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Nuna PIPA lite Unboxing


Our preview of the feather weight nuna PIPA lite can be found here:

To model the beautiful PIPA lite, here’s the even more beautiful baby boy Ben, the newest member of the CarseatBlog family:-)  Congratulations, Katie!

Here’s our first hand look at what’s in the box. (Note that Ben and PIPA lite combined weigh less than the 13.75 pound white Ragdoll kitty!)

Road Warrior: 2018 Honda Odyssey Preview


We had the good fortune to have clear skies and a prime viewing spot for the total solar eclipse at the Tool Shed Corner B&B in wine country near the Shawnee National Forest.  We also had the good fortune to test the all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey on our family road trip this weekend, and it did not disappoint!  The Elite trim provided by Honda had basically everything to keep a full crew of six content through rural roads in downstate Illinois and on our much-longer-than-expected return trip through classic Illinois highway gridlock.  To be honest, just the front seat cooler ventilation and Sirius XM Radio 18 The Beatles Channel was enough to keep the driver happy!


We put some miles and some dust on the ’18 Ody and emerged unscathed for the amazing adventure.  Thanks to Honda Sensing, the Odyssey has a full array of active crash prevention features, including front crash mitigation warning AND auto-brake.  This feature was notably absent from the previous generation Odyssey and disqualified it from winning our Safest Minivan and 3-Row SUV award.  To make up for it, Honda has made them STANDARD on all trim levels from EX and up for 2018!

The Odyssey’s ride was fantastic and soaked up railroad crossings, gravel roads and everything else with ease.  The new 10-speed transmission was silky smooth and power was plentiful, even with a full load of 6 people and luggage.  The Magic Slide seats are very handy for getting just the right seating arrangement.   The 2nd row center seat is just big enough for many carseats and is equipped with LATCH.  It can be removed to create an aisle when not needed.  There are a total of five seats with lower anchors and tethers, plus a sixth top tether anchor for the 3rd row middle seat as well.  While it may not be quite as friendly to 3-across car seats in the 2nd row as the previous generation Odyssey in wide-mode seating, it’s very close, and it’s also likely to remain our top choice for family and carseat friendly interiors!

Inside, the Elite trim has every comfort and convenience feature you could want.  The 4G LTE hotspot kept all the kids happy, as did the entertainment system with wireless headphones and full streaming capbility.  Both headphones and speakers are wired into the handy Cabin Talk feature that allows people in back to hear the driver talking.  And the driver can also keep an eye on the crew with the Cabin Watch camera, a great addition if you have little ones.  Though some found the seats a little firm for their preference, otherwise the 2018 Odyssey was just about perfect for a long family vacay!

Stay tuned for our review video at  Thanks to Honda and G. Schmitz & Associates for the 2018 Odyssey Elite loaned to us for this preview.

Nuna PIPA lite Preview: PIPA Goes on a Diet

Updated: 2017 and 2018 Nuna PIPA lite and PIPA lite lx Preview

Ever wondered why after decades of popularity, infant carriers still seem heavy?  With all the inserts and a canopy it’s like somehow the upscale models all feel close to 10 pounds. We’ve heard promises of ultra-light, carbon fiber designs for years, but they’ve never appeared.  So what is the absolute lightest weight rear-facing only infant carseat carrier on the market in the USA for 2017?  In September, it will be the nuna PIPA™ lite at only 6 pounds with canopy!  It’s a hair over 5 pounds without canopy, and just under 7 pounds with both the full newborn insert and canopy.


The PIPA lite will be sold at independent Brixy affiliated retailers in the USA for $349.   Nordstrom is now taking pre-orders for the deluxe PIPA lite lx at $399.  It should ship by early December.  Adding only half a pound, nuna gives the lx the awesome Dream Drape™ canopy plus upgraded Merino wool TENCEL™ blend knit fabrics with no flame retardants added!  We’ve felt these new wool fabrics and they have a very premium, soft feel.

Here are the basics.  The PIPA lite shaves just over 2.5 pounds off the fabulous PIPA.  The lite lx is more than 2 pounds lighter than the original PIPA.  Lightweight, high performance materials in the shell and foam liners allowed nuna to cut the weight considerably while claiming to have no reduction in crash testing performance!  Notably, they use high strength aluminum and proprietary aeroflex™ EPP energy absorbing foam fused directly to a re-invented semi-flexible thin wall shell.  That means no more breaking of the stiff, white energy absorbing foam layer found in most carseats.  Both PIPA lite and lite lx are completely flame retardant free.   Both lite models come with an all-new matching head and body newborn insert.  The patented design with memory foam insert helps it to meet the enhanced European 129 safety standard.  They also include an extra set of dye-free GOTS™ certified organic cotton newborn inserts and harness/crotch strap covers inside the box!

