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Grow With You ClickTight Combination Car Seat Review: The Next Frontier for Britax?

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2019-2020 Britax Grow With You ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat Review

Britax undeniably has one of the strongest reputations in the car seat world and it’s one they’ve earned with dozens of outstanding seats. Britax is constantly pushing the boundaries of technology, with a keen eye on making their seats easier to use correctly than others in their field. And easier installation is the fastest way to a safer child when it comes to car seats. With this in mind, I was excited to get the opportunity to try out something new from Britax, the Grow With You ClickTight. It’s a bit of a reincarnation of the Frontier, it still has the patented ClickTight Installation that makes getting a good, snug install an absolute dream, but a little pared down, which necessarily isn’t a bad thing. With the Frontier no longer being made, the Grow With You stands to fill a pretty big void within the car seat world.

Grow With You Seat Limits

Harness mode: 25-65 pounds AND 34-49”, minimum of 2 years of age

Booster mode: 40-120 pounds AND 44-63”

Specifications
  • Patented ClickTight Installation
  • 2 layers of side impact protection around the head and upper spine
  • SafeCell Impact Technology provides a crumple zone within the seat for crash energy absorption
  • Industrial-strength steel frame
  • 9-position one hand no-rethread harness/headrest adjustment
  • 2 cup and snack holders
  • Patented V-shaped tether with “staged-release stitches” to help slow forward motion during a crash
  • Available from Amazon for $289.99

spark seaglass mulberry 

The grey Asher fashion doesn’t appear to be available yet.

Britax is also introducing the Grow With You ClickTight Plus, which replaces the Pinnacle. Besides having the same features as the GWY CT, it adds a third layer of side impact protection in the form of side impact cushions at the torso. MSRP is $319.99 for the Safewash Fabric.

Measurements
  • Seat Width: 19.5” at the outside of the torso wings
  • Seat Height: 36” at highest headrest position
  • Seat Depth: 21”
  • Internal width at hips: 11.5”
  • Harness heights: 12” – 20” at 1 inch intervals*
  • Crotch buckle positions: 7” and 9”
  • Booster height positions: 13” – 21”
  • Seat weight: 26.5 lbs.

*On Britax’s website, they list the heights as a half inch higher, both the lowest and the highest height. I measured and remeasured and just did not come up with those values. It may have to do with and measuring the heights with the cover off, but I opted to measure in the way that one would use a seat—with the padding and cover present. I did remove the torso padding to expose where the harness emerges from the shell.

SNEAK PEEK: Nuna EXEC All-in-One Preview!

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Nuna EXEC All-in-1 Carseat Preview

A few months ago, I had an extremely cool opportunity to meet up with a small group of other technicians and the team at Nuna to see the new things they had been working on. And after keeping my mouth shut for several agonizing months, I can finally spill some beans, and trust me, if you’re a Nuna fan (or just a well designed, high-quality car seat fan) you won’t be disappointed.

Yesterday Nuna announced their newest car seat, the EXEC. The EXEC definitely looks a little different from the Rava and the Aace, but at its core, it’s an obvious member of the same car seat family. It’s like Nuna took the best parts of two already great seats, added a few extra safety and comfort features, and the result is this awesome all-in-one.

Nuna EXEC Features
  • The EXEC is an all-in-one seat: rear-facing, forward-facing and highback belt-positioning booster
  • Rear-facing: 5-50 pounds, up to 49″
  • Forward-facing: 25-65 pounds, up to 49″
  • Belt-positioning booster: 40-120 pounds, 38-57″, 4 years old minimum
  • No-rethread harness with 12 harness height positions
  • 4 rear-facing and 4 forward-facing recline options with easy push button adjust and no bubbles or lines or zones or any other indicator to keep track of
  • True tension doors, one for each rear facing and forward facing, as seen on the Rava, make installation an absolute dream
  • Anti-rebound bar, that both extends to give extra leg room for rear-facing AND flips around to become a leg rest for forward-facing.
  • EPP energy absorbing foam
  • Aeroflex™ Side Impact Protection System
  • Merino wool insert
  • Additional GOTS certified organic cotton inserts and harness covers
  • No added fire retardant chemicals
  • Spring touch shoulder belt guides make getting the belt into place a breeze for kids and adults, but hold it in place while in booster mode.
  • Magnetic harness holders
  • Delightfully narrow, to allow 3 across in most mid-size vehicles
EXEC Dimensions:

These are provided by Nuna, but will be verified once I get my hands on a final product in a few weeks.

