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New Radian SUPER LATCH (SL) connectors from Sunshine Kids

I returned yesterday from a regional CPS Conference in Lancaster, PA that was well attended and very informative.  I had the pleasure of chatting with Russ from Sunshine Kids while I was there and he showed off the new SUPER LATCH (SL) lower anchor connector that will debut in a few weeks on all new Radian SL models (65, 80 & XT).  SUPER LATCH will allow consumers of these new Radian SL models to use the specialized LATCH attachments up to the full weight capacity of the Radian carseat (up to 65 lbs for Radian65 SL and up to 80 lbs for Radian80 SL & Radian XTSL).  However, this will be allowed if, AND ONLY IF, the vehicle was manufactured after Sept 1, 2005.  This is very important to note because if the vehicle was made prior to this date then you will NOT be able to use the SUPER LATCH system up to the full weight capacity of the Radian SL model.  In these cases it is imperative that you default to the vehicle manufacturers’ listed weight limits for lower anchors which is usually 40 or 48 lbs.  This is due to the fact that there was a regulatory change in vehicle LATCH anchor testing (FMVSS 225) that required the lower anchors in vehicles to pass a tougher “pull test” after this date.
Additionally, Radian80 SL & RadianXT SL models will also be rated to 45 lbs in the rear-facing position which is a first for any US manufacturer. 

UPDATED TO ADD – SUPER LATCH RETRO-FIT KITS FOR EXISTING RADIAN MODELS WILL NOT BE OFFERED CONTRARY TO WHAT WAS ORIGINALLY REPORTED.  

Here is a video of Russ showing the new Sunshine Kids SUPER LATCH lower anchor connector:

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Gattaca

MattOur guest blogger, Matt, makes another appearance.

So Heather and I were in Costco the other day.  We love Costco.  Costco provides a good, real-world example of orders of magnitude.  You go there with a list, and the number of items that you leave with can often be expressed as follows (where X= the number of items on your list):

 

X10

 

or

 

X100

 

or

 

X1000

 

etc.

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