Update: Kiddy World Plus Recall

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Kiddy World PlusBack in May we brought you news that Kiddy World Plus car seats were being recalled because of a faulty buckle. At the time, there was no fix or information about what consumers should do. Kiddy has now issued directions for owners of these seats.

Recall details: On the Kiddy World Plus seats, the buckle tongue on the shield may not fully engage, giving a false impression that the seat is securely fastened. This recall applies to all Kiddy World Plus seats sold in the United States.

Remedy: Owners should stop using their seats and return them for a refund of the purchase price. Owners should contact Kiddy customer service at 1-855-KIDDY (1-855-925-4339) for a free shipping label. Upon receipt of the seat, Kiddy will issue a refund.

Kiddy’s website currently states that this remedy applies to seats manufactured between February 1, 2012 and May 1, 2013. However, we have confirmed that this recall and remedy applies to all manufacture dates of the Kiddy World Plus. Anyone who owns this seat should contact Kiddy for instructions on how to return their seats.

The full text from Kiddy’s website reads as follows:

Dear Kiddy Consumer,

Kiddy USA, Inc. has determined that certain Kiddy World Plus car seats do not meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213. Kiddy is conducting a recall of these seats. The buckle tongue on the car seats included in this recall may not fully engage and could give the user the false impression that the buckle is fully latched when it is not. The car seats involved in this recall are a combination forward facing child restraint converting to a high back booster and were produced between February 1, 2012 and May 1, 2013.

Description of the Noncompliance

The buckle tongue on the car seats included in this recall may not fully engage and could give the user the false impression that the buckle is fully latched when it is not.

Remedy for the Noncompliance

Kiddy will reimburse owners the full purchase price of the car seat. Do not return the product to a retailer. Owners should contact Kiddy at 1-855-92-KIDDYand speak with a Customer Service Representative. Kiddy will send owners a free shipping label to use to return the complete car seat to Kiddy. Upon receipt, Kiddy will send the owner reimbursement for the purchase price of the car seat.

If you are having difficulty getting your car seat remedied within a reasonable amount of time, you may write to the following address:

Administrator

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

1200 New Jersey Ave, S.E.

Washington, D.C. 20590

Or you may call the toll free Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or (TTY: 1-800-424-9153)

Or visit www.safercar.gov and search Recall ID: 16C-005

Kiddy is committed to your child’s full safety. We apologize for any inconvenience this matter may have caused.

Sincerely,

Kiddy USA

 

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Happy Father’s Day 2016!

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On behalf of CarseatBlog – Heather, Jennie, Alicia, Andrea, Katie and & I would all like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to Darren and to all the awesome dads out there! Extra bonus points are awarded to stay-at-home dads, dads who know how to use a cloth diaper correctly, dads who allow pink/purple/flowery or “mooing” carseats in their vehicle, dads who actually hear the baby in the middle of the night AND get up to help, dads of teenagers, dads of teenagers who are driving and want to borrow your car every 5 minutes, and dads with spouses who spend countless hours researching car seats and helping other parents online. We salute you all!

We especially want to pay tribute to our fearless leader, Darren Qunell. Without his passion and visionary leadership, there would be no Car-Seat.org community or CarseatBlog.com!

Safest 2016 Vehicles Update

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Buy a Safer Car This Summer: The Best SUVs, Minivans and Sedans

Many online automotive websites list the “safest” cars.  Most have pretty low criteria.  Some require an IIHS Top Safety Pick, others an NHTSA 5-Star overall rating.  Yes, these are all safe cars, but so many cars today achieve one top rating that it doesn’t really help family vehicle shoppers all that much.

Recommended-150pxAs always, CarseatBlog goes a step beyond at helping you narrow down the field to the best models in each class of family vehicles.  Every single one of our qualifiers not only is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, with an array of the latest advanced safety features, but is also an NHTSA 5-star overall rated vehicle.  We go even farther, making sure that there are no sub-par NHTSA individual crash test scores and eliminate the lightest vehicles that tend to fare worse in multi-vehicle crashes.  Our extremely strict criteria narrow down the field so much that each qualifier is truly among the safest vehicles on the road today.

Our Winners and Runners-Up are perfect or nearly perfect in every objective factor of crash safety. We also indicate which models provide critical advanced safety features at affordable prices and make sure none are worse than average for carseat installations.  Our Honorable Mentions just barely miss the cut in one aspect or another, but are otherwise extremely safe choices for your family and we would not hesitate to recommend any mentioned vehicle for overall family safety.

