Reviews Archive

All the Specs! A Review of the Evenflo Spectrum 2-in-1 Booster

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Evenflo Spectrum BoosterEvenflo has made safe, affordable carseats for decades, and they aren’t new to booster seats either. Spectrum is the newest member of the Evenflo family with some unique and innovate features. My first impression upon taking it out of the box was that it was very streamlined and modern looking. I know booster seats can be pretty run of the mill when it comes to looks, but Spectrum has some special touches that add to its unique appearance.

There is some assembly required when it comes out of the box but it isn’t difficult if you follow the directions in the manual. There are no tools (or screws) required and it doesn’t come in a million pieces like Ikea furniture. 
 

Spectrum is currently available at Target, Babies R Us, Amazon (coming soon) and directly from Evenflo. MSRP is $59.99.

Spectrum Specifications:

(say that 10 times fast!)

  • Weight 40 – 110 lbs.
  • Height 44 – 57”
  • 4 year age minimum. I got all nerdy over the spread in the manual regarding how to know if a child is appropriate to ride in a booster.

Evenflo - When to Put Your Child in a Booster Seat

  • Adjustable headrest with 8 height settings
  • Lyf+Guard side-impact protection technology in the head rest
  • Does not require a vehicle head restraint when used in high back mode
  • 6 year lifespan before expiration
  • Dual cupholders/snack trays
  • Machine washable cover that can also be thrown in the dryer!!

Review: 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab – Haul Your Cargo and Your Kids

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People don’t often think of pickup trucks as “family vehicles,” but there’s a lot to be said for them if you look for the right features. There’s a wide range of trucks out there, from those with no back seat (standard cab), to those with an unusable back seat (many extended cabs), to those with back seats so large you could camp in them. The former might be tough to use with kids, but the latter can be great, allowing you to safely haul your kids and have plenty of room for cargo and/or horsepower for towing.

I recently had the opportunity to drive a 2016/2017 GMC Sierra 1500 4WD Crew Cab SLT for a week, and I could easily see it being someone’s family car.

Vehicle Features and Driving

We’ll get to the carseat stuff in a minute, but first let’s explore the Sierra’s features and what it’s like to drive it.

The Sierra gets a 5-star overall rating in the government crash tests. That includes 5-star ratings for driver and passenger frontal crash, driver and passenger side crash, and a 4-star rating for rollovers. It receives ratings of Good in most IIHS categories, with the exception of the small overlap test (Moderate), headlights (Acceptable), and LATCH ease of use (Poor—we’ll get to this later). Regarding the headlight category, only one large pickup rated better than the Sierra—the other trucks all got marginal or poor ratings.

The Sierra comes with the safety features one would expect: Antilock breaks, a full range of airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, etc. The model I drove had some extra safety features, including a forward collision alert system, parking assist, and a lane departure assist system.

The lane departure feature was really neat. I’ve driven a lot of cars that alert you when you’re drifting out of a lane, but this takes it one step further. If the vehicle detects that you’re leaving a lane (while not actively steering and with no turn signal on), it gently turns the steering wheel on its own to keep you in the lane. This is a very subtle process, and I had to test it several times to fully understand what it was doing, but it really did help keep the truck where it was supposed to be, in large part because the steering wheel moving on its own definitely grabs your attention.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a “big car” person. The bigger the vehicle, the more I worry I’m going to run into something, especially when parking it. It’s the kind of fear that subsides over time, but I was still a bit nervous in the mere week I drove the Sierra. That said, I didn’t run into anything, nor did I have any trouble driving or maneuvering the truck.

Many pickup trucks, especially at higher trim levels, can look and feel like luxury cars inside, and that’s true of the Sierra, too. But make no mistake: It’s a pickup truck, and it feels like one when driving. It took a good depression on the gas pedal to get it going, and the acceleration took a while. That’s probably not surprising, but I drove the Sierra right after testing out the 2016 Subaru Forester, which accelerates like mad with just a feather’s touch, so it seemed like a big contrast. The ride was a bit bumpier than what you’d experience in a typical sedan, but again, that comes with the territory. Overall it was actually smoother than I expected it to be.

The Sierra definitely felt sturdy, and once I got used to the way it drove it was pretty fun, even for someone who gets nervous with big vehicles. I even parked it somewhat decently! (I’ve written about my parking woes in the past.)

Carseats and Kids

Chicco KeyFit 30 vs. Chicco Fit2 Carseat Comparison

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We’ve known and loved the Chicco KeyFit 30 carseat for years but now there is an exciting new Chicco rear-facing only seat on the market, the Fit2 Infant & Toddler Seat, and you might be wondering how they compare to each other. We were wondering the same thing so here you go…

KeyFit 30 (left) & Fit2 (right) in Stage 1 infant position

KeyFit 30 and Fit2 in Stage 2 toddler position (headrest not extended)

KeyFit 30 & Fit2 in Stage 2 toddler position (headrest fully extended to max height setting)

Specs & Features Comparison:

Specs & Features

Chicco KeyFit 30

Chicco Fit2

Weight limit

4-30 lbs.

4-35 lbs.

Height limit

30″ tall

35″ tall

Harness positions

3

7

Buckle positions

1

2

Lockoffs on base

Center LATCH strap with SuperCinch

Push-on LATCH connectors

Liquid bubble level

EPS foam

Newborn insert

Fits preemies

FAA approved for airplane use

Can be installed without base

Allows European beltpath routing

2-Stage base

  

Adjustable headrest

  

No-rethread harness

 

1-hand handle adjustment

 

Anti-rebound bar on base

  

Lifespan before expiration

6 years

  6 years

Country of Origin

China

Italy

Measurement Comparison:

Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler Carseat Review – twice as nice!

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chicco-fit2-legato-stock-imageChicco is launching their new Fit2 Rear-Facing Only Infant & Toddler Seat this month and I was lucky enough to receive one of the very first production models for review. This may have been my favorite Christmas present but don’t tell my husband or kids that I said that. 😀

Fit2 is an innovative new product that fits children in 2 stages, infant and toddler. Initially, it’s an infant seat rated down to 4 pounds. Just like the popular KeyFit infant carseat, the Chicco Fit2 will be an excellent option for newborns and preemies too. But unlike other infant seats, Fit2 transitions into a stage 2, rear-facing seat for toddlers 9-24 months. The “magic” is in the base which has a infant setting and a toddler setting. The infant setting places the carrier in a reclined position that is necessary for newborns and younger babies. The more upright setting is appropriate for toddlers 9-24 months who are crawling or walking already, and offers the child some extra legroom.

I’m sure many of our savvy readers are wondering if this is just some gimmick or if Fit2 can really deliver on its promise to fit toddlers comfortably up to 24 months. Well… wonder no more because this seat delivers and I’m officially in love. I’m talking pink sparkly hearts with rainbows and unicorns love. 😛

Fit2 retains everything we know and love about the KeyFit and adds a 7-position no-rethread harness, an anti-rebound bar on the base (Chicco refers to this as a “stabilizer bar”), premium Italian fabrics (it’s actually made in Italy), European beltpath routing for installations without the base and you can get a lot more use out of it before your kiddo outgrows it. How do you say, “winner, winner, chicken dinner” in Italian?

Chicco Fit2 Specs & Requirements: