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More from ABC Kids Show, Day 2

Again, I forgot to take a picture of the show floor to give you an idea of the scale of how large this show is.  I’m certain our words don’t adequately describe the size.  I’ve been coming for many years since my good friends were able to get me in under their store’s badges and the show was contained to 1 floor of the convention center.  Now it’s 2 floors and still growing.  On to the show . . .

To finish up from this afternoon’s live blog, here’s a video showing the side impact testing:

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Dorel Safety 1st Press Conference “Live” Blog

Darren at DorelI sit here in the Dorel exhibit, waiting for the start of the press conference.  I’m in an air filled cozy chair with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and live blogging wirelessly.  It just doesn’t get any better than this!  Please refresh your page to get the latest updates from the Dorel Air Protect press conference.  There will be some new product notes and photos coming, too!

Lorrie Walker from Safe Kids USA is discussing the importance of side impact protection.  There is an emphasis on putting kids in the back seat and in a restraint that is appropriate for their age and weight.  She is also stressing clear instructions and labels for ease of use and improved LATCH system hardware for ease of installation.  Finally, she advocates color coding manual and label information to distinguish the various modes of installation.

Janet Brelin-Fronari from Kettering University is showing videos of crash footage, showing typical crushing of vehicles and the physics of a frontal crash, with the passenger compartment remaining well protected.  In comparison, a federal side impact test video shows the serious nature of a 33 mph side impact with the door structure intruding into the occupant space.  At the moment of impact, the occupant moves toward the impact with the door moving in toward the occupant.  Kettering and Dorel have a crash test method that emphasizes the necessary protection from door intrusion.  They simulate the same crash energy on a crash test sled with a simulated door striking the child seat.

David Amirault from Dorel is discussing how the two chamber Air Protect cushion will help dissipate the energy.  A strong punch to the cushion showed how well it helped his hand from being injured, as it would have been if he had hit the table instead.  He followed up with side-by-side video of Air Protect vs. no Air Protect.  It showed a reduction in peak forces in the neck by up to 30%.

In the Q&A session, someone asked how the Complete Air varies from other competitive products with side impact protection.  Dorel said their crash test methodology is the only one that simulates door intrusion on their test sled.

Dorel will soon release the Safety 1st Complete Air LX, coming in the 4th quarter of 2009.  It is very similar to the standard Complete Air, but has a recline feature that allows for a greater recline angle for newborns and infants.  The lack of recline was one of our complaints, so it’s great to see this improvement.

Safety 1st Complete Air LX

Also coming soon is the Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air, coming in the 1st quarter of 2010.  It’s a sharp infant seat that has the Air Protect feature that extends a good length of head area to cover small infants and larger babies.  It also has a wide range of adjustments for the harness straps (4 slots, 5″ to 11″) and crotch strap (3 slots with adjustable length).  The base has a nice lockoff system and a very nice recline foot.  Plus, the depth is greater than average allowing for more legroom for older babies.

Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air

It was also implied that other Air Protect seats will be forthcoming soon, including a booster seat product.

Also, as many of you know already, Safety 1st will now be marketing the Go Hybrid Booster (formerly from SafeGuard).  It will debut next month in October.  It is essentially unchanged, with the exception of new fabrics and minor padding changes.

That’s it from the “Live” Blog!  We’ll fill in the gaps with more photos and videos later today or later this week!

ABC Kids Expo: Carseats from Europe Pt. 2

Let’s talk trends.  Europe is trendy, right?  We Americans think we’re trendy, but really, compared to Europeans we’re so far behind we’re living in the 80s still.  I mean, really, skinny jeans are back! :O  The big trend we’re seeing this year that Europe has had for years is rigid LATCH.  Everybody bow down and say “Yay for rigid LATCH!”

So Darren showed the video of the Kiddy Fix with the load leg (what they call the footprop)–the base is quite heavy and flat and the load leg quite sturdy.  It’s very different than any base we’re used to here in the US/Canada.  And as you’ve no doubt seen by wandering to Kiddy’s web site by now, the World plus booster also has rigid LATCH.  Since Darren has the pictures, we’ll discuss that booster later this week and I’ll give you the impressive measurements then.  Kiddy is aiming for 1st quarter of 2010 for release, but remember that it takes time for testing, tweaking, re-testing, retweaking, importing, etc.

The Cybex X-Fix booster comes with LATCH guides to help with those deep-seated LATCH anchors that are impossibly buried in the seat bight.  The headrest has a unique 3 position recline insert that children themselves can adjust as they get sleepy so their heads won’t dangle forward as they nod off.  Cybex is hoping for a 1st quarter release as well.  Regal+Lager is the importer/distributor.

Evenflo has the newly rated Generations 65 lbs. and Symphony 65 lbs.  Both seats have been structurally changed, so the weight increase is NOT retroactive to previous models.  They told us that both seats would be available in November for sale.  You will be able to visually tell the difference by looking at a Generations 65: the HWH seat has a red harness release button on the front of the seat.  It still has the Tension Right knobs on the sides to tighten the harness, but the red button on the front will loosen the harness.  The Symphony 65 has a different, flatter base and the back of the seat has a metal bar showing.  The tether is also attached to the metal bar.

Evenflo Symphony sideEvenflo Symphony back

 

 

 

 

Evenflo is also introducing the Maestro, a lower priced HWH combo seat to 50 lbs., booster to 100 lbs.  It has 18″ top slots and has a unique shoulder belt slot design that allows the shoulder belt to slide up the seat as the child grows in torso height.

We do have lots more to report, but at some point the day must end ;) .

ABC Kids Expo: Carseats from Europe

We will have more updates on today’s news, but to start, some videos from Kiddy and Cybex.  Both have models that should arrive by the first quarter of 2010.  For Kiddy, it’s an infant seat with a rigid LATCH base (more on the World Plus Booster later this week!).