Monthly Archive:: September 2010

2011 Honda Odyssey First Look Review Part I: Kids, Family and Safety


Are you tired of 7-passenger vehicles that can’t fit all your kids and cargo?  Sick of wagons and vans that lack features found in luxury cars?  Well now your troubles are over!  The rumours you’ve heard.  The videos you’ve seen.  It has arrived!  Hi folks, CPSDarren here, to tell you that the 2011 Honda Odyssey is the ultimate Family Truckster!  Hauling lots of children along with their friends and gear?  Want great seating flexibility with much better fuel economy than monster SUVs and full size vans?  Looking for safety and high-end entertainment possibilities?  Look no further!  The new Odyssey is now king of the carseat and kid cruiser category, usurping the role from the 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna 8-passenger models.  With the exception of the basic Odyssey LX trim level that lacks an 8th seat, every other model in the lineup has tons of convenient family seating solutions.

As seen on TV!  In the amazing new Odyssey, you can now easily fit most combinations of child safety seats 3-across in the second row.  Really.  On the right, I installed two Evenflo Titans and a Safety 1st onBoard 35 with plenty of room between.  Honda claims there is plenty of room even for larger carseats known to be problematic side-by-side and I can easily see that this is probably true.  They accomplish this with a few inches more width inside overall, a new “wide” seating mode and a much wider “Multifunction” middle seat.  This seat even features LATCH, the lower anchors and top tether anchors (circled, left) not present on the PlusOne middle seat of the previous Odyssey.

Yes, it’s true!  Three LATCH positions in the middle row for all EX and Touring models.  In the third row, there are two LATCH positions in the outboard seats (right) and a third top tether anchor for the middle seat.  All three top tether anchors for the third row are on the back of the vehicle seats.  So, that’s a total of 5 LATCH positions in the 8-passenger EX/Touring trims and 4 LATCH positions for the 7-passenger LX trim level.

IIHS Releases New Booster Seat Evaluations: 28 Models are Best Bets or Good Bets!


The IIHS has just released ratings for boosters in regard to how well they are likely to fit your child.  It’s been almost a year since Kecia commented on their last round of tests.  No doubt, manufacturers and industry groups will be issuing their responses soon, too.  You can see some of the previous responses and a video demonstration of correct fit in my blog from last winter.

Within the next couple weeks, we will have a more detailed response to these new ratings and some information to help you determine when your child is really ready to “graduate” from a booster to just a seatbelt.  I’ll tell you it isn’t always at 4’9″ tall, at 8 years old, at 80 pounds or any other easy to remember number!  For now, please consider the IIHS guidelines as simply that, good suggestions on models that are likely to work well with a variety of kids in various vehicles.  Because they tested with one specific size dummy (average 6-year old size) in four vehicle seats, the ratings are somewhat limited and subjective.  That means that there will be many exceptions.  Even so, the models they rate as “Best Bets” and “Good Bets” are a good place to start when you are shopping.  We’ve reviewed many of the same models and often agree with the IIHS conclusions.  What if your booster is “Not Recommended”?  Don’t panic!  Just check for yourself to see if it fits your child well in your vehicle.  Don’t know how?  Check out Kecia’s great guide.  If it doesn’t, then you might consider a different model or consulting a trained technician in your area for help.

Finally, kudos to Kecia, our booster expert and author of many of our booster reviews.  I know she worked with Harmony regarding some concerns with the original Secure Comfort Deluxe and other models. I’d like to think some of that feedback helped Harmony put the revised Secure Comfort Deluxe plus 4 other models in the “Best Bet” category!

