This year’s ABC Kids Expo was a little smaller than in years past. A few major manufacturers didn’t attend and there weren’t a slew of new products, but there was still plenty to see and we always have a blast with our industry friends and colleagues!
Here’s a recap of this year’s show:
The newest car seat from Britax is the Endeavours, a rear-facing-only infant seat based on the B-Safe 35 Elite. What sets Endeavours apart is that it has an anti-rebound bar on the base and a European (around-the-back) seatbelt routing option. The mesh on the anti-rebound bar is removable for washing and will help keep kids from wedging their feet behind the bar. The base for the Endeavours is compatible with current B-Safe 35 and B-Safe 35 Elite infant carseats, so if a consumer already owns one of those current models they can purchase the Endeavours base separately to use with the compatible Britax infant seat they already own.
Britax has also launched the Spark collection for their existing seats. These seats have upgraded softgoods and will be available exclusively at the Brixy line of independent retailers.
On the stroller front, Britax has a new stroller called the B-Free. This stroller has tons of storage, including seven pockets and a basket that can be reached from the front or back. It has a single front wheel, a large canopy, and–best of all–has a 65-pound weight limit! It will retail for $349, and will also be available as part of a travel system with the Endeavours.
NextFit iX is replacing the original NextFit model. New 2018 fashions are coming soon for all Chicco carseats (KeyFit, Fit2, NextFit iX) and KidFit boosters. There is a new product coming in 1st quarter 2018 that we can’t talk about (yet) but we’ll share that info as soon as we get the green light to do so.
We’re still anxiously awaiting clek’s new infant seat, but in the meantime, they have some neat new covers.
The first is a merino wool cover that is naturally flame-retardant, meaning that it meets flammability standards with no added chemicals in the fabric or foam. Clek is still deciding whether to go with the lighter or darker gray, so stay tuned. Price will run $429-$499 for convertibles.
Clek is also coming out with a tokidoki unicorn print called unicorn disco. These are bold, rockin’ unicorns rather than the typical fancy pastel kind. The unicorn seats should be available in the first quarter of 2018. Unicorn Disco Foonfs will retail for $499, Oobrs for $349, and Ollis for $129.
We can’t wait for the launch of the Sirona M, the upcoming convertible seat from Cybex. Not much has changed with Sirona M since the last time we wrote about it, but we do have more details on the technology that will set it apart from other high-end convertibles. Sirona M will employ a system similar to the Evenflo SensorSafe system that uses a dongle (that’s a word for it–really) to connect with the car’s On Board Diagnostic (OBD II) port. A chime will sound when the car is turned off with a child in the seat (it knows when the chest clip is buckled) so it can help reduce accidental hot-car deaths.
That’s not where the technology stops, though. The Sirona M’s app aims to eliminate misuse by making things easier for parents. It will have videos and instructions to help parents install and adjust their seats properly. An interactive feature will allow caregivers to enter the year, make, and model of their car, and the app will tell them if they’re allowed to use lower anchors in the center position. Based on information the parent enters about their child, the app can send reminders when it expects children to reach certain milestones (like weight limits) that might require parents to make adjustments to the seat.
No technology is foolproof, but with people being more reliant on it than ever, we’re excited that Cybex is making advances that could be very useful–or even lifesaving!
New designer fashion collection from Anna K for some existing Cybex products include the Space Rocket collection. It’s pretty rare to find images on carseats these days, so this should appeal to a lot of parents who are looking for something a bit different (and delightfully nerdy!).
In strollers, gb has created a new version of its folding Pockit stroller: the Pockit+ (Pocket Plus). Pocket+ has a larger, UV-rated canopy, is slightly wider, and can accommodate a carrycot as well as Cybex infant seats with adapters. It still folds-up to a teeny-tiny size that’s just 2″ wider than the original Pockit. Pockit + should be available at the end of January for $279.