For the summer car buying season, we’ve updated our list with more qualifiers that hadn’t previously been tested by the IIHS or NHTSA.  We’ve also added a few Honorable Mentions that were tested too late to be award winners, namely the 2016 Volvo XC90, Infiniti QX60 and Lincoln MKX.  Our lists will be updated as new models are tested into 2017:

XC90 rearThe 2016 Volvo XC90 is one standout addition that earned top marks in each IIHS and NHTSA crash test.  It also avoided crashes in both IIHS Front Crash Prevention tests with an autobrake system that is STANDARD equipment so you won’t struggle to find key advanced safety features on a dealers lot.  It also has a relatively wide 2nd row middle seat, making 3-across carseats possible.  One notable drawback is the lack of top tether anchors for the third row seat, an unusual omission.

Looking for specific recommendations for your family?  Maybe you have a large number of carseats and need to know the ideal arrangement or if they will even fit in a vehicle you want to buy?  We are happy to answer new vehicle selection questions on our Community Discussion Vehicle Safety Forum and our Facebook Vehicle and Carseat Safety Group!

2016 Britax Boulevard G4.1 Review Update

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Britax Boulevard & Britax Advocate Review G4.1 Convertible Carseats 2016 Update

boulevard onyxBritax continues to be a frontrunner with parents and caregivers looking for user features in their carseats. From the luxury padded covers to the easy peasy LATCH installations, Britax has upheld its reputation for quality products with the Boulevard G4.1 and Advocate G4.1. Parents like knowing the Boulevard will be installed quickly and easily while kids like knowing they’ll be nestling back into a comfy cover with a padded headrest that not only provides a place to sleep, but protects growing heads.  This update applies to the Advocate G4.1.  It is identical to the Boulevard G4.1, with the addition of the external side impact cushion technology and different fashions.  Both models are more compact than average to help fit in smaller vehicles and offer easy LATCH system installation.

The G4.1 line of convertibles are the more reasonably priced seats compared to the ClickTight line, which feature an innovative panel that closes down on the seat belt to make installation a snap. Both lines feature excellent safety protection—they just differ in installation, and the Boulevard and Advocate ClickTights will accommodate taller kids.

What are the differences between the various models of Britax convertibles? It’s one of the most commonly asked questions we get. There are 6 convertible models in 2016. Three are G4.1: Roundabout, Marathon, and Boulevard. Three are ClickTights: Marathon, Boulevard, and Advocate.

  • Britax Roundabout: This is the most budget-friendly Britax convertible. It lacks the no-rethread harness found on some higher models, but that’s really not a big deal unless you’re frequently transporting kids of different sizes in one carseat. It has a 55 pound weight limit and a 15.75″ seated torso height limit. MSRP $179.99
  • Britax Marathon: This model adds a no-rethread harness, up to 65 pounds and 16.75″ seated torso height. It also adds the EZ-Buckle crotch strap and an easy-remove cover. It lacks the deeper headwings found on the Boulevard model. MSRP $289.99
  • Britax Boulevard: This model has all the features of the Marathon, but also has deeper internal headwings for enhanced protection in side-impact crashes. It also includes advanced HUGS pads with SafeCell technology and the “Click & Safe” snug harness indicator. MSRP $329.99
  • Britax Marathon ClickTight: This model has a no-rethread harness and standard rubber HUGS pads. The top harness slot height and the overall height are about 2″ shorter than the Blvd CT and Advocate CT models. MSRP $329.99
  • Britax Boulevard ClickTight: All the features of the Marathon CT plus SafeCell HUGS pads; deeper headwings; “Click & Safe” snug harness indicator, top harness slots and overall height 2″ taller than Marathon CT. The Boulevard CT is a CarseatBlog Recommended Carseat AND Editors’ Pick. MSRP $369.99
  • Britax Advocate ClickTight: All the features of the Boulevard CT plus external side-impact cushions. The Advocate CT is also a CarseatBlog Recommended Carseat. The Advocate CT is a CarseatBlog Recommended Carseat. MSRP $419.99

Britax Convertible Features Comparison:

*Tip: If you’re viewing from your phone – turn it sideways to see more columns of the chart in landscape mode.

 

Boulevard G4.1 Weight and Height Limits:

  • Rear-facing:  5-40 lbs., and head is 1” below red adjustment handle
  • Forward-facing: 20-65 lbs., and 49” or less, and tops of the ears are below the top of the head restraint

Boulevard G4.1 Overview:

