Monthly Archive:: March 2013

Tesla Model S Review: The Only Emissions Come from the Kids

In an earlier blog, my dh, Matt, and I, gave the Tesla Model S a spin as we waited for ours to be built. Now that we’ve picked ours up, how do I rate the brand new 2013 Tesla Model S all-electric plug-in sedan? It’s fantastic! It’s stupendously awesome, outrageously superb, and simply one-of-a-kind. I think everyone should own one. If that were the case, we’d have much less dependency on oil, especially once we have better solar and wind infrastructure. With the Tesla, the future is alternative.

What makes the Model S so special? First, the S is one of only three plug-in only, mainstream electric vehicles (EVs), with the Nissan Leaf and Toyota RAV-4 being the others. All the other more familiar cars on the road, like the plug-in Prius and Volt, are hybrids, which means that they not only plug in but also use gasoline. You don’t put gas in the S–the only consumer-supplied liquid the Tesla takes is windshield wiper fluid. And whatever beverage you choose to bring along.


Hot Carseat Deals from Amazon!

It’s that time of year when Amazon is generally clearing shelves and slashing prices to make room for new products and new fashions arriving soon. Take advantage of some great deals while they last! Everything listed below is directly from Amazon and that means free shipping and free returns in case it doesn’t work out!


Graco SnugRide 30 in Lexi or Dragonfly for $84.99!


Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air in Calie for $135.00


Peg Perego Viaggio Convertible in Fuscia  for $280.49


New True Fit SI C680 in Naturalization for $192.00


Combi Coccoro in Chestnut for $159.99


Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro Highback booster in Phantom for $186.15


Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro Highback Booster in Rhumba for $186.15 


Safety 1st Go Hybrid in Clarksville for $150.93


I’m sure there are other great deals that I missed so if you notice something on a well-liked product, let us know and we’ll include it!  :)


Still Made in North America

Kecia and I toured the great new Dorel technical center, adjacent to where they manufacture many Cosco, Safety 1st and other child restraint products in Columbus, Indiana.  Kudos now to Britax, who opted to keep their main manufacturing facility in Charlotte, moving just across the border from North Carolina to South Carolina.   They are currently moving into their shiny, new digs!  I have seen it from the outside and hope to blog about a tour of the facility in the future :-)

Other manufacturers, like Evenflo, still have major manufacturing plants in the USA as well.  We know some parents prefer products made in North America, Western Europe and certain other countries for a variety of reasons.  Keeping good manufacturing and technical jobs domestic to support local economies is a major one.  Concerns over workers’ conditions, environmental issues and product quality control are other very legitimate concerns about losing manufacturing to Asia and other regions with ultra-cheap labor and minimal government oversight.  Managers of some programs receiving funds from certain federal and state grants may be required to purchase products primarily made in the USA.  For that reason, we are also compiling a list of carseats still made in the USA, including some made in Canada, Mexico and Europe.

CarseatBlog does recommend carseats that are manufactured outside North America.  Location of the corporate headquarters or manufacturing is not usually a factor as to whether we recommend or do not recommend any particular child restraint.  Even though where a product is made does not typically affect our opinion of a carseat, we do try to mention it in our reviews.  That is so those interested in buying the product may have this information, in case it is a factor in their own purchasing decision!

License to Drive

Not to brag or anything, but the first time I got a driver’s license, I did really really well. I got 100% on my permit test (though a lot of my friends did, too). A few of my friends also got 100% the driving portion of the in-car test, as did I. However, I was the ONLY person I knew who passed Ohio’s very weird maneuverability test (perfectly, no less) on the first try. (I’m not sure what good that actually did–today I can’t parallel park to save my life.)

Then I moved to California and almost failed the written test I had to take. I hadn’t bothered studying because, hey, how much different can the laws be? Different enough, as it turns out, although I did eke by with one question to spare. (Incidentally, I spent 17 years in California, and a couple weeks ago my husband and I got in an argument over how far you have to park from a fire hydrant. I thought it was 10 feet. He claimed 15. Since he’s a firefighter, I should have taken his word for it, but I had to google. Turns out he’s right. It’s 15 feet in California; 10 feet in Ohio.)

A couple years ago we moved to Texas, sort of, for a few months, and getting a license there was a snap. All we had to do was take a vision test, turn in our old license, and voila! Texas drivers!

Now we’ve moved to another state (Illinois), and it appears I have to take a written test again, which means learning a bunch of potentially new stuff. Not that that’s a bad thing. I’m sort of looking forward to it in a geeky way.

My husband and I had planned on reading the driver’s handbook and quizzing each other on the drive out to Illinois, but we wound up driving separate vehicles so that didn’t happen. (Just came up with a great idea: driver’s-handbook-on-tape!) Now we’re mired in making repairs to our new house, unpacking, trying not to freeze to death, etc., and haven’t had a chance to study yet. We’ll get to that one of these days. After all, I need to find out in which cases we can legally make a u-turn, and whether we can turn left into any lane or if we have to turn into the one closest. What’s the residential speed limit? Can we turn right on red? (Pretty sure the answer is yes…and I hope it is because we’ve been doing it.) And the burning question: How far do we have to park from a fire hydrant?

Wish me luck!

Ford Explorer Limited with Inflatable Seatbelt Technology – the kids, carseats & boosters review

Beginning with the 2011 model year, Ford began offering their rear seat Inflatable Seatbelt Technology as an option on their popular Explorer midsize SUV. We were intrigued from the moment we became aware of Ford’s intention to incorporate airbag technology into backseat seatbelts. Sure, it sounded like an impressive and innovative way to help manage and better distribute energy in a crash. And the benefits for kids and the elderly (who are the most vulnerable occupants wearing an adult seatbelt) were obvious. But we had tons of questions, as did everyone else in the field of child passenger safety field.

The best way for us to try to answer them was to get our hands on a vehicle with this technology. Thanks to our friends at Ford, I had a week to try to figure it all out. This review is specific to the 7-passenger 2012 Explorer Limited model with the inflatable seatbelt technology.

The model I drove had a 3.5L V6 TIV CT Engine with 6 speed selectshift transmission. Estimated MPG is 17 City / 23 HW. The exterior color was a gorgeous “Red Candy” and the interior was Charcoal Black perforated leather. In addition to everything that comes standard with the Limited trim model (too much to list), this particular vehicle was also equipped with a voice activated nav system, luxury seating package, powerfold 3rd row seats, power liftgate, blind spot monitoring system, rear inflatable belts, active park assist, adaptive cruise/collision warning, rain sensing wipers and HID projector headlamps. And as if that wasn’t enough, it also had the optional trailer tow package and 20″ aluminum rims.  :)