  • Seat width at widest point: 18.5″
  • Seat height lowest and highest harness position: 26″, 33″
  • Inside shoulder width: 14″
  • Inside hip width: 11.5″
  • Seat weight: 26.6 pounds
  • 12 harness height positions from 5″ with insert to 17.5″
  • Crotch buckle positions 4″ with insert, 4.5″ without insert and 6.5″ at farthest position
So What’s New Here?

The first, biggest, coolest thing is the anti-rebound bar. In rear-facing mode, the anti-rebound bar is a super cool, adjustable component to reduce potential rebound in a crash. It can be adjusted in 2 ways: first, the angle can be adjusted up or down to ensure it lays flat against the vehicle seat back; second, it adjusts in or out to provide extra inches of legroom. I don’t have the exact details on how much extra room it provides at this moment, but when playing with a prototype a few months ago, it wasn’t insignificant. It also comes with a slipcover so that the fabric on the anti-rebound bar doesn’t get totally destroyed by shoes before you’re able to use it in forward-facing mode.

When you switch to forward-facing mode, the anti-rebound bar flips around and becomes a leg rest. Like a legitimate, substantial leg rest. It can be adjusted up and down in several positions and would provide a lot of comfort to little dangling legs. Also, you’ll find the EXEC offers more room for growth when forward facing than the Rava (top harness height is 17.5” on the EXEC vs. 16” on the Rava), which has been a complaint some have had about the Rava in the past. The EXEC will harness the vast majority of (typically developing, average-sized) kids to booster age.

In booster mode, the spring touch shoulder guides are this tiny detail that I am obsessed with. They spring open to let the belt in easily, but they hold it securely in place. The prototype had good mobility of the belt through the guides (no bunching), but we will have to confirm that on the final product. It was definitely a thing Nuna was keeping its eye on, which is a good thing.

Fine Print Details
  • 10-year lifespan
  • The cover is machine wash and air dry
  • 2 different fashions are offered currently, a black (caviar) and a gray (granite)
  • Crash replacement follows NHTSA guidelines(!)
  • FAA certified in rear-facing and forward-facing, not in booster mode (this is true of all boosters, it’s not a shortcoming of the EXEC)
  • MSRP $649.95
  • Available at Nordstrom and assorted small boutique shops for pre-order to be released on 8/21/2019.

I can tell you that even the prototype of the EXEC impressed me and that isn’t easy to do. Nuna has combined and I think, improved upon, two already excellent seats, to create a seat that could literally last you the full 10 years and potentially be the only one you’d ever need. There is a myriad of thoughtful details that make carseating easier and more comfortable for everyone involved. Nuna has a history of raising the bar in the car seat world and once we can do a full review, I suspect we will confirm that the EXEC is another example of that.

Hold on tight, the EXEC is coming soon, see our preview video on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carseatblog/videos/387928288488783

WAYB Pico Review: Just What Your Vacation Needs

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WAYB Pico Folding Travel Carseat Review

Anyone who has ever flown with kids knows the struggle. You have to carry your suitcases, the kids’ carry ons, car seats, whatever random snacks you acquired while trying to keep the kids from ruining everyone’s airport experience, and then you somehow have to get your kids onto the plane, without any free hands to physically wrangle them. Then the car seat needs a seatbelt extender or the buckle is right in the small of the kid’s back and the end result is just that everyone is miserable.

