There we were, walking around the ABC Kids Expo, when we suddenly noticed a Kids Embrace car seat version of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle staring at us. I squealed a little. It’s not that I’m that enthralled with the Turtles, but my son likes them and it brought back some childhood memories… But I digress.
We snapped a photo and put it on Facebook, unsure of the kind of reaction it would get. In the past, Kids Embrace hasn’t gotten a lot of love from the car-seat-enthusiast community. When the seats first came out, the top harness height was lower than other combination seats on the market and that made people worry that little kids would be forced into booster seats prematurely.
Kids Embrace listened, though, and raised the top harness height to 17″. That’s a respectable measurement that will get most kids to a safe booster age. (Remember that 17″ on an upright combination seat tends to be a true 17″, whereas the same measurement in a convertible usually won’t hold a child with a 17″ torso. That’s due to the natural recline of even an upright convertible, and just one of those unexplained mysteries of the car seat world.)
We think it’s time Kids Embrace got more credit and more respect. Their characters are likely to appeal to children in the 3-6 age range, and anything that gets kids excited about car seats and keeps them in a 5-pt harness until a safe booster age (generally 5-6 years old) is a good thing. There are lots of parents who rush their kids into boosters at age 3. In that case, a kid begging for a Batman seat might make all the difference.
But back to the Ninja Turtle. Right now, Leonardo is the only one in the works (sorry, Donatello fans). They’re looking at a release date of December, so keep an eye out if you have a Ninja Turtle fan in your house. (As it turned out, the feedback on our Facebook photo was overwhelmingly positive—lots of people want a Ninja Turtle in their back seat!)
Batman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dora & SpongeBob are all currently available. Prices range from $129-$149. The Batman seat is also going to Canada soon!
Also coming from Kids Embrace is a line of backless booster seats. The ones they had on display were Batman and Super-Man, in “boy” and “girl” colors. Those are cool enough to appeal to the older booster-rider who might be getting hesitant about having to ride in one.
While we were talking with the Kids Embrace folks, we started brainstorming some other characters they could pursue. We suggested Minecraft (I’m sure my 9-year-old would do ANYTHING for a Creeper booster) and Lego. Obviously we have no idea if Kids Embrace will pursue either option, but I was so inspired that the first thing I did when I got home from Vegas was to raid my son’s Legos to create a “prototype” booster.
Don’t those Lego hands just scream “cup holder”? Tell us what you think.