2010 Toyota Prius Review: Kids and Safety

We’d like to do more full new car reviews.  After all, the vehicle is at least half of the equation when it comes to protecting children in motor vehicle crashes.  Of course, the problem is that it’s a lot more difficult to obtain review samples of cars than carseats.  Someday, perhaps a wise, new media marketing exec will happen across this review and recognize an opportunity to promote kids, family and safety in their vehicle;-)

priusrear We bit the bullet again on an “all new” model, this time a third generation 2010 Toyota Prius.  We have a history of such questionable choices.  I mean, the smart thing to do would be to buy a proven, low miles, 2008 or 2009 Prius, right?  My 1991 Saturn SL2 was really all new from scratch, as was my wife’s Chrysler Cirrus that we bought in its debut year.  The 2000 Subaru Outback we swapped for the Prius was “all new” as well, though more like the Prius in that there was a previous generation that shared some systems.  Those cars were all decent, but each had its share of quirks and issues.  While none were reliability nightmares, not one of them was exceedingly reliable, either.

Our Prius has more things in common with the Outback it replaced.  Back in the summer of 1999, the new 2000 Outback had just been released.  Models were hard to find initially.  Many dealers were short on supply and it was hard to find the trim level we wanted (base wagon with cold weather package).  Local dealers wouldn’t actually deal, either.  We took the Cirrus to the local Carmax for a quote to use in our negotiations.  They mentioned that their new car dealer in Kenosha, Wisconsin sold new Subarus.  A call confirmed they even had a couple of the trim level we wanted at a better price.  The trade-in offer was generous, so off we went and back we came with a new car.

It wasn’t so different with the 3rd gen Prius.  They were very hard to find in the Chicago west suburbs during the peak of Cash for Clunkers.  It was a bad time to be buying, but the Outback needed to go.  The very few Prius in stock at local dealers were all higher level trim versions and no one was willing to allow test drives.  It seemed we’d have been lucky to pay full MSRP and accept one that is coming in a few weeks, sight unseen.  On a whim, I looked on the Carmax website on a Sunday night and found one.  A call Monday morning verified it was in stock and the salesman (Dan B) promised to hold it until we could get there that evening.  And he did!  Plus, it was $500 under MSRP.


New Safety 1st Complete Air Convertible Car Seat Review

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This is a review of the Safety 1st Complete Air. It features revolutionary new side impact protection technology called “air protect,” in which the head wings are air filled cushions. This protects the child in two ways: shields the child’s head from impact, and the air in the headrest channels crash energy away, giving the child more ride down time.

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So you may be wondering why this carseat is all the new buzz? Along with its innovative new headwings, the Complete Air is only the second carseat to hit the U.S. market that is rated to 40lbs in the rear-facing position. New research indicates that children under 2 years of age are 75% less likely to die or experience serious injury when they ride in a rear-facing car seat, and toddlers between 1 and 2 years of age are 5 times safer rear-facing than toddlers who ride in a front-facing car seat. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children remain rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat.

The Stats:

Rear-facing = 5-40lbs (19″-40″)
Forward-facing = 22-50lbs (34″-45″)
Seat Depth = 12 inches
Seat inside width = 12 inches
Seat width = 17 inches
Seat height in lowest position = 10.5 inches
Seat height in highest position =17 inches
Seat back height = 27 inches

A Study in Scientific Method: Consumer Reports’ Orbit Carseat Testing

I subscribe to Consumer Reports.  I enjoy the magazine.  Every once in a while, it does seem that a recommendation for or against a particular product comes out of thin air.  That’s true of all media reviews, CarseatBlog being no exception, of course.  Unfortunately, it seems that their carseat reviews have had more than their share of mistakes and questionable advice.  The biggest gaffe was in 2007, when they failed to catch a mistake and published the results about carseats that failed a side impact test.  Heather has an article about this.  By the time they admitted their error, a lot of damage had already been done.  Google still indexes numerous headlines and stories from the original flawed test and consumers may well find those articles without learning about the retraction.  Maybe larger companies can absorb the backlash from a rating of “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk”.  For smaller companies, something like that can do a lot of damage to the company and its employees.  For this reason, scientific method really must be closely followed and any results that could indicate a risk to consumers (and damage to a company’s reputation) must be checked, rechecked and triple checked for any possible error.

Check Out Kids.Woot for a True Fit Deal

True_Fit_ConvertibleWe’re Woot lovers here.  Did you know there’s a new Woot just for kids stuff?  Check it out tonight for a $99 deal + $5 shipping on Learning Curve’s The First Years True Fit.  I’ll be upfront: while we’d like you to buy it from our store (c’mon ;) or one of our sponsors), we love a great deal.  Enjoy!