Graco Extend2Fit Mini Review

We’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Graco Extend2Fit. While we’re waiting, our guest author and CSFTL Facebook Forum Moderator Bridget has graciously given us a sneak peek at this exciting new seat! Thanks, Bridget!

The newest convertible seat from Graco has arrived after much anticipation.

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • Rear facing weight range: 4-50 lbs
  • Rear facing height range: no stated limit in the manual
  • Forward facing weight range: 22-65 lbs
  • Forward facing height range: under 49″
  • Shell height: 30″ tall with headrest fully extended, to the top of the adjustment handle
  • Seated Height: 27″
  • Lowest harness position: 7″ with insert
  • Highest harness position: 18″
  • Expiration: 10 years
  • Lower anchor weight limit: 45 pounds


  • Weight: 18.5 lbs


  • Infant pad and head pad for added comfort
  • Premium push-on latch connectors
  • Six recline positions
  • Two position crotch buckle – 4.5″ and 6.5″ inches from the back of the seat
  • Ten position headrest
  • No re-thread harness
  • Two cup holders
  • Four position foot extender
  • Buckle pockets to store the crotch buckle tongues when the seat is not in use.


Graco Extend2Fit

Graco Extend2Fit

Did I mention that this seat can rear face to 50 pounds?  It is more affordable than some of the older names in the 40+ lbs rear facing car seat category, and smaller than its similarly priced Safety 1st counterpart, the Advance EX Air+.

Buckle Pockets

Graco Extend2Fit Buckle Holders

Graco Extend2Fit Buckle Holders

The Extend2Fit offers handy little pockets that can be used to store the crotch buckle tongues when the seat is not in use.  These pockets allow the strap to be stored out of the way of children being placed in or climbing into the seat, helping to prevent the dreaded “digging for buckles” that often happens when the straps get stuck beneath a squirming child!

The Extend2Fit is easily adjustable to fit to the child and to the car.

  • Recline: there are 6 recline positions.  Positions 1 through 4 can be used rear facing, positions 4 through 6 can be used forward facing.  When forward facing children between 22 and 40 pounds, position 4 MUST be used.  For children over 40 pounds, positions 5 or 6 must be used.  There is a ball indicator that will show if you’re within the correct rear facing range.  Like several other Graco convertibles, the Extend2Fit has a good recline for newborns under 3 months old.  Once a baby is 3 months old or older, the Extend2Fit can be set very upright, which makes it very compact.
  • Headrest: the adjustable headrest has 10 positions, and is very easy to move from one to another.  Since the Extend2Fit uses a no-rethread harness, adjusting the headrest also adjusts the harness height.  The lowest harness position is 7″ (with the infant insert in place), while the highest position is 18″.
  • Foot extender: this is the piece that makes this seat truly unique.  As the child grows taller, the panel can be extended to help them feel more comfortable.  While this is not truly a concern (children are much more bendy than we adults, and can be comfortable in many positions we would find difficult to manage), this feature may help many parents be comfortable with extended rear facing.


  • The rear facing lower anchor install is pretty easy.  No new tricks were needed, although you might need to get behind the seat to help compress it with your hips.
  • The rear facing seat belt install took a little doing, thanks to the narrow belt path openings.  Still, I’ve seen much harder seat belt installs.  Like the latch install, compressing with your hips may be necessary.
  • I didn’t attempt the forward facing latch install: if you max out the rear facing limits of the seat, you’ll have switched to a seat belt install already anyway.
  • The forward facing seat belt install was much easier than the rear facing install, so far as threading the seat belt through the belt path.  This is due to the way the seat padding can be lifted away from the forward facing belt path.  The top tether is easily used and easily stored when not doing a forward facing belt path.


Graco Extend2Fit 3 Year Old Model

Graco Extend2Fit 3 Year Old Model

Removing the cover and putting it back on is not as simple as I would prefer.  So far, I have only removed the cover near the bottom of the seat (underneath the child’s feet), which is necessary to install the mandatory cup holders and to move the latch strap from one belt path to another.  In order to remove this portion of the cover, here is an elastic band and hook on each side of the seat that must be unhooked.  The hard part (for me) is hooking the elastic band back around the hook.  I have discovered that extending the extender panel all the way exposes the hook, making the process easier.  I’m certain practice will make this easier.

The lowest harness slot is 7″ with the infant pad in place. This is about the right height to fit an average or larger baby, but it may not fit a smaller baby or a preemie.  Unfortunately, this convertible will likely not be a first choice as a “from birth” car seat.  However, it should fit once the small baby has a month or two of growth added to their torso.

Measuring across the cupholders, the Extend2Fit is 20″ wide, and it is 19.5″ wide across the head wings.  It’s not the narrowest of car seats, and might not be the most friendly for a three across situation.  It would work just fine in my Honda Odyssey’s 2nd row, but I wouldn’t want to try it with three across in the third row.

