“Bin the Booster” Campaign

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parkway knightThe “Bin the Booster” campaign is British Britax’s gift to the internet, much like Graco’s buckle recall—it keeps popping up in people’s feeds causing unnecessary panic and bewilderment on this side of the pond. In a simple crash test video, Britax compares a backless booster (portable booster cushion as they call them over there) to a high-back booster. In this video, the child dummy sitting on the backless booster rotates around the shoulder belt while the child dummy sitting in the high-back booster remains properly positioned.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 12.19.49 AM

It’s a marketing tool. Britax only makes high-back boosters. There’s nothing abnormal about the way either dummy reacts in this crash test. Crash tests are very scary to watch—the video slows things down to a speed to which we can comprehend what’s happening. If we were to watch it at full speed, at the end, we’d likely think, “OK, great,” and move on to the next thing. Slow motion gives great impact, doesn’t it? Probably the most important thing to notice, however, is that there are 2 different types of dummies used, and this can greatly affect motion in a crash test. Simply placing the stiffer dummy in the high-back booster makes it seem more appealing because it will have less movement around the seat belt. (As much as I’d like to take credit for noticing that, I am not a Euro dummy specialist. Car-seat.org member _juune pointed it out in one of our threads on this topic.) Once you’re aware of this tidbit, you can see the dummies are shaped differently.

There are some schools of thought that high-back boosters provide better protection, especially in side impacts. It makes sense, right? By having head wings filled with EPS or EPP foam surrounding your child’s head and torso in a crash, there’s something to take the impact and spread the force instead of having their head hit the door or window or side pillar. On the other hand, having that back on the seat puts the child several inches forward on the vehicle seat, closer to the front seat and side pillar. In a crash, the child could much more easily hit the front seat or pillar, especially in a small vehicle. Are we starting to overthink things here? Maybe I can help settle your thoughts with this quote from a study done by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (bolding mine):

This study reconfirms previous reports that BPB seats reduce the risk for injury in children 4 through 8 years of age by studying a greater percentage of children aged 6 to 8 years than previous studies. After adjustment for potential confounders, children who were aged 4 to 8 and using BPB seats were 45% less likely to sustain injuries than similarly aged children who were using the vehicle seat belt. Among children who were restrained in BPB seats, there was no evidence of a difference in the performance of backless versus high-back boosters.

Let’s also add side curtain airbags into the equation. Side curtain airbags are fabulous safety devices for all members of the family, including kids in carseats. These airbags deploy straight down the roofline of the vehicle to the bottom of the windowsill, protecting the head area of passengers. A child sitting on a backless booster will be boosted up to have the protection of the side curtain airbags. Of course, so will a child in a high-back booster. This is assuming your vehicle has side curtain airbags, which not all vehicles on the road do.

LX460airbags

So what can I do to make my kid safer in a booster?

  • Use your child’s harnessed seat until they outgrow it, which is when their shoulders reach the top harness slots, the weight limit is reached, or the tops of their ears are over the top of the carseat. If that happens before age 5, consider buying another harnessed seat with higher limits.
  • Use a booster seat. All the cool kids are doing it! Your child simply won’t fit safely in a seat belt made to fit an adult until they are adult-sized. Period. Boosters raise kids up so that seat belts fit them over their sturdy bones and are more comfortable.
  • Use a high-back booster in the beginning. New booster riders like the feeling of being in a carseat yet having more freedom, plus they have a place to rest their heads when they sleep.
  • Switch to a backless booster when they outgrow the high-back booster. Yep, kids grow and they grow fast. That high-back booster, even the tallest one on the market, will be outgrown by height before your child outgrows the need for a booster. So switch to using a backless until they can pass the 5-step test:

1. Can sit with bum all the way back.
2. Knees bend at the vehicle seat edge.
3. Shoulder belt centered over the shoulder.
4. Lap belt touches the thighs.
5. Can stay this way the entire ride.

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2015 Britax ClickTight Convertible Carseat Recall

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RECALL: Britax Marathon ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight, and Advocate ClickTight Convertible Carseats

Britax is recalling all Marathon Clicktight (CT), Boulevard CT, and Advocate CT convertible carseat model numbers manufactured between August 1, 2014 and July 29, 2015 (see list below). There is a defect with the harness release button that can cause the harness release button to stick in the down position and not lock the harness system. This will allow the harness to loosen during use. No injuries have been reported and roughly 200,000 seats are affected.

