19mpg city, 28 mpg highway, 22 mpg overall.  148.5 cu. ft. max cargo volume.  3500 lb. towing limit.  $41,330 MSRP

2012 Toyota Sienna AWD Limited: 17mpg city, 23mpg highway, 19mpg overall.  150 cu. ft. cargo volume.  3500 lb. towing limit.  $40,570 MSRP

2012 Dodge Durango R/T AWD 13mpg city

2012 Buick Enclave 2WD Premium: 17mpg city, 24 mpg highway, 19mpg overall.  115 cu. ft. cargo volume.  2000 lb. towing limit.  $43,165 MSRP

2102 Dodge Durango Citadel AWD V6: 16 mpg city, 23mpg highway, 19 mpg overall, 84.5 cu. ft. cargo volume, 6200+ lb. towing limit, $43, 195

2012 Chevrolet Suburban 2WD LT 1500: 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway, 17mpg overall.  137.4 cu ft cargo volume, 5000+ lb towing limit .  $45,980 MSRP