Britax B-Safe Infant Seat Review

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This is a quick photo and video review of the Britax B-Safe Infant carrier and base system. The B-Safe is currently available for $179.99 or less at Amazon.com with free shipping and free returns.  Initially, there are black and red fashions available.  The B-Safe is rated for babies 4 to 30 pounds and up to 32 inches tall.  Britax suggests a seated shoulder height of 6.5″ to 11″.

As you can see in the video, it includes some handy features, like four harness height settings and an adjustable crotch strap depth. An infant comfort pillow is included along with harness comfort pads and a belly pad for the buckle. There is energy absorbing foam around the head and upper torso. The carrier is compatible with Britax B-series strollers, but an optional attachment strap or adapter is needed for strollers of other major brands.  The handle may be left in any locked position in the car.  The locking mechanism is smooth and makes it easy to drop the carrier into place and also to release it from the base. Speaking of the base, it has a built-in lockoff, a 5-position adjustable recline adjustment and indicators for the angle on each side. It also includes premium LATCH attachments with push-button releases. Extra B-Safe bases can be purchased for about $65.

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Thank You, Airtran.

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We booked a flight on Airtran for our immediate family to fly to Orlando for the Kidz in Motion conference in August.  We later discovered that some relatives would be in the Sarasota area at the same time, so we re-arranged our schedule.  I found a return flight on Airtran that was non-stop from Sarasota to Chicago on the desired day.  Of course, there were change fees involved, but at least the new fare was a little lower so that softened the blow a little bit.

Two weeks after making the change, I get an email that the new return flight has been cancelled!  The alternate was a connecting flight through Atlanta with a much longer duration.  Non-stop is pretty much a requirement of mine with our kids.  Airtran’s other options didn’t work well for us.  The last option was that I could get a full refund of the one-way fare.  I made arrangements on another airline (American, but I had to fly back from Tampa as no one else had a Sarasota nonstop).  When I called Airtran back, they were happy to credit my original fare, but what I wasn’t told was that the change fees would not be refunded.  I persisted and was told that would require supervisor approval.  I explained that the availability of non-stop flight at the right time of day was the only reason we opted to make the change in the first place, which was true.  Fortunately, the supervisor approved it and the refund was processed and quickly credited to my card.

I understand that flights get cancelled, but I do appreciate the consideration for the time and expenses involved in making a change that should all be refunded.  So, thank you, Airtran!  An honorable mention to American Airlines.  When I booked our return flight, they allowed me an exception to use the credit for my cancelled flight to Phoenix for Lifesavers and apply the leftover amount from my ticket toward the tickets for my family.  In the end, I only had to pay just over $100 to get all five of us back to Chicago and got over $900 back from Airtran!

See you all in Orlando!

Great Deal on Britax Frontier 85 SICT

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Thanks to msuarez919 at Car-Seat.Org for spotting this deal!

Amazon.com is taking pre-orders for the new Britax Frontier 85 SICT for $240 with free shipping, free returns and a pre-order price guarantee!

I’ve been using the Frontier 85 SICT daily for almost two weeks now.  The new cover and side impact cushions are nice improvements!  More to come this summer, as I am featuring it in my review updates of the 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring.

Family Vacations in the Family Truckster

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Here’s the first installment of our “long term” updates of the 2011 Honda Odyssey.  For our first trip, we ventured from Chicago to Louisville, KY, with a stop in Urbana, Illinois, for the Memorial Day weekend.  We got to eat at my favorite college restaurant in Urbana, the Courier Cafe.  Dagwood sandwich (no may0) and a Green River phosphate for me!  In Louisville, we visited with my mom, my sister and her family (and their cats) and mostly lounged by the pool.  We also had a night out with the adults at Eddie Merlot’s on Fourth Street in Louisville and got to take in some of the Abbey Road on the River concert from our 24th story hotel room at the Galt House.  The kids had fun and the Odyssey made the drive a breeze.

 

The wireless headphones are very handy.  You can select from various sources, audio CD, DVD, radio, XM, bluetooth audio, AUX input, etc.  Each headset can have its own source as can the cabin.  Very nice indeed!  We’ll play with the split screen video next time.  I love the blind spot indicator, as you can see in the video below.  I also made good use of the parking sensors and backup camera quite a bit this first weekend.  On the way back we had 3 adults and 3 kids, having removed the 8th seat for an aisle before we left Chicago.  Only one carseat was in use, a Britax Frontier 85 SICT for my 6-year old.  Overall, it’s hard to imagine a nicer vehicle for a road trip with kids.

Fuel economy was roughly 25 mpg on the trip there.  It was 23mpg on the trip back.  A bit lower than I expected and also lower than my 2006 Odyssey that averaged 25-26mpg on the highway.  Of course, it was only one trip and not really enough data until we take some more road trips this summer.  The only issues I had were some errors about “low battery” whenever I turned the car on or off, but those went away after a day.  I’m told the van had been sitting for a while and that probably caused it.  Also, the coolbox didn’t seem to cool all that well.  I assumed you just hit the button to turn it on but even after over a few hours of driving it didn’t seem to have cooled much.  I’ll have to read the manual!

 I previewed the 2011 Honda Odyssey here and here and Kecia had a full review here.