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Mythbusting: Once a 5-stepper, Always a 5-stepper.

While I may not be as intelligent as Jamie Hyneman, or as adorable as Kari Byron, I’ve been recruited back to CarseatBlog after a not-so-brief graduate school hiatus to do a little mythbusting—carseat style. So as a sort of geek-worship homage to Jamie, Adam, and the MythBusters crew—let’s get busting.

Myth #1: Once my child “passes” the 5-step test, they are done with boosters once and for all.

This myth comes straight out of my vast repertoire of personal experience as a mom of four.  This past Friday, I was recruited to drive my husband out of town for work.  While typically we would pile into the family minivan, it was a gorgeous Arizona day and I decided to take my 18 year old son’s little 5-speed Mazda.  Kyle’s little Mazda is great on gas and he has been safely transporting his 11 year old brother without a booster for the last few months, despite Aiden still needing a booster in our Odyssey.  As I reached the front door, I paused for a moment while Aiden’s old Paul Frank Clek Olli caught my eye over in the corner of the livingroom.  Should I…Should I not? It seems like just yesterday that Kecia outlined the 5-Step Test, using my oldest son Kyle as one of her models. Let’s do a quick review…

Kyle - 5-Step

Kyle – Passing the 5-Step Test, Circa 2009

Check…Check…Check…Check…Ut-oh.  While Aiden had been on some great adventures within our lakeside HOA community, his travels in the little Mazda had thus far been limited to a few miles here or there.  As I headed out the door for a two hour trek from Phoenix into Pinal County, I grabbed the trusty Clek Olli. In the minutes prior to arriving at our destination, a black cloud approached that would eventually result in one of the worst dust storms I have ever driven in.  Returning home with two sleeping kids, with highway visibility sometimes limited to 20 or 30 feet and in winds that were clocked at up to 60 miles per hour, I was confident in my decision to re-booster Aiden.  Because Aiden was never promoted to an adult seatbelt, returning to his booster didn’t seem like a demotion, either.

CONFIRMED, PLAUSIBLE, or BUSTED? I think that we can safely say that this myth is BUSTED. While your child may pass all five steps under certain conditions, longer drives, different cars, or other circumstances can change. And even though Aiden fits into the little Mazda seatbelt well, there’s no harm in him continuing to use an appropriately-fitting booster at this point. aidenprotegewm

 

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Peg Perego 4-35 Review: Primo Viaggio Rear Facing Infant Carseat

Italian design meets comfort, plus a good fit for the smallest and largest babies in the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Rear-Facing Infant Carseat.  And not just Italian design, but Italian *made*, which is a big deal in an age when most infant carseats are made in China.  What’s so special?  For starters, you can match it with nearly any of the great Peg Perego strollers without an adapter.  That means an ultra-chic custom travel system with a safe carseat that fits your baby and vehicle, too!  The easy-to-use “Right Tight” lockoff, anti-rebound bars for BOTH carrier & base, and the sharp, breathable fabrics are among the other distinctive features of the Peg “Four Thirty Five.”

Primo Viaggio 4-35 Feature Summary:

  • Rear-facing for babies 4 to 35 lbs. and up to 32” tall, maximum seated height roughly 18.5″
  • Anti-rebound features for installation with and without base
  • PegPerego435RightTightTriZone“Right Tight” easy seatbelt lockoff system (photo, right)
  • Dual Stage inserts fit preemies down to around 4 pounds
  • No-rethread harness height adjustment with 6 positions
  • Side Impact Protection,  EPS foam lined shell and head wings
  • Compatible with most Peg Perego strollers without an adapter
  • Deluxe push-button LATCH connectors
  • Premium breathable fabrics with ventilated shell design
  • Elastic loops keep harness out of the way when loading baby
  • Infinite Recline knob w/Tri-Zone level indicator (photo, right)
  • Large UPF 50+ canopy
  • Certified for use on aircraft
  • 2-year warranty, 7-year lifespan

Primo Viaggio 4-35 Key Measurements:

  • Measured Carrier Weight: ~ 9 pounds
  • Base Weight: ~ 7.5 pounds
  • Base Dimensions: ~ 19″ long, 14.5″ wide maximum at belt path
  • Carrier maximum width: 17″ at handle
  • Minimum Harness Height: ~ 5″ with Stage 1+2 inserts
  • Maximum Harness Height: ~ 11.5″
  • Crotch Strap Depth: ~ 6.5″ without inserts
  • Inside seated head height limit: ~ 18.5″ (Maximum height is ~19.5″ at highest harness adjustment)
  • Interior width: 12-13″

Feature Discussion:

Fashion: Let’s be honest.  When shopping before baby arrives, many parents register at a baby store or internet retailer and often gravitate toward the most fashionable looking products.  We were guilty of that with our first child, though back then “fashion” was navy and white plaid or polka dots.   Thankfully, fashion has come a long way since then!  Many assume all infant seats are created equal as far as safety, so why not get the coolest looking travel system to show off your new bundle of joy?  With the 4-35 Infant Carseat, Peg Perego makes it easy to select among over a dozen stylish fabric options and pair them to a variety of excellent, matching strollers.  From the upscale Alcantara Pearl to basics like Cream and Onyx that will match your vehicle seats.