Overall Impression

graco-extend2fit-fully-extendedSo far I am very pleased with this seat.  I’ve installed it in multiple seating positions in several different cars, and have found it to install easily and quickly.  I’ve also compared it to my Chicco NextFit and my Cosco Scenera NEXT and have found the Extend2Fit to be much more compact than both of those seats (when the extender panel is completely stored).  My 10 month old seems to enjoy it, as he falls asleep almost every time we’re in the car.  I haven’t been able to get my 3 year old to try it, but I think that has more to do with him being 3 than anything else.

All in all, there are a few situations where I’m not comfortable recommending this seat (newborns or three-across situations) but if you are in need of a high-weight rear facing seat or a seat that can be installed very upright and very compact, the Extend2Fit is going to be one of my top recommendations.

RECALL: Canadian Tire Apramo and Kukuxumusu Booster Seats

Kukuxumusu Booster Seat

Kukuxumusu Booster Seat

Transport Canada has announced a recall on Canadian Tire Apramo and Kukuxumusu Booster Seats for non compliance with stiffness and flammability requirements.

Consumers who own these booster seats should secure a replacement seat for their child, then return the recalled booster seat to Canadian Tire for a full refund.

Recall Summary

Full Text of the Recall


Transtek Automotive
Address: Fl 6h, Unit C16, No.299 Guanghua Road, Ningbo, China, 315103
Tel #: 0574-87856611

Importer and distributor:

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited
Address: 2180 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario
Consumer contact:

English: 1-800-387-8803
French: 1-800-565-3356
Media Contact:

Canadian Tire Communications, 416-480-8453,

Models affected:


Model Number: 046-6045 (K11-1618CTC)

Model Number: 199-5607 (K11-1631CTC)


Model Number: 046-0735 (KU20143CM)

Model Number: 046-0736 (KU20153CM)

Dates of Manufacture:

Apramo: September 2013 to September 2015

Kukuxumusu: February 2013 to September 2015

Number of Units:


Geographical Distribution:

Across Canada


Transport Canada and Canadian Tire Corporation, Ltd wish to inform the public of non-compliances of booster seats imported by Canadian Tire.  Specifically, neither the Apramo nor the Kukuxumusu branded booster seats meet the stiffness requirements of theMotor Vehicle Restraint Systems and Booster Seats Safety Regulations.  Furthermore, the Kukuxumusu branded booster seats do not conform to the flammability requirements of the Motor Vehicle Restraint Systems and Booster Seats Safety Regulations.

Safety Risk:

Transport Canada’s compliance testing program revealed these concerns and notified the company.  The regulations require booster seats to comply with a test that measures their stiffness.  If a booster seat does not meet this requirement, there is an increased risk of injury in the event of a vehicle collision.  Additionally, in the event of a vehicle fire, the fabric covers of the Kukuxumusu booster seats may not self-extinguish or may burn too quickly, accelerating the spread of the fire.

Company Action:

Canadian Tire is issuing a consumer recall and a withdrawal order instructing stores to return any remaining units to Canadian Tire Corporation for disposal. Canadian Tire will contact known customers of the affected product and will post signs in stores alerting consumers of the recall and will be issuing refunds to all consumers that return affected models.

Consumer Recourse:

Consumers should discontinue use of their product once they have obtained an alternative booster seat and return the affected product to the store. All Canadian Tire stores have been instructed to refund any consumer who returns their booster seat.

Read the full text of the recall notice

Canadian Recall: KidsEmbrace Cinderella Combination Booster

Kids Embrace Friendship Series Cinderella Combination Booster Seat

Kids Embrace Friendship Series Cinderella Combination Booster Seat

On January 4, 2016, Transport Canada announced the following recall on the Kids Embrace Friendship Series Cinderella Combination Booster Seat.

The Issue

An English label incorrectly states the booster seat can be used for children with a minimum weight of 14 kg (30 lbs). The weight range is 18 to 45 kg (40 to 100lbs).

The Resolution

Do not use this product as a belt-positioning booster if the child weighs less than 18 kg (40 lbs). Families who own this seat can contact Kids Embrace for an updated label.  See below for the full recall information and instructions for receiving a new label.  Affected seats can be used while the recall kits are being shipped.

Full Statement from Transport Canada


KidsEmbrace and Transport Canada wish to inform the public of a non-compliance involving certain Friendship series Cinderella combination restraint systems/booster seats.  An English label incorrectly states the booster seat can be used for children with a minimum weight of 14 kg (30 lbs). The weight range is 18 to 45 kg (40 to 100lbs). The French label and the instruction manual provide the correct information.

