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Locking Clips – No Longer Standard Issue

Locking ClipIt used to be that you could expect a metal locking clip to come with every carseat that didn’t have a built-in lockoff but those days are gone. Both Evenflo & Dorel have recently decided to exclude the locking clip on their carseats. Why? Because parents misuse them more often than they actually need to install their carseat using one. In other words, the locking clips were more often part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

I have to say that I agree with this assessment. In the field, I see more locking clip misuse than proper use. Most parents have no idea what that metal clip is for but if the carseat comes with it then it has to go somewhere, right? Wrong. Most of the time – a locking clip is not needed. More on that below.

Retail models of Evenflo convertible and combination carseats now come with a statement attached to the harness alerting consumers to the change and providing information on who to call if you really do need a locking clip. You can also buy a locking clip from a local baby store or even use one that you took off a different carseat. Locking clips are the ONLY component that you can swap from seat to seat, even across brands.

Evenflo infant seats and institutional models sold to CPS programs will continue to come with locking clips.

Locking Clip Notice - Evenflo

 

Dorel seats have also gone locking clip-less across all their brands (Cosco, Safety 1st, Eddie Bauer & Maxi-Cosi). Unlike Evenflo, who continues to provide locking clips with their infant seat models, none of the Dorel seats have locking clips included anymore. So if you’re purchasing any Dorel infant seat that doesn’t come with a lockoff and you’re planning to install the carseat with seatbelt – consider yourself warned. You may want to order a locking clip before you need to install the seat, just in case you wind up with a tilting issue. Read on for more info on that. Below is a page from a Dorel instruction manual.

Locking clip info - Dorel manual

 

Now, let’s review the reasons you would actually NEED to use a locking clip and some reasons why you might WANT to use one.

You NEED to use a locking clip (or a carseat with a built-in lockoff device) if all 3 of these conditions exist in your vehicle:

  • Your vehicle was made before Model Year 1996 AND
  • You have a lap/shoulder belt that is one continuous piece of webbing AND
  • The lap/shoulder belt has a sliding latchplate and an ELR retractor (this means the seatbelt has no pre-crash locking features and the seatbelt will only lock in emergency situations like hard breaking or a crash)

If your vehicle was made AFTER 1996 then your seatbelts are required to have some way to lock to keep a carseat in place tightly during routine driving. If you are installing a carseat and you’re not going to use lower LATCH anchors in your vehicle, and your carseat or infant seat base doesn’t have a built-in lockoff device, it’s imperative that you understand how your seatbelt locks. Most vehicles have switchable retractors but some vehicles or specific seating positions have locking latchplates instead. It’s very important to know what your vehicle has and to understand how these features work before you install any carseat with a seatbelt. See your vehicle’s owners manual for specific information on how to install a carseat in your vehicle using the seatbelt. If you have questions, please visit our car-seat.org forum and we’ll be happy to help answer them.

You may WANT to use a locking clip if you are installing an infant seat base with seatbelt under these conditions:

  • You are installing with a lap/shoulder belt that is one continuous piece of webbing
  • Your infant seat base does not have a lockoff device for the seatbelt
  • Your vehicle has a switchable retractor
  • Your base starts to tip sideways over time due to the locked seatbelt exerting pressure on the side of the beltpath
Base tipping - locked retractor

Infant seat base tipping sideways

 

For more info on proper use of locking clips please visit Heather’s very helpful webpage:  http://www.carseatsite.com/lockingclips.htm

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Evenflo Symphony DLX Elite All-in-One Carseat Review – A Concerto of Safety, Function & Style

Evenflo ProComfort Symphony - stockHere at CarseatBlog we’re very familiar with the Evenflo Symphony which first debuted back in 2008. We’ve reviewed every generation of this popular All-in-One carseat and I’m happy to report that the latest DLX/Elite version continues to impress!

Symphony DLX Giveaway – Click Here to Enter!

First, let’s clarify that there are two different models of the Symphony that are currently available on store shelves. The Symphony DLX (aka Symphony Elite) is the premium model with SureLATCH connectors. The Symphony LX model has differently shaped headwings and standard push-on lower LATCH connectors instead of the patented, self-ratcheting “SureLATCH” connectors.

Both models are very nice but if you’re drawn to the less expensive LX model because you prefer the regular push-on LATCH connectors, or you’re just trying to stay within a more limited budget, the Symphony LX model still has a lot of great safety and convenience features to offer. Just make sure you’re looking at the newest LX model. The new LX models have the dual integrated cup holders – the older LX models do not and the older models also lack the deeper headwings for enhanced side-impact protection.

