Monthly Archive:: September 2013

2013-2014 Mercedes Benz GL 450 Video Review: Kids, Carseats and Safety


Rather than bore you with a wall of text, this review of the 2013 Mercedes Benz GL450 4Matic will be primarily a video and photo review.  As usual, there will be an emphasis on seating kids, vehicle safety and carseat compatibility.  The GL-Class was updated for 2013, with the main improvement for families being slightly more interior space.  There were also updated powertrains, a revised dashboard and console design, exterior styling refinements and the addition of some advanced safety features.  Unfortunately, the Driver Assistance Package with DISTRONIC PLUS, Blind Spot and Lane Keep Assist adds almost $3,000 to the $64,000 base price.  My loaded 4Matic model with just about everything was an eye-popping $96,610 sticker price, but expect the street price of the more fuel-efficient GL350 BlueTEC to be well under $70,000, even with the Driver Assistance Package.



The second row is wider than any midsize SUV I’ve tested, and most of the smaller full-size SUVs as well. The middle seat is wide enough for narrower carseats and there is no funky crossover of seatbelts and LATCH anchors! It’s not adjustable for legroom, but does provide a good amount of space as it is.  There are also plenty of cupholders and spaces for storage.



It doesn’t stop there.

True Fit I-Alert C685 Convertible Review


True Fit I-AlertA couple of years ago, I reviewed The First Years True Fit Premier C670. Their latest iteration, The First Years True Fit I-Alert C685 (MSRP $349.99) is similar to the Premier model and has many of the same features. I was excited to get this I-Alert version of the True Fit to see what changes have been made. I pulled it from the box and immediately liked the colors; OK, now you know my true personality. Yes, ma’am, I do like gray and black. The next thing I thought was, holy cow, look at the padding. I might have laid my head in the plush seat, but that also might have been because I had all the life sucked out of me at my monthly installation marathon session earlier in the afternoon (aka work) and it was 106*. Needless to say, I’m jealous of any child who gets to sit in this seat and I wonder why auto manufacturers can’t make our seats like this. Oh, yeah! We’d all instantly be asleep!

But really, what was the third thing I did to the seat? You bet I ripped that cover right off to check out the I-Alert Integrated Car Seat Monitor system built in to the shell. Before I get to the technology, let’s talk basics.

The I-Alert C685 version of the True Fit is actually more like the True Fit SI C680 in terms of features than it is the True Fit Premier C670. Both the I-Alert C685 and the SI C680 models have the deeper, contoured headrest and include the anti-rebound bar that The First Years calls a “Rebound Energy Management System.”


Weight and Height Limits

Rear-facing: 5-22 lbs., head 1” below top of seat (without removable headrest)

Rear-facing: 5-35 lbs., head 1″ below top of installed removable headrest

Forward-facing: 23-65 lbs., height is 50” or less


True Fit I-Alert Overview

  • the-first-years-ialert-true-fit-C685-stockI-Alert technology communicates with your smartphone when you download the free IAlert App
  • I-Alert integrated carseat monitor senses when your child is in the carseat, buckled, or left behind
  • I-Alert technology works with your smartphone to assist in achieving the correct rear-facing recline angle
  • I-Alert technology constantly monitors the ambient temperature inside the vehicle
  • Rebound Energy Management™ system: an anti-rebound bar designed to limit rebound in the aftermath of a crash
  • Built-in lockoffs for both rear- and forward-facing
  • Color-coded belt paths: black for rear-facing, red for forward-facing
  • 2 recline positions for rear-facing and an easy-to-read angle indicator on center of seat
  • Thick, no re-thread harness
  • Removable headrest for tight back seat situations when baby is less than 22 lbs. and needs a deep recline
  • Deep side wings for side impact protection
  • Comes with infant insert, head insert, harness pads, a buckle pad, and a cup holder
  • No need to guess on child’s height for rear-facing or deal with the long legs vs. long torso debate: it’s head one inch from top of seat for the height limit
  • Easy to remove cover


True Fit I-Alert Measurements

  • Harness slots without padding: 9 ½”, 12”, 14 3/8”, 17 3/8”
  • Harness slots with padding: 8”, 9 ¾”, 12 ½”, 15 ½”
  • 19” at its widest point at shoulders, 18 ½” at knees
  • Shell height without removable headrest: 19 ½”
  • Shell height with removable headrest: 26 ¾”
  • Shoulder width: 13”
  • Crotch strap depth: 5”, 6 ¼”
  • Seat depth: 13”
  • Seat weight: 20.7 lbs. without infant inserts



Let’s jump right to the heart of the review. This is really why you’re here, right? How does the I-Alert system really work?

Unboxing: The First Years True Fit C685 with I-Alert


Summer is over and the news has been full of tragic stories of children left in cars.  The risks of leaving unattended children in vehicles do not disappear along with summer temperatures.  The First Years’ new version of the True Fit aims to help eliminate the issue of children unintentionally left in the vehicle—and many others—with its new I-Alert system.

A full review will be coming soon, but in the meantime, here’s an unboxing of the True Fit C685 convertible with I-Alert. Stay tuned for more!


Special Promotion for Amazon Mom Members – Extra 20% Off Select Carseats & More!


Britax Frontier 90 - ZebraHappy Labor Day! It’s officially September and that means sales and special promotions of Baby Gear! We love a good deal on a great product just as much as you do so we wanted to make sure everyone knew about the Amazon Moms Customer Appreciation Event!

Amazon Mom Members with Prime can use the promotional code BABY0913 to save 20% on hundreds of eligible baby products in select colors and styles, for up to $100 in total savings from August 28, 2013 through September 14, 2013 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time) and while supplies last. Enter the code once and all subsequent purchases will automatically apply the code to the qualifying items, for up to $100 in total savings. See full details. Discount does not apply to products sold by third-party merchants and other sellers through the site. Not an Amazon Mom Member? Join Amazon Mom now.

The 20% off discount applies to select offerings from Britax, Diono, Graco, Clek, Chicco, Recaro, Orbit Baby, The First Years, ERGObaby and more. It includes many popular seats like the Britax Boulevard 70-G3, Frontier 90, Pinnacle 90, Diono Radian RXT & Clek Foonf. There are also plenty of cool strollers and baby carriers eligible for the discount too. Just remember that you’re limited to a total savings of $100.

Diono Radian RXT - cobalt  Britax Blvd 70 G3 - Onyx  Graco Nautilus EliteGraco MyRide 65

As usual, the big bonus of ordering directly from Amazon is free shipping and free returns in case your purchase doesn’t work out for whatever reason. That’s important because the best advice is always to “try before you buy” but we understand that sometimes that just isn’t an option.

Click here to see the complete listing of all carseats eligible for this promotion.

Click here to see the complete listing of all strollers eligible for this promotion.