Want to match your vehicle interior with a little flair and have a reversible stroller?  No problem, select the Switch Four stroller in Pois Black.  Looking for something bolder with an easy folding stroller?  Go for the Book stroller in Flamenco!  Why be stuck with the same travel-system-in-a-box everyone else has, when you can mix and match to your preference and have the best looking baby ride on the block or at the park ;)  pegclimaCollections include the “Taiana,” “Prima Classe,” and “Soft Fabric,” like my Fleur sample.  All of them work with the ventilated shell and foam to keep baby cooler in the summer.  Add the unique thermal slipcover accessory (photo, right) to keep baby even cooler!

Lest you think we recommend carseats mainly on appearance, we are happy to say that the new 4-35 system has a number of great safety and ease-of-use features for us to recommend it as a stand alone infant seat as well.  And we don’t recommend carseats lightly.  It took a lot to improve the previous Peg Perego infant seat lineup to earn our recommendation.  Let’s take a look:

Blogiversary Celebration Giveaway: Diono Rainier – The Next Generation of Radian

Diono Rainier - GraphiteEven though it’s our 6th “Blogiversary”, this celebration isn’t about us – it’s about YOU. We know we’re lucky to have so many awesome readers and followers who all care deeply about keeping kids safe in and around motor vehicles. We want to reward you for supporting us throughout these past 6 years and the best reward we could think of was another incredible giveaway promotion!

This week the Blogiversary Celebration continues with a brand new Rainier Convertible + Booster giveaway in the “Graphite” fashion, courtesy of our generous friends at Diono! The Rainier is the top-of-the-line seat in the brand new convertible+booster lineup from Diono. We have a preview of the Rainier HERE and the complete CarseatBlog review will be coming soon!

The promotion is now closed. Thank you for participating – a winner will be announced soon!

Diono Rainier Specs:

Rear-Facing: 5-50 lbs;  up to 44″ tall; at least 1.5″ of restraint above child’s head

Forward-Facing: 20-90 lbs; 57″ or less; at least 1 year old. *NHTSA recommends that children ride REAR-FACING until reaching either the weight/height limits of the seat.

Booster: 50-120 lbs; over 40″ tall

Diono Rainier - Stock RF Diono Rainier - stock ERF Diono Rainier - stock FF

Diono Rainier Features:

  • 5 sets of harness slots
  • 3 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Aluminum reinforced headrest
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • SafeStop load-limiting device (only use with forward-facing children who weigh less than 40 lbs.)
  • Rear-facing tether capability
  • Heavy-duty SuperLATCH lower anchor connectors
  • Comes with 2 sets of harness strap cover – usage is mandatory (use one set for children under 65 lbs; other set for children over 65 lbs.)
  • FAA certified for use on aircraft
  • Folds flat for travel or storage
  • When used with harness seat has 8 year lifespan before expiration; when used without harness in booster mode seat may be used up to 12 years (4 extra years)

 

Giveaway:

Winner must have a U.S. shipping address.  Hawaii and Alaska are included! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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, in Graphite fashion.

You are not eligible if you have previously won a carseat or any sponsored giveaway at CarseatBlog.comduring 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 August 12, 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.

An Update to our Convertible Carseat Comparison for Compact Cars

Just a note that we have updated our Ultimate Rear-Facing Convertible Carseat Space Comparsion blog.  It’s one of our most popular articles and for good reason!  If you are installing a rear-facing convertible behind the driver or passenger, especially in a compact vehicle, you already know why!  Not all carseats are created equal.  Some take up a lot more room than others and this is a big deal if you are tall or have a small car.  In our chart, we assign a “Space Grade.”  This is not an overall rating of the carseat, but only a guide to show which models may conserve some legroom for front seat passengers or in other vehicle seating positions with limited space.  It is also not an indicator of compatibility for any particular vehicle.

poor MattSo what is it?  It’s a guide to give you an idea of what carseats may be worth trying in small cars or cramped positions.  We carefully measured many popular models, including most from our Recommended Carseats list.  It’s not all inclusive, but we will add more in the future.  New additions include the Clek Foonf, Diono Rainier, Graco 4Ever and Safety 1st Guide 65 among others.  We emphasize that our results only apply to our test vehicle.  Your vehicle will vary, because of the contour of the seat, different geometry or adjustment of the front vehicle seat and head restraint or simply because installations can vary from one person to the next.  So, as always, YMMV! (Your Mileage May Vary)

Viewing on a small phone or device?  Try rotating to landscape mode.

Ultimate Rear-Facing Convertible Carseat Space Comparsion

Thanks to Kecia for all her hard work on this project!  Measurements are subjective and good comparsions usually mean that one person must do most of the dirty work.