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2019 Honda Insight Review: Kids, Carseats & Safety

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The Honda Insight: King of Small Car Safety and Hybrid Fuel Economy too?

Quite simply, the 2019 Honda Insight is an amazing value for safety.  Starting at a street price of around $22K ($23,725 MSRP in LX trim), Consumer Reports said that the all-new Insight is their fuel-economy champ for vehicles that don’t have a plug.  We find it equally impressive that the Insight earns a Top Safety Pick “Plus” award from the IIHS AND a 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA.  More impressive is that it gets the top results of Good/Superior in ALL nine IIHS crash test and safety ratings and a 5-star result in ALL eight NHTSA safety evaluations as well.  That accomplishment is matched by only a handful of vehicles at any price.  Most impressive is that ALL these top ratings apply to ALL Insights in ALL trim levels.  That’s a rarity among vehicles, I believe the only one for 2019 at the time of this publication including luxury models!  That’s mainly because many other models with top crash test results only earn an IIHS award on top trim levels that have the best headlight system and/or a tech options package with automatic emergency braking.

For kids, the Insight is still a small vehicle and like all compact SUVs and sedans, it’s relatively narrow and that compromises what you can put in the narrow middle seat.  While the outboard rear seats are fairly friendly to car seats in general, there will be challenges if you need to put two carseats next to each other or three-across.  The only unusual issue is the presence of fixed rear head restraints.  These protrude forward enough that they could be problematic for some taller forward-facing carseats and high back boosters, so you do need to check your carseat owner’s manual if the head restraint pushes your carseat forward or prevents the carseat from being adjusted high enough.  Some models I installed like the Graco Nautilus SnugLock and Britax Frontier did not have this issue.  The Frontier, however, can be difficult to adjust to the tallest height setting due to the roof.  Also, with the raised seat hump and slightly lower head restraint, taller passengers may not get adequate protection from whiplash in the center seat.  Headroom is already limited, so those passengers may not fit there anyway.  On the other hand, Insight has a few inches more rear legroom than its competitors, handy not only for adults but also for rear-facing carseats.

Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX

Back Seat May Not Be The Safest Place for Your Child? Wait….What?

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You may be seeing news headlines about a new project to research the safety of rear seat occupants.  Unfortunately, some media outlets have misinterpreted the intent of the study and have some very misleading headlines.  “Study shows the back seat may not be the safest place for your child in a front-end collision,” says NBC News and some of its affiliates.  Though new studies sometimes do contradict old research, that is not the current intent of this new paper from the IIHS.

NBCnews.com

Now consider the headline of the IIHS press release, “Rear-seat occupant protection hasn’t kept pace with the front.”  In fact, that is exactly the purpose of this new project.  The IIHS is developing a new crash test to help promote improvements in safety for rear seat occupants.  This study was not designed and likely does not have enough statistical information to change our current recommendation to keep all children 12 and under in the back seat whenever possible.

According to Russ Rader, Senior Vice President of Communications at the IIHS:

While we looked at real-world cases involving occupants age 6 and older, the focus is on adult passengers because they appear to be the most vulnerable to seat belt-related injuries to the chest, especially the oldest occupants.   The long-standing recommendation to parents hasn’t changed: The back seat is still overall the safest place for properly restrained children to ride.

It is important to point out that in a study like this we seek out the cases where people were seriously injured in order to understand what engineering changes might have affected the outcome.  It is also important to look at the entire population that could be affected by any changes in order to make sure that solutions for older vulnerable occupants do not negatively impact children.

Photo courtesy of IIHS

Be a smart consumer of news and know that the media is trying to draw your attention. When it comes to the safety of your child, find all the facts before making any decisions.  Please keep your children age 12 and under properly restrained in the back seat if at all possible!  If you have no other option than to place a child in the front passenger seat, please feel free to contact us through our facebook page or talk any child passenger safety technician for safest practice recommendations!  If best practice advice ever changes in the future, we will be sure to inform you, as will the IIHS, NHTSA and other occupant safety agencies.

March Madness of Fashions Final Four

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It’s not too late to vote!  We’re down to our final four of fabulous fabrics!  Visit our facebook page now to vote and come back this weekend to vote in our championship game: https://www.facebook.com/carseatblog

Our first match featured two Cinderellas, #11 seed “Lanai” from Chicco vs. our #15 seed “Seascape” from Evenflo.  Both these fashions have won their first two games by big voting margins from our readers.

In our second match, our highest remaining seed, #4 Graco “Matrix” was up against reader-nominated #8 “Bohemian Blue” from Maxi-Cosi.  “Matrix” is one of the best selling neutral fashions against a very pretty Pria pattern that knocked off our #1 seed Britax “Cowmooflage” last round!

Update: The championship game pits “Lanai” vs. “Bohemian Blue”, both winning their final four matchups by nearly two-to-one voting margins!  Voting ends Monday afternoon, April 8th.

 

 

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.