NHTSA Recall Information

 

Britax CT Recall

You have a ClickTight model if the seating panel opens to reveal the belt path like this:

adv-ct-tahoe-fl-open-300rgb

You can find your date of manufacture label on the ClickTight panel, under your child’s left leg:

Marathon CT DOM label

 

Here’s where the harness release button is:

Marathon CT  Harness Release Button clicktight

Britax issued this recall after confirming consumer complaints. We were told that NHTSA did not previously have an active investigation of this issue and did not initiate the recall. The fix kit will be sent automatically to owners who have registered their carseat within 7-10 days. It will include a food-grade dry lubricant that will not attract dirt and should not otherwise degrade over time. A label will also be included to indicate if the seat has had the remedy applied.

What Should I Do?

  • Consumers not having a button sticking issue should confirm that the harness release button presses and releases as expected and may continue using the seat.
  • If your carseat is affected because the harness release button becomes stuck, then discontinue using the seat IMMEDIATELY and use a different carseat until your fix kit arrives and you apply the fix as instructed.
  • For more information on this recall, go to http://britaxclicktightconvertiblerecall.com/.
  • If you haven’t yet registered your carseat, do so NOW: https://us.britax.com/service-support/product-registration/ .

This recall does NOT affect Frontier 90 ClickTight or Pinnacle 90 ClickTight combination carseats. It also does NOT affect Britax “G4.1”, G4, G3 or older convertible carseats.

We are told this issue is related to a manufacturing tolerance issue on a part from a supplier on a relatively small percentage of parts. Due to the nature of the part, we are advised that seats that have been used regularly for some time and have not previously exhibited this issue previously are extremely unlikely to develop this issue over time.  These seats that have not exhibited any problems in regular use would be safe to continue to use if you are able to tighten the harness and the straps remain locked and the button does not get stuck.

Also, in an emergency, it is possible to free a stuck harness adjustment button. This can be done by opening the ClickTight panel and pushing the plunger of the button mechanism out from underneath. Once it has been unstuck, the harness can be tightened and will lock for the duration of the trip. You must then discontinue use of an affected carseat as per Britax instructions below.

We are also told that there was a production change and retailers will be stocking updated models very soon.  A recall also applies to Canada: Transport Canada Recall Information.

From Britax: 

Dear Britax Consumer:

Britax Child Safety, Inc., in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Transport Canada, is conducting a recall of certain Advocate ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight, and Marathon ClickTight model convertible car seats.  Britax has decided that these  models manufactured between August 1, 2014 and July 29, 2015 contain a defect with the harness adjuster button (red), which may pose a safety hazard.

Affected Model Numbers and Names:

Advocate ClickTight:

  • E9LT95Q ADVOCATE CT US, CIRCA
  • E9LT95Z ADVOCATE CT US, LIMELIGHT
  • E9LT95N ADVOCATE CT US, TAHOE
  • E1A025Q ADVOCATE CT XE CIRCA

Boulevard ClickTight:

 

  • E1A015Q BOULEVARD CT XE CIRCA
  • E1A016A BOULEVARD CT XE KALEIDOSCOPE
  • E1A016H BOULEVARD CT XE METRO
  • E1A135Q BOULEVARD CT US UCS, CIRCA
  • E9LT85Q BOULEVARD CT US, CIRCA
  • E9LT85S BOULEVARD CT US, SPLASH
  • E9LT86A BOULEVARD CT US, KALEIDOSCOPE
  • E9LT86F BOULEVARD CT US UCS, BLAKENEY
  • E9LT86G BOULEVARD CT US UCS, WESTIN
  • E9LT86H BOULEVARD CT US, METRO

Marathon ClickTight:

  • E1A005R MARATHON CT XE VERVE
  • E1A006B MARATHON CT XE TWILIGHT
  • E1A116L MARATHON CT TARGET, VIBE
  • E9LT71Q MARATHON CT US, COWMOOFLAGE
  • E9LT75R MARATHON CT US, VERVE
  • E9LT76B MARATHON CT US, TWILIGHT
  • E9LT76L MARATHON CT US, VIBE
  • E9LT76N MARATHON CT US, RIO
  • E9LT76P MARATHON CT US UCS, PRESCOTT
  • EXA116L MARATHON CT US, VIBE

 

ONLY THE SEATS WITH THIS CLICKTIGHT DIAL ARE INCLUDED IN THE RECALL

clicktight

NOTE: No other ClickTight products are included in this recall.  If your Britax product has a different model number than the model numbers listed above, it is NOT included in this recall.

Description of the Defect:  

Diono Rainier *Giveaway* for USA & Canada – The Blogiversary Celebration Continues!

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Diono Rainier - Graphite

Even though it’s our 7th “Blogiversary”, this celebration isn’t about us – it’s about you! We know we’re lucky to have so many awesome readers and followers who all care deeply about keeping kids safe. We want to reward you for supporting us throughout these past 7 years and the best reward we could think of was another incredible giveaway promotion!

