Happy Haunting!

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It’s almost Halloween! And nothing says Halloween like a post reminding you of all the things that could go wrong on Halloween and how to avoid them. I don’t think that’s very festive though, and I’d like to think most of you folks out there know not to throw your kid in front of a moving car when they’re wearing all black at night, and that you shouldn’t let your toddler crack open a glowstick and drink it.

You know what else says Halloween? Late night snacking. That’s right. You know you do it. After the kids go to bed from now until Chistmas you will be raiding their candy. I’d also like to bow to whoever invented the Switch Witch. Pure genius I tell you. I can just picture it now, because it was definitely a mom, sitting in her living room, yelling “It’s mine! All mine!!” while scooping up candy. And all she has to do is make a trip to Target (yeah, real big punishment there) for a toy. Bonus points if you live in a neighborhood that hands out good candy. You know, quality stuff like Twix and Kit-kats. The candy that says, “hey, I’m a great neighbor that enjoys Halloween”. Tootsie rolls? “I forgot to buy candy till 3pm Halloween day”. Bit-O-Honey? “I hate you and Halloween”. No offense to the fans of Bit-O-Honeys. I still think you’re crazy but I do respect you for your…classic taste. Please don’t smash my pumpkins.

Last year's haul. Kids totally thought I wouldn't sit on the couch and pig out on their candy. Jokes on them! Crispy the cat was the only witness and he never tells.

Last year’s haul. Kids totally thought I wouldn’t sit on the couch and pig out on their candy. Joke’s on them! Crispy the cat was the only witness and he never tells.

They’re not kidding when they say Halloween is a time for the Underworld. Apparently everyone is trying to send you there with the blinding masks so big that you walk into a mailbox, and  the princess skirts that are so haphazardly hemmed that every little girl must faceplant at least once while trick-or-treating. Don’t forget all the elderly folks still insisting on baking cookies (of death?) to hand out even though every single mother out there makes their kid throw them away. And pennies. What’s with the pennies? You telling me to choke to death or wither away in poverty? Not sure of the subtle message of that. Granted, I was ecstatic to get pennies as a kid so I guess my Scrooge is showing. My kids love pennies too so heck with it, bring it on!

 

"Hey Declan, I'll trade you my Bit O Honey for your Twix" "Nope."

“Hey Declan, I’ll trade you my Bit O Honey for your Twix”
“Nope.”

In all seriousness though, Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. I love the whole month of October, the excitement of choosing a costume, the pumpkins, the festivals, the beautiful days. Just when I thought it was getting a little weird for me to be so Halloween obsessed, I had kids and an excuse to continue my crazy. So Happy Halloween to every single one of you! Be safe, have fun, don’t throw your kid in front of cars, watch out for mailboxes and fallen princesses, and don’t feel guilty about eating the Twix and saving the Bit-O-Honey’s for your little honey. You gave them life after all.

Basically sums up my kids in one picture.

Basically sums up my kids in one picture.

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The New Diono Radius Infant Carseat (and more!) at ABC Kids Expo 2016!

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One of our early stops at the ABC Expo this year was the Diono booth. I think we were all hopeful that we’d see something new and exciting from a brand we have long trusted and we were not disappointed. In addition to their existing line up of seats (with a few changes that we’ll get to later), Diono is officially previewing their brand new rear facing only car seat, the Radius!

Before we dig in, I want to throw out a disclaimer that the folks at Diono were very clear that the Radius Rear-Facing Only Seat we were seeing was a prototype, so while we took some measurements and pictures, you should expect some minor tweaking of the product between now and the official release. The skeleton and the essential components of the seat will remain pretty consistent throughout the production process, but other less essential components are subject to change.

