Graco 4Ever All-in-One *Giveaway* – The Blogiversary Celebration Begins!

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8th-birthday-cakeThis summer marks 8 full years of CarseatBlog.com! We can hardly believe it. In some ways it seems like not so long ago that we began writing about carseats, child passenger safety and vehicle safety. And in other ways it feels like we’ve been doing this 4Ever… Lol! Along the way we’ve shared a lot of laughs, made some amazing friends, written about 1,400 blog posts and oh, yeah – reviewed over 100 carseats and boosters!

Whether you’re new to CarseatBlog.com or have been with us since the start in 2008 – we’d like to share our celebration (and our cake!) with you. You are the reason we’re still here 8 years later, still blogging away, always looking for ways to improve our content and better serve our readers.

The field of Child Passenger Safety is really heating up and we can’t wait to see all the awesome advances in safety, technology and innovation that the next 8 years is going to bring. We hope you stick around and enjoy the ride with us!

During the next 8 weeks we’re going to be celebrating by giving away some really great carseats so stay tuned! Each week will feature a new giveaway promotion and your odds of winning something are pretty darn good. Consider it a personal “thank you” from Darren, Heather, Kecia, Jennie, Alicia, Andrea, Katie and all of our guest bloggers at CarseatBlog!

To kickstart our 2016 Blogiversary Celebration, we’ve partnered with our very generous sponsor, GRACO, to offer a new Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Carseat! Fashion choice will be limited to what is currently in stock at Graco.

We have a complete review here:  Graco 4Ever Review: Is a 4-In-1 Carseat Your New BFF?

This promotion is now closed. Thank you for participating. The winner is Taylor C. from OR!

Graco 4Ever All-in-One Specs

  • graco4ever studioRear-facing 4-40 lbs
  • Forward facing 22-65 lbs with harness; 27″-52″ tall
  • Highback booster 30-100 lbs; 38″-52″ tall
  • Backless booster 40-120 lbs; 40″-57″ tall

Graco 4Ever Features

  • 4-in-1 seat grows with your child, so you can enjoy 10 years of use
  • 6-position recline adjust to fit and keep your growing child comfortable; it’s comfy for them and convenient for you
  • Simply Safe Adjust™ Harness System is safe & simple.
  • One-hand, 10-position head rest to give your growing child a proper fit
  • InRight™ LATCH system for an easy, one-second LATCH attachment
  • Side-impact tested* (*In addition to meeting or exceeding all applicable US safety standards, the Graco 4Ever car seat has been side impact tested for occupant retention solely with the built-in 5-point harness .)
  • Engineered & crash tested to meet or exceed US standard FMVSS 213
  • Washable seat cover is easy to remove without removing the harness
  • Steel-reinforced frame provides strength and durability
  • Integrated harness storage compartment holds unused harness straps while in the belt positioning booster mode
  • Features an easy-to-read level indicator for hassle-free installation
  • Plush inserts keep your child comfortable
  • EPS, energy absorbing foam for effective impact energy management
  • 2 integrated cupholders keeps your child’s drinks close at hand

Graco 4ever - all modes stock

How to Enter Graco 4Ever Giveaway:

  • Leave us a comment below (required to be eligible to win), then click on Rafflecopter to qualify yourself. 
  • For extra entries, be sure follow the Rafflecopter instructions to visit our Facebook page, visit the Graco Facebook page and tweet about the giveaway.

Now for the fine print –  winner must have a USA shipping address to claim the prizes. Only one prize will be awarded to one winner. 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 Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 10 PM Eastern time 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 just goes into a moderated queue where it has to be manually approved by one of us. This may take a few hours depending on our availability. Thank you for understanding, as this is the only way we have to manage spam comments.

Good luck!

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New from Nuna: RAVA Convertible and AACE Booster

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Iberry aacet’s been two years since the Nuna Pipa infant seat arrived, and now Nuna is adding to its family with a new convertible seat and a new booster seat.