This week the celebration continues with two Rainier Convertible giveaways in the “Graphite” fashion – courtesy of our generous sponsor, DionoOne for USA and one for Canada! We hope that makes everyone happy! We love our Canadian friends as much as we love our friends in the States and we apologize that many of our giveaways are USA only. We do try to include Canada whenever possible but we are limited by our sponsors as to the terms of our giveaways. In some cases the seats we are giving away are not available in Canada so it isn’t even an option. But this week it’s all good on both sides of the border so let’s get this giveaway started!

This promotion is now closed. Thank you for participating – the winners will be announced soon!

The Rainier is the top-of-the-line seat in the new convertible+booster lineup from Diono. We have a full review of the Diono Rainier HERE!

Diono Rainier Giveaway – USA

To enter you MUST leave a comment on this blog and then click on Rafflecopter to qualify yourself. For extra entries, follow the Rafflecopter instructions and visit our Facebook page, visit the Diono Facebook page and tweet about our giveaway! You also get additional entries for each time a friend enters our giveaway using the unique URL you receive from Rafflecopter when you enter. Share it on facebook and social media for up to 10 additional entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms) – Winner must have a USA shipping address to claim the prize. Only one prize will be awarded; specifically in the graphite fashion. You are not eligible if you have won a carseat or any sponsored giveaway at CarseatBlog.com during 2014 or 2015 (our own giveaways of goody bags and such don’t count if no sponsor was mentioned).  Blog writers and editors are also not eligible. Only one entry per household/family, please. If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count. We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above. We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules for any reason. The contest will close on August 23, 2015, and one random winner will be chosen shortly thereafter. If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize within 7 days, a new winner will be selected. Good luck!

Diono Rainier Giveaway – Canada

To enter you MUST leave a comment on this blog and then click on Rafflecopter below to qualify yourself. For extra entries, follow the Rafflecopter instructions and visit our Facebook page, visit the Diono Facebook page and tweet about our giveaway! You also get additional entries for each time a friend enters our giveaway using the unique URL you receive from Rafflecopter when you enter. Share it on facebook and social media for up to 10 additional entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms) – Winner must have a Canadian shipping address to claim the prize. Only one prize will be awarded; specifically in the graphite fashion. You are not eligible if you have won a carseat or any sponsored giveaway at CarseatBlog.com during 2014 or 2015 (our own giveaways of goody bags and such don’t count if no sponsor was mentioned).  Blog writers and editors are also not eligible. Only one entry per household/family, please. If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count. We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above. We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules for any reason. The contest will close on August 23, 2015, and one random winner will be chosen shortly thereafter. If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize within 7 days, a new winner will be selected. Good luck!

Diono Rainier Diono Rainier - stock ERF Diono Rainier - stock FF

2016 Honda Pilot Review: Kids, Carseats & Safety

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It’s Bigger, it’s Better, and it’s no longer Boxy.  For some, the more rugged appearance of the previous Pilot was a nice departure from most crossover SUVs on the road today.  For most, the sleeker styling of the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot is a long-awaited improvement.  And the changes only start there.  Almost everything else is also improved in this re-design, borrowing various enhancements from the Acura MDX that was introduced for 2014.

2016-honda-pilot-suv-side-view

Starting with the inside, it’s more spacious than before and is now among the leaders in the midsize class.  Honda added 3.5 inches to the new Pilot, helping to increase both legroom and cargo space in back.  That’s great for carseats and kids.  Thankfully, Honda didn’t change one of the best things about the Pilot: Four of the 6 rear seats have the LATCH carseat attachment system, while all six have top-tether anchors.  That makes it one of the most flexible SUVs for carseats in back.  Most trim levels seat eight, with only benches available in back, but the Elite trim is only available in a 7-passenger version with an aisle between two second row captain’s chairs.

Other improvements include a cabin that is much more refined and competitive than before, with softer materials all around.  The access to the third row is improved, so even adults can get back there more easily than before.  Cargo space behind the third row is 1.3″ longer than before, and even more spacious when you flip the stowable lid covering the deep storage area below.   If you have a lot of stuff to put behind the third row, the Pilot has more room than almost any midsize competitor.  You’d have to go to a minivan or huge full size SUV to do much better.  And there are lots more charging outlets for all those devices, too!

Safety:

Update: The 2016 Pilot earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS, and a Top Safety Pick+ when equipped with the Honda Sensing Package.  In addition, it earned the top “Good” rating in each individual crash test and a “Superior” front crash protection score.  There are not yet any crash testing results from NHTSA.  This section will be updated as they are released. Given the excellent results obtained by the similar Acura MDX, I expect the new Pilot do do very well overall.

As for features, there are a full array of airbags and standard safety features, like a multi-angle backup camera and hands-free bluetooth for taking calls on the road.  Only the base LX trim lacks optional advanced safety features. On the EX and EX-L, the Honda Sensing package offers a great array of safety enhancements as an option.