And now, the Radius!

radius

 

Diono Radius Specs and Features

  • Weight limits: 5-35 pounds
  • Height limits: Up to 35 inches, with 1 inch of shell above head. They said it “may” fit premature infants, but that is yet to be determined
  • No rethread harness with well padded headrest
  • Rigid lower anchors with red/green indicators
  • Seatbelt lock off
  • Active Deceleration System in the base that will dissipate crash forces on the base and seat by up to 30%
  • Indicator to show when the base has been involved in a significant enough collision to require replacement
  • Anti-rebound bar that is part of a full steel frame
  • Aluminum handle for improved side impact protection
  • Deep recline without bubbles or level lines
  • Energy absorbing foam lining the entire seat
  • Canopy extension that covers the entire seat with magnetic connectors at the bottom

Radius Measurements

  • Width of base at the belt path: 13.5″
  • Widest point of the base (roughly in the middle): 15″
  • Length of base: 24.5″
  • Width of the carrier at the widest point: 17.5″
  • Lowest harness height: 6″
  • Tallest harness height: 8.5″
  • Total shell height: 17.5″, with ~16″ being the seated height limit on the prototype.

laThe Radius has rigid lower anchor connectors that can extend outward to make attachment easy and a button to ratchet the base tightly into the vehicle seat. It also has a seat belt lock off will allow the seat to be installed without switching the retractor into locking mode or without use of a locking clip. The seat itself will weigh 9-10 pounds and the base will be a hefty 20 pounds because of the steel frame. While there isn’t a load leg on the current prototype and there won’t be on the first version to be released next year, the folks at Diono hinted pretty strongly that future versions will likely have some sort of load leg.

recline-comparisonThere aren’t any recline bubbles or level lines on the base- if the baby does not have adequate head control, the base should be fully reclined (and it is a DEEP recline!) and once baby has head control, they can be as upright as the base will allow. The recline is easily adjusted with a turn knob on the back of the base and can be adjusted with the seat installed. The upright recline is especially nice because with limits of 35 pounds or 35 inches, this is one of the longest lasting rear facing only seats on the market. (Note: the vehicle seat this is sitting on is completely flat, which makes it more reclined than you’ll likely see in any real life vehicle).

The Active Deceleration System, which is a pulley system within the base, is also pretty unique. It functions similarly to the safestop- in a crash, the pulley system will pull apart and allow the crash forces to be spread over a wider area, thus reducing the crash forces by up to 30%. And after a crash, the base has an easy to read crash indicator signaling that replacement is required. This is a great visual system that will make the decision to replace after a minor crash much easier for parents.

The base and the seat aren’t terribly compact and Diono is working on how to manage the potential for overhang in vehicles with shorter seat pans. They said the rules regarding overhang, which will likely be limited to <20%, will definitely be present and clearly described in the manual, but we (and Alanna at Diono) are also hopeful that a sticker on the base will be added to show at what point the overhang exceeds the recommendation.

The Radius will be available in Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby in April 2017 and widely in July 2017 for around $329. And great news for our neighbors to the north- the Radius will be coming to Canada as well!

Still within the realm of car seats, Diono is discontinuing the Pacifica and Olympia, but will be continuing forward with the Radians and with the Rainier and will be releasing some new covers for the Rainier in 2017.radian

They will also be phasing out the regular Monterey booster for the new Monterey XT booster. The Monterey XT is a blend of the Cambria bottom and the original Monterey back, and will come with lower anchors with dual pull straps, EPS foam lining and a dial on the back. The Monterey XT will have an MSRP of $99 and is coming soon.

fullsizerender-1

Diono is also releasing a stroller, the Diono Quantum, which will be compatible with the Radius, and with Maxi Cosi, Nuna and Cybex infant car seats. The stroller has all the things you would look for- an extendable handle, a simple fold with a carry handle and a one hand open, a “flip flop proof” brake, and a seat that can be transitioned easily from a basinet for newborns and infants under 10 pounds, to a typical stroller seat for children up to 50 pounds. The canopy is out of this world, we literally gasped when they expanded it fully. And of course there will be accessories for whatever climate you stroll in and several different fashions to fit your preferences.

stroller

Look for all these great new products and new fashions from Diono in 2017!

