Reviews Archive

2018 Honda Odyssey Review: Kids, Carseats and Safety

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2018 Honda Odyssey Minivan and Car Seat Safety Video Review

The updated 2018 Honda Odyssey is here. How well will it fit you and your most precious cargo? Does it stack up against its competitors? Check out our videos and summary to see if it’s the best family hauler for you!

2nd Row Seating:

3rd Row Seating:

He Said:

We took the ’18 Odyssey on a long family road trip with 6 passengers and a weekend load of luggage.

Travel System Review: Baby Jogger City GO Infant Car Seat and City Premier Stroller

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Baby Jogger City GO Car Seat and City Premier Stroller Travel System Review

As a mom of five children ranging in age from infant to 11 years old, every now and then something happens to make me realize how much the world of baby products has changed since I first started shopping for my oldest daughter. Case in point: travel systems. Back in the day, it seemed like most moms chose an infant seat and coordinating stroller based largely on the cute pattern. Since I was determined to avoid the “cute pattern” trap, I did some research and ended up buying a car seat frame to cart around my infant car seat, with plans to buy a nicer stroller after the infant car seat was outgrown. The travel system concept, while good in theory, was sorely lacking in execution. Travel system strollers did not have much going for them, and conversely good strollers were not often compatible with infant car seats.

Fast-forward eleven years and the world of car seats, strollers, and yes, travel systems, has changed. The Baby Jogger City GO travel system, consisting of a City GO infant seat and a City Premier stroller, is a prime example of how the travel system concept has evolved in the past decade. Not only is there a lot to love about the travel system components separately, but I also really like how they work together.

Rear facing only car seat: Baby Jogger City GO

The City GO is essentially a rebranded Graco SnugRide 35LX Click Connect. While there are a few differences between the two seats, much of what is written here about the City GO car seat has been taken from Kecia’s review of the Graco SnugRide 35LX Click Connect. Thanks to Kecia for allowing me to appropriate her thorough review!

City GO specs and features
  • Rear-facing only: 4-35 lbs, 32” or less and top of child’s head at least 1” below top of seat
  • No-rethread harness (15 height positions; see photo below)
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam lines entire headrest and sides of shell (see photo below)
  • Adjustable base (6 positions)
  • Lock-off on base for installations using seat belt
  • Push-button LATCH connectors on base
  • Can be installed without base, with traditional or “taxi safe” (AKA “Euro-style”) belt path routing
  • FAA approved for use in an airplane
  • 7 year lifespan before expiration

View from below; note the many harness height settings

View from above with cover removed; note EPS foam on head rest and sides of the seat

View from the side with cover removed and head rest fully extended

The City GO currently comes in three (gray-themed) colors: Black/Gray, Steel Gray, and a darker Charcoal Gray. With a MSRP of $229.99-$249.99, the seat is widely available online, including at Amazon and Babies R Us, and in store at select Buy Buy Baby and specialty baby store locations.

  

Base compatibility

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Nido Review: A Safety Nest for Baby

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2017 Peg Perego Nido Infant Seat Review

The last time Peg Perego brought a new infant seat to the market we were pleased to see an anti-rebound bar and a parent-friendly seat belt lockoff integrated into the base. And now with the new Peg Perego Nido, they have upped the ante again. Not just an anti-rebound bar and a lockoff, not just anti-rebound handle position and European routing for baseless installs, but now the Nido can be added to the short list of American rear-facing-only seats featuring a load leg! Every part of the Nido is carefully thought out for safety and comfort and it more than lives up to the Italian word “nido”, or nest, as a safe and comfortable place for your baby when your family is on the go.

Nido Overview

  • Premium base with load leg, anti-rebound bar and Right Tight System (seatbelt lock off)
  • European routing for baseless install with anti-rebound handle position
  • No re-thread harness, which is adjusted with a squeeze handle on the back of the seat
  • Pagoda hood with zip away extender that covers the entire seat and has airflow vents
  • Bubble recline indicator with three different ranges based on weight
  • Opening in the back of the seat that allows parents to see the recline bubble indicator with the carrier clicked into the base to ensure proper positioning
  • Dual stage infant cushioning to improve fit for smaller infants
  • Side impact protection head wings with EPP foam
  • EPS foam along the entire shell
  • Made in Italy

Height and Weight Limits

  • 4-35 pounds
  • Height less than 32 inches and at least 1 inch of headrest above baby’s head at the top harness height

     

Nido Base
The base on this car seat is where it first starts to separate itself from the pack. We’ve seen rear-facing-only seats with load legs before and we know that they vastly improve safety by decreasing rotational forces in a crash. We’ve also seen rear-facing-only seats with anti-rebound bars that attempt to reduce rebound into the vehicle seat during the second phase of a frontal crash. But we haven’t seen both a load leg and an anti-rebound bar on the same base…until now.

The Nido base has a solid anti-rebound bar that goes against the vehicle seat back and a load leg at the back of the base. The load leg can be adjusted to 10 different heights and the Energy Management Foot at the end of the load leg is designed to crumple upon impact to help absorb some of the energy from a crash. There is an indicator on the base to show whether the load leg is fully engaged as well as red/green indicators to show whether the car seats is completely clicked into the base.

The base also features the “Right Tight System”, which is a seat belt lock off that provides a secure installation without requiring the belt to be manually switched into a locking mode. The anti-rebound bar, load leg and “Right Tight System” combine to create a base that is entirely unique and exceptionally well designed for safety.

Measurements

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Review Video

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2017-2018 Chrysler Pacifica Review: Kids, Carseats & Safety

The new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is the only minivan to receive an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award for 2017.  It also received a 5-star overall rating from Safercar.gov and the NHTSA gave it 5-stars in each crash test as well.  That’s why we gave it a Runner-Up award for our Safest Family Minivans and SUVs with 3rd Row Seats.  We do have a few minor concerns, however.  To earn the top award from the IIHS, you have to purchase one of the pricier trim levels and an options package totaling almost $42,000 MSRP with family-friendly 8-passenger seating.  As for carseats, while it’s a nice improvement from the Town & Country minivan, it’s still not quite as kid or carseat-friendly as the 2017 Honda Odyssey.  Is it the best choice for your family?  SafeDad discusses some of the pros and cons in our video review:

Likes:

  • IIHS Top Safety Pick+ (Limited & Touring L Plus w/Advanced SafetyTec group)
  • NHTSA 5-Star Rating
  • 5 sets of LATCH in 8-passenger trim
  • Improved from the Town & Country
  • Interior and Exterior styling
  • Stow ‘n Go is great
  • Easy 3rd row access
  • Cargo space and flexibility
  • Very good performance for a minivan
  • Decent fuel economy; Hybrid available

Dislikes:

  • Very pricey to equip important Advanced SafetyTec features
  • 3rd Row has various issues with child safety seats
  • 2nd row buckle stalks & head restraints can be problematic for certain carseats
  • Narrow 2nd row center seat is difficult for carseats, doesn’t stow in floor
  • Firm front seats, rear seat comfort lags other minivans

Car Seats and Child Seating:

While not as family-friendly as the 2017 Honda Odyssey or even the 2017 Kia Sedona, the Pacifica does accommodate larger families with multiple carseats.  The Car Seat Lady has an exhaustive write-up that fully addresses the second and third row seats in regards to kids and carseats.

Conclusion:

Despite the cost above $40,000, I recommend the Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L Plus trim with the Advance SafetyTec Group and 8-passenger seating options.  This is arguably the safest family hauler you can buy today!  The 2017-2018 Pacifica does have some minor concerns and is still not the ideal minivan for being friendly to carseats, but with Stow ‘n Go seating it is flexible enough for most families.

 

Thank you to Chrysler for providing the 2017 Pacifica used for this review.

SafeDad writes about automobiles, carseats and traffic safety issues at CarseatBlog