In this review we will focus on the premium DLX (aka Elite) Symphony model. There are different versions of the DLX model and some versions are exclusive to certain retailers like Target and Babies R Us. Here is a breakdown of the different DLX models, which stores carry them, and what’s special about that particular version:

ProComfort Symphony DLX – Target exclusive. Cover has Buckle Pockets and “Gel-Matrix Technology”  inside to reduce pressure points and improve comfort. ProComfort fashions include “Cambridge” (Black/Green) & “Alexandria (Black/Pink).

Evenflo Symphony - ProComfort Evenflo Symphony - ProComfort - pinkEvenflo ProComfort Gel Matrix Pressure Relief graphic

Platinum Symphony DLX – Babies R Us exclusive. Cover has Buckle Pockets and OUTLAST® Performance Fabrics which absorb hot and cold temperature, releasing as needed. Outlast® technology, originally developed for NASA, utilizes phase change materials that absorb, store and release heat for optimal thermal comfort.

This technology has the ability to:

  • Actively absorb and store excess heat, helping to reduce overheating
  • Allow the child to stay at a balanced temperature and prevent chilling during the cooler months; if the child’s skin temperature drops, the stored heat is released
  • Reduce perspiration so the child stays drier and more comfortable

The thermal image below shows the difference in body temperature after 30 minutes of sitting in the same style carseat – one with OUTLAST®  fabric and one with regular fabric. If you live in a warm climate or just have a kid who is a sweatbox – this technology will help keep your kiddo feeling comfortable all year round.

Evenflo Symphony Platinum - Martina Evenflo Symphony Platinum - Emerson Evenflo OUTLAST thermal-image

Symphony Elite – Available at Amazon. Modesto (Blue) and Paramount (Black) fashions are the newest Symphony Elite fashions available on Amazon.com. These new fashions include the buckle pockets feature. Ocala (Red) & Porter (Green) do NOT have the buckle pockets feature.

Evenflo Symphony Elite - Modesto Evenflo Symphony Elite - Paramount

Evenflo Symphony - Ocala Evenflo Symphony-DLX-Porter

Evenflo Symphony DLX/Elite Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs, 19-37″ tall, top of the child’s head is at least 1″ below the top of the headrest in either of its two lowest positions
  • Forward-facing with 5-point harness:  22-65 lbs, at least 1 year old, height of 50″ tall or less (shoulders must be at or below top harness position and top of ears must be below the top of CR headrest)
  • Booster mode: 40-110 lbs, at least 4 years old, height 43.3 – 57″ (top of ears must be below the top of CR headrest)

Features:

  • Evenflo SureLATCH connectorAll-in-One (Rear-Facing/Forward-Facing/Booster)
  • Infinite Slide harness system easily adjusts to the perfect height for your child
  • 5-position adjustable headrest (bottom 2 positions for rear-facing)
  • 3 recline positions (1 position for RF, 2 for FF)
  • SureLATCH lower anchor connectors
  • “e3″ Side-Impact Protection – thick, energy-absorbing EPP foam lines the deep headwings
  • Buckle Pockets (on some models)
  • Dual integrated cup holders
  • FAA approved for use in aircraft (with harness)
  • LATCH attachments can still be used in booster mode
  • 8 year lifespan before expiration

Measurements:

  • Lowest harness height: 7.5″
  • Highest harness height: 17″
  • 1 crotch strap buckle position: 6.5″
  • Booster Mode: 19″ to shoulder belt guide in highest headrest position
  • Rear-facing internal height measurement (with headrest in 2nd position): 23″
  • Widest measurement point (at cup holders): 20″
  • Weight: 19.8 lbs. (according to my digital bathroom scale)

Installation Comments:

Another Angle of Protection- Fighting the Internal Invaders

Well, it’s here. All across the country hospitals officially declared flu season a few weeks ago. Hopefully all of you out there have remained healthy, but for those of you who have succumbed to the monster known as influenza, you know how awful it can make you feel and how it can put you out of commission for awhile. Some years are worse than others, with last year being a particularly mild season for the flu. We are definitely starting out with a bang this year, with the hospitals here in North Carolina filled to the max. Every year the formulation of the flu shot is developed based on current and past trends/mutations of the virus and obviously, like any human prediction, has some room for error. This year is one of those years, and the results are thousands of us across the nation laying on our couches in a grumpy, fever induced stupor.

Coming in contact with 15+ flu positive patients a week? Yeah, this mask is becoming my latest fashion accessory.  Being able to see facial expressions on your nurse is overrated anyway.

Coming in contact with 15+ flu positive patients a week? Yeah, this mask is becoming my latest fashion accessory. Being able to see facial expressions on your nurse is overrated anyway.