 

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit All-in-One Preview – ABC Kids Expo 2016

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graco-4ever-extend2fit-abc-expoGraco had some very exciting new products to show off at the 2016 ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas!

I’ll start off with the Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit All-in-One. I’m going to suggest shortening this very long product name and just call it the “Graco Everything” because this seat will have… well, everything! This new model is based on the current 4Ever 4-in-1 platform but adds the unique legrest extension panel and 50-pound rear-facing weight limits found on the Extend2Fit model. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! 😀

This model will be widely available in the first quarter of 2017. MSRP $349.

4Ever Extend2Fit Specs & Features:

  • Rear-facing: 4-50 lbs.
  • Forward-facing with harness: 22-65 lbs. and up to 49″ tall
  • Highback booster: 30-100 lbs. and 38-57″
  • Backless booster: 40-120 lbs. and 40-57″
  • 4-position leg extension for rear-facing comfort: adds up to 5″ extra legroom!
  • No-rethread harness with 10-position headrest
  • Adjustable base with 6 recline positions (3 for rear-facing, 3 for forward-facing)
  • Bubble level indicator
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Premium push-on lower LATCH anchor connectors
  • Dual integrated cup holders
  • 10-year lifespan before expiration

graco-4ever-extend2fit-abc-expo-reclined-with-labels graco-4ever-extend2fit-abc-expo-3-fashions-closeup graco-4ever-extend2fit-abc-expo-2-fashions-closeup

Graco SlimFit 3-in-1:

We also wanted to give you some info on the Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 model, which is already available at Babies R Us. It retails for $229.99, but is often on sale for under $200. SlimFit is essentially a Graco Milestone (rear-facing, forward-facing, highback booster) with modifed cupholders. These new cupholders swivel to give you the option of saving a little more space in a tight squeeze or 3-across situation. Compared with the Milestone model, SlimFit is about 1.5 inches narrower when the cupholders are swiveled. That might not seem like a lot but every millimeter counts when you are trying to fit a carseat in a tight situation and 1.5″ can sometimes make the difference between success and failure. You can find more details (including measurements) of the Graco Milestone on our complete review HERE.

SlimFit 3-in-1 Specs & Features:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. and top of head is 1″ below red adjuster handle
  • Forward-facing (with harness): 20-65 lbs and 49″ or less
  • Highback booster: 30-100 lbs. and 38-57″
  • No-rethread harness with 10 position headrest
  • Adjustable base with 4 recline positions (2 for rear-facing, 2 for forward-facing)
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Premium push-on lower LATCH connectors
  • Single cup holder
  • 10-year lifespan before expiration

graco-slimfit-abc

Cybex Sirona M Convertible Preview – Drool Worthy!

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20161018_095643Greetings from the 2016 ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas! One of our first stops today was to the Cybex booth to see the new Cybex Sirona M convertible seat. This seat is expected to hit stores sometime in the 1st quarter of 2017. We will have a better idea of their ETA by December. The models we saw today are prototypes so it’s possible that some things may change or be tweaked before the final production models go to market.

Cybex Sirona M Specs & Features:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs.
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • No rethread harness with 11 height positions
  • 10 position adjustable base
  • 3 position L.S.P. (Linear SIP) bolsters
  • Lockoffs for RF & FF (for installations with seatbelt)
  • Push-on LATCH connectors
  • Infant insert
  • Cupholder
  • Available 1st Qtr 2017
  • MSPR $349

sirona-side sirona-side-headrest-extended

sirona-from-top sirona-angle-bubble sirona-buckle-holder

Sirona M Measurements:

Max harness height: 17.5″

Lowest height: 7″ without infant insert (closer to 6″ with infant insert)

Max width at widest point 19″

Weight: Roughly 25 lbs. (it’s still a prototype so there was no point weighing it)

sirona-front-with-romeoThe Sirona M appears to be a solid and stylish convertible seat with premium features. We look forward to reviewing a final production model as soon as it’s available!

Cybex Sirona M