Or you don’t bring a seat and you rent one at your destination and it’s a) not the right seat, b) it’s disgusting, c) you don’t know its history or whether it’s safe, but mostly likely d) all of these horror-scapes above.

Or maybe you’re traveling in a different city and you need to take an Uber or Lyft or a cab with kids. You can pay extra in some cities for a ride share with seats installed, but it’s more expensive and harder to come by and you weren’t the one installing those seats, so it’s still a risk. You can legally choose not to use a carseat in some places but then you have to restrain your kids in a moving car and unfortunately all the crash probabilities and risks don’t go away on vacation. In short, traveling with kids is a mess.

Have I convinced you never to travel? Just hold on for a moment, because the solution to this stress may have just landed on the car seat market.

Several months ago, a new company made waves when they announced a travel car seat. WAYB (pronounced way-bee) claimed to have the solution with a new seat, the WAYB Pico. I was one of many parents and CPS technicians who was very intrigued and as time as passed, I’ve kept my eyes and ears open for more news. A few months ago, I finally got to see it live and in person. My first impression was how small it was, because it is really, seriously small. And yet somehow, abundant enough to live up to its limits. Before I spoil the whole review, let’s dive into the details.

Pico Highlights
  • Forward facing only
  • For children 1 and older (WAYB recommends you wait until age 2), 22-50 pounds, 30-45 inches, and shoulders below the top of the seat back
  • Whole seat weighs 8 (!) pounds and folds very compactly
  • One shoulder harness position, one crotch buckle position
  • Body is made of aerospace-grade aluminum
  • Seat is made with ASTROKNIT™ mesh, which takes the place of foams
  • Pico is eco-friendly, with the majority of the seat being recyclable
  • 4 fashion options
  • MSRP $320, with a fabulous travel bag for $50
Specifications
  • Width of seat: 14.75 inches at the widest point (middle of the torso)
  • Height of seat with headrest in lowest position: 22.75 inches
  • Height of seat headrest fully extended: 27.75 inches
  • Depth of seat: 15.25 inches
  • Harness (torso) height: 16.5 inches
  • Weight of seat: 8 pound
Official Website:  WAYB.com
Fit to Child

The first time I saw the Pico, I was skeptical. It is SO small. I worried that it wouldn’t fit longer torsoed kids or would be outgrown too quickly, especially with a 45” height limit. And part of that was just seeing it in a room without a kid to compare it to, but rest easy, my eyes deceived me.

I put all 3 of my kids, ages 7, 4 and 1 into this seat and somehow they all fit. It might be magic because it’s seriously the smallest seat I’ve ever seen.

I’m going to start with the littlest, who is 22 months, 25 pounds and 33 inches. I was easily able to adjust the seat to hold him totally securely, despite being on the smaller end of the limits of the seat. Now, the tricky part is that he can’t legally ride in this seat in California, despite being within the stated limits of the seat, because he’s not yet 2 years old. If you choose to use this seat for travel, you’ll need to research the rear facing laws at your destination, because you may not be able to use this seat for your younger toddlers everywhere.

My middle kid is 4.5 years old, 41.5 inches and 32 pounds. He also has the longest torso of any child I have ever met. And even with that, he still has a solid 2-3 inches of torso growth left in the Pico. I was absolutely shocked. He fit well and said the seat was so comfortable that he wanted to keep it in the car. That’s a ringing endorsement if there ever was one.

My oldest kid is 7 years old, 47.5 inches and 49 pounds. He has outgrown this seat per the stated limits and I would not use it for him and am not recommending you do so either, just to be clear. I just put him in it because I wanted to get a sense of whether the harness would truly accommodate a 45” inch child and I feel pretty confident in saying that it really will. The shape of the seat definitely gives more room than the written measurements would suggest. My oldest had outgrown it by a sneeze, even though he was almost 3 inches taller than the limit.