Safety Risk

If a consumer follows the English booster label weight recommendation, they may prematurely remove the internal harness of the restraint to use the car seat as a belt-positioning booster when their child reaches 14 kg (30 lbs).  The French label and instructions do indicate the correct minimum weight of 18 kg (40 lbs) when using the seat as a booster.  Both KidsEmbrace and Transport Canada encourage consumers to use the car seat with the internal harness up to the maximum weight of 30 kg (65 lbs), provided the child also meets the height recommendations.

Company Action

Transport Canada’s research program uncovered the non-compliance condition.  Upon being made aware of the issue, KidsEmbrace reviewed the labels and instructions immediately and ensured that all new production labels would have the corrected weight of 18 to 45 kg (40 to 100 lbs).  Any consumer making contact with Trillium Sales and Distribution or KidsEmbrace will be advised to use the Cinderella car seat as a belt-positioning booster when their child reaches 18 kg (40 lbs) and not 14 kg (30 lbs).

Trillium Sales and Distribution will contact all registered consumers and provide them, free of charge, the updated label together with instructions how to affix it over the existing label.

Consumer Recourse

Consumers should ensure that they are not using the product as a belt-positioning booster if their child weighs less than 18 kg (40 lbs).

All non-registered consumers or consumers who have moved are encouraged to contact KidsEmbrace, LLC by email or by phone for instructions on obtaining the replacement label. The affected seats should not be returned to retailers or the company.


KidsEmbrace, LLC 
4820 Rusina Road Suite C
Colorado Springs CO
80907 USA

Consumer contact

Customer Service

Models affected

KidsEmbrace Friendship Series Cinderella Combination Booster Seat

Model Numbers:

Dates of Manufacture

2015-02-02 and 2015-02-06

Number of Units


Geographical Distribution

Across Canada

Consumer Reports 2015 Convertible Crash Test Results

Last year Consumer Reports changed their crash testing criteria used to evaluate rear facing only seats. This year, they have expanded that testing to convertible seats. From the Consumer Reports website, “Changes from the way that convertible seats were rated previously include using a test bench that better simulates the vehicle seat design from a contemporary vehicle, with more representative cushion stiffness and seat geometry and incorporation of a “blocker” to simulate a front seatback. The new test also runs at a higher 35mph speed, with other representative dynamic characteristics that better simulate the behavior of contemporary vehicles during a crash.”

This sounds like good news, but can be very confusing for parents. Here are a few things we would like you to know about the ratings.


2010 Ford Flex

2010 Ford Flex

1. We don’t know what, if any, difference this additional protection would make in real world crash data. We know that variables like the vehicle the car seat is installed in can affect performance. Consumer Reports used a 2010 Ford Flex captain’s chair for their testing. While this does more closely match current vehicles over the old test bench, results won’t be identical in other vehicles. When used and installed properly, we know all car seats are safe and offer optimum protection to Littles and not so Littles alike. Choosing a child restraint that fits the child, fits the budget, and can be used and installed properly every time are still the most important things when picking a new car seat.



2. 35 mph crash tests are more severe than the majority of crashes. This is the equivalent of driving head-on at 35 mph into a car also moving 35 mph, or like hitting a concrete barrier. Even the 30 mph required for federal car seat testing is considered a severe crash.


The Cosco Scenera NEXT retails for $46 and will keep most children safely rear facing until their third birthday.Rear-facing Cosco Scenera Next

The Cosco Scenera NEXT retails for $46 and will keep most children safely rear facing until their third birthday.Rear-facing Cosco Scenera Next

3. Price doesn’t equal safety. If anything, the Consumer Reports results show that more expensive doesn’t always mean safer. Using and installing a seat properly will offer good protection in a crash. All seats are safe when used properly. The Consumer Reports model is based on the idea that some seats offer additional protection over others. This may be true, but we just don’t know. Crash test results are not released to the general public and currently, crash test requirements in the US are very stringent, meaning any car seat sold offers great protection (when used and installed properly) in the event of a crash.


4. There’s no reason to rush out and buy a Consumer Reports Membership. Using the guidelines from above will help when choosing a new car seat. Following best practice recommendations further increases protection and is the best tool for keeping kids as safe as possible. Purchasing a seat with a higher Consumer Reports Rating that won’t allow a child to rear face as long as possible, or doesn’t fit properly in the vehicle, is counter productive. Our recommended seat list can be a good jumping off point to narrow down seat choices of all types.


This 16.5 pound, 29 inch, 1 year old still safely fits in her rear facing only car seat with a 35 pound and 32 inch limit.

This 16.5 pound, 29 inch, 1 year old still safely fits in her rear facing only car seat with a 35 pound and 32 inch limit.

