Countdown to Amazon Prime Day – is 7/15 the new Black Friday?

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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (with no wifi), chances are you’ve seen the hype about Amazon’s PRIME DAY on 7/15. Next week Amazon turns 20 and Prime Day is going to be the biggest birthday celebration ever! Amazon claims there will be more deals than Black Friday. Or maybe they should say more deals than Cyber Monday since you won’t be lining your shopping cart with barbed wire to protect your items from those innocent-looking old ladies who will lift that tablet right out of your cart the moment you turn your back.

If you’re not a Prime member already, you might seriously want to consider signing up before this event starts on midnight Pacific time on 7/15.  This is important because only Prime Members will be able to take advantage of the special Prime Day sales being offered. If you’re not sure that you want to commit to the $99 yearly Prime membership fee, Amazon is offering a 30-day free Prime trial. You can even give someone the gift of a Prime Membership if you have a special occasion coming up.

If you’re wondering if Prime is really worth it, I can tell you without any hesitation that it is. The money I save just on everyday pantry items that are staples for my family makes my Prime membership pay for itself every year. Plus, the fact that I can do all the shopping I need to do in my jammies at 11:00 PM (wiper blades for the van, BBQ grill mats, food for the guinea pigs, my favorite hand soap that I can’t find locally, these 1-minute Barilla pasta things that my teenager is addicted to, a new shower curtain liner and these tan towels that claim they will make me look good naked), and have those items delivered to my door by a cute guy wearing brown shorts in just 2 days is PRICELESS.

On Wednesday, July 15, new and existing Prime members will find deals starting at midnight (Pacific time), with new deals starting as often as every ten minutes. You can shop thousands of Lightning Deals, seven popular Deals of the Day and receive unlimited fast, free shipping.

You can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll be on top of all the best deals in carseats, boosters, strollers and other popular baby gear so check CarseatBlog.com for updates after midnight and throughout the 24 hour period. We’ll be updating our site frequently as we identify all the really good deals on the popular products that people actually want. Also, please keep in mind that you support our work here at CarseatBlog.com when you make your Amazon purchases through one of our links. It doesn’t cost you anything and it doesn’t matter whether you purchase a carseat, a toothbrush or guinea pig food – your support helps to defray the costs of running this website and allows us to continue bringing you all the best reviews, industry news and child passenger safety related resources. Thank you!

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Volvo Concept Car: Keep Your Kid in the Console

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At the Shanghai Auto Show, Volvo revealed it’s new Flagship “Excellence” model based on the XC90. The XC90 Excellence eliminates the third row to create more luxurious and roomy seating. The reclining rear seats come with massage and ventilation. Volvo also created a lounge console concept for this model by eliminating the front passenger seat in favor of a handy console. Although still a concept, this console was designed for executives or socialites on the go: It can hold jewelry and valuables, transforms into a desk or vanity (great for productivity—maybe not so great in a crash), holds shoes, and contains a full-size screen for “infotainment.”

Volvo_XC90_Excellence_Lounge_Console volvo-xc90-lounge-console-concept-mirror

volvo-xc90-excellence-child-seat-concept-1More interesting to us, though, is the version of the console that also holds a Volvo-designed infant seat. The seat swivels so parents can easily load the child or attend to his needs while standing outside the car. The seat then locks into a rear-facing position, much like the Orbit Infant Seat. With no seatback, a parent sitting in the second row can easily interact with the child during the ride.

volvo-xc90-excellence-child-seat-concept-2The first question on everyone’s mind: What about airbags??? Airbags can be deadly to a rear-facing child in the front seat. No need to worry (much) though: This model doesn’t have a front passenger airbag. It should be noted that the rear seat is still considered the safest place for a child, but the absence of an airbag does make the front seat an acceptable option, and putting rear-facing children in the front seat is a common practice in some countries where the frontal airbag can be easily disabled.

No word yet on whether the infant seat can be replaced later with a rear-facing convertible, which would certainly make for a longer-lasting solution.

You won’t find these cars in the U.S. anytime soon—if ever. Right now the child-seat model is just a concept, and it was designed with the Chinese market in mind, specifically the segment of the market that makes use of chauffeurs (hence all the cool stuff you can do from the back seat).

