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Monthly Archive:: November 2013

IIHS 2013 Booster Seat Ratings – Making Sense of the Best Bets, Check Fit & Not Recommended Ratings

lap and shoulder belt fitYou will see it all over the news today and tomorrow. It will be on national morning shows, local news broadcasts, in newspapers and online. There will be a lot of good information, but there will also be the usual misinformation. Is your child as safe as possible just because you bought a booster that has a 2013 IIHS ”Best Bet” rating? Should you panic if you have one that is rated “Check Fit”? Does that mean it’s dangerous or unsafe?

Here at CarseatBlog, our job is to help guide you through the wonderful but overwhelming world of child occupant protection. Here you’ll get info and straight answers from experts in the field who are also parents, just like you. We’ve been around this block a few times already so allow us to help you sort through the mountains of information.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! Winter Coat Suggestions for Kids in Carseats

snowconePumpkin Spice lattes, falling leaves, Christmas decorations going up the day after Halloween…it can only mean one thing: It’s getting colder, and your kids are going to need winter clothes.

Michelin-man-style snowsuits might be fine for sledding, but in the car they can be dangerous. Too much bulk means that the harness won’t tighten properly against the child. In a crash, that extra bulk can compress, leaving a too-loose harness, and leaving the child inadequately protected.

So what can you do?

One option is to have your child take her coat off before she gets in the car. Then after she’s buckled, she can slip her arms into the backwards coat.

But what if your kids don’t want to take off their jackets? No problem–just look for something car-seat-friendly.

What constitutes a good coat for the car seat? Anything that doesn’t add extra bulk to the child will do. That might be a sweater, thin fleece, or a squishy down jacket.

To see if your child’s outerwear is ok for the car, put it on your child, put him in his seat, and tighten the harness. Then, WITHOUT LOOSENING THE HARNESS, unbuckle your child and take him out. Take off the jacket, then put him back in the seat and re-buckle. If there’s no extra slack (or just a teeny bit), the jacket is good! If there’s a significant amount of slack, consider another option.

 

Winter Coat Infographic

 

Those two jackets look pretty similar, but you can see how different they really are. In the first photo, my daughter is wearing a Snozu jacket. Without the jacket, the harness had no slack. (In fact, before I took the picture my daughter had been in the seat with no jacket. I didn’t need to loosen the harness at all to buckle her with the jacket on.) The second coat is another story. It’s your typical winter coat, and honestly, it didn’t seem that bulky to me…until I took it off and re-buckled. Wow! There was a lot of slack in that harness!

Here are some good jackets to try:

Last year I got my daughter a Snozu jacket from Costco, pictured above. (There are also some available from Amazon.) They squish down into almost nothing, so they’re perfect for the car. This year’s version has a thin layer of fleece inside, but still works well in the car.

People at car-seat.org also love the Patagonia Puffball.

Many have also said good things about the North Face Moondoggy.

LL Bean and The Gap both have PrimaLoft jackets that look very squishable.

This coat from Lands’ End also looks like it might work.

Besides working well in car seats, these options will also pack well in a backpack or diaper bag when you don’t need them. Safe AND convenient!

What great car seat coats have you found?

ABC Expo 2013: What’s new from Dorel including a Maxi-Cosi RodiFix Booster Preview!

The Maxi-Cosi RodiFix booster was on display at ABC and I gravitated towards it immediately upon entering the Dorel booth. I’m really excited to see a booster without armrests available in the U.S. again! For those of us who once owned and loved a previous highback booster without armrests from a different manufacturer – I will tell you that this one reminded me a lot of that other product, except better. Rigid LATCH attachments, Air Protect Technology in the headwings, a super-cool shoulder belt guide and a real recline feature. Yeah, the Maxi-Cosi RodiFix is officially awesome! :)

Maxi-Cosi RodiFix has just started shipping to retailers and is available at Baby Specialty Stores and at Amazon.com. $249.

        

 

New Safety 1st “Store n’ Go” boosters coming soon – should be available by the end of this year.

  • Minimum 4 years and 40 lbs
  • HBB $59.99; Backless version $24.99
  • Measured 22.5″ to shoulder belt guide on highback model
  • Like all Dorel boosters, will require adequate head support from vehicle headrest

    

 

New Cosco “Light n’ Comfy” infant seat will replace Comfy Carry

  • Carrier will be very similar to current Comfy Carry
  • Base will be redesigned so carrier can’t be lifted off back of base when secured (to be clear – the Comfy Carry base attachment is totally safe but being able to lift it off the back of the base once it’s locked on freaks some people out so they’re redesigning the base not to do that)
  • Will be available at various price points, depending on features – just like Comfy Carry models (rear-adjust/front adjust/adjustable base, etc)
  • $59 for rear adjust model, $69 & $79 for “Elite & Elite Plus” models with more/better features
  • Production starts December

 

A POTENTIAL new fashion for Pria and Prezi. If you love them – call or email your local specialty retailers and insist that they order these! This one is called “Bohemian Blue”.

      

 

Cosco Apt 40 RF Convertible & Comfy Carry Infant Seat in “Mickey” & “Minnie” fashions. I believe these are definitely going to hit the market but I have no other details at the moment.

    Cosco Comfy Carry in Minnie Mouse fashion

 

Parking Faux Pas

photo[1]A couple times now, I’ve mentioned that I’m not very good at parking. That might be an understatement. I’m really bad at it.

Regular parking spaces, angled parking spaces, parallel parking, even spaces that simply require me to pull straight ahead…I always wind up lopsided or over the lines. I’m a great driver, but when it comes to low speed maneuvering, apparently I have some kind of deficiency.

But the other day, I hit a new low. Literally.

I drove into Chicago to meet someone for lunch. There were street-sweeping restrictions in the neighborhood that day, so I could only park on one half of the street, but those spaces were already taken. (I would have considered taking my chances parking on the street-sweeping side, but the couple cars over there had boots, so I figured it was better not to risk it.)

After driving around for 15 minutes, I finally saw a space. It was along a curb, with a car in front and an alley in back, so I had room to pull in without needing to parallel park. Perfect! I pulled up and realised I was hanging slightly into the bike lane, so I backed up and turned closer to the curb a bit, then pulled forward…and heard a terrible scraping sound and realized I was stuck.

I tried backing up, but it wouldn’t go. I tried inching forward, but it wouldn’t go. I thought if I could rev it hard, I could make it, but of course there was a car in front of me.

I got out and surveyed the scene. On a normal curb, my tire would have bumped, but this was a really really tall curb, and my wheels were jammed. Panic set in as I tried to figure out how I’d get home and how we would unstick the car.

I got back in and tried a few more times. I realized that by turning the steering wheel lightly, I could move a fraction of an inch in either direction. So I sat there, slowly rocking my car out of the space and praying that no one was filming it for YouTube. At one point, I noticed a AAA tow truck emerging from the alley behind me and was about to flag it down, but it turned the other way. I continued to maneuver the car inch by inch until I had finally freed myself.

I texted my husband to tell him I ruined our hubcaps. He wrote back, “We don’t have hubcaps.”

I said, “Well maybe we should. In that case, I ruined the round metal things in the middle of the tires.”

I hoped it would “just buff out,” but Hubby says no. So I broke our car, but at least it appears to be cosmetic.

Now it’s your turn. Make me feel better by sharing your traumatic parking stories.