  • SafeCell™ Technology in the base: these cells compress in a crash, which lowers the center of gravity of the child and reduces forward head excursion
  • Energy-absorbing EPP foam that lines the entire back and sides of the plastic shell
  • Energy-absorbing, rip-stitch Versa-Tether®
  • SafeCell HUGS chest pads: energy-absorbing and have a ridged edge that better keeps the chest clip in place
  • Integrated steel bars strengthen the seat and keep it from flexing forward in a crash
  • 2 layers of side impact protection: deep protective shell and an energy-absorbing headrest
  • No re-thread harness with 10 harness height positions
  • 2 crotch strap positions
  • Infant cushion for children up to 22 lbs.
  • Built-in lockoffs
  • Dual lower deluxe push-on LATCH connectors (one strap for each side of the carseat—no feeding it through the belt path)
  • Smooth bottom base with grippy edges that won’t damage vehicle upholstery
  • Optional anti-rebound bar for rear-facing

Measurements:

  • Harness height: 9”-17”, 6 ½” bottom slots with infant cushion
  • External widest point: 19″
  • Usable shell height with headrest: 26”
  • Shoulder width: 13”
  • Crotch strap depth: 4 ½”, 7”
  • Seat depth: 12”
  • Seat weight: 18.6 lbs.

Current Fashions

Boulevard Onyx Boulevard Laguna Boulevard Congo Boulevard Legacy Boulevard Domino Boulevard Silver Birch

Installation:

  • Rear-facing LATCH weight limit: 40 lbs.
  • Forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 50 lbs.
  • Installation is color-coded for ease: blue for rear-facing, green for forward-facing
  • Top tether length has been shortened, but for the most part, this shouldn’t be a problem. Contact Britax at 1-888-427-4829 for a tether extender. As of 2015, the tether is no longer allowed to be used rear-facing out of concern for interference with front seat airbag sensors. An anti-rebound bar is available directly from Britax for parents and caregivers who prefer that extra level of protection.

Britax Boulevard with ARB

Center LATCH Installations with Non-Standard Spacing:

Permitted only in designated LATCH positions; if your vehicle doesn’t have dedicated lower LATCH anchors in the center seating position, you cannot install this carseat with LATCH.

Inflatable Seat Belts:

Britax allows their convertibles (EXCEPTION: ClickTight convertibles) to be installed with Ford and Lincoln inflatable seat belts. They do NOT allow inflatable airplane seat belt installation. See their Inflatable Seat Belt Policy.

Comments:

  • The infant cushion MUST be used for children weighing 22 lbs. or less in a rear-facing position. DO NOT use over 22 lbs. DO NOT use in a forward-facing position. There’s even a label on it in case you forget!
  • Use the lockoff closest to the buckle if installing the Boulevard with a seat belt.
  • Get best results with the Click & Safe harness adjuster by removing slack from the thighs in an upward motion through the chest first while pulling harness tight.
  • The Boulevard expires 7 years after date of manufacture and Britax follows the NHTSA crash replacement policy.

BritaxBoulevardG4.1RF BritaxBoulevardG4.1FF

Advantages:

  • Deep headwings provide enhanced protection in side-impact crashes
  • Durable EPP foam, rip-stitch tether, HUGS pads and SafeCell Technology in base all work together to absorb energy in a crash
  • Click & Safe snug harness indicator provides audible and tactile feedback to let you know when the harness is sufficiently snug
  • One of the easiest LATCH installs on the market!
  • “Non-Handed” lower LATCH straps allow you to easily switch the connectors from rear-facing to forward-facing and vice versa
  • No re-thread harness makes it easy to adjust the harness height when your child has a growth spurt
  • Relatively easy to tighten and loosen harness straps
  • Harness straps are thick and not prone to twisting
  • Velcro on harness keeps straps out of the way when loading and unloading child from seat
  • EZ-Buckle System keeps belly pad and buckle out of the way when loading child in the seat
  • Buckle style is easy to buckle and unbuckle
  • Harness straps are replaceable if necessary
  • HUGS pads may be removed when the child is rear-facing (but they are required for forward-facing)
  • Available anti-rebound bar
  • Rear-facing recline angle range of 30-45 degrees allowed
  • Doesn’t take up a lot of room rear-facing (especially if you don’t need a full 45* recline). This makes it a good option for smaller cars and for tall parents who may need to have the front seat all or most of the way back.
  • Easy to remove cover
  • Premium fabrics and extra padding for comfort
  • Made in the USA!

Disadvantages:

  • May be difficult to clamp the lockoffs closed in some vehicles if installing with seatbelt
  • Seatbelt installation using lockoff is not intuitive – read and follow directions carefully
  • Rear-facing legroom is generally less than some other competitive (non-Britax) convertible models
  • Click & Safe snug harness indicator can be helpful but isn’t foolproof
  • Rear-facing height limit isn’t as tall as some other models, like the new Britax ClickTight convertibles
  • The Boulevard is relatively expensive at $329.99 MSRP, but is often on sale for under $250 at Amazon.com

The Britax Boulevard G4.1 sample used in this update was provided by Britax USA. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.