What do you think? If this car were available in the U.S., would you want one?

Are You Making These Carseat Mistakes?

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MaggieMargeDriveMost parents think, “I got this,” when they look at a carseat. I mean, really, it’s just some straps that go over your kid, right? Everyone who has a kid has to use a carseat, and we all know there are some parents out there barely qualified to have kids in the first place who are able to get from point A to point B and keep their offspring alive, so it’s not rocket science, right? Wrong. Sometimes we make mistakes that we look back on and say, “I can’t believe my child survived my parenting!” It’s a saying in our house that we’re not saving for college; we’re saving for the therapists’ bills, lol. Let’s look at some very common carseat mistakes and see their simple fixes so your offspring can ride safely enough to make it to college… or therapy sessions—whichever way your family sways.

Loose Installation

Whether using the lower LATCH connectors or the seat belt for installation, your carseat moves more than 1” when you give a tug at the belt path. Make sure you tug at the belt path only; that’s the only place where the carseat is connected to the vehicle. If you check for tightness anywhere else on the carseat, it’s going to move more than 1″. There’s nothing holding it to the car there, right?

Let’s define “tug”. A tug is like a firm handshake or a shake on a shoulder that doesn’t move someone’s head back and forth (heh, you don’t want to give them whiplash). You use your non-dominant hand to give this tug so you’re not tempted to shake the rivets out of the seat.

correct incorrect

Can’t Lock the Seat Belt (Loose Installation Corollary)

Sometimes your installation is loose because you can’t figure out how to lock your seat belt to keep it tight on the carseat. Seat belts lock either at the retractor or at the latchplate. All model year 1996 and newer vehicles must have locking seat belts and some vehicles manufactured before 1996 have them as well. The retractor spools up all the length of the belt and is hidden inside the wall of the vehicle or inside the vehicle seat back. At least 90% of all modern vehicles have switchable retractors that can lock the seatbelt to hold a carseat tightly in place.

This is how you test for a switchable retractor: Pull the shoulder belt portion of the seat belt out of the retractor slowly and smoothly until you reach the end and can’t pull it out any further. Then feed a few inches of the belt back into the retractor. You may hear a ratcheting sound as the seatbelt feeds back into the retractor in the locked mode (although some retractors are very quiet most will make a noticeable clicking sound once they are switched into locked mode). Stop after feeding a few inches of the belt back in and try to pull it back out again. If it won’t come back out, it’s locked and now you know that this seat belt has a switchable retractor that you must switch to the locked mode if you are installing a carseat in this seating position.

Other seat belts lock at the latchplate (male end of the seat belt). These are mostly found on Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles. To see if your seat belt locks in these vehicles, buckle the seat belt and pull up on the lap belt. If it holds tight, your latchplate locks.

lightweight locking latchplate

If you can’t get your seat belt to lock because your car was made before 1996, you have to use either a carseat with a built-in lockoff or a locking clip. If you want to read more about locking clips, you can click here. Lockoffs that are built into certain carseats are much easier to use than a locking clip and worth the extra price. Read about which carseats have lockoffs here.

Loose Harness

Yeah, you can’t just buckle the harness, it has to be snug on the kid or they’ll go flying out of the seat. If you can take a pinch of the harness above the chest clip, the harness is too loose so pull it tighter.

Pinch Test

Chest Clip or Belly Clip?

You know those plastic pieces that clip together across the kid’s middle? That’s called a chest clip. Some carseat manufacturers’ get all uppity and call it a harness retainer clip. Call it what does and where it goes and you’ll never forget! Chest clip. The top of the chest clip is placed at the armpits. Any higher and it’s at the kid’s throat, especially for babies. Any lower and it may not be able to do its job as a pre-crash positioner.

chest clips

Trusting Your Pediatrician for Carseat Advice

Do the initials “CPST” follow your pediatrician’s MD after his name? If not, he’s not qualified to give you carseat advice. Just like I’m not qualified to give you medical advice on your child’s rash (gee, that really does look like Ichthyosis en confetti—you should have that checked out), your ped is not qualified to give you advice on vehicle safety matters. Between charting, keeping up with ever-changing youth medicine, and making hospital rounds, most peds simply don’t have the time to keep up with the dynamic field of child passenger safety unless it’s a special interest. That’s why you come to us for answers on vehicle safety.

