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Male Drivers. Ugh.

So the light ahead had just turned red.  There are already some cars stopping in front of me.  I’m a few hundred yards off, starting to coast.  The guy behind me decides it’s a great time to tailgate me because now I’m only doing the speed limit and slowing down for the red signal.  It only lasts a few seconds, as he floors it and zooms into the left lane once he has enough room.  Engine strained to the maximum, he has barely enough time to cut back in front of me and jam on the brakes of his manly PT Cruiser to stop for the light.  Whatevs.  Glad I wasn’t turning right, because he blocked the entrance to that lane as well.

For icing on his big boy cake, he decides to make eye contact in his mirror, just to make sure that I realize that he has more testosterone than me, apparently.  I give him a very polite golf clap, to recognize his grand accomplishment of wasting gas and brake pads in order to wait one car farther up at the light.  To be fair, that may have been the high point of his day, so I suppose I should have just let him enjoy it.  Instead, he opted to increase his testosterone levels even more with a single digit gesture.  I smiled and snickered to myself as we waited a few more seconds for the light to finally turn green.  He did manage to weave around a couple more drivers who were only doing a little over the 35 mph speed limit in the residential area, before he got stuck at the next light.   I had to turn, but I hoped he’d finally make a green light and have a special moment enjoying his thrill of the week!  Maybe I just need to have my testosterone checked?  And now that Illinois has just issued concealed carry permits, I suppose there should be no more golf claps for road ragers in the future…

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NHTSA Questions Graco’s Logic Regarding Recent Buckle Recall

NHTSALast month, Graco recalled close to 3.8 million carseats due to an issue with sticky buckles. However, they did not issue a recall for 1.8 million infant carseats, including all the various SnugRide models, which have used the same buckle in the past. Many parents have questioned the decision not to recall the infant seats, and now NHTSA has ordered Graco to explain their reasoning. Graco will have until March 20 to respond to the agency’s request.

preemie

In the meantime, if you do need a replacement buckle for a Graco infant seat, you can request one by calling Graco 800-345-4109  (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.). For more info on the buckle recall please see:  https://www.pages02.net/newellrubbermaid/harness-buckles .  For Canada, please see the Transport Canada Recall Information and Graco Baby Canada.

CarseatBlog Quick Tip: Checking Install Tightness

Aren’t quite sure how to tell if your carseat is installed tightly enough? Here’s how you check.

2013 and 2014 Ford C-Max Video Review: Kids, Carseats & Safety

2013 & 2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid Video Review: Kids, Carseats & Safety

2013-14FordCmax

Looking for a smart, economical vehicle that doesn’t say “Prius” on it?  Something that has a reasonably well-designed back seat for kids and carseats?  If so, the Ford C-Max should definitely be on your short list!  For 2014, you can expect slightly better fuel economy, thanks to improvements in the powertrain and aerodynamics.  Even so, because of some issues with the EPA ratings, the new labels will indicate a decrease to 45 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 43 mpg overall.  For those familiar with driving a Prius or other hybrid, this drop may not be a disappointment in real world driving.  For example, I achieved just over the EPA ratings of 47 mpg around town for a 2013 model with some basic hybrid driving techniques; slightly better than the Prius V I tested in similar conditions.

 

 

The 2nd row of the C-Max is one of the better setups I’ve seen in a compact vehicle.  The lower LATCH anchors are easy to find.  The seatbelts and LATCH anchors don’t overlap.  The buckles are not too short, such that they are difficult for kids in boosters to buckle themselves like in a Prius.  All head restraints can be removed if necessary to fit a taller carseat.  The middle seat, while narrow, can still manage a 3-across with careful selection.  Overall, it’s slightly wider and much nicer than the standard Prius in terms of fitting kids and carseats.

Perhaps the only major downside is that there is not a lot of legroom back there, like any compact car.  It’s about the same as the standard Prius, but the seat cushions seem lower to the floor.  So, adults may find it a bit cramped in back.  If that’s an issue, the roomier Toyota Prius V does offer adjustable 2nd row seats that are more comfortable for older passengers in terms of legroom and also space for a rear-facing carseat.

 

 

The C-Max comes only in a 5-door hatchback, which is great if you want to fit a stroller and some groceries.  The only oddity is that the top tether anchors are fabric loops on the back of the seat, NOT to be confused with the sturdy-looking metal cargo hooks on the floor!  Fabric loops are perfectly fine, just something to note when you are looking for metal anchors.  As for the hatch, the optional power assist feature is great.  My son liked being able to open the lift gate. :-)

 

Carseats:

As mentioned, the 2nd row setup of seatbelts and LATCH is very intuitive.  Ford is also to be commended for allowing the top tether system to be used up to the maximum limit indicated by the child safety seat manufacturer.

Below, left, I tested a Britax Advocate convertible carseat.  Installed rear-facing, it left adequate legroom for a 5’10″ driver in front.  With a Recaro ProSport combination seat on the other side, a small adult or narrow booster would still have room in the center seat.  The same applies to the Cosco Scenera and Graco Nautilus I tested, below, right.  Finally, at the bottom, you can see the locations for attaching a front-facing (left) and rear-facing (right) tether system.

UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Seat Unboxing & *Giveaway*

Stay tuned for the official CarseatBlog review of the UppaBaby Mesa Infant Seat, coming soon!

The Mesa is rated from 4-35 and up to 32″ tall. Pair it with an UPPAbaby Cruz or Vista stroller to create the ultimate performance travel system!

  • SmartSecure LATCH with built-in retractor for easy installation
  • Lock-off for simple seatbelt installation
  • No-rethread harness
  • Internal SIP wings
  • Euro belt routing if installing without base
  • Fits Huggable Images preemie doll well
  • SPF 50+ canopy
  • Fits Vista and Cruz strollers with one-touch release

This promotion is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated. A winner will be announced soon!

Uppababy Mesa and Vista TS

 

 

UPPAbaby Mesa Giveaway

We’ve partnered with our generous friends at UPPAbaby, to offer one UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Seat to a single winner!  Winner will have their choice of either “Drew” or “Sebby” fashions.

Contest open to all residents of the USA, including those residing in Alaska and Hawaii. :) 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms)

You are not eligible if you have previously won a carseat or any sponsored giveaway at CarseatBlog.com during 2013 or 2014 (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 March 16, 2014, 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 10 days, a new winner will be selected.

Good luck!

Please note: If this is your first comment at CarseatBlog, or if you are using a different computer/device or a new email address, your comment may not appear immediately. It will not be lost; it may just take a few hours for it to be approved. Thank you for your understanding and patience as this is the only way we have to reduce comment spam.