IMMI Go Combination Carseat Review – Safe & Portable

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

The IMMI Go is a unique seat that provides a solution to some of the most common carseat difficulties. It is portable, easy-to-install and works well in some tight spaces. The same features that make it so great, however, also come with some limitations that make it not the best seat for every child or every vehicle. We hope that this review provides you with all the details you need to determine whether this fantastic seat will be the right seat for you!

The IMMI Go is a combination seat, which means that it combines the features of a forward-facing harnessed seat with the features of a booster. It is important to note that, while most combination seats convert from a forward-facing harnessed seat to a highback booster and then, in some cases, to a backless booster, the IMMI Go converts straight from a harnessed seat to a backless booster, with no available highback booster mode. It is generally recommended that children who are first learning to ride in a booster use a highback booster before switching to a backless booster. A highback booster often provides a better fit for a younger child and helps remind the child to stay in position better than a backless booster. Therefore, while the IMMI Go combines two stages very nicely, those two stages are not necessarily consecutive and so the seat might not be used in the same way as other combination seats. For example, instead of converting the outgrown harnessed seat to a booster and continuing to use it for the same child, a parent might choose to transition the child to a different highback booster and pass the Go down to a younger sibiling.

I bought the seat to use when my daughter turned four and began forward-facing in my in-laws’ car. I wanted something convenient to install and remove, while also being easy to use. I am very happy to say that the Go is fulfilling all those needs for my in-laws and we are even considering buying a second Go for our own car.

Without further ado, let’s get this review started!

IMMI Go Specs:

Forward-Facing with Harness: For use with children between 22-65 lbs (no more than 55 lbs when installed with LATCH) in weight and 31-52″ in height. Harness adjusters must be at or above the child’s shoulders and the top of the child’s ears must be below the vehicle’s seat back or headrest. (Note that while the IMMI Go has an adjustable headrest of its own in harnessed mode, this seat requires vehicular head support in the form of the seat back or headrest.) 

An additional requirement is that the child must also be at least one year old, however it is not the most appropriate seat for a one year-old. The American Academy of Pediatrics, National Highway Transportation Safety Association and other organizations strongly recommended that all children under two years old continue to ride rear-facing until they have outgrown the rear-facing height or weight limitations of their convertible carseat. For more information on why rear-facing is safest for young children, see Why Rear-Facing is Better: Your RF Link Guide.

Backless Booster: For use with children at least four years old and between 40-100 lbs in weight and 43-57″ in height. The top of the child’s ears must be below the vehicle’s seat back or head restraint.

IMMI Go Features:

  • Five-point harness system is attached to a flexible back which can fold up — this means that the use of the top tether is required in order to install the seat in harnessed mode
  • No-rethread harness
  • Energy-absorbing foam in the adjustable headrest
  • 3 crotch buckle positions
  • Premium push-on lower anchor connectors which can also be used in backless booster mode
  • Lightweight and compact — can fit in the overhead bin of an airline
  • 55 lb child weight limit for using the lower anchors in harnessed seat mode
  • 6-year lifespan before expiration
  • Integrated carrying case with padded handle
  • NOT FAA certified for use on an aircraft (because it requires the use of a tether anchor for the harness and a lap-shoulder belt for the booster and airplane seats do not have either of these features)
  • MSRP $199

The IMMI Go folds into its own attached carrying case, complete with a padded carrying handle.

The headrest is lined with energy-absorbing foam measuring about 1 inch in thickness.

Comfort foam lines the seating area to provide supportive cushioning for the tush and thighs.

 

IMMI Go Measurements:

Advertisement

Carseats and Torticollis

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

When I’m not carseating, I work as a physical therapist in a pediatric setting. As you can imagine, there tends to be a lot of overlap with carseats and my “real” job, but you might be surprised to hear that the most common intersection of the two has to do with babies who are born with a tight neck muscle.

Torticollis is a condition where a muscle in one side of the neck gets tight, usually because of the position of the baby in utero. Torticollis tends to cause babies to have a strong preference for rotating the neck in one direction and tilting the head in the other direction. It’s most common in first babies, twins and babies of petite mothers (all because of space constraints in utero). One of the biggest issues that results from torticollis is that babies can end up with an asymmetrically flat head, known as plagiocephaly. For some kids this is mild and it improves on its own; for others, they may require a specially made and adjusted helmet to help the head round out.

In virtually every evaluation for a baby with torticollis and plagiocephaly, parents (understandably) express concern about what, if anything, they can do in the carseat to keep their baby’s head from tilting or rotating. And sometimes they’ve already tried things- usually aftermarket inserts, sometimes wash cloths, when the secret is, you probably don’t need to add anything.

As we know, adding anything to a carseat that didn’t come with the seat (or was not expressly crash tested with the seat and approved by the carseat manufacturer), is generally not a good idea. It will void the carseat warranty, it goes against every manual (which, in most states makes it illegal) and it may potentially result in injury in a crash. So, basically what I’m saying is, even if you’re worried about your baby’s head shape, please don’t put aftermarket products in the carseat. They won’t help much and they may put your child at increased risk.

Truthfully, unless your baby spends hours, like, literal sustained hours each day in a carseat, the seat isn’t really what is causing the flatness to develop. So fear not, the carseat is just fine the way it is. I know that at times seeing baby’s head tilted or rotated in the car can be troubling. But rest assured that a tilt to the side or rotation isn’t unsafe. The only position that is worrisome is if baby’s chin tips down onto its chest, which in small infants can compromise the airway (and is probably a sign that your child’s carseat isn’t reclined enough- find a CPST in your area to have it checked out!).

blanketsIf you’re worried about baby’s head falling to the side, you can try rolled up receiving blankets on either side of baby, placed after baby is buckled. I will be honest that I don’t necessarily love this set up because baby could rotate their head and spend a sustained amount of time with their face in a blanket, but it is a parental decision and if you feel strongly that something needs to be done to keep baby’s head in midline, this is your safest option.

