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Cybex Introduces Sirona S: First Convertible Car Seat with Load Leg in North America

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Cybex Sirona S Convertible Car Seat Preview: Swivels for Convenience, Load Leg for Safety, SensorSafe for Peace of Mind

We’re thrilled that Cybex is working on an epic, game-changing convertible car seat: the Sirona S. Not only does Sirona S swivel 360 degrees for easy loading and unloading of children, it will also be the first convertible car seat in North America to have a load leg, a safety feature that significantly enhances crash protection in a frontal crash. As if that wasn’t enough, the Sirona S will also come standard with SensorSafe technology, which is built into the chest clip. Although unexpected delays are always a possibility, Cybex estimates that the Sirona S will be available in October 2019 and will be arriving in Canada (hopefully) a few weeks after the U.S. launch.

Sirona S Specs & Features:
  • Rear-facing: 4-50 lbs.
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • LATCH weight limits: 35 lbs. RF, 40 lbs. FF
  • Maximum harness height: 17″
  • Swivels for easy loading or switching between modes
  • Multi-position load leg with indicators
  • No-rethread harness with easy height adjuster
  • 7 recline positions rear-facing
  • 4 recline positions forward-facing
  • SensorSafe chest clip with bluetooth/app reminders and alerts
  • Pop-out Linear Side-Impact Protection
  • MSRP: $499

  

With features like swivel and load leg that are currently unique to the USA market, plus safety enhancements like LSP and SensorSafe, we deem it a “Shut Up and Take My Money” Award winner!  We acknowledge that $499 is a lot of money for a car seat but just like automobiles, innovations almost always launch on premium products and eventually work their way down to more affordable models. We hope consumers in North America understand and appreciate the safety benefits of a load leg because this is the evolution of crash protection for children!

2019 CarseatBlog Shut Up and Take My Money Award Winner: Cybex Sirona S

 

Better than a JPMA award!

The Sirona S has a single belt path for both rear- and forward facing, with a seatbelt/lower anchor belt tensioner for simple and secure installation. Once installed, the seat can swivel 360 degrees on its base, allowing parents to get kids in and out without having to lift them over the sides. This can be a convenience for any caregivers, but especially those who might have mobility difficulties. The swivel feature will also make it easy to switch between rear- and forward-facing for situations where two or more kids might share a seat.

An indicator on the load leg will show when the seat is engaged in rear-facing or forward-facing mode since driving with the seat sideways will be neither secure nor allowed!

The telescoping load leg can be used rear-facing and forward-facing. Until now, the US has only seen load legs on rear-facing-only infant seats, so having one that can be used with larger children, rear-facing or forward-facing is a very big deal. For a rear-facing seat, the load leg prevents downward rotation in a frontal crash – maintaining a more upright position throughout the crash. This significantly improves crash protection and also reduces the secondary rebound rotation that a rear-facing car seat will experience in a frontal crash. Additionally, a load leg greatly reduces the likelihood that a rear-facing car seat will make contact with the front seat. For forward-facing, similar principles apply. The load leg will decrease how far the seat moves in a frontal crash, thus reducing head excursion (or how far forward a child’s head moves) in a crash.

As usual, there is a tether on the back of the seat’s shell for forward-facing, and it would need to be unhooked from the tether anchor in the vehicle before you are able to swivel the seat when it’s installed for forward-facing use. We mused whether people would be able to use the load leg in place of the tether to potentially reduce head excursion (in situations where a tether anchor wasn’t available) but at this point we aren’t sure if that’s even a possibility. Due to current federal regulations, car seat manufacturers can’t use the load leg to comply with FMVSS 213 standards since the test bench doesn’t have a floor. Cybex is testing the seat with load leg using a modified 213 sled, but even then, legal issues (including mandatory tether usage in Canada) make it seem unlikely that Cybex will ever say it’s okay to use the load leg as a substitute for using the tether. Keep in mind that all seats in the US have to pass testing with and without a tether so it’s almost always possible to install a forward-facing car seat without tethering it, **if there is no tether anchor available**. (Note: there are some exceptions for seats rated beyond 65 lbs. in the U.S. that REQUIRE tethering and all forward-facing seats in Canada REQUIRE installation using the tether). The bottom line here is that this is uncharted territory in North America, so it’s going to be complicated for Cybex to navigate these waters.

Cybex plans to release the Sirona S in the United States in fall 2019 with the release in Canada a few weeks later. The seat will retail for about $499. Stay tuned for more information and a full review when production-model seats are available.

Watch our video for a demonstration of key features. (Note that the seat is NOT actually in full recline position when Kecia states it is. The prototype was a bit sticky. It does recline more for younger babies.)

