Monthly Archive:: October 2011

IIHS Best Bet Booster Bonanza: Win a Chicco Keyfit Strada!


By now you’ve probably seen our coverage of the latest round of booster seat ratings from the IIHS.  Perhaps you are wondering how to get one of those top-rated Best Bets into your car?  Wonder no more, here is your chance to win a Chicco Keyfit Strada Booster in the Pearl fashion, courtesy of our sponsor,

There are three ways to enter!

  1. Leave a comment here at CarseatBlog in reply to this post ( only 1 entry here )
  2. LIKE Kids N Cribs Facebook and comment on our post there ( only 1 entry here ) —
  3. Send a friend to LIKE the Kids-N-Cribs Facebook Page.  Have them leave a comment on the giveaway post and tag you ( @jansmith sent me ), then you get an extra entry (unlimited additional entries)!


The Keyfit Strada will be shipped directly to the winner from Kids-N-Cribs (shipping is free in the 48 contiguous United States, but a charge will apply anywhere else they can ship).

You are not eligible if you have previously won a carseat or sponsor giveaway at (our own giveaways of bags and such don’t count if no sponsor was mentioned).  Blog writers and editors are also not eligible.  Eligibility outside of the USA will depend on where is able to ship this product.   If you leave more than one comment here or on the Kids-N-Cribs Facebook page, only the first one will count.  A random winner will be chosen by Kids-N-Cribs or their designee on or around October 31st, 2011 from all combined entries.  The winner will be announced on or around November 1st, 2011.  Winner will be posted in reply to this blog and at the Kids-N-Cribs facebook thread and may be contacted by email or via Facebook message.  Contest rules may be changed without prior notice.  Any disputes will be resolved by CarseatBlog at their sole discretion.

Stay tuned for more Best Bet Booster giveaways here, at Facebook and at www.Car-Seat.Org!

The Safest Way to Boost ‘Em? Newest IIHS Ratings for Booster Seat Safety!


You will see it all over the news today and tomorrow.  It will be on national morning shows, local news broadcasts, in newspapers and online.  There will be a lot of good information, but there will also be the usual misinformation.  Is your child safe just because you bought a 2011 IIHS “Best Bet” booster?  Should you panic if you have one that is “Not Recommended”?  Does that mean it is dangerous or unsafe?  Of course, you came to CarseatBlog for the in-depth, expert analysis, right?  As always, we have some answers and commentary, too. 🙂

Before we get to the ratings, consider that most safety advocates suggest that kids be at least 4 years old before moving from a 5-point harness to a booster.  Even at age 4 or 5, some kids will not be mature enough to remain seated properly in a booster.  Squirming, slouching, continually leaning out of position or putting the shoulder belt behind their back or arm are all indicators that they may not be ready to handle the freedom of a booster seat.  Thankfully, there are many 5-point harnessed seats on the market which are rated to 65 lbs or more and can accommodate bigger kids who still lack the maturity needed to be adequately protected in a booster seat.

The Amercian Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:

  • All infants and toddlersshould ride in a rear-facing car safetyseat (CSS) until theyare 2 years of age or until they reachthe highest weight orheight allowed by the manufacturer oftheir CSS.
  • All children2 years or older, or those younger than 2 yearswho have outgrownthe rear-facing weight or height limit fortheir CSS, shoulduse a forward-facing CSS with a harness foras long as possible,up to the highest weight or height allowedby the manufacturerof their CSS.
  • All children whose weight or height is abovethe forward-facinglimit for their CSS should use a belt-positioningbooster seatuntil the vehicle lap-and-shoulder seat belt fitsproperly,typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches inheight andare between 8 and 12 years of age.
  • When childrenare old enough and large enough to use the vehicleseat beltalone, they should always use lap-and-shoulder seatbelts foroptimal protection.
  • All children younger than 13 years shouldbe restrained in therear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.

Boosters are recommended until at least age 8, though most kids will need to use one until they are 4’9″ tall (57″) and can pass the 5-step Test in each vehicle where they ride.  I have three kids, including a 13-year old and an 11-year old who are tall enough to be out of a booster in most vehicles, but somehow still squirm out of their shoulder belt frequently, usually in order to poke or kick each other!   They ride in a seatbelt, but for younger kids, a forward-facing carseat with a 5-point harness remains the safest choice until a child can sit correctly in a booster for the duration of a trip.  For example, my 6-year old rides in a 5-point harness or a booster, depending on the vehicle and what I have installed at the moment.  Here is a video of him in a few “Best Bet” boosters: a BubbleBum, a Clek Oobr and a Britax Frontier 85 SICT.


Finally, many parents want to know if a backless booster is really safe.  Other parents want to know if it is really necessary to spend the extra money on a high-back booster. 

ABC Expo 2011: Cybex – What’s new, what’s staying, what’s get-it-while-you-still-can


CYBEX!  After the roller coaster of their initial announcement that they were pulling out of the U.S. carseat market, followed soon after by their semi-retraction reiterating their commitment to the U.S., we arrived in Louisville not sure what to expect from our friends at Cybex & Regal+Lager.  As it turns out, the scoop (at the moment) is that the Aton infant seat has officially received a reprieve but sadly, the Solution X-Fix booster has not. So the X-Fix is a get-it-while-you-still-can item but you don’t have to buy and stash an Aton if you don’t actually need one anytime in the near future. 

What’s new, you ask?  Why, an awesome Cybex double stroller – Twinyx!  Available late 1st qtr 2012.

It puts the “Mini” back into the Minivan: The 2012 Mazda5 Kids, Carseats & Safety Review


Usually, seating more than 5 passengers and getting decent fuel economy are mutually exclusive. Most midsize or larger 3-row SUVs can’t even manage 20mpg combined, usually much less around town.  If you don’t mind a minivan, they do get a little better fuel economy than the midsize SUVs and much better than full-size SUVs.  Minivans also tend to be roomier and more flexible for seating lots of kids, but they’re really not-so-mini these days.  Many parents lament that they are too big for the garage, too big for parking spaces and too big for the pocketbook, too.

Some compact SUVs get a little above 20mpg combined. Hybrids like the Escape and Highlander do much better than that, but the Escape only seats five and the Highlander is all but priced out of the market.  So what’s left if you want something a little bigger than a compact SUV and don’t want to spend a bundle of cash?  The Kia Sorento LX is one option.  With front wheel drive and the fuel efficient GDI 4-cylinder engine new for 2012, it gets 22 city, 32 highway and 25 combined.  The Sorento LX isn’t cheap, at just over $26k sticker price with the third row option package it rivals the cost of some full size minivans.  The upcoming Ford C-Max may be another contender in 2012.  For now, the most economical option is the 2012 Mazda 5. It gets a very respectable 21 city, 28 highway, 24 mpg combined. Room for 6 is standard and it starts under $20k MSRP in Sport trim with a manual transmission.  A nicely equipped Touring version lists around $22k with an automatic and sells for closer to $20k street price!  My review Touring model added the Moonroof & Audio package and a rear bumper guard for a total of $23,180 MSRP.

Does it live up to expections?