Cybex also has a cool new stroller, EEZY S TWIST. A simple lever allows caregivers to quickly swivel the seat from front- to back-facing in a matter of seconds. It holds a child weighing up to 55 lbs. while the stroller itself weighs less than 17 lbs. Available in the 1st quarter of 2018 for $299.
Cybex is also launching a new baby carrier, Yema. The sophisticated fabric is designed to mimic a luxury handbag or fine suit. It has strong hook-and-loop closures that allow parents to easily adjust the length and width of the carrier to fit babies of different sizes. A tuck-away hood can add extra protection for baby, and hidden buckles help maintain a sleek look. Yema will retail for $135.
Graco is introducing a Platinum Series for its convertible and all-in-one seats. The Platinum Series will feature upgraded softgoods and EZ Tight lower anchors. The self-ratcheting EZ Tight anchors should make installation a breeze.
The Sequence 65 (like the Sequel, but upgraded) and 4EVER Extend2Fit Platinum should be available in January. The Sequence will be $199 and the 4EVER Extend to Fit will be $399. The Extend2Fit Platinum is available now for $249.
Graco is also introducing a new, portable booster. The TurboBooster Takeaway will be available in highback and backless versions, and both become more compact for easy storage and travel. On the highback Takeaway, you simply pull up on a handle in the middle of the seat to detach the back. The back then slides into the bottom and can be toted with a built-in handle. On the backless version, pulling up on the handle allows the seat to fold up to half its size, meaning it could fit into a tote bag (included) or backpack.
This video can explain it better:
Although this booster shares part of the Turbobooster name, it’s a completely new product. It’s about the same height as a regular Turbobooster, a bit narrower, and will have swivel-out cupholders.
Both versions should hit shelves in January. The highback version will retail for $99 and the backless for $49.
Baby Jogger’s first foray into the toddler/big kid carseat category is the City View all-in-one seat. The City View is based on the Milestone platform, like the SlimFit, but is slightly more narrow than the SlimFit. We measured the widest point of the City View at 17″, which is among the narrowest seats out there.
The City View has an anti-rebound bar, a first for the Graco family. The steel-reinforced seat has EPP foam in the headrest, leatherette cupholders, significantly upgraded softgoods, and a 10-year expiration. The City View should be available in spring 2018 for $349.
Last year we reported that Hauck had partnered with Fisher-Price to license certain Hauck products under the Fisher-Price brand name. We’re happy to see that more products will be available in spring 2018. The ProSafe 35 infant seat is also coming to Canada in the near future!
The Fisher-Price ProSafe 35 Infant Seat (see our existing review of Hauck ProSafe 35 –the specs are the same) will be available spring 2018 and will retail for $199. Available spring 2018. A travel System with Fisher-Price Stroller and ProSafe35 Carseat will sell for $369-$399, depending on the fashion.
Hauck is also introducing the Bodyguard Pro Booster. The dual-mode (highback and backless) booster is intended for children 35-120 lbs. The unique design combines blow molded and injection molded sections of the shell plus rigid LATCH (aka ISOFIX) attachments to maximize performance in both frontal and side impacts. The height and width adjust simultaneously so the torso wings get wider as you raise the headrest height. It’s not the tallest highback booster but it might be the widest (see measurement pics below). Bodyguard will also be sold as just a backless booster (still with rigid LATCH). It will be available in spring 2018 with MSRP for highback model at $129; backless around $50.
KidsEmbrace has a few new characters, including Paw Patrol, which should be popular with a lot of kids. They’re also working on a Wonder Woman character seat. Currently, they’re working on perfecting the way she looks so the seat will do her justice. (Pun intended.) 😀
Beautiful collections from Mima were on display. The limited edition Xari “yellow” collection was unique and absolutely stunning! Xari owners typically choose their chassis color (black, aluminum or rose gold), then pair it with a leatherette seat of their choice and the starter pack (seat cushions) of their choice to make a customized stroller that is both unique and distinctive. All Mima strollers have matching accessories. It was all very drool-worthy. Kecia thought the Mima rep, Javier, was equally drool-worthy. 😉
Mima is also launching their newest stroller, Zigi, a sturdy but lightweight, compact folding stroller. Zigi weighs 18 lbs. and is small enough when folded to fit in most overhead airplane bins.
