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Graco Milestone All-In-1 Carseat Unboxing & Giveaway – The Blogiversary Celebration Continues

This week, we’ve partnered with our generous sponsor, Graco, to offer one brand new Milestone All-in-1 (rear-facing, forward-facing, high-back booster seat) in a choice of available colors.

The Graco Milestone All-in-One carseat is currently available at Target for $229.99 and Walmart for $229.00.

Specs & Features:

  • Features: No re-thread harness, 4 recline positions, push-on lower LATCH anchor connectors
  • Rear-Facing: 5-40 lbs.
  • Forward Facing with Harness: 20-65 lbs., 49″ or less, at least 1 year old
  • Booster Mode: 30 – 100 lbs., 38-57″, at least 3 years old
  • Dimensions: 29.0 ” H x 20.0 ” W x 22.0 ” D
  • Weight: 20.3 Lb.

Product Description

Graco’s® Milestone™ All-in-1 Car Seat grows with your child. It’s three seats in one, for comfort at every stage! It’s a rear-facing (5-40 lbs.) and a forward-facing (20-65 lbs.) car seat, and belt-positioning booster (30-100 lbs.). Thanks to the Simply Safe Adjust™ Harness System, you’ll adjust the harness and headrest together, for an always-right fit. The 4-position recline keeps your child comfortable, while the InRight™ LATCH system makes installation easy with a one-second attachment. The seat is side-impact tested and SafeSeat Engineered, giving you peace of mind. With loads of safety features, Milestone is an obvious car seat choice!

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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

Winner must have a USA shipping address to claim the prize.  Only one prize will be awarded, choice of colors will be limited to those in stock at Graco Baby at the time the contest closes.

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 September 2, 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 7 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.

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Recaro ProSport Recall: What to Do for Owners

Recaro ProSportToday NHTSA issued a recall of the Recaro Prosport, following a non-compliance notice issued in April. We have more details about the performance related non-compliance issue in our earlier blog.  The details of the recall notice from NHTSA can be found here.  Affected are all 39,181 Recaro ProSport model #385 child restraints, manufactured from June 16, 2010, through January 31, 2013.  Recaro will notify registered owners and will provide, at no cost, a label to affix over the existing information label and a complete set of new instructions informing owners to discontinue use of the LATCH system when the weight of the child reaches 40 pounds. The campaign is expected to begin during August 2014. Owners may contact Recaro at 1-888-973-2276.

ProSport II and Performance Sport models are NOT affected, as we are told these newer models were introduced after a design change effective from February 1, 2013. The updated Performance Sport model continues to be one of our Recommended Carseats.

If you are a current ProSPORT owner, we suggest taking the following steps to ensure that your child is well protected in a crash until you receive an official recall notification/remedy from Recaro:

  • DO NOT use the lower LATCH anchors for installation above 40 pounds
  • DO read the instruction manual and labels that came with your ProSport (or any updated replacements sent by Recaro) and make sure you are installing it correctly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • DO tether the seat at all times, Recaro now recommends that you ALWAYS use the top tether when using the ProSPORT with a 5-point harness*
  • DO install the seat with a lap/shoulder seatbelt if your child weighs more than 40 lbs.
  • DO register your seat with Recaro or update your registration information if you have moved since you first bought the seat.

* Previously Recaro USA limited top tether use to 52 pounds.  I have confirmed that, “There is an official change that allows tether use up to the maximum weight limits of the RECARO combination seat models unless there is a top tether load limit stated in the vehicle manual from the vehicle manufacturer. RECARO also recommends always using the top tether with a forward-facing seat using an internal harness, and this would be retroactive.”  Please contact Recaro USA for additional guidance on this issue.

Recaro USA makes the following statement:

Dear Valued RECARO ProSPORT Owner,

This notice is in accordance with the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. RECARO Child Safety, LLC has determined that the RECARO ProSPORT child restraints manufactured from June 16th, 2010 to January 31st, 2013 fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 571.213 Child Restraint Systems. Our records indicate that you have either submitted registration for, or contacted our customer service team, regarding a ProSPORT manufactured in this period.

The ProSPORT failed to meet required head excursion limits set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) when tested with a 52 pound, 6-year old dummy and installed with a LATCH belt only, no top tether. Not using the top tether could result in an increased risk of head impact in the event of a crash and also contradicts the ProSPORT instruction manual that came with your child restraint.

In this repair kit, you will find a label, instructions on how to affix the label, and a new instruction manual to repair your child restraint. The label and instruction manual advise you not only to ALWAYS use the top tether when using the ProSPORT with a 5-point harness, but also to discontinue using the lower anchors/LATCH strap when your child reaches 40 pounds. The combined weight of your child and the ProSPORT should not exceed 65 pounds when using lower anchors, as newly required by NHTSA in the FMVSS 213 standard for seats manufactured after February 27th, 2014. Discontinuing the use of LATCH when your child reaches 40 pounds updates your older ProSPORT to the new 2014 FMVSS 213 standard, and eliminates the risk posed by installation with LATCH belt only, no tether

If you have any questions regarding the recall or this repair kit, please email info-usa@recaro-cs.com or call our customer service team at 1-888-9RECARO.

If you would like to submit a complaint to the Administrator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you can reach them by mail at 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590, by phone at1-888-327-4236, or via the web at http://www.safercar.gov.

Sincerely,
RECARO Child Safety, LLC

2014-2015 Honda Accord Review Video: Kids, Carseats and Safety

Top Ten Likes:

  1. IIHS Top Safety Pick+ with Frontal Crash Warning
  2. NHTSA 5-star Overall Rating
  3. Competent handling and braking
  4. Standard backup cam and bluetooth hands-free
  5. LX trim is a bargain with great fuel economy
  6. V6 has good fuel economy and strong performance
  7. Great driver visibility
  8. LaneWatch is an improved side mirror
  9. Good ride comfort and relatively quiet
  10. Roomy trunk

Top Dislikes:

  1. Outboard rear seat side bolsters will be a problem with some carseats
  2. Lower LATCH anchors more difficult than average to access
  3. Advanced safety features only on EX-L and Touring trim
  4. Ho-hum exterior styling
  5. Gauges and controls not the easiest to read
  6. Touch screen system not the most intuitive in Touring trim
  7. Quirks: Collision warning sensor makes front grille asymmetric

Conclusion:

The new Accord (refreshed in 2013) is an excellent midsize family sedan overall.  While not exciting to drive, it is fairly roomy and provides a quiet, comfortable ride.  I particularly like that Honda puts essential features like backup cameras and hands-free bluetooth in the base models that are readily available in dealer lots with great lease and financing deals.  Competitive models often cram these in more expensive packages that can be harder to find.  For fitting kids in back, the Accord will be a good choice for most families, though a few carseats will be problematic with the way the outboard rear seats are designed with side bolsters to improve comfort for adult passengers.

Really, the only major downside might be the styling.  It’s fine if you like conservative looks, but definitely not as sleek as the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata or aggressive like the Ford Fusion we also like.

Honda provided the Accord used in this review.  No other compensation was provided and all opinions are our own.

A Rental Car Adventure

We sometimes rent a minivan while on vacation.  Most of the time, it’s uneventful.  Rent.  Drive.  Return.  No problems, no hassles.  A year ago, we flew to Sarasota for beach time at our favorite vacation destination on Anna Maria Island.  We got a good deal through Costco from a popular rental car enterprise.  But last year, it went differently.  Rent.  Drive. Return.  Hassle.  Hassle. Hassle.  Hassle. Hassle.  Hassle. Hassle.  Hassle. Hassle.  Hassle. Hassle.  Hassle.  12 months of Hassle.

It’s a very, very long story, but I’ll try to make it just plain long.  When we returned the van, an agent with amazing eyesight spotted a small paint scrape under the coating of dirt.  It was literally less than the size of a dime on the front bumper, likely from someone getting too close in a parking lot.  He deemed it to be over $250 to repair, therefore they would need me to go to the counter for an hour to fill out forms in triplicate and pay the deposit.

The next few months spawned an epic in incompetence by the rental car agency’s “Damage Recovery Unit”.  I was eventually assigned a case manager, “Jeff”.  His job was apparently a pretty easy one: to ignore almost all correspondence completely.  I imagine the case manager at my credit card company had the same issue, as they’d often tell me I needed to make sure the rental car agency had received their information and payments because they could not get any response.

The best part was when the all powerful DRU sent photos to my credit card company.  It was obviously an entirely different vehicle, as the damage was extensive all the way down to the lower ground effects on the front end.   Since I had no proof, I opted not to make an issue of it and hope the credit card insurance would handle it.  They did.  Ultimately, they paid $800 to the rental car agency, presumably negotiated down from the requested amount.  I thought it was over.

Months later,  I received a check for $250 from the rental car agency.  I had no idea what it was for.  I emailed a few times, but no response from the case manager, as usual.  A couple months later, I cash the check.  A couple months after that, I finally hear from my case manager at the DRU.  He demanded $250 from me, claiming I owed a return of the deposit refund check I had been sent.  He says the credit card agency had contested the original deposit and never paid it.  I wondered why they even sent the check so many months later if they knew this.  So, I asked for any proof of the charge and reversal, along with an invoice that indicated the claim would be paid in full and closed upon my payment.  You guessed it.  No response.  I emailed again a couple weeks later, no response.  Then again, this time, with “Urgent Status” and “Return Receipt”.  I did get the receipt, but never a response.  And again a few weeks ago for the last time.

I didn’t want to get on the rental car black list (Google it), so the last email was copied to the “claimfeedback” email included in their auto-responses.  I was quite surprised that I quickly received an apologetic email and a phone call.  This agent was friendly and responsive and within an hour had confirmed I owed them no money and emailed me a letter indicating the claim was paid in full.  She apologized for the obvious lack of communication from the other agent.

caravanSo, yeah.  Told you it would be long.   But at least I did learn something.  Even if you have primary credit card insurance that pays before your own personal auto insurance, don’t dismiss the rental car agency’s damage waiver if it isn’t too expensive.  It’s widely regarded as a waste of money, and I’m sure that is usually true, but $10 a day for a few days could save you a huge amount of time and hassle.  Which, of course, is what they want.  Second, take good quality photos of your rental car, when you pick it up AND when you drop it off.  If the rental car company decides to lie and charge you for damage that wasn’t there, you’ll have what I didn’t have: proof!  And don’t worry that it might inconvenience the agent at pickup or dropoff for a few minutes if you want a video, too.  Because if you have any damage, I assure you the DRU will have no problem making it an inconvenience for you!

If it’s any consolation, apparently I’m not alone.

This year we rented from another company that my wife uses for work.  They barely even glanced at the van when we returned it.  I did take photo and video, though, but never needed them, thankfully.  I didn’t buy the damage waiver.  At $40 per day for 7 days, it was just too expensive.