5. Consumer Reports raised concerns in their article that children in rear facing only seats may be at a greater risk of head strike on the front vehicle seat after age 1. This is an arbitrary age as we know not all 1 year olds are the same size. Some children will outgrow rear facing only seats before 1, some won’t until after age 2. It’s important to note that at 22 lbs. and 29″ tall, the dummy used to make this determination is at the limits of many rear facing only seats. If a child is within the limits for the rear facing only seat, and the seat is used properly, there is no cause for alarm. Please don’t feel like transferring to a convertible right away is required if the child fits properly and the seat meets the needs of the caregivers. Also keep in mind though, rear facing only seats are outgrown in three different ways. Once a child hits the weight limit, standing height limit, OR head is within an inch of the top of the car seat, the seat is outgrown and they must move to a rear facing convertible, especially if under the age of 2. We recommend selecting your child’s next seat before it is absolutely outgrown. This allows time to research which seat would work best for the child, vehicle, and budget.



6. Consumer Reports has maintained that even car seats that received a Basic crash test rating, as opposed to Better and Best, are still considered safe and performed well overall.  There is no reason to stop using the current car seat or to purchase a new one if the child still fits the limits of the seat.

While we applaud Consumer Reports for trying to make choosing a car seat easier for caregivers, we would caution against using their data as the sole source of research when choosing a new seat. All car seats are safe when used and installed properly and we encourage caregivers to focus on a seat that fits the child, budget, and can be used properly every single ride.


Diono Monterey Review

When Diono announced the re-release of the Diono Monterey booster, we rejoiced!  The Diono Monterey is a favorite among many of the CSFTL older Littles. With a variety of both ease of use and comfort features, it’s a great option for when older children are ready to transition to a booster.


Diono Monterey

Diono Monterey

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • High-back booster weight range: 40-120 lbs.
  • High-back booster height range: 38-63″
  • Backless booster weight range: 40-120 lbs.
  • Backless booster height range: 38-63″
  • Highest booster guide position: 21″
  • Hook on lower anchor connectors
  • Older versions have a 6 year expiration, newer ones are 8 years (check the manual)
  • 2011 IIHS Best Bet in high-back mode
  • Requires vehicle head restraint support in both modes


When the Monterey showed up on my doorstep, it was like welcoming an old friend into our house.  The Monterey was the first booster my oldest daughter used and our family has liked the seat ever since.  The Monterey is shipped in two pieces.  Assembling the Monterey is straightforward — line up the back of the booster with the bottom, and snap the high-back portion into place.



Lower Anchor Connectors

Diono Monterey lower anchor connectors


One of the main features of the Monterey is the ability to use lower anchor connectors to install the seat. Many caregivers appreciate this feature as the lower anchor connectors attach the booster to the vehicle and removes the risk of the seat becoming a projectile in a crash when it’s unoccupied.  There are no weight limits when using the lower anchors with a booster; using them restrains the weight of the booster and not the child.


Diono Monterey seat adjustments.

Diono Monterey seat adjustments



The Monterey features 11 different headrest positions, ranging from 14.5 inches to 21 inches to provide a proper fit as the child grows.  The torso wings adjust width wise to accommodate the broader shoulders of older children. At its most narrow adjustment, the Monterey measures 19.5 inches wide and can expand up to 22.5 inches at the widest.



Diono Monterey dual cupholders


The Monterey boasts not just one, but two cup holders. They’re can be tucked away when not in use or if you need to install a car seat next to it. Without the cupholders, the seat measures 18 inches wide. With the cupholders out, the seat width increases to 22 inches.
The Monterey’s comfort features can appease even the pickiest of booster riders. With ample padding, soft fabrics, and enough depth to keep even the longest-legged kids supported, the booster is easy to love. The seat depth measures 14 inches while the width at the thighs is 16 inches making it a good choice for bigger kids.


Installation and Usage

Using and installing the Monterey is easy.  If lower anchors are not available, the seat can be used without them. Remember to buckle the seat in when it’s not in use thought when the lower anchors are not in use!  To use the lower anchors, loosen the connector strap using the adjustment lever located on the front of the seat, attach the lower anchor connector to the designated points in your vehicle, and pull the straps tight from the front of the seat.  Unlike a harnessed seat, there doesn’t need to be less than one inch of movement side to side when installed. The Monterey does require head restraint support from the vehicle to the top of the child’s ears, even in high-back booster mode.  This may rule out the Monterey as an option for those vehicles with low seat backs and no head restraints.

Diono Monterey lower anchor lever and button

Diono Monterey lower anchor lever and button


I did notice the buttons on the lower anchor adjuster straps can get stuck in the adjuster.  If they do, it can make it difficult to release and adjust properly.  When tightening the lower anchors, make sure to not pull them in too far, to ensure they don’t get stuck. Loosen the straps by pressing down on the silver lever and pull the connector straps.

Diono Monterey belt guide

Diono Monterey belt guide


One major improvement that came with the re-release of the Monterey was the updated belt guide for the shoulder belt. Before the re-design, the belt guide made it difficult to allow the belt to retract if the child leans forward or when buckling themselves in. This issue has been remedied and the belt retracts freely.


