Previews Archive

UPPAbaby MESA “Henry” Infant Carseat – Green is the New Black

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We are so excited about this new product, which will be available Spring 2017! The UPPAbaby MESA is already one of our favorite premium infant carseats (it’s one of our Editors’ Picks from our Recommended Seats List). And, soon chemical-conscious parents in North America will have the option to buy a MESA model with a merino wool blend cover that is naturally flame retardant!

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This new model, called “Henry/ Blue Marl” (which is actually more grey than blue), will be the first chemical-free infant carseat trim cover! You’re going to shell out $50 more for that particular fashion, but if reducing your child’s exposure to certain chemicals is high on your list of priorities, we don’t think an extra $50 for a wool blend cover that is naturally flame retardant is unreasonable.

Aside from being the “Greenest” carseat, MESA is packed with safety and convenience features. The base is a breeze to install with lower LATCH connectors. Seatbelt install is easy too thanks to the lockoff on the base. This model fits preemies and small newborns well. And of course, it’s compatible with the wildly popular UPPAbaby VISTA & CRUZ strollers if you want to create an ultra-premium travel system. Check out our UPPAbaby MESA Review for the full scoop.

Why Merino Wool?

Merino wool is the only fiber that is naturally flame retardant. For this reason organic mattresses have been made with wool for years. Merino wool is also well-known for being a wicking fiber which makes it comfortable in both warm and cool weather. This is not the itchy wool sweaters of your youth – merino wool doesn’t feel like traditional wool and it won’t bother even the most sensitive baby skin. We all touched the Henry cover and agreed that it felt smooth and lovely.

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Why do most carseats have chemical flame retardants added?

Unfortunately, the fact is that an antiquated federal law requires manufacturers to meet strict flammability standards and it’s very difficult (although clearly not impossible) to meet those standards without adding chemical flame retardants. However, manufacturers do have a choice as to which chemicals they use and how they use them.

UPPAbaby deserves huge kudos for finding a way to meet the flammability standards without adding flame retardants to the cover! They also used energy-absorbing EPP foam (instead of EPS foam) because EPP doesn’t require additional flame retardants. As a side note, all current (non-Henry) MESA models meet the flammability standards without using brominated or chlorinated chemicals (e.g. PBB’s and PBDE’s), which are considered the worst offenders.

“Henry” will be arriving early Spring 2017. We will update the ETA as we get closer to the launch date and have more specific information.

MSRP for “Henry” fashion will be $349. 

So, what do we think?

We were so impressed, that we awarded UPPAbaby with one of our exclusive “Shut Up & Take My Money” Awards for Best New Product at the 2016 ABC Kids Expo! Congrats to UPPAbaby for being the first to market with a naturally flame retardant carseat cover! We hope to see many more of these in the future.

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Carseat Roundup from the 2016 ABC Kids Expo

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New & Improved Carseats & Boosters for 2017

We’ve already brought you detailed posts highlighting many new products that debuted at the 2016 ABC Kids Expo. Here’s the roundup of what else is new and coming soon from Baby Trend, Britax, Cardiff, gb, Evenflo, Hauck, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna & UPPAbaby.

Baby Trend

A running change on Baby Trend infant seats includes a redesigned lower anchor system. A different webbing design will allow connectors to fit better in cars with more prominent anchors, and a baby-trend-secure-snapfit-signnew routing of the strap’s “tail” will allow users to pull upward, giving more leverage and making the strap easier to tighten.

Infant seats will also start shipping with a foam wedge to allow smaller babies to fit better in the harness. The insert goes under the cover and can be used until the baby fits well without it. Seats will start shipping with the insert at the beginning of the year, but existing owners who find they need one can call the company to order one.

Currently the Hybrid combination seat has dual splitter plates to hold the harness at the back of the seat. Soon that will be changing to a single splitter plate, which should eliminate some confusion. The Hybrid will also start shipping with a dual-length crotch strap to allow for more room for larger kids.

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Finally, the Yumi folding booster will also feature a backless mode.

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Britax

I’ve been in the car seat world for a long time now, and I knew the “Brit” in “Britax” had something to do with Britain, but I didn’t know what the “ax” was for…until now. Britax is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Back in 1966, the company launched as British Accessories: Brit-ax… (cue lightbulb-moment). We’re glad the company made its way across the pond and is now making amazing car seats for the U.S. market. Happy birthday, Britax!

In other news, Britax is reviewing its inflatable seatbelt policy. The company will likely add the B-Safe 35/35 Elite and the ClickTight convertibles to its list of seats that can be installed with Ford’s inflatable seatbelts. That would mean that all Britax seats could be used with those belts. Look for that change to occur in the next few weeks.

Britax will also be introducing some new fashions: Poole, Static, Mosaic, Venti, Confetti, Baxter, Oasis, Vue, Vector, and Kate.

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A few fashions will be going away, including the popular Kaleidoscope and Onyx. Cowmoo is here to stay, though, so don’t worry about that.