Best Bet models include: Britax Frontier 85 (combination highback), Chicco Keyfit Strada (dual highback), Clek Oobr (dual highback), Cosco Juvenile Pronto (dual highback), Cybex Solution X-Fix (highback), Eddie Bauer Auto Booster (dual highback), Evenflo Big Kid Amp (backless), Evenflo Maestro (combination highback), Graco TurboBooster Crawford (dual highback), Harmony Baby Armor (dual highback), Harmony Dreamtime (dual backless), Harmony Dreamtime (dual highback), Harmony Secure Comfort Deluxe (backless), Harmony Youth Booster Seat (backless), Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR (dual highback), Recaro ProBOOSTER (highback), Recaro ProSPORT (combination highback), Recaro Vivo (highback), Recaro Young Sport (combination highback), Safety 1st Boost Air Protect (dual highback), and the The First Years Pathway B570 (highback).

Good Bet models include: Britax Parkway SG (dual highback), Combi Kobuk Air Thru (dual backless),  Combi Kobuk Air Thru (dual highback), Evenflo Symphony 65 (3-in-1 highback), Graco TurboBooster Sachi (dual highback), Graco TurboBooster Wander (dual highback) and the Maxi-Cosi Rodi (dual highback).

Stay tuned, as we hope to have a giveaway or two of some of these top rated models over the next couple weeks!

The Power of Women


I hope you will enjoy some inspirational poetry from my wife, who previously wrote some prose for the blog at the start of this year.  This poem was an entry for a contest Honda sponsored in conjunction with the Variety’s Power of Women Event, presented by Lifetime.  Unfortunately, since she is not a regular contributor to the blog, her entry on my behalf was not allowed.  So, I persuaded her to allow me to publish here, because I think she deserves credit just the same.  She really wrote a terrific poem, one that I’m sure would have been a top vote-getter on Facebook.  You can see the other entries on Honda’s Power of Women Facebook page.

~ The Power of Women ~

by Mimi Qunell

When I was little
I thought women’s power meant
Proving we were equal to the boys,
We could do anything a man could do
In heels, and backwards, and better.

And so I did.
Career woman, breadwinner
Athlete, volunteer,
And, oh yeah,
loving wife and mom of three.
And still that wasn’t enough.

Empty, frustrated, and wondering
Who it was I was fighting afterall,
I discovered my very tired and lonely self,
If I step outside this ripcurrent of my psyche,
What energy and light might emerge?

So, here I find myself
Mid-forties, laying down my shield and sword at last,
Discovering something amazing.
Flowy, spiritual, sexy, soft, and powerful

With no chip on my shoulder
And no cross to bear.
Finally discovering true love,
For myself
And for those around me.
And oh,
What mountains can be moved with that!

KIM 2010 Updates and News, Part 2


Hey there!  This is Anne (ketchupqueen) again, concluding the news and updates that we were given at the 2010 Kidz In Motion Conference in Ft. Worth, TX.  (You can see Part 1 here.)  Thanks again to Christa (celtic1885) for her help with pictures, fact-checking, and everything else!

Evenflo shared some upcoming updates with us during the manufacturers’ panel.  Evenflo also has 30+ CPSTs on staff, did you know that?  They are in marketing, engineering, quality control, sales, and Parent Link departments.  They did confirm a few things we already knew, but I thought bore repeating in case anyone hasn’t heard- tether extenders are available for all their seats.  LATCH in booster mode is allowed in all of their seats so equipped (3 in 1, combination seats) as long as it does not interfere with proper fit or positioning (for instance, you may not use offset LATCH in booster mode as it would interfere with proper positioning of the belt.)

Evenflo also shared some changes they have made recently or are making.  They are adding color-coding to stickers for greater ease of installation, and as of seats shipping this December, all labels on each seat will have model name and expiration clearly marked, according to Dave Sanders, CPST and engineer who was speaking to us.  All booster weight minimums have now been increased to 40 lbs., and they will not be selling boosters with a weight limit lower than 40 lbs. in the future.  They have updated the fairly-new Maestro so it can be 5 degrees more reclined.  The Embrace handle is being redesigned; the Z-shape will no longer be on the Embrace, it will be shaped like the handle on the Serenade that sits closer to the shell of the seat.  While the “handle down, 1.5 inches clearance” rule does still apply at this time, they are “working on” allowing different handle positions (though I’m not quite holding my breath on that one.)  The weight limit on the Embrace may or may not be increased in the future.