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Reolink Argus Pro Quick Review

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The Reolink Argus Pro is a nice, compact outdoor HD camera.  It comes with everything you need to setup a cordless, weatherproof security monitor.  You can buy the Argus Pro at Amazon.com for $99.99.  The Argus Pro worked great for me as a front door camera, but the mounting options make it flexible enough to go just about anywhere.  My main concern was having to charge it frequently since it’s not wired to an outlet.  So far, I’ve had it running for a few weeks and the battery is still at 80% with the default settings!  There’s also an optional solar panel for continuous operation and you can charge it with the included USB cable from any outlet using a standard charger (not included). Looking for an indoor baby/pet/security cam?  Check out our review of the Reolink C1 Pro.

For security purposes, you can automatically save recordings to a micro SD card (not included) whenever motion is detected, or they are beta testing a cloud backup system where you can review activity online.

Argus Pro Features:

  • 1080P High Definition
  • Rechargeable Battery Included
  • Smart Motion Sensor
  • Two-way audio
  • Hardware and strap mount included
  • Infrared Night vision (to 33 ft.)
  • Weatherproof
  • Reolink smartphone App
  • Motion detection record to micro SD card
  • Optional solar power panel

PROS:

Illinois to require rear-facing until age 2

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Illinois has become the latest state to pass a law requiring children to ride rear-facing until they’re 2 years old.

On Friday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB4377, which amends Illinois’ existing child restraint law. Currently, state law requires children to ride in an appropriate child restraint until they are 8 years old. The new law will also require children to remain rear-facing until they are 2 years old unless the child weighs more than 40 pounds or is more than 40 inches tall.

The original version of the bill would have imposed a $75 fine for a first-time offense, but that language was later omitted, leaving penalties to the discretion of local authorities.

The governor’s office has confirmed that the law will go into effect January 1, 2019.

Full text of the amended child restraint law can be found here.

Section 5. The Child Passenger Protection Act is amended by changing Section 4 as follows:

(625 ILCS 25/4) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1104)

Sec. 4. When any person is transporting a child in this State under the age of 8 years in a non-commercial motor vehicle of the first division, any truck or truck tractor that is equipped with seat safety belts, any other motor vehicle of the second division with a gross vehicle weight rating of 9,000 pounds or less, or a recreational vehicle on the roadways, streets or highways of this State, such person shall be responsible for providing for the protection of such child by properly securing him or her in an appropriate child restraint system. The parent or legal guardian of a child under the age of 8 years shall provide a child restraint system to any person who transports his or her child.

When any person is transporting a child in this State who is under the age of 2 years in a motor vehicle of the first division or motor vehicle of the second division weighing 9,000 pounds or less, he or she shall be responsible for properly securing the child in a rear-facing child restraint system, unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall.

For purposes of this Section and Section 4b, “child restraint system” means any device which meets the standards of the United States Department of Transportation designed to restrain, seat or position children, which also includes a booster seat.

A child weighing more than 40 pounds may be transported in the back seat of a motor vehicle while wearing only a lap belt if the back seat of the motor vehicle is not equipped with a combination lap and shoulder belt.

Scam Stores? Buyer Beware!

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Yes, it IS too good to be true.  There has been a recent increase in suspicious looking retailer websites that are offering great deals on car seats and gear.  Graco and Britax seem to be popular targets with the fake deals, but this also applies to other brands.  The websites may look legitimate enough on the surface, with photos and logos appearing like real car seat companies, but there are a few red flags you can easily spot:

  1. Check the “About”, “Contact” or “Return” pages.  Do they clearly show a USA or Canada shipping address?  Scammers usually only have a contact form, if that.  If there’s no way to track them down, there’s also no way to return a product or file a complaint!
  2. Do they publish an email address and phone number, preferably a toll free number or one with a local area code if it’s a brick and mortar store?  If you can even find one, call it just to check and ask a few questions before you order online.  If you get a bad vibe, don’t risk it!
  3. Check the links to their social media pages.  Do they work?  Do they match the store name? Have they been around a while? Is their facebook page updated regularly and do they have at least 1000 followers and legitimate comments or Q&A there?  Scammers may have a dozen short, 5-star fake reviews, but that’s usually all.
  4. Google search the store name.  Can you find any reasonable comments that it’s a real company, even if it’s a smaller store with a brick and mortar location?  If it’s a local baby store, you should also find Yelp and other comments about them.
  5. Are the deals similar to the current prices at Amazon, Target, Walmart, BuyBuyBaby, Albee Baby and other legitimate retailers?  If you have never heard of the store and ALL their prices are way below ALL the other stores where you usually shop, then it’s probably too good to be true!

OUR ADVICE: If you are still in doubt, the easiest way to check is to call the customer service number of the manufacturer of the car seat to ask them if it is an authorized retailer in your country.   If you find their official product webpage, they usually have a locator for authorized distributors and retailers.  You can also ask us on our facebook page or facebook group  We will be able to steer you to deals at proven retailers!

When in doubt, DO NOT download anything from suspicious looking websites and DO NOT submit any personal information!

Here’s an example of an alleged FAKE.  The URL and store name alone should be red flags enough, but this website happened to fail just about every question above.  Have an issue?  Don’t count on being able to contact them.  And don’t be fooled by their presumably unauthorized use of a manufacturer’s logo!

 

 

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Now here’s a REAL contact page below from our friends at Kids ‘N Cribs, a legitimate online baby store with retail locations in California.  They have a contact number, address, a 4.5 star Yelp rating with 30 reviews and a facebook page with recent updates and over 4000 followers.  They are authorized retailers for about 100 brands, including Britax, Chicco, Clek, Diono, Graco, Max-Cosi, Nuna, Peg Perego, UPPAbaby and many more.

Please feel free to leave us a comment here or on our facebook page, especially if you have seen a fake store with unbelievably good deals!

CarseatBlog’s 10th Anniversary: LATCH Now and Then

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Almost 18 years ago, I started my first websites (Car-Seat.Org and Car-Safety.Org) after I had issues installing my first convertible car seat.  My point of emphasis was to answer questions about the new LATCH system, touted to make installing a car seat simple* for parents.  Many years later, I was reading a computer hardware specific blog and wondered, why not do the same for car seats?  There were plenty of mommy blogs and parenting websites at the time.  You could find others about child passenger safety in regard to general information and injury prevention, but there were really no internet magazines that published regularly about car seats as a product.  And so, CarseatBlog was created in early 2007.

We set some trends and even broke a few “rules” on the way.  Back then, it was taboo to say that you liked or disliked a product.  In our training as certified child passenger safety technicians and instructors, we were always told to be neutral and it was always implied that all car seats were created equal.  Of course, we all knew better.  There were differences, often BIG differences.  Meanwhile, professional review blogs and websites had proliferated for everything from automobiles to movies to cellphones, but car seats were widely ignored.  Other than a few exceptions like the old Epinions website or some shill websites with shopping portals that just cut and paste information from manufacturers, you couldn’t really find a website dedicated to car seats with expert, in-depth reviews.  The NHTSA had started issuing ease-of-use ratings that often seemed subjective, so why couldn’t we publish our own opinions?  Thus, our first product review appeared in May of 2008 for the Britax Frontier.

Technically, we didn’t begin to publish regularly until July, 2008, when we moved from WordPress.com to our own website.  So, this month is when we mark our “official” 10th anniversary.  Ten years ago today, I blogged about how little progress had been made on the LATCH system since it first appeared in the year 2000.  Things have changed slowly since then.  For example, only five years ago, if a parent wanted to know how long they could use the lower attachments or a top tether, an experienced expert had only a small chance of finding a clear answer for them in an owner’s manual or a 200+ page reference manual that had to be created to try to resolve the confusion.  At the same time some organizations lamented the low usage rates of the lower attachments and top tethers, other agencies confused technicians and parents with warnings about exceeding arbitrary default weight limits as low as 40 pounds.  There have been many such hurdles getting clear messages to parents.

Today the situation is a little better, as federal standards now require a lower anchorage weight limit to be printed in the manual and on labels.  Even if a parent actually notices this limit, they likely don’t realize that it can vary from one product to another, and may even differ for rear-facing and forward-facing use on the same product.  While many automakers support higher top tether limits today, it is often difficult for parents to find these limits in manuals.  The lower attachment part of LATCH has an alternative with no such weight limit for children: installation with the standard seatbelt system.  Unlike the lower attachments, there is no alternative for the top tether with a forward-facing child.  In fact, top tether use becomes an even more important safety feature for taller and heavier kids.  Nearly 20 years later, it’s still a failure that we can’t just tell parents to use LATCH until a limit of the car seat is reached.

Though these federal standards have stymied some innovations, like rigid LATCH systems for older kids, car seat manufacturers continue to impress.  Some flexible LATCH and seatbelt installation systems are as easy to use as the rigid LATCH systems we thought should be commonplace by now.  We hope that in another ten years we are still around to tell you how much things have improved!  For today, we would like to simply thank all of our readers and our colleagues in the car seat and automobile industries for their support of our ongoing mission on keeping kids safe in cars:-)

THANK YOU from Darren, Kecia, Heather, Jennie, Alicia and Katie!  In appreciation of all our wonderful readers, CarseatBlog and our great sponsors will be giving away at least one car seat each week for 10 weeks for our 10th anniversary, so be sure to keep reading!

 

* (Not.)