Turning Forward Too Soon

You may not admit it online, but turning your wee one forward before age 2 is really dangerous. I’ve heard all the arguments in my 14½ years of tech-ing: my child’s legs hurt because they’re scrunched, my best-friend’s-mother-in-law’s-phlebotomist’s-daughter’s-pediatrician told her to turn her son forward at 9 months because of a risk of hip injury, my child has to be able to see the DVD screen we spent top-dollar for, and so on. The truth is, if you turn your kid forward before age 2, *you’re* the one who is uncomfortable with the idea of rear-facing, not your child. Studies and years of rear-facing children have shown that rear-facing is not only safe, it’s loads safer for kids.

It’s so important to rear-face your toddler that two carseat manufacturers now mandate it, at least for some of their carseat models. Britax requires a 2-year and 25 lbs. minimum on all of their forward-facing harness-2-booster seats. And Dorel, parent company of Cosco, Safety 1st, and Eddie Bauer, says that your kids must be 2 before they can be turned forward-facing in several of their new convertible seats. I’m not pulling your leg—it’s right there in the manual.

NEXT manual

Commercials on TV claim that the best way to start your baby’s life is to use the best diapers or best formula (if you can’t breastfeed, of course). We feel the very best thing you can do for your kid in the child passenger safety world is to use an appropriate carseat or booster on every single ride. After the infant seat is outgrown, continue to rear-face your child until they reach the rear-facing height or weight limit of their convertible carseat. And install the seat tightly. And tighten the harness appropriately. And make sure the chest clip is properly placed. The crazy thing about kids and carseats is that there are so many things that can go wrong with them that we need an entire profession to help parents get it right! I remember making some of these mistakes—and more. Aye yi yi. It’s amazing we’re all still here.

Britax B-Safe 35 Elite Infant Carseat Review – The New Generation of Britax Safety

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Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - cowmooflageThe B-Safe 35 Elite is the newest rear-facing only infant carseat from Britax USA. Don’t confuse this new model with the original B-Safe model. The Britax B-Safe 35 Elite is a completely different seat which shares the same platform as the newly released B-Safe 35 model but offers a no-rethread harness feature not found on the standard B-Safe 35 model. For more info on the B-Safe 35 (non-elite) model, see our full review here.

Britax B-Safe 35 Elite Specs & Features:

  • Rear-facing only: 4-35 lbs.; 32″ or less (1″ rule also applies)
  • No-rethread harness with 6 height positions
  • SafeCell Impact Absorbing Base
  • Enhanced side-impact protection
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions (use inner position for babies under 11 lbs. and outer position once baby weighs more than 11 lbs.)
  • 5 position adjustable base with lockoffs for simple seatbelt installations
  • Premium push-on lower LATCH connectors
  • Energy-absorbing EPS and EPP foam
  • Handle can be in any of the 4 locked positions in the vehicle
  • Large canopy
  • Easy to remove cover
  • FAA approved for use in an airplane (carrier only – base cannot be used on the plane)
  • 6 year lifespan before expiration

Extra B-Safe 35 Elite bases are available for $99.99

2015 B-Safe 35 Elite Fashions 

Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - Vibe Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - cactus green Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - cowmooflageBritax B-Safe 35 Elite - red pepper center  Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - domino

Each B-Safe 35 Elite comes with a lower body newborn insert (optional for babies 4-11 lbs.), a buckle cover and harness strap covers. The buckle cover and harness strap covers are entirely optional.  If used, the infant insert cushion should be removed when the baby weighs more than 11 lbs.

Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - inserts

B-Safe 35 Elite Measurements:

  • 6 harness height positions
  • Lowest harness height with lower body insert: approximately 5.5″
  • Highest harness height setting: 11.5″
  • Crotch strap/buckle positions: 4″, 6″
  • Internal shell height:  20.5″
  • Width of base at beltpath: 9″
  • Width of base at widest point: 14″
  • Width of carrier at widest point: 17.5″ from the outside of the handle
  • Carrier weight: 11.4 lbs. (according to my digital scale)

Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - naked Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - naked Britax B-Safe 35 Elite - naked

Fit-to-Vehicle