While we haven’t seen them in person yet, both seats appear to be sleek and stylish, plus full of safety features, just like the popular Pipa. Here are the details on both.indigo rava

The Nuna Rava convertible car seat features a 50-lb rear-facing weight limit, making it one of a handful of seats with such a high capacity. It also features two “True Tension Doors” (one for rear-facing, one for forward-facing), which are panels that clamp down on top of the seatbelt, making for an easy and tight installation. A retractable Calf Support Panel adds extra legroom for rear-facing and provides extra support for forward-facing kids.

Rava Features:

  • Rear-facing from 5-50 lbs. and 49 inches or less
  • Forward-facing from 25-65 pounds, 49 inches or less, and suggested age of at least 2 years old
  • True Tension panels for easy installation
  • Retractable Calf Support Panel
  • Bubble-free recline—recline angle guides confirm the perfect riding angle
  • Energy-absorbing foam and side-impact protection pods
  • One-hand, no-rethread harness
  • Steel frame and reinforced belt path
  • Ten-position head support
  • Ten-position recline (five for forward-facing, five for rear-facing)
  • Two crotch buckle positions
  • Removable infant inserts (for babies 5-11 lbs)
  • Dual, flip-open cupholders that tuck away when not needed
  • Ventilation panels within the shell
  • Breathable, machine-washable fabric
  • Premium LATCH connectors
  • LATCH weight limits: 35 lbs rear-facing, 40 lbs forward-facing (Nuna prefers a seatbelt install)
  • Certified for airplane use
  • 10-year expiration

The Nuna Aace booster seat is a high-back booster that also converts to a backless booster. It features backless Aacerigid LATCH connectors to hold the seat in the car, which can help it from becoming a projectile in a crash. The seat’s shoulder wings adjust out as the headrest is raised, allowing for a more comfortable fit as kids grow. The Aace also features a three-position expandable seat depth to accommodate growing legs.nuna aace growth

Aace Features:

  • High-back limits: 40-110 lbs, 38-60 inches, minimum age of 4 years
  • Backless limits: 50-120 lbs, 38-60 inches, minimum age of 5 years
  • Rigid LATCH
  • One-hand, 9-position heigh adjustment
  • Shoulder system moves in/out in tandem with the height adjustment
  • Three seat depths
  • Eight recline positions (when used as high-back with rigid LATCH)
  • Energy-absorbing foam and side-impact protection pods
  • Removable, dishwasher-safe cupholder (additional cupholder available separately)
  • Ventilation panels and breathable, machine-washable cover
  • LATCH guides for easy lower anchor attachment
  • 10-year expiration

Both seats will be available in a range of solid colors: Slate, Indigo, Berry, and Caviar.

Rava lineup Aace lineup

The Aace booster seat is scheduled to start shipping to retailers Friday, July 15. Shipping for the Rava convertible is still to be determined, but we will update when we hear more.

Collapsing Vehicle Seat Backs: What Can You Do?

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nhtsa collapseIf you’ve paid attention to the news during the past year or two, you’ve probably come across some stories about front vehicle seats collapsing in crashes. In some cases, drivers and backseat passengers—including children—have been killed. Clearly, this is a potentially important safety matter, and one that an outlet like CarseatBlog should tackle, which we haven’t done until now.

It’s not that we haven’t noticed; it’s that usually when a subject like this comes up, there’s some kind of relatively easy way to avoid the problem. This one, like the Takata Airbag issue, is tough to write about because so much is out of a consumer’s power to avoid it. But we’ll try.

Basically, this is an issue of seat strength. In some rear-end crashes, especially high-speed ones, front vehicle seats have been found to collapse backwards. This can cause injuries to the front seat occupant, from “simple” whiplash to more extreme injuries like paralysis or death when the occupant ramps upward and hits the back seat or another part of the car. It’s also possible for people to be ejected backwards.

Clearly, a front seat collapsing also becomes a hazard for anyone riding behind that seat. There have been fatalities due to the front seat collapsing onto a rear passenger.