So what is the flu? I mean we all know what it is in general, but do you really KNOW? It’s very common to hear people with a stuffy nose say they have the flu. Then those of you who have actually had the flu want to punch them because you WISH the flu was simply a stuffy nose and feeling run down. Then there’s the term “stomach flu”. That is not influenza and I’m really not sure where that term came from. There are three types of influenza: type A, B, and C. Influenza A is the virus responsible for the epidemics that hit this time of year. Symptoms include sudden onset high fevers, chills, body aches, sore throat, and sometimes kids can complain of tummy aches and/or vomit due to the high fever.  For the majority of us, it’s something that can knock us down for a week or two and make us feel like a wrung out rag, but we emerge on the other end unscathed. For those who are very young, very old, immunocompromised, and those with respiratory conditions it can be dangerous and warrant a hospital stay. Tamiflu is a an antiviral medication that is effective in disrupting the virus, but it is time sensitive and most of us are stubborn and don’t visit the doctor till it’s too late for Tamiflu (hey, I’m a nurse and therefore only go to the doctor if I’m actively dying so I totally get it).

Flu is spread by droplets in the air and on surfaces. They come from our body when we cough/sneeze/talk and enter the bodies of others when they contact these droplets. We all know the basic ways to prevent getting sick. Handwashing, staying clear of ill people (duh), getting plenty of sleep, and eating healthy food. Once you are sick, your doctor will tell you to drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest. But there are some other unconventional preventatives and treatments out there that may be worth a try.

-Elderberry: Elderberry is a plant that grows berries that may decrease inflammation in the body and boost the immune system. This reportedly can help you defeat the flu faster. It can be bought in syrup or gummy forms over the counter as a supplement, or some people prefer to make their own. I’m lazy and will never be standing in my kitchen brewing up a batch of elderberry so gummies it is. And hey, they taste like candy so whatever.

-Honey: Since this is a safety site the first thing I’m going to say is please don’t give honey to children under a year old. For those over 12 months, honey is an excellent and soothing remedy for coughs and sore throats. It is also said to boost the immune system and contains antibacterial properties. We actually use honey at my hospital in wounds with great success. Plus, it’s tasty!

-Bone broth: Yep, from bones. Not your mama’s chicken noodle.This is a very nutrient dense food. It contains tons of minerals essential to allowing your body to heal. It’s also easy to eat when you probably don’t feel like eating.

-Saline: Good ol’ salt and water are good for so many things. Gargling with salt water not only soothes sore throats, it breaks up the thick disgusting mucus that builds up back there and rinses it away.

-Steam: We all know a hot shower can do wonders for congestion but consider making a steam tent on the stove. Boil a pot of water and then remove it from the burner (and turn the burner off so you don’t set your head on fire please). Put a towel over your head so it creates a tent while you hold your face in the steam.

 

Hopefully the flu has not barged into your house. But if it has, take care of yourself. And if it hasn’t, well, wash those hands and quit licking shopping carts because it’s going to be knocking at your door for the next 3 months. Good luck!

 

Clek Fllo Convertible Carseat Review: Cool, Hip—Dare I Say, Royal?

fllo-flamingoInnovators in carseat coolness, Clek doesn’t disappoint with its latest to the convertible seat lineup: Fllo. Fllo will always be the princess to Queen Foonf, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t mighty in her own right. Both have abundant safety features to keep your child’s crown safe. Read on to find out what makes Fllo majestic in her own right.

Weight and Height Limits

Rear-facing: 14-50 lbs., 25-43”, able to sit upright alone, head is at least 1” below top of headrest

Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., 30-49”; age 1 minimum, age 2+ recommended

Fllo Overview

  • Retails for about $70 less than Foonf; the Fllo is typically $379 or less at Amazon.
  • Optional steel anti-rebound bar designed to limit rebound in the aftermath of a crash
  • Built-in lockoffs for both rear- and forward-facing
  • Rigid sub-structure: Fllo has a steel sub-structure that prevents twisting in a crash
  • Structural headrest: headrest is lined with energy absorbing foam and connected to seat frame with steel rods
  • Energy absorbing foam both inside and outside the frame of the carseat
  • Designed for extended rear-facing: designed to accommodate rear-facing kids to age 4
  • Recline adjustable based on child’s weight
  • Adjustable crotch strap: crotch strap has 2 different lengths and 2 different positions to accommodate bigger kidsEACT
  • EACT Safety System: The Energy Absorbing Crumple Technology Safety System is an aluminum honeycomb that sits under the child, designed to absorb crash forces.
  • Narrow footprint: Fllo is one of the narrowest convertibles currently on the market
  • Crypton Super Fabrics: 8 Crypton covers that are waterproof, wipe clean, and resist bacteria; Crypton is also GREENGUARD Select Certified and free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants (Drift not included)
  • FAA-approved

 

fllo-driftfllo-inkfllo-shadowfllo-slatefllo-tankfllo-thunderfllo-flamingo

fllo-tokidoki-all-overfllo-tokidoki-rebel

Fllo Measurements