Fit to Child

Not only does the Monterey offer a variety of comfort and ease of use features, it also provides a great belt fit for a range of booster riders.  The shoulder belt rests nicely on the collarbone, and the lap belt sits nice and low on the lap.

High Back Mode

Diono Monterey, 5 years old, 52 lbs, and 46 inches tall

Diono Monterey, 5 years old, 52 lbs, and 46 inches tall


The first model is 5 years old, 52 lbs, and 46 inches tall.  She’s a newer booster rider, but was pleased with the comfort of the Monterey and especially the cup holders.  She can easily buckle the belt by herself, though I still check to make sure it’s in the correct position. At 5, it’s important to remind kids of the rules of booster riding — sitting still, not wiggling out of place, and staying upright even when asleep.


Diono Monterey, 8 years old, 56 lbs, 52 inches



The next model is 8 years old, 56 lbs, and 52 inches. She’s quite the experienced booster rider and was happy to see the Monterey back.  She was pleased with the comfort and softness of the seat’s cover.  Like her little sister, she could easily buckle the seat herself and the booster provided an excellent belt fit. She’s picky about leg support on her seat.  She was happy to discover that the Monterey still provided ample support like the previous version did.


Diono Monterey- 10 years and 75 pounds

Diono Monterey, 10 years old and 75 lbs


Model number three is 10 years old and approximately 75 lbs and 54 inches. The Monterey fits bigger children quite nicely with ample room for broader shoulders and taller torsos. The Monterey still provides excellent seat belt fit on this older model, seat belt crosses nicely across her collar bone and the belt is low on her lap and not on her abdomen. At 10, she is getting closer to passing the five step test, but she’s not quite there.



Backless Mode

Diono Monterey backless mode, 8 years old, 56 lbs, 52 inches

Diono Monterey backless mode, 8 years old, 56 lbs, 52 inches


The Monterey can also be used as a backless booster. It was sold separately in the past as the Santa Fe, but Diono did not re-release the Santa Fe when they released the Monterey. The similar backless Diono Solana is available. The Monterey provides a great seat belt fit for older children as well when using it backless. Children always require vehicle head restraint support to the tops of their ears when using the seat in backless mode.


The model for the backless booster is 8 years old, 56lbs, and 52 inches.  As a backless booster, The Monterey is a lightweight booster which could make it a good option for car pooling or travel.


Important Information: Where to Find

FAA approval  Since airplanes only have lap belts, and boosters can only be used with lap and shoulder belts, the Monterey is not FAA approved.  As a backless booster, it would be good to tuck into the overhead bin or below the seat, and use upon arrival at your destination.

Diono Monterey Date of Manufacture sticker


Expiration  The date of manufacture along with the model number can be found on a sticker on the bottom of the seat.  Older versions expire in 6 years, newer ones in 8 years (check the manual).

Diono Monterey manual storage


Manual Storage  The manual for the seat is located on the bottom of the seat. This is a great place to find answers to questions to like replacement after a crash. The Monterey follows the NHTSA guidelines for replacement after a crash.


  • Lots of head/torso support
  • Wide and deep seating area
  • Has lower anchors
  • Adjustable back support fits a variety of builds


  • Requires a vehicle headrest behind it.


Overall Thoughts

The Monterey is a long-lasting, well-fitting booster.  Along with providing most children an excellent seat belt fit, it has many ease of use and comfort features and lower anchors. Like our family, many families will get a lot of use out of the Monterey, both in their own vehicles and when traveling.



Can’t wait to see if you’ve won?  Purchase the Diono Monterey on

Diono provided CSFTL with the Monterey for review, but no other compensation was given.Our friends at Diono are offering one lucky winner a Monterey of their own!  Simply enter in the Rafflecopter below.





a Rafflecopter giveaway


Originally written by Kim Robinson. Edits maintained by CSFTL.


This year’s Child Passenger Safety Week is focusing on #therightseat. What is the right seat for your child? That’s not an easy question, but it’s an important one: injuries in motor vehicles are a leading cause of death in American children. According to the CDC, when properly used, #therightseat for your child reduces his or her risk of injury and death in a car crash by 50-71%.


Choosing the right seat isn’t easy though, for lots of different reasons. Why is it so hard? Here’s one story:


When part of our team was at the Kidz in Motion conference in Orlando, Florida this year, they had an opportunity to help a family with #therightseat. This family knew their baby needed a seat for every ride. At home in the UK they used one seat, but when traveling to Florida on holiday they didn’t know where to look for a safe travel seat.  So they did what lots of parents and grandparents do: they stuck with their routine, and turned to a seat they had bought for their 21 year old daughter when she was a baby. This seat was their travel seat and had been used by many friends and family through the years. Though this seat was probably state of the art two decades ago, technology has moved on and a 20 year old seat is no longer a safe option. Doing things like we’ve done them with our older children or learning to parent from our peers who have been there before is certainly essential in parenting. While our village might be a metaphoric life-saver with other parenting topics, when it comes to #therightseat, up-to-date information and technology is the literal life-saver.