PIPA lite carrier specs:

  • Weight limit: 4-32 lbs
  • Height limit: up to 32″
  • Inside depth: ~14″
  • Inside hip width: ~9″
  • Inside  height: ~18″
  • Buckle slot depth: 7″
  • Harness slot heights: 6″, 7.5″, 9.5″
  • Outside dimensions: 27.25″ x 17.5″w x 22.5″h
  • Carrier weight: 5.3 lbs, 6.1 lbs with canopy
  • Carrier + insert weight: 6.7 lbs with canopy
  • Handle positions: 3
  • Harness height positions: 3 (2 using insert)
  • Expiration: 7 years

The lite models use the same steel-reinforced PIPA base as the original model.   That includes the dual bubble recline indicators, load stability leg and belt lock-off system, plus the wonderful rigid LATCH attachments.  LATCH guides are included in the box to help with installation.


This is a pretty amazing feat of engineering, to be honest.  As with every single carseat design on the market, there are always tradeoffs and compromises.

Head Injuries in Rear-Facing Carseats


You’ve heard Rear-Facing (RF) is safest. Maybe you’ve heard that RF car seats provide the best head protection. That’s probably true, in general. Maybe someone told you RF is “5x safer”. That statistic is based on only one study that used limited data and covers very specific circumstances, so it may or may not apply to your situation. What’s important is that rear-facing is very safe when the child is within the limits allowed by the carseat. In fact, simply using any age-appropriate carseat according to both instructions and state laws will be very effective at reducing the risk of severe injuries and fatalities.

Very safe in an upright convertible carseat!

So, what’s the deal? It turns out, that while rare, moderate and serious head injuries can happen in rear-facing carseats. There are typically 3 possible causes.

  1.  The top of a baby’s head might move out of the protection of the carseat shell and strike a front vehicle seat, pillar or console. This may be more of a concern with rear-facing only infant carriers, especially when fully reclined with a baby near the height limit.
  2.  The carseat shell strikes part of the vehicle interior, possibly resulting in the back or side of baby’s head hitting the inside of the carseat with enough force to cause a contusion or other injury.
  3.  In unusually energetic frontal crashes, the carseat could rebound with enough energy that the front of baby’s head may strike part of the vehicle interior.

Don’t Panic! High speed and very energetic crashes are not common, but can result in serious injuries, especially when misuse or non-use of restraints are involved. The good news is that if you are using a carseat and have installed and adjusted it as best as you can, you probably have very little to worry about.

So what can you do to reduce the chance of injury? The same simple things we’ve always told you and that you’ve probably done:

  • Install and use your carseat in the back seat, according to manufacturer instructions AND state law
  • Drive unimpaired and undistracted

How can you further reduce the chance of head injury in rear-facing carseats?

  1. In particular, make sure your carseat installation and harness are tight.
  2. If your child is approaching the stated rear-facing height limit, or when the top of the head is 1″ from the top of the carseat shell, then a taller seat may be necessary.
  3. For older babies and toddlers who have good head and neck control, install your carseat as upright as allowed by the instructions.
  4. If your carseat offers a load leg or anti-rebound feature, use it.
  5. Choose a Recommended Carseat that has a layer of energy-absorbing foam both behind and on the side of baby’s head.  Deep side wings and load legs (on certain infant seat bases) can also be advantageous.
  6. When shopping for a newer vehicle, select one with good safety ratings made in 2011 or later, when side-impact airbags and stability control are usually standard features.

“Bracing”, or having the rear-facing carseat touching the front vehicle seat, is a very complex topic.  Some vehicles don’t allow this at all, due to passenger airbag sensors.  In other vehicles, there are various conflicting factors to consider.  If allowed by both the vehicle and carseat owners manuals, bracing could potentially reduce the risk of the carseat energetically striking the vehicle seat back and related head injury (point B above).  On the other hand, it could increase the risk of direct head contact for an older, taller baby ramping out of the infant seat and striking a part of the vehicle interior (point A above). This is especially a concern with rear-facing only infant carseats that have shorter shells, tend to sit lower in the vehicle and tend to be installed with more recline than a rear-facing convertible carseat.

Above all, try not to lose sleep over this!  Loose installations, loose harnesses, too much recline and exceeding the rear-facing height limits are always a potential concern, so just make sure you read the instructions and consult a child passenger safety technician if you have any questions about your installation and usage of child restraints.