We love all your comments, in response to our blogs, our Facebook updates and at www.Car-Seat.Org forum threads too! Most manufacturers read them as well, and they do appreciate both praise and also realistic suggestions and constructive criticism, too;-)
We do note that we seem to be developing a bit of a reputation among companies as having a lot of negative commentary on our product updates. I would like to remind all of our readers that there are a lot of great people that work at the child safety seat manufacturers who have families and young kids that use their products as well. Everything is a tradeoff in a new product. You simply can’t have everything (or even most things) and even if you could, it would be priced at thousands of dollars. I can’t imagine how depressing it is for people on a development team to bring a new product to a show and then read nasty comments about it even before it hits the shelves and people have tried it.
Heather, Kecia and I don’t like everything about every new product, either. Believe me when I tell you that they get a LOT of feedback from us, far more than they probably want, and it gets repeated over and over by other groups here like Safe Kids, Safe Ride News, Carseat Lady and more. On the other hand, we also realize that a lot of these products aren’t aimed at the technicians or advocates. Most serve a niche. Some are low priced, some fit where others don’t, some focus on safety features, while others focus on styling and fashion. That’s a good thing, because more variety means that there is always going to be something that works pretty well for everyone, even if there is no absolutely perfect seat for anyone.
Another thing that is certain is that manufacturers do hear our complaints. Just look at what was available on the market only 10 years ago. I don’t think there was a single extended rear-facing seat like those we have today. High weight harness basically meant one option, the Fisher Price Futura. We were happy to see models that had front harness adjusters, let alone front harness height adjusters. Side impact protection? Not! Consider that the manufacturers might come close to meeting everyone’s preferences if that was all they had to consider. But they also have to consider federal standards that sometimes get in the way. Cost is always an issue, as you don’t want to see them going out of business, either. Having fewer options benefits no child. Plus, meeting the requirements of big retailers isn’t always the same as the requirements of consumers. It’s a tough fight to get shelf space and a lot of compromises are made to do so because those big box retail buyers don’t have even remotely the same concerns as parents do in many cases.
Anyway, we love to see more comments on our blogs and posts. We love the great feedback about potential flaws and suggestions for improvements. But before leaving a “OMG Who would buy this ugly junk!” or a “I can’t believe they didn’t include THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and price it for $30!”, please consider that people just like you are working hard at their jobs (many in the USA and Canada) to improve carseats and in general, they’ve done a tremendous job over the years at making vastly improved products in terms of safety, ease-of-use, style and really just about everything. That product that doesn’t appeal to you might well appeal to someone else and it will almost certainly save the life of a child when used correctly (or even somewhat correctly!).
Stay tuned for today’s update with all the stuff we didn’t cover yet and meetings later with Harmony, Orbit, Baby Trend, Kiddy and more!