1994 Britax BabySafe

1994 Britax BabySure


Ryan Hawker from Dorel Juvenile

Ryan Hawker from Dorel Juvenile


This sweet family not only got to have a conversation with a group of CPSTs about a safe option for their baby, Ryan Hawker from Dorel Juvenile was able to provide this family with a new, safe seat for their baby (and was awarded a CPS hero prize for this among other acts!). CPSTs then talked them through the use and installation of the seat. Choosing #therightseat is only part of the equation, it must be properly used and installed as well.


Choosing the right seat isn’t easy but it’s immensely important. That’s where we come in! By using #therightseat, caregivers, CPSTs, and Child Passenger Safety Advocates can start a discussion about the importance of choosing the proper car seat or booster for every child and every ride. #therightseat can be used anywhere on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and beyond.




During CPS week we’ll be talking more about #therightseat for different kids, different cars and different situations, and how we can help get every kid in #therightseat. We’ve got articles, reviews and giveaways, so stay tuned! At CSFTL, our team is passionate about helping parents get the best information to choose the right seat for their kids. Ask us for help, it’s what we love to do, and remember that the safest seat is the one that fits your kid, fits your car and that you use correctly every time.



Britax ClickTight Recall

Britax Advocate ClickTight forward facing

Britax Advocate ClickTight forward facing

Today, Britax announced a recall of select Advocate ClickTight, Marathon ClickTight, and Boulevard ClickTight seats.  The recall is for seats manufactured between August 1, 2014 and July 29, 2015.  This affects seats in the United States and Canada.

Seats manufactured during this time frame may have a defect with the harness adjuster knob, which can be a safety issue. The knob may remain in the release position, allowing the shoulder straps to loosen while in use.  This is not a return recall, but a repair recall.  Britax will send a repair kit with a remedy to seat owners.  You can continue to use your seat prior to the arrival of the remedy kit, as long as you are not experiencing issues with the seat.


Contact Britax for a remedy for the seat.


More information and a frequently asked questions can be found here for the United States and here for Canada.



The following model numbers are included for the United States:














For Canada, the following models are included:

Screenshot 2015-11-05 at 4.42.31 PM















The sticker with the model number can be found underneath the cover, on the right side.  


IIHS LATCH ratings

Hyundai Sonata Lower Anchor.

On June 18, 2015, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released new ease of use ratings for LATCH. The most important point is that this is not a safety rating in any way, shape, or form. IIHS is merely discussing the ease of use and accessibility in 2015 vehicles. If you’ve ever spent 20 minutes in the back seat shoving your fingers into the seat bight looking for the lower anchor that you KNOW IS THERE, you know that not all lower anchors are visible to the naked eye. The same applies to looking high and low for a tether anchor behind the seat that the car’s manual assures you is back there somewhere.

What is LATCH? LATCH is an acronym for Lower Anchors And Tethers for CHildren. Lower anchors are an alternative to seat belt installation for car seats in passenger vehicles. It does have varying weight limits, so is not always an appropriate installation method. Tether anchors should be used for all forward facing car seats to reduce head excursion and lower injury risk in children.

The IIHS information is meant as a way to rate ease of use and accessibility of LATCH in new vehicles.  They did not rate vehicles prior to the 2015 model year.  The purpose of the report is to encourage car manufacturers to see the difficulty that some parents are having when using LATCH for car seat installation.

The report gives 4 different ratings for LATCH.  Good, Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor.  You can read the entire release, along with what defines a Good rating here.  If you have a vehicle that got a Marginal or Poor rating, DON’T PANIC!

The picture at the start of the article is of a 2015 Hyundai Sonata, which was given a Marginal rating.  It’s easy to see, but that cover on the lower anchors can make it difficult to reach and attach a lower anchor connector.

IIHS LATCH ratings buick century latch

Buick Century Lower Anchors

The picture to the right is a 2005 Buick Century.  The outboard lower anchors are difficult to spot.  However, the middle lower anchors are pretty visible without any digging.  Note: it’s rare for a vehicle to have lower anchors in all three positions in a sedan.

This report is certainly something to take into account, but it is not the only consideration when looking for a vehicle

Chrysler Town and Country Lower Anchors IIHS LATCH ratings

2013 Chrysler Town and Country third row lower anchors

For example, The Town and Country scored Acceptable on this release, but experience has shown us that it’s not the best choice of vehicle if you have more than 2 kids.  Why? Because it only has one set of offset LATCH in the middle of the third row. With offset LATCH, if you use the lower anchors to install, you use up both the middle seat and the driver side outboard seat, thus losing a seating position. We also know that this particular vehicle provides a poor belt fit for the outboard seats in the third row so might not be an ideal choice despite being given a Good rating for LATCH.  These ratings are just one piece of the pie when considering a new vehicle.