If you want to make sure that baby rotates their head to their non-preferred side, you can definitely make that happen in the carseat. If your seat allows it, and several explicitly don’t, so consult your manual, you can hang a soft toy (like, literally made of a material and so soft you would throw it directly at your child’s head and they wouldn’t be injured) from the handle, offset towards the side you want baby to look. I had one creative parent who tied a few ribbons on the non-preferred side of the handle. They presented no risk to baby, but were bright and got baby to rotate his head that way. Other options include, if you have another backseat passenger that baby will like to look at, seat that person on baby’s non-preferred side. Or if baby is not sitting in the middle seat, and you can get a good installation and feel comfortable with baby outboard, place their seat so that they have to look towards their non-preferred side to see out the nearest window.

Most of all, any baby, but especially a baby with torticollis, will benefit from the least possible amount of awake time in any baby device that puts pressure on baby’s head like a swing, bouncy seat, cradle or carseat. Babies need a lot of floor time when they’re awake so they have room to learn to roll and sit and crawl and they especially need time on their tummy to strengthen their necks, which will help correct torticollis.

If you think your baby may have torticollis or plagiocephaly, talk to your pediatrician about it and see if a referral to a physical therapist in your area might be appropriate. And if you’re worried about carseat positioning with a baby with torticollis and/or plagiocephaly, find a CPST near you to check your set up and see if there’s anything else that can be done to keep baby safe and keep baby’s head nice and round.

Cheap Portable Carseats: Don’t Believe the Hype

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

A few years ago we brought you a “review” of an illegal foreign car seat to explain why people shouldn’t buy them. Seats like these would pop up now and then but were mostly off our radar for a long time…until recently. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen dozens of references to them, so we felt it was time for another post, this time debunking many of the claims and explaining the various ways these seats do not meet federal safety regulations.

What is it?

One problem in determining exactly what’s wrong with these seats is that there are so many different versions of them, each with slightly different descriptions. It’s also impossible to actually contact a manufacturer to ask questions because no manufacturer information is listed anywhere (which is, in itself, a violation of U.S. standards…but we’ll get to that in a minute).

First, we need to determine what category of child restraint these things are. They’re marketed as a harnessed car seat: Attach the restraint to your seat, buckle in your kid, and go! The thing is, harnessed child restraints are required to be installed with either a seatbelt or with LATCH. This “restraint” doesn’t include lower anchor straps or a tether strap, and it’s “installed” with some straps and rings, not with a seatbelt at all. So if it is, indeed, meant to act as a 5-point child restraint, it’s automatically out of compliance because it doesn’t install with LATCH or a seatbelt.

Sometimes the listings and/or paltry instructions that come with the seats also say that you also should/must buckle the seatbelt around the child. In that case, the seat is actually functioning like a booster seat or a wearable harness, both of which have their own requirements that these products do not meet.

Since inconsistencies keep us from actually determining what the heck these things even are, let’s explore some other issues.

Either Way, There are Problems

From a regulatory standpoint, it matters whether this thing is meant to be used with a seatbelt or not. From a practical standpoint, there are problems either way.

This crash test, which we shared in our other review, shows what happens when the seat is used without a seatbelt:

I don’t have a crash test of the seat used with the seatbelt, but I do have a video showing the likely issues this seat has in restraining a child, with or without one:

Placement in the car

What the ads won’t tell you—but the “instructions” might—

2017 Lifesavers Conference Highlights

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

Baby Trend:

Newborn/preemie positioning insert now available. New BabyTrend infant seats will ship with this extra insert made from EPP foam in a separate bag (with instructions). Seats that come with the insert will be rated down to 4 lbs. since the insert will provide better harness fit on smaller babies.

   

Britax:

Beginning in July, all ClickTight convertible carseats will be shipping with the harness hip straps on the longer setting. The updated manuals will instruct parents using the convertibles for infants less than 11 lbs. to change the harness length to the shorter loops on the ends.

Frontier and Pinnacle Harness-2-Booster seats will also see an update this summer as a new LATCH storage panel is included to keep the lower connectors out of the way of the ClickTight panel.

Red stitching on the rip-stitch tether on the right side of the top back of the carseats will now be visible. As long as it isn’t frayed, pulled apart, or visibly broken, this is normal.

Chicco:

More Fit2 fashions coming in July when it goes to other retailers (currently Fit2 is a BRU exclusive).

Luxe” fashions on KeyFit Zip, NextFit IX Zip & KidFit Zip has leatherette punched trim.

   

NextFit IX shipping now; 9-position headrest (same bottom and top harness heights but each position is a smaller increment); new slide-style lockoffs

Diono:

Monterey booster has been updated. Now shares the same base as Cambria booster. It has a 6 year expiration; manual has a misprint showing 8 years in one place. MSRP $99.99

Dorel:

Finale combination seat arriving late summer/fall 2017

30-65 lbs. with harness; 40-100 lbs. in booster mode
Harness slots: 13″, 15″, 17″; buckle slot 6″
17″ wide at base, 18″ wide at shoulders
Will be available at Target & Walmart. $49-$59

 

Evenflo/Cybex/GB:

Cybex Sirona M Convertible: ETA is currently Fall 2017. See our preview HERE.

 

ALL Evenflo seats are now Rollover Tested!

Lyf+Guard SIP now available on 3 seats:

SensorSafe Technology now available on 3 seats:

Graco: