2017 RideSafer Travel Vest Review with Delighter Booster: A Dynamic Duo

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Safe Traffic System RideSafer Delight Travel Vest Review with Delighter Booster

The RideSafer Delight Vest and Delighter Booster are the two newest products from Safe Traffic System, Inc. The Delight Vest is the latest in the line that previously included the RideSafer Travel Vest, and is an alternative to a traditional harness or booster car seat that’s excellent for travel, carpool, and other situations where a traditional car seat might be difficult or impossible to use. The Delighter booster is a lightweight backless booster designed with travel in mind that can be used with or without the Delight or previous versions of the RideSafer Travel Vest. They can be purchased at Amazon or Safe Ride 4 Kids.

 

Sizes and Specs:

Delight Vest size Small is for children who are

  • At least 3 years of age
  • 30-60 lbs.
  • 34”-52” tall
  • Chest diameter 21.2”-28.3”
  • Able to sit with the bottom of the vest touching the thighs

Delight Vest size Large if for children who are

  • At least 3 years of age
  • 50-80 lbs.
  • 45”-57” tall
  • Chest diameter 23.2”-38.4”
  • Able to sit with the bottom of the vest touching the thighs

Delighter Booster is for children

  • At least 4 years old*
  • 40-100 lbs.*
  • 40”-57” tall*

*Note: If used with the Delight Vest or other Ride Safer Travel Vest, the Delighter Booster may be used below these minimums, starting at the minimums of the vest instead.

RideSafer Delight Vest Features:

  • FMVSS 213 certified
  • Lightweight and highly portable
  • Comes with travel and storage backpack bag for vest and removeable headrest, and additional small bag for tether and included crotch strap
  • Adjustable back allows about 3” of height adjustments
  • Can be used with 3-point lap and shoulder seatbelt with or without tether
  • Can be used with lap-only belt with tether strap (sold with vest as option or available separately)
  • New, multi-step buckle for lightweight security and ease of caregiver use
  • Lifespan of 10 years from date of manufacture
  • MSRP $145.00 without tether strap, $159.00 with tether strap

When might you use the Delight Vest?

This vest is ideal for travel—it even comes with its own backpack style bag so your child can carry it herself!

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Will Skinny be back in 2018? A plea for more narrow carseats & boosters.

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Discontinued width-adjustable Britax StarRiser/Comfy

Skinny is in high demand – that is, if you’re a carseat or booster. Unfortunately, skinny is also very hard to come by these days and that’s a real problem. In a time when many Americans are downsizing their vehicles –  increased laws and awareness are keeping more kids in carseats and boosters longer. The combination of these two factors is creating a real space problem.

We need more seats that can fit in narrow seating positions and in those tricky 3-across situations. Manufacturers really need to work to address this issue because if I see one more Turbobooster without armrests because they’re trying to make it fit next to another carseat – I’m going to lose my mind!

Suggestions for CR Manufacturers:

Work on designing new, narrow seats, or perhaps booster seats that are width-adjustable and pay particular attention to how your various models fit/puzzle/mesh next to each other.  

Current Options:

For those parents and caregivers who can’t wait for future seats – the Cosco Scenera NEXT is a neat little convertible that is going to work in a lot of tight situations. But it’s very compact and really meant for infants and small toddlers.

The Evenflo Tribute convertible can be a saving grace in many 3-across scenarios too but again, it’s not that big and many kids will outgrow it by height before hitting 40 lbs.

The Safety 1st Guide 65 convertible is narrow and will last longer before being outgrown but some parents wind up dismayed when their child falls asleep and has “head slump” – an issue caused by the tilted headrest.

The Diono Radian models have built their reputation on being narrow and working well in a lot of 3-across scenarios but they have their quirks and incompatibility issues in some cases. Whenever possible, you should “try before you buy”.

I’ve seen the Harmony Defender forward-facing combination seat recommended for people looking for a slim seat but not everyone wants a carseat that has to be assembled like IKEA furniture.

The Graco Tranzitions (aka Graco Wayz) is often recommended for families on a budget who need a slim forward-facing seat but it’s really not that narrow (although it does have a low profile) and it can be incompatible with some seatbelt installations once the child is over the LATCH weight limit.

The brand new Chicco MyFit forward-facing combination seat is being released this month and seems very promising since it’s only 17.5″ wide! We are currently evaluating its abilities and will have a full review posted soon.

The forward-facing only IMMI GO is a narrow option that some parents may want to consider but it’s not a traditional carseat and it lacks solid, side structure and head support. Plus, you really need to install it in a seating position with a full set of LATCH anchors (lower anchors & tether). It requires tethering, installs quickly and easily with lower anchors but is generally incompatible with most seatbelt installations.

Another non-traditional product for kids 3+ who weigh at least 30 lbs. is the Ride Safer Travel Vest. The vest is available in 2 sizes; small (30-60 lbs.) or large (50-80 lbs.). There is an optional tether strap that can be used with either size vest and there is also a narrow backless booster (Delighter) that can be purchased for use with the vest.

Last but not least, the Britax ClickTight Convertibles, the Clek Foonf Clek Fllo are all narrow convertibles but they’re pricey and out of reach for many families on a budget.

In the last two decades, the industry has been very focused on bigger and wider. No doubt this is due to the fact that American kids are getting bigger and wider, not to mention they’re staying in carseats and boosters for much longer than in the past. Plus, there has been a strong, steady demand for higher-weight carseats and boosters that can accommodate bigger/older children. This is all well and good but you can’t focus exclusively on bigger and wider because if the bigger seats don’t fit in smaller vehicles, then what?