We should also note that using the seatbelt to install a seat is perfectly acceptable.  One method of installation is not safer than the other, provided you can obtain a good



Originally written by Kim Robinson. Edits maintained by CSFTL.

Evenflo Transitions Review

The Evenflo Transitions is the newest seat in the world of combination seats.  It is a seat that offers a five point harness, a high back booster, and a backless booster.  With several comfort and ease of use features, the Transitions is a wonderful option for keeping kids harnessed longer. Lets take a closer look at the seat.

CSFTL Quick Stats


Evenflo Transitions

  • Forward facing weight range: 22-65lbs
  • Forward facing height range: 28-50″
  • High back booster weight range: 40-120lbs
  • High back booster height range: 44-57″
  • Backless booster weight range: 40-120lbs
  • Backless booster height range: 44-57″
  • Highest harness position: 18″
  • Highest belt guide position: 20.5″
  • Lower Anchor weight limit: 45 lbs
  • Expiration: 8 years
  • 2015 IIHS Best Bet


  • Two position crotch strap
  • 2 Recline Positions
  • Use of Lower Anchors allowed in booster mode



Straight out of the box, the Transitions comes fully assembled, with protective plastic over the cupholders.  The manual, registration card, and shoulder belt guide for use in no back booster mode, is right on the front of the seat.  Always remember to send in your registration card that comes with the seat.  This registration card allows the manufacturer to contact you, should a recall occur.


Installation and Use

Harness Mode


Lower Anchors


Tether anchor and storage


Recline foot and lever

The seat belt installation for the Transitions is easy and straight forward.  The belt path for using the seat in harness mode is wide and easily accessible.  Having a wide belt path is beneficial, as it makes it easier to thread the seat belt and tighten it.

The top tether comes attached to the tether storage hook on the back of the seat.  It is important to always use the top tether.  The top tether on the Transitions is easy to clip onto the tether anchor, and easy to tighten and adjust.  The lower anchors on the seat feature what Evenflo calls “quick connectors.”  These are different from standard lower anchor connectors and easier to use.  Standard lower anchor connectors are clip style, which require you to hook around the lower anchor of the vehicle.  The quick connectors are the push on style.  There are arrows on the connectors that need to point.  These quick connectors also feature a red tab to pull on to release.  The weight limit for the lower anchors on the seat is 45lbs.  Once your child reaches 45lbs in harness mode, the seat must be installed with the seatbelt. The seat features handy storage spots for both the tether anchor and the lower anchors. If you are using the seat for a child less than 40lbs, you MUST use the recline stand on the bottom of the seat.

Fit to Child

Harness Mode


Evenflo Transitions: 2.5 years old, 28 pounds, 34.5″


This model is 2.5 years old, 28lbs and 34.5″. With this model, with the headrest in the correct position, it tended to push her head forward a little bit. She is using the third harness slot position. She is required to use the harness covers as she is under 40lbs. The material is rougher, so could irritate some children’s skin.


Evenflo Transitions: 4.5 Years Old, 41 pounds, 41 inches tall

Here we see the fit on a 4.5 years old, 41 pound, 41 inch tall model.  He is using the second to the top harness slot, so he has plenty of room to grow! He fell asleep several times in this seat and looked very comfortable.



Evenflo Transitions — 5 Years old, 46 pounds, 45 inches tall

This model is 5 years old, about 45 inches and 46lbs.  She found the seat to be comfortable and “squishy.” She also found the strap covers that come with the seat, which are required to be used for a child under 40lbs, to be itchy.  The harness straps are pretty narrow set, so I was concerned about them cutting into her neck without the covers.  This was not a concern or an issue for her.  With 18 inch top slots, she fit well on the last set of harness slots, with about 1.5 inches of growing room. The head wings on the seat provided a comfy place to rest her head when sleepy.



Evenflo Transitions: 6 Years Old, 51 pounds, 47 inches

Here is the harness fit on a 6-year-old, 51 pound, and 47″ model.  She was right at the top of the harness slots so would need to transition to the high back booster mode soon. She fit well in the booster mode as well, but was sad she was almost too big for the harness.

Evenflo Transitions buckle tongue holder

Evenflo Transitions buckle tongue holder

Getting them in and out of the seat is easy too, with the help of the buckle tongue holders on the side of the seat.  The  seat also comes with an optional body pillow.  Please note that this pillow is optional before 40lbs, but it must be removed after 40lbs.

Harness to High Back Booster Conversion

Converting the Transitions from harness to high back booster is easy. It has a unique set up that allows you to keep the harness WITH the seat, so that you don’t have to worry about losing any important parts of the seat.


