Author Archive

Valentines for the Vehicle Safety Nerd

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

Still looking for the perfect Valentines, but upset that none of them are safety-conscious enough? Do you believe the best way to say “I love you” is with an abundance of tire tread? Then we might just have the perfect Valentines for you.

Browse through them, then print out your favorites to give to the people you love and want to keep safe.

From all of us at CarseatBlog, have a Happy & Safe Valentine’s Day!

Chrysler Recalls 2017 Pacifica Minivan for Engine Stalling

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

Chrysler has issued a recall of more than 150,000 Pacifica minivans due to engines stalling the van is being driven. A problem with the engine control module causes the stalling, requiring drivers to turn the car off and then back on.

According to a New York Times article, the stalling issue most often happens when the vehicle is idling, starting up, turning, or moving at low speeds, but some drivers have reported issues in intersections and on highways. Chrysler said it is aware of one crash potentially caused by this problem, but no injuries.

The recall affects gas-powered Pacificas (not the hybrid model) from the 2017 model year. The fix consists of an update to the vehicle’s engine control software. The company will notify owners when the update is available, and dealers will install the update for free.

As of Monday afternoon, no information was available on the NHTSA website, but we will update as more details become available.

UnbuckleMe Review: May the Force be with You

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

We sometimes get requests from caregivers looking for easy-to-unbuckle seats. While some might be a bit easier than others, federal standards require buckles to withstand at least 9 lbs of force…or in laypersons’ terms: All buckles are sort of difficult. (Afterall, you wouldn’t want babies or toddlers to be able to accidentally unbuckle themselves.)

Buckles can be tough for caregivers in general, but especially for people with arthritis or other dexterity issues. Plus, there are times parents want older, responsible kids to be able to unbuckle on their own, but they struggle to do so.

The UnbuckleMe is a great new tool that makes it easier for caregivers (and those responsible kids) to undo carseat buckles. We first saw the UnbuckleMe in early prototype stages at the 2016 ABC Kids Expo, and we were happy to see that they had moved into production by this year’s show.

Some other unbuckling tools simply provide a larger surface area to push on, but the UnbuckleMe’s design actually reduces the amount of force needed by more than 50%.

I recently moved my 6-year-old into a booster seat because he needed to be able to get in and out of the car quickly in the school dropoff line, but he couldn’t unbuckle his harnessed seat fast enough–or at all, in some instances. The UnbuckleMe made it much easier. How easy? See for yourself:

I don’t love having him in a booster yet, so the UnbuckleMe might be the solution I need to get him back in a harness and keep traffic flowing in the dropoff line.

You can store the UnbuckleMe in a cupholder or console for easy access, or you can use the built-in loop to attach it to a keychain.

The UnbuckleMe is available from their website for $14.99, but CarseatBlog readers can use the code carseat15 for a 15% discount.

UnbuckleMe provided CarseatBlog with a sample, but we did not receive compensation for this review, and all opinions are our own.

2017 ABC Kids Expo Recap – New Carseats, Strollers & Gear for 2018

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

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!

CarseatBlog Team – Heather, Jennie, Kecia & Darren

Here’s a recap of this year’s show:

Britax

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.

Chicco

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.

 

Clek

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.

    

Cybex/gb

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/Baby Jogger