What do you think happens when a family of 5 trades in their Tahoe for a Prius? And what happens at a check event when a car pulls in with 3 kids in the back of an old Corolla and all 3 need to be in seats? My CPS program stocks Evenflo Tributesinstitutional models of the Maestro and Harmony Youth Boosters but sometimes it’s not enough and parents are forced to make those “tough choices”. Do you put a kid up front? Let the oldest ride without a booster in back even though he clearly still needs one? This is reality. This is what we’re dealing with at events all across the nation because of space issues.

Manufacturers, you can help those of us in the trenches (and those who are personally in these predicaments) by meeting these challenges and making more 3-across-and-small-vehicle-friendly seats. We also desperately need more affordable options for our CPS programs that work in these tight situations! I know we can’t fix or solve every incompatibility that we encounter but this particular problem seems to have some possible solutions that are realistic and within reach. I hope you’ll agree.

2017 IIHS Booster Seat Ratings Bonanza: Where Does Your Booster Seat Rank?

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Does your booster rate as a Best Bet?

It’s that time of year again: fall has arrived, the air is crisp, turkey day is around the corner, thoughts are on naughty and nice lists, and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) released their annual fit ratings of belt-positioning booster seats. Because proper seat belt fit on children is so important to their safety in a crash, having a booster seat that adjusts the seat belt easily for both parent and child is paramount. Fortunately, since the IIHS has released their ratings for years and given access to their testing protocol to manufacturers, we have many more excellent choices than ever before. This year IIHS evaluated 16 booster models and 13 earned their highest ranking of Best Bet. We now have an overall total of 118 Best Bet boosters available in the retail market from which to choose!

Beginning this year, IIHS used a new dummy designed specifically for these tests called Jasper (Juvenile Anthropomorphic Seat-belt Position Evaluation Rig). IIHS worked with Humanetics, the dummy’s manufacturer to design Jasper, which represents a 45 pound 6 yr old.

What makes a “Best Bet” booster seat? The booster should correctly position the seat belt on a typical 4-8 year old child in most vehicles. A correctly positioned seat belt will fit low on the lap, touching the thighs, and cross the shoulders about half-way over the collarbone. The shoulder belt should move freely through the belt guide if you have a highback booster.

But remember, your vehicle may not be “most” vehicles and may have a different belt geometry. Always try before you buy, if you can, and hold onto the box and receipt in case you need to return the booster.

“Good Bet” means that the belt fit will be acceptable in most vehicles and these boosters shouldn’t be automatically shunned because they aren’t “top tier.”

“Check Fit” means just that: it may fit a larger child better than a smaller child in some vehicles or vice versa. I’ve used “Check Fit” boosters quite successfully before with my kids in my cars—it definitely doesn’t mean you should chuck the seat out with the bathwater.

What Does Good Belt Fit Look Like?

Most kids need boosters until ages 10-12. Seat belts are designed to fit adult bodies and until children reach adult size, they need a restraint that helps the seat belt fit them or they are at risk of severe injury or death in a crash. The 5-Step Test was designed to help parents determine when their kids fit safely in a seat belt without needing a booster seat.

Sometimes it can be confusing and not at all clear as to whether the seat belt is sitting on the child correctly or not. When evaluating belt fit, it’s always best to dress the child in tight-fitting clothes that don’t bunch; the worst outfit to choose is jeans and a sweatshirt.

Highback boosters with headwings generally have the shoulder belt guides attached and adjust in height. Please check your instruction manual on how to raise the headwings to adjust the shoulder belt position on your child’s shoulder.

New Best Bet Boosters Tested in 2017

This is not an all-inclusive list – many boosters were rated in previous years. You can search all the booster ratings, current and previous years, by manufacturer HERE.

IIHS-BEST-BET-BOOSTER-color
Manufacturer and Model Can Use LATCH CarseatBlog Review CarseatBlog Recommended Seat
Chicco GoFit (backless)
Cosco Finale (highback) Review
Cosco Finale DX (highback) Review
Diono Monterey XT (backless)
Diono Monterey XT (highback) Yes
Evenflo Spectrum (backless) Review
Evenflo Spectrum (highback) Review Yes
Graco Wayz (backless) Review
Graco Wayz (highback) Yes Review
Maxi-Cosi RodiFix (highback) Yes Review Yes
Nuna AACE (backless) Yes
Nuna AACE (highback) Yes
Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle (backless) Yes

Check Fit Boosters
Manufacturer and Model Can Use LATCH CarseatBlog Review CarseatBlog Recommended Seat
Harmony Folding Travel Booster (highback)
Kiddy USA Cruiser 3 (highback) Yes
Ride Safer Delighter Booster (backless) Review

Not Recommended Boosters

For the first time in years, there are no new boosters on the “Not Recommended” lists; however, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still Not Recommended boosters from past years still being used or for sale as leftover stock. One seat, the Safety 1st Summit 65, is still being manufactured. It is worth looking at the list to make sure a booster you’re using or considering isn’t on this list. These boosters have demonstrated consistently poor belt fit.

For the complete 2017 IIHS Status Report with listing of all previously ranked boosters, visit the IIHS website: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/child-boosters

Given the number of Best Bet boosters available, chances are high that your booster kid is using one. However, if you’re using a booster that doesn’t garner that coveted Best Bet label, remember to do a fit check yourself in every vehicle you use the booster in since seat belt geometry varies so much. If you have a booster on the Not Recommended list, we do suggest that you find a dedicated belt-positioning booster from the Best Bet list and it need not break the bank.

If you’d like more guidance on which booster to choose, we have our own list of Recommended Carseats with a section on booster seats.

Cheap Portable Carseats: Don’t Believe the Hype

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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—