Front of harness routing


Harness routing in the back

Evenflo Transitions Jclip

Evenflo Transitions J-clip

The first step is to unhook the harness slots from the splitter plate and thread them through the front of the seat.  Then, unhook the “J clips” that hold the cover on to the shell of the seat.  Once the cover is off, rethread the harness and reattach to the splitter plate.  Then, thread the retainer clip through the belt path and clip it together. Reattach the cover, and you are good to go!

Evenflo Transitions high back booster mode

Evenflo Transitions high back booster mode

For the crotch buckle, take it out of the slot, and reattach it upside down.  When the seat is being used as a high back booster, you can use the lower anchors to attach the seat to the vehicle.

Fit to Child

High Back Booster

Evenflo Transitions: High back booster mode, 5 years old, 46 pounds, 45 inches tall

Evenflo Transitions: High back booster mode, 5 years old, 46 pounds, 45 inches tall

Here we see one of our models from the harness section above demonstrating the fit to child in high-back booster mode. She is 5 years old, 46 pounds, and 45 inches tall.   The seat provided an optimal belt fit for her.  It positioned the belt low on the hips, and flat across the shoulders. Still enjoying the comfiness of the seat, she said she preferred the harness.  Learn more about how a booster should fit in our article: Proper Booster Fit.

Evenflo Transitions highback booster mode: 8 years old, 56 pounds, 50 inches tall

Evenflo Transitions highback booster mode: 6 years old, 51 pounds, 47 inches tall

This model is 6 years old, 47 inches tall, and 51lbs.  With the belt set up in this vehicle, it made it difficult for the seat belt to sit flush against the model but she did end up getting a decent fit with the head rest in the second to highest position.

Evenflo Transitions highback booster mode: 6 years old, 51 pounds, 47 inches tall

Evenflo Transitions high-back booster mode: 8 years old, 56 pounds, 51 inches tall

This model is 8 years old, 56 pounds, and 51 inches tall.  She said that while the seat was comfortable, it was “squished” in the shoulders.  The belt fit for her was optimal as well.

Evenflo Transitions Shoulder Belt Guide

Evenflo Transitions Shoulder Belt Guide

The belt positioner on this seat is wonderful.  It is wide open, so that getting the belt to retract is easy.  It also has loops enclosing the belt within the guide, so that it doesn’t come out.

Backless Booster Conversion

Evenflo Transitions: Backless booster conversion

Evenflo Transitions: Backless booster conversion

Converting this seat from high back mode to backless mode is by far the easiest conversion I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  There is a red lever on the bottom of the seat.  Pull on that, then lift UP on the recline handle, and the bottom portion of the seat comes off.  Once taken off, you are ready to use the seat in backless mode. To reattach the bottom, simply line it back up, and snap it back on.  The lower anchors stay with the top portion of the seat, so when using in a backless booster, you must remember to buckle the seat in when not in use.  Buckling the seat when not in use, or using the lower anchors in high back mode, prevents the seat from becoming a dangerous projectile.



Fit to Child

Backless Booster

Evenflo Transitions in backless booster mode: 8 years old, 56 pounds, 50 inches tall

Evenflo Transitions in backless booster mode: 8 years old, 56 pounds, 50 inches tall

Our versatile model from above is our model for our the backless portion.  She is 8 years old, 56 pounds, and 50 inches tall.  Once again, the Transitions provided an excellent belt fit in the backless mode.  One thing I would like to note about using in backless mode is that you really have to make sure that the shoulder belt is tucked underneath the lap belt guides by the buckle.  It tends to want to slip up and out.

Evenflo Transitions backless booster mode: 8.5 years old, 80 pounds and 51 inches tall

Evenflo Transitions backless booster mode: 8.5 years old, 80 pounds and 51 inches tall


Our second model for the backless mode is mode is 8.5 years old, 80lbs and 51 inches tall. The seat once again provided a fantastic belt fit.


Important Information: Where to find

FAA Approval  The Transitions is approved by the FAA for travel in harnessed mode only.  Because airplanes only have lap belts, boosters can not be used on the plane.  The FAA approval sticker is on the bottom left of the seat.
Expiration  When the Transitions was originally released, it came out with a 6 year expiration date, which could be found on a sticker on the back of the seat, and also on the bottom behind the recline lever.  However, since its release, Evenflo has confirmed that there is actually an 8 year expiry date on the seat.  For questions regarding the expiration date and when your seat expires, you can call Evenflo.
Evenflo Transitions cleaning instructions
Cleaning the seat  The J clips that are on the seat make it easy to take the cover off  when kiddo has an inevitable spill.  Here is a screen shot of the manual on cleaning the seat.  The manual is the best resource for any questions about the seat in general, as well as specific questions about cleaning.


  • Easy to use
  • Padded seat
  • Buckle tongue holders
  • Narrow at 19″ in width
  • Can use LATCH in booster mode
  • “Quick connectors” push on lower anchors


  • Harness must be rethread
  • Narrow set harness straps

Overall Thoughts

Overall impression of the seat is that