The adjustment process is a little tricky at first because the harness adjusters aren’t what you’re used to. There’s one on each hip strap and they resemble a lower anchor adjustment mechanism. You have to tighten each side independent of the other, which is a little tricky at first, but it gets easier with practice and it’s not hard to do. There’s no moving the shoulder straps or the crotch buckle because there’s only one slot, which is kind of great, actually. I do think that chest clip is oddly hard to place on some kids because the straps go so high that your perspective is skewed. So if you decide to get the Pico, stand back and look at the child, not the seat as a whole, to make sure things are in the right spot.

Fit to Vehicle

Car Safety Mistake Turned Parenting Hack

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I don’t generally consider myself to be a very creative parent. Mostly, my parenting is trial and (a lot of) error and motivated by a desire to just stay afloat and stave off a child-led coup. So far, so good on the last part, but it has been touch and go on many occasions. In one of these trial and error moments, we learned an important car seat related lesson and it came with a bonus we didn’t expect.

The way the lesson came about is a cautionary tale in itself, if we’re being totally honest. My oldest son, who was newly 6 at the time, refused to get out of the car one day. We had unbuckled him from his seat, but he just would not budge. He was mostly just joking around and we knew it, so we called his bluff and closed the van doors and went inside the house. I do not recommend this, this isn’t my parenting hack and it ended up being really scary for him and fully regrettable for us. I did not realize at the time that my son had no idea how to open the car doors, even though they weren’t locked. We waited just a few minutes for him to come in and then went out to retrieve him, thinking he was just being funny. But instead he was (understandably) pretty upset.

That night after he’d had some time to calm down and we’d had some time to reflect, we went to the car together and we showed him how to open each door, in each car, from the inside, just in case he ever needed to. We showed him where the locks were (both manual and automatic), how to open the trunk and how to use the horn for attention if he ever found himself stuck in the car again. We honestly didn’t realize until that moment how little he knew about the car because we had been doing all those parts for him. Since we had to open a door to free him from his harnessed seat, he’d never had the opportunity even to try to get out of the car on his own.

Once we realized how dangerous this lack of knowledge could be, how easily he could get trapped inside a car, we brought his 4 year old brother out and did the same, with more emphasis on how to get attention from others because we didn’t expect him to retain as many of the skills of operating the car doors/locks as his brother.

We knew that kids get trapped in cars all the time and that with summer approaching, the consequences of that can be tragic. But we were so sure that it couldn’t happen to us (as car seat aficionados) that we forgot to actually do the parenting things that would ensure that it wouldn’t. As we continued to think about the situation over the course of a few days, we realized that all of the things we taught him were useless if our son (and his brothers) were still trapped in their seats.

We spent the next few weeks teaching our oldest child how to get out of a 5-point harness. Fortunately he could reach the tab that loosened the harness in his seat, because he was able to get better leverage on the crotch buckle with a little bit of slack in the harness. But even still, about 50 percent of the time, he couldn’t get the buckle undone. So we showed him how to loosen his harness fully, unclip his chest clip and climb out. It wasn’t easy, and shoes had to be removed, but with enough slack he could do it. Once he mastered this, we felt like he had finally reached a point where if something happened, he could get out and get help. We didn’t teach his younger brother how to escape because we knew that he didn’t have the maturity to handle that particular skill and I didn’t want him climbing into the front seat while I was driving on the freeway.

After all that effort, what I didn’t expect was the unintended bonus of all this practice. See, not only can my oldest son get himself out of his car seat and get out of the car, now he can get HIS BROTHER OUT. Like every morning at school drop off. Instead of me tromping around to both sides of the car to remove all the kids, now my oldest son gets himself out (he’s finally transitioned to a booster safely) and then releases one brother and I get the other. I don’t think he’s happier, but I am, and so it probably trickles down somehow.

There are a few morals here, but I hope you’ll take away from this that it’s important to show your kids how to get out of the car, even if you think they know and how to get attention from others if they’re trapped. And if you do that, you may find that in the end it doesn’t just make your kids safer, but it may make your life easier, too.