Honda to “Re-Recall” Vehicles for Airbag Issue

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American Honda Motor Company has announced plans to recall certain U.S. vehicles that had already been fixed under a previous recall due to faulty Takata airbags. This new recall will encompass approximately 1.1 million Honda and Accura vehicles in the United States that were fixed with airbag inflators now deemed to be faulty.

Although the replacement inflators were not recalled or considered faulty at the time, Honda is now aware that a manufacturing defect allowed too much moisture into the inflators, increasing the possibility that the inflator can rupture and potentially send metal fragments into vehicle occupants. This is similar or identical to the issue that caused the airbags to be recalled in the first place. As we explained in this article, Takata is supposed to stop using ammonium nitrate (the chemical that can become unstable with heat and moisture) in new orders but can continue using it in existing orders. It’s not clear what constitutes an “existing order” or whether these faulty replacement inflators indeed used the same chemical.

This new recall includes certain vehicles from the following models:

  • 2003 Acura 3.2CL
  • 2013-2016 Acura ILX
  • 2003-2006 Acura MDX
  • 2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL
  • 2004-2006 and 2009-2014 Acura TL
  • 2007-2016 Acura RDX
  • 2010-2013 Acura ZDX
  • 2001-2007 and 2009 Honda Accord
  • 2001-2005 Honda Civic
  • 2002-2007 and 2010-2011 Honda CR-V
  • 2003-2011 Honda Element
  • 2007 Honda Fit
  • 2002-2004 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003-2008 Honda Pilot
  • 2006-2014 Honda Ridgeline

Notices will go out to owners in April, but people who own these models can check their VIN now to determine if their vehicle is affected. If your vehicle is included in this recall, contact your dealer. Honda says that replacement parts (from manufacturers other than Takata) are currently available at dealerships and will be installed for free.

Currently, the company knows of one injury due to the faulty replacement inflators: a 2004 Honda Odyssey whose inflator exploded after a crash, injuring the arm of the driver.

The full statement from Honda can be found here.

CarseatBlog will continue to provide updates about the Takata airbag recalls as they become available.

 

 

Safety Belt for Susie: A Look at Early Crash Testing

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I love watching old “instructional films” from the 1950s and 1960s—you know, the ones that taught kids from that era to have manners and not to be Communists. Many of those films tackled social issues like dating and grooming, but others looked at safety issues, like the 1962 film we’ll examine today: Safety Belt for Susie.

The movie starts off with a father narrating his family’s day at an amusement park. He introduces us to his daughter, Nancy, and one is left momentarily wondering why he doesn’t introduce us to his other daughter.

Aaaaaaa! Things suddenly take a hard turn as we learn the other daughter is actually a doll named Susie.

I’m not generally afraid of dolls, but something about “life-sized-doll-in-an-amusement-park” just screams “Twilight Zone episode.” But wait! We have a lot to learn from Susie.

The family treats Susie like she’s a real child, with Nancy insisting Susie have real dresses and convincing her parents to buy the doll her own cotton candy. (I typed that sentence with condescension until I remembered I have an Instagram account for my son’s stuffed cow, so maybe I should keep my opinions to myself.)

hiccapop UberBoost Preview

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We were skeptical when we first heard about the hiccapop UberBoost inflatable booster seat. We typically hear about new seats long before they’re released, and since we’d heard nothing about this one, we suspected it might not be legitimate. It’s not uncommon to go on Amazon and find similar but dangerous, imported “seats” that don’t meet federal safety standards, such as this inflatable booster seat we “reviewed” a couple years ago. To be honest, I ordered this seat fully expecting to write another one of those “reviews.” Imagine my surprise, then, when I opened up the box to find what appears to be a totally legitimate product.

There’s a registration card attached to the product.

There’s a manual.

There’s what appears to be complete federally required labeling.

Then there’s the seat itself. Unlike the knockoff seat linked up above, the UberBoost feels firm and sturdy, not like a beachball.

Some quick stats on the seat:

  • Weight range: 40-110 lbs
  • Height range: 38-62 inches
  • No minimum age listed
  • Seat width: approximately 14.5 inches
  • Depth: 14″
  • Height (of seating area): 4.5″
What we like

The air bladder is made of a very strong, heavy-duty vinyl. Fully inflated, the seat has barely any give when I push down on it. It feels more like a padded, conventional seat than something inflatable.

It’s a nice size–not too big that it’ll take up a lot of room, but large enough that it seems like it would be stable and supportive.

Grippy material on the bottom should help keep the seat from sliding around and should help keep it stable. I gave it a few nudges while it was sitting on the leather seat of my Odyssey, and I was impressed at how it didn’t move.