There are now ClickTight Boulevards and ClickTight Advocates shipping with the anti-rebound bar in the box, although consumers can still purchase them separately, too. Purchasing them together as a boxed set will save $10 off the MSRP vs. purchasing them separately.

Cardiff

Heather recently wrote a review of the Cardiff Travel Headrest, so there’s not too much new to report. They do have some new fashions, though: Camo, Polka Dot, and Melange.

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Cybex

See our full update on the new Cybex Sirona M convertible seat.

Diono

2017 Kiddy Cruiser 3 Highback Booster Preview – Look How Much You’ve Grown!

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kiddy-logo-newWe had a chance to visit the Kiddy USA booth at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas and we were pleasantly shocked by the new Kiddy Cruiser 3 Highback Booster that will be coming to the U.S. market in Spring 2017! This new improved version of the Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro is considerably taller than the original model. We measured 23″ to the bottom of the belt guide in the tallest height setting! Check out the pics – it’s even taller than the discontinued Kiddy World Plus booster. This. Is. Awesome!!!

UPDATE 4/1/17: Cruiser 3 is now available at BuyBuyBaby and is coming soon to Babies R Us!

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Kiddy Cruiser 3 Specs & Features:

  • 33 – 120 lbs.
  • Up to 63″ tall (that’s 5′ 3″!)
  • Highback booster only (cannot remove back and use as a backless booster)
  • Height and width adjusts simultaneously
  • Seat depth (leg support) is also adjustable
  • Rigid LATCH attachments
  • Unique shoulder belt guide traps seatbelt so it cannot slip out of guide unintentionally
  • Various types of thick energy-absorbing foam (Honey Comb V2, EPP & EPS)
  • Kiddy Shock Absorber “crumple zone” technology in lap belt area
  • MSRP $259

 

Open the guide to slide the shoulder belt inside – release it and it’s locked inside!

Reflective panels & a dot pattern that represent a Morse Code message: "Kiddy - we love our kids."

Reflective panels & a dot pattern that represent a Morse Code message: “Kiddy – we love our kids.”

Compared with KIddy World Plus booster. Same overall height but belt guide are placed higher on Cruiser 3.

Compared with Kiddy World Plus booster. Same overall height but belt guides are situated differently on Cruiser 3, allowing for a taller child – up to 63″.

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2017 fashions for Kiddy Cruiser 3 Booster

Currently, the Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro Booster (aka Cruiser 1) is on our exclusive list of Recommended Seats and we have a full review of that model HERE. We look forward to reviewing the Kiddy Cruiser 3 model in the near future. Cruiser 3 is now available at BuyBuyBaby and is coming soon to Babies R Us.

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Carseat Preview – ABC Kids Expo 2016

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graco-snugride-snuglock2017 Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Carseats

These new SnugLock 35 models will be available 1st qtr 2017. There will be various “trim” models with different features. All models will have front harness adjusters. There will be an “Elite” model ($219 Amazon), an “Elite with Safety Surround” model ($219 Target exclusive) a “Platinum” model ($219 BRU exclusive) and a “Platinum XT” model ($249 BuyBuyBaby exclusive).  These will have minor variations.

SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Specs & Features

  • Rear-facing only 4-35 lbs. and up to 32″ tall
  • No-rethread harness
  • 4-position premium SnugLock base with belt tensioner/lock-0ff
  • Safety Core energy-absorbing feature
  • “Texas-sized” Canopy
  • MSRP $219

Graco SnugRide SnugLock Elite Carrier:

The carrier for the SnugRide SnugLock Elite is basically a SnugRide 35LX ClickConnect with a Rapid-Remove cover. The SnugLock carrier will also feature a new “Texas-sized” canopy that glides open and closed almost silently.

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Graco SnugRide SnugLock Base:

We were very impressed with this base. To achieve a secure install, you simply thread through and attach the lower anchor strap or seatbelt, and just remove any excess slack. Then you can easily push down on the large lever, which tightens the belt and serves as a lock-off. (Always check for less than an inch of movement at the beltpath to make sure.) We were able to install the base properly in less than 30 seconds.

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If you need to uninstall the seat, unlocking the lever is a snap…but it won’t snap your fingernails. Kecia referred to it as “manicure-friendly.”

You can see our installation video here:

The base features a 4-position spring-loaded recline foot and a bubble level indicator. It also has a honeycomb-like “Safety Core” to help absorb energy in a crash. A handy storage slot allows the manual to be stored inside the front of the base, and it can be accessed without needing to uninstall the seat or remove the carrier.

If you need an extra base for your SnugRide SnugLock or any existing SnugRide Click Connect model, the SnugLock base will be available separately for $89. (A more simplified base with a similar but smaller “arm” will retail for $59. That base will also be available with a lower-priced carrier.)

The SnugRide SnugLock 35 models will be available in early 2017. Graco is working on certification in Canada.