Because of reporting procedures, it’s hard to get an exact number on the amount of fatalities caused by collapsing seat backs. One expert interviewed by CBS news says that seat backs collapse (though not necessarily fatally) every day. That same report says that at the time of the story, nine children were known to have died due to collapsing seat backs. In another CBS report, a spokesman for The Center for Auto Safety, a consumer protection organization, says that 50 children a year are killed that way. Clearly there is a huge discrepancy between 50 per year and nine in an unknown timeframe, and I don’t know if anyone has definitive answers.

NHTSAThe National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and vehicle manufacturers have been aware of this problem for decades. CBS’s 60 Minutes first tackled the issue back in 1992. According to one of the recent CBS reports, back in 1992 a man named Paul Sheridan was in charge of a minivan safety team at Chrysler. He knew about the problem of seats collapsing and tried to take steps to research and correct it, but Chrysler instead dismantled his team and withheld evidence. At the time (remember, this is 1992) NHTSA said it would look into the issue. Nearly 25 years later, nothing has changed.

NHTSA and manufacturers claim that current seat backs meet or exceed the federal standard (FMVSS 207) for seat strength, and that’s probably true. The problem is that the standard was established in 1967 and has not been updated since then. Also, the test is static not dynamic (meaning that seats are exposed to a long pull of increasing resistance rather than a sudden change of force, like what happens in a real-life crash).

It’s not FMVSS 207 that the seats are failing. Where they’re found failing (other than in real life) is in FMVSS 301, which tests fuel system integrity. According to this article (admittedly from a law firm that specializes in crash lawsuits) in the crash tests for FMVSS 301, “almost all bucket seatbacks and split bench seatbacks fail and strike the rear seats.”

I was unable to access the source they used, but I did find a report submitted to NHTSA from SAFE Laboratories, an independent research and crash testing facility. That report showed of 21 tests, nearly all resulted in the seats collapsing. It said, “Although all of the above vehicles incorporated FVMSS 207 compliant seats, when loaded dynamically in a rear impact these seats consistently failed to prevent occupant excursion into the rear compartment and potentially injurious impacts with rear structures or rear seated occupants.”

nhtsa collapse 2How has NHTSA responded to the increased media attention surrounding seat failures? Essentially by saying it’s not a problem. They say there’s not enough data to demonstrate a real-world benefit to changing the standard for seat strength.

As for vehicle manufacturers, strengthening the seat backs would cost money. How much? Well, in a 1996 deposition, a General Motors engineer said the cost to strengthen the seat backs would be about a dollar.

The Warner family, interviewed by CBS, lost their toddler in a crash when the father’s seat back collapsed on her. That father said he imagines almost anyone would be willing to pay another $50 for their vehicle if it meant their seats wouldn’t collapse on their children.

The study I referenced above from SAFE Laboratories showed that adding a second recliner to seats limited how much the seats would pivot in a crash, thereby making them more stable. I’m not sure if that’s the fix the GM engineer referred to, but there are likely many possible solutions.

What You Can Do

There’s no surefire solution to this one, but here are some things that might help.

Keep children rear-facing as long as possible

Rear-facing is safer overall, and the vast majority of crashes are frontal collisions (vs. the rear collisions where the seat backs are collapsing). It’s hard to say how much of a difference it would make for a child to be rear-facing vs. forward-facing if a seat back collapses on them, but it’s possible that a rear-facing child restraint might offer some additional protection if it’s able to stop the front seat back or keep tClek Fllo Addie RFhe child’s body contained within the shell. It’s also possible that the child restraint wouldn’t be strong enough to make a difference, but at least there’s that possibility.

(On that note, I have seen at least one instance where a forward-facing child was killed due to a known/suspected seat back collapse, and the immediate response of some safety advocates was that it wouldn’t have happened if the child had been rear-facing. First of all, we have no way of knowing whether that’s true. Second, that places blame where it doesn’t belong. The child might have been saved by a rear-facing seat, but the child almost definitely would have been saved if the front seat hadn’t collapsed in the first place.)

