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I had a blog post all written up and ready to go, but I ended up having to rewrite it. It’s hard to put into words my feelings since I heard my friends, Jim and Jana, are closing their baby store. Retirement, they’re calling it. OK. It’s been a hard road to travel for them lately given the state of the economy and they deserve a break.

The idea of Dagerman’s Just for Kids not being there when I need to go try out a carseat is simply foreign. They always had the carseats that Babies R Us didn’t—Recaros, Sunshine Kids, Britax, etc. They had the unique HWH seats before anyone else in town. As far as I know, they’re still the only baby store in town carrying the Oobr and Orbit seats. Sure, these are really expensive seats, but where else in town could I go to actually touch one? Even before I had kids, I had heard their ads on the radio and occasionally saw them on TV. They’ve been in business for over 26 years! Jim Dagerman took over the business from his father—family-run and all that. And poof, it’s done. I know it’s a tough decision for them to make; it’s been a way of life for them for many years.

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2012 Kia Sorento Review: Kids, Carseats and Safety

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The 2012 Kia Sorento is a carryover from the all-new crossover SUV that debuted in 2011, but there are a few nice improvements.  Mainly, Kia has added an optional “GDI” direct fuel injection engine, increasing the power from 175HP to 191HP and increasing the fuel economy by a couple miles per gallon at the same time!  In front wheel drive trim, the new 4-cylinder engine delivers an impressive 22 city, 32 mpg highway and 25mpg overall based on EPA estimates!  The Sorento is a little roomier than its typical competition in the compact SUV class and almost as big as the smaller midsize SUVs.  Is that big enough for your family?  Read on!

I tested the EX AWD version with the Premium Package, including the third row seat, leather trim, power folding mirrors, power seats with memory, NAV with traffic, Infinity sound and a few other perks.  The downside of opting for AWD and/or the V6 engine is the lower fuel economy.  Mine was rated at 21/28/23 but managed only around 15-17mpg around town during my short time driving it.  Granted, this was for a very short number of miles in cold weather, based only on the trip computer.  Hardly scientific, I know.  If you get both the V6 and AWD, the price and fuel economy become similar to larger midsize SUVs.  For example, even with the 2.4 liter, 4-cylinder GDI engine, my AWD tester had a sticker price of $32,300.

Size is both a benefit and drawback of the Sorento.  The benefit is that the Sorento maneuvers around town and into parking spaces better than most midsize SUVs.  The price is right, too, so you get a little more space and an optional 3rd row of seating for no more money than most compact SUVs like Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V.  The drawback compared to midsize SUVs (like Buick Enclave or Honda Pilot) is that the shorter length comes right out of the legroom and cargo space in the 2nd and 3rd rows.  That means some seating compromises compared to midsize sport utes.

 

The second row of seating is barely larger than what you’d find in most compact cars.  There are shoulder belts and adjustable head restraints in all three seats, but no rear shoulder belts offer a height adjustment. 

More juicy *clek foonf* details and pics!

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New details and pictures are courtesy of Chris Lumley at clek.  Make sure you thank him for sharing them with us!  I’m not going to attempt to cover everything that was in the clek webinar Chris presented to the CPS community earlier this week but I’ll do my best to highlight the key points.

Lower LATCH anchor limit will be 48 lbs unless your vehicle manufacturer specifies a lower limit.  After the child reaches the lower anchor weight limit, foonf will need to be installed with seatbelt.  Always use top tether (if one is available) when seat is installed forward-facing.

I asked Chris for clarification on top tether usage and we tossed some ideas back and forth.  I’ll try to summarize my understanding of the issues.  Clek would really like to mandate top tether usage for all forward-facing installs because tethering helps the seat perform optimally.  However, they don’t want to penalize consumers who may not have tether anchors in their vehicles or may not have them in the seating position they wish to place the carseat in.   Due to foonf’s open beltpath design and the built-in lockoff device for the vehicle’s shoulder belt that is mounted up high near the top of the shell – the seat still performs well in testing when installed with a (3-pt) lap/shoulder belt but no tether.  They acknowledged that the seat must pass NHTSA’s injury criteria testing (and it does) using a lap-only seatbelt or using just the lower LATCH anchors (without tethering) but they are not comfortable allowing that type of installation and will consider it a misuse.  

Cruisin’ for a Soothin’: A Review of the Fisher Price Cruisin’ Motion Soother

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Have you ever found yourself driving around with your crying infant at 3:00 in the morning because it’s the only way to get him or her to fall asleep? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could achieve the same effect in the comfort of your own living room?

Enter the Cruisin’ Motion Soother, a very cool new item from Fisher-Price.

This isn’t your typical vibrating-chair-thingy. Frankly, the monotonous vibration of similar products never did much for my kids. Instead, the Motion Soother both looks and acts like a car. No, it doesn’t actually drive your baby around the house, although that would be pretty cool. (They could combine it with a Roomba.) It does, however, shimmy and bump, replicating the motion of a baby’s car seat when strapped into a moving vehicle. (And it really does move that way. It amazed me how realistic it seems!)