We previewed the Nuna PIPA lite a few months ago, and now Nuna has released details about the Nuna PIPA lite lx. The lx will have merino wool covers (no added fire-retardants in the fabric or foam) and will also include the Dream Drape that’s found on the regular PIPA but not the regular PIPA lite. The PIPA lite lx should be available in early December for $399.
Nuna also has a new stroller called the demi grow. It’s a single stroller that can easily convert to a double. The demi grow comes with two sets of adapters right off the bat, so parents won’t need to buy anything else to turn it into a double stroller down the road. That’s a very nice option for people having their first baby who might be planning or unsure about another baby in the future.
The demi grow features a large storage basket, plus a customizable dual suspension that can be adjusted for smooth or bumpy surfaces. The demi grow comes with the stroller frame, a stroller seat, two sets of adapters (for the PIPA), a rain cover, and fenders (to keep little ones from sticking their fingers in the wheels if they’re sitting on the bottom). The stroller will be available in the first quarter of 2018 for $799. Additional stroller seats or bassinets will cost $179.
MESA now has another merino wool blend chemical-free fashion! “Jordan” joins “Henry” in UPPA’s lineup of chemical-free infant carseat trim covers. Available spring 2018. MSRP $349. Pictured below Henry on the left and Jordan on the right. Both are in the gray family but Henry has blue undertones and Jordan is more of a charcoal color.
MINU is a new lightweight compact folding stroller – compatible with MESA infant seat or bassinet with “From Birth Kit” and MESA adapters. One-hand action fold. Carry Strap. MSRP $399-$429. Available spring 2018.
Baby Safety Snap
We’ve written a lot about the tragedy of accidentally leaving babies in hot cars. Many people have tried to come up with solutions to this problem, some more practical than others. We really like the idea behind the Baby Safety Snap. The bright yellow lanyard contains a buckle tongue that you stick into the buckle when you take your child out of their carseat. When it’s time to put the child back in, you unbuckle the Baby Safety Snap and put it around your neck. Once you get to your destination, the bright yellow thing hanging around your neck will remind you about the child, and if that fails, someone else is sure to comment on it. This video explains it in more detail:
The Baby Safety Snap will work with the vast majority of buckles on the market, but won’t snap into seats that have puzzle buckles, for example. (It might still be possible to insert it into those, just not as securely.) Like anything else, this product would only be effective if people actually use it, but we think it’s a reasonable option for non-primary caregivers to consider.
The Baby Safety Snap is currently out of stock but should be available again soon. They’re available for $14.99 from the website and will likely be available elsewhere soon. There is also bulk pricing and customized printing available. This would make an excellent promotional giveaway for safety organizations, hospitals, fire departments, insurance companies, etc.
We first saw the UnbuckleMe at the ABC Expo last year, when it was a prototype in the Invention Connection. They’ve come a long way in the past year! The UnbuckleMe is a simple device that makes it easier to unbuckle a car seat. Unlike some other similar products, the UnbuckleMe doesn’t attach to the seat itself, and it uses a lever that actually reduces the force needed to release the buckle by at least 57%, giving it a mechanical advantage.
The UnbuckleMe can attach to a keychain or can slip into a door pocket or cupholder. It’s a great solution for caregivers with hand/wrist injuries or dexterity issues, or general weaklings like me. It would also be a great solution for older harnessed kids who have trouble releasing the buckle on their own.
The UnbuckleMe is currently out of stock but should be available by the end of October. It can be found on their website for $14.99, and will soon be available at other retailers as well.