Keep children in the back seat

Some people are going to panic and think “The back seat is too dangerous now! Better move the kids to the front!” I understand the sentiment, but please don’t do that. The back seat is still the safest place for children. The front seat comes with its own dangers, for example airbags designed for adults (or ones that could malfunction) potentially hurting children. The vast majority of car crashes are frontal collisions, putting those front seat passengers closer to the point of impact. Also, if a child were to be sitting in the front seat and that seat collapses, the child is still likely to be injured.

Put children behind unoccupied seats

I sort of hesitate to recommend something that’s not an “official” recommendation from the CPST curriculum, but in this case I think it makes sense, when practical. In March, the Center for Auto Safety petitioned NHTSA to warn parents not to seat their children behind occupied front seats. (As far as I know, NHTSA has not yet responded and probably won’t. After all, if the agency implements that recommendation, it would essentially be admitting that collapsing seats are enough of a problem to warrant a warning. If it’s serious enough to need a warning, it’s serious enough to need fixing, which NHTSA has said isn’t the case.)

If you’re concerned, though, and if you have the room, it’s a logical solution to place children in seating positions where there isn’t an occupant in front of them. Of course, unless you have only one child (and sometimes not even then), that’s not always possible or practical.

I don’t want to see this become an official recommendation because it’s one that’s just too hard for most people to follow. But when the question of “Which side is safer: the driver’s side or passenger side?” comes up, maybe it can help to take the presence of front passengers into consideration.

Select certain brands when buying a new car

According to this CBS report, their experts state that BMW, Mercedes, and Volvo have stronger seats than their competitors. They don’t provide information to back up or explain those claims, so possibly take that with a grain of salt.

Keep calm

I know it’s a scary thought. No one wants to think about their child being killed by a collapsing seat, especially when there are already so many other dangers out there, and especially when there’s often no way to avoid a child sitting behind an occupied seat. Remember that these seat failures are occurring in rear-impact crashes. Rear-impacts are usually very low speed and account for far fewer fatalities than front- and side-impact crashes. The FMVSS 301 testing occurs at 50 mph, far faster than the typical fender-bender in heavy traffic. Although this does seem to be a serious issue that needs action, the odds of a child dying from a seat collapsing are very, very low.

Take action

If you’re concerned about this, take action. Write to your elected representatives and to NHTSA and push for a change in the standard. Write to your vehicle manufacturer to express your concern and demand that they increase the strength of their seat backs. Manufacturers know that money talks—make them listen.

Amazon Prime Day 2016 – carseat, stroller and baby gear deals & discounts!

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Happy Prime Day 2016! We’ve done all the work for you and compiled a complete list of all the carseat, stroller and baby gear deals being offered today! Remember, these deals are exclusively for Amazon Prime members.

Not a Prime member? There’s a 30-day FREE trial. It’s a no-brainer! Try it out and score some great deals. You can always cancel before the 30 days is up if you’re not sold on the many benefits of an Amazon Prime membership.

Amazon Prime Day deals 2016 graphic

If you see a great deal on something you need or just seriously want, don’t delay because we have no idea how many of these items are available at the sale price. As a reminder, just adding something to your cart does not guarantee you that item at that price – you must complete the checkout process to seal the deal. The deals listed below should offer FREE SHIPPING & FREE RETURNS to Prime members but always double check this before you put the item in your cart and checkout.

Looking for more info on a certain carseat or booster? Check out our REVIEWS page. We have in-depth reviews of over 100 carseats and boosters.

Carseats and boosters listed below that are also on our list of Recommended Seats have been noted with “#RS“.

Prime Day SavingsIf you don’t see the sale price immediately, follow through to the checkout screen. The discount will be applied as  “Prime Savings” before you make your final click on the Place Your Order button.