Monthly Archive:: August 2009

First Years B540 Compass Folding Adjustable Booster Review


B540 PacificThis is a review of the B540 Compass Ultra Adjustable Folding Booster made by First Years/Learning Curve.

The B540 model is very similar to the B530 (they actually share the same instruction manual) but there are a few notable differences.

  • B540 has more padding built into the cover
  • B540 headwings are 2″ deeper for better SIP and sleep support
  • B540 has EPP foam lining the headrest (B530 has EPS).  Both EPP and EPS foam are energy absorbing materials but EPP is more durable and is less likely to crack under normal wear and tear conditions.

Since they do share the same instruction manual I can tell you that both the B540 and B530 models are rated for children 30 – 100 lbs, from 38 – 57 ” tall and who are 3 years or over. This doesn’t mean that it would be an ideal choice for a 30 lb, 3 year old child but for a booster here in the US these minimums are fairly common. Still, best practice is to keep children in a 5-pt harness until they reach 40 lbs – assuming they can still fit height-wise. With that “best practice disclaimer” out of the way, let’s look at what the B540 has to offer:

Tires Have Expiration Dates?!


We car seat geeks focus on restraints, but we tend to forget about the true tiresworkhorses of the vehicle: the tires.  While getting the family ride ready to go to the Happiest Place on Earth, dh noticed that the tires were looking a bit worn down along the edges.  I looked at them and yup, all 4 tires were wearing a bit thinner than either of us liked to see on the edges, but the middles still have plenty of tread left in them.  Between the two of us, we couldn’t figure out when or if we had ever replaced the tires; we bought the van new in April 2005, so it’s been 4 years.  That’s a mighty long time to have a first set of tires on a vehicle, but aside from a handful of long trips, I mostly drive it within just a few miles of my home on a daily basis during the school year (in the summers, I’m begging the kids to run errands somewhere, anywhere, just to get out of the house!).  The van still has less than 40K miles on it!

Sunshine Kids Increases Rear-Facing Limit on Radian Models


It’s “Old” news now, but we thought it is worth mentioning for those who haven’t seen it. Kudos to Sunshine Kids for adding the Radian series of convertibles to the models that have 40 pound rear-facing weight limits.  Here is the official press release:

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  Increased Rear-Facing Limits On Existing Radian Models

SUMNER, WA – July 20, 2009 – Due to the recent advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics to keep children rear-facing until their second birthday ( ), rear-facing capacity has gained renewed interest.

Sunshine Kids Juvenile Products has recently completed additional crash testing and Radian’s rear-facing capacity has been increased to 40 lbs.  The Radian seats meet all the rear-facing crash test performance standards in FMVSS213, even at 40 lbs (Note: such performance is not required by law for RF seats above 22 lbs).  As well, Radian seats were successfully NCAP crash tested  (35 mph / 47 g’s impact force – almost twice the forces – compared to 30 mph / 25 g’s impact in FMVSS213 crash tests). This new change will be reflected in new manuals later in the year.  In the meantime, please note this increased rear-facing capacity is now retroactive to all US model Radian seats made after September, 2008.

Models: US models only – Radian65® (16500), Radian80® (18500) and RadianXT® (19500)

–          Rear-facing capacity for these Radian models has been increased to 40 lbs.

–          This change will be reflected on future Radian manuals and stickers.

–          This change is now retroactive and applies to U.S. Radian models manufactured in or after September, 2008.

Formed in 1999, Sunshine Kids has been dedicated to developing products that make the travel experience for children safer and more enjoyable. Sunshine Kids has grown steadily because of its unique range of award-winning products, which have been recognized for their unique functionality and thoughtful design in 31 countries worldwide.

Parlez-vous espagnol?


spanish dictionaryI have come to the conclusion that I need to learn to speak Spanish in order to work more successfully as a technician.  Many of our clientele where I live are Spanish-speakers it’s a hindrance when the only way I can communicate is by hand gestures.  I just wish I wasn’t so stubborn back in 8th grade when Spanish was first offered as an elective: no, even though I knew it was a language that would come in handy seeing as how I lived in the Phoenix area, I wanted to learn French.  So in high school, pig-headedness still prevailed and I took French for 3 years and another year in college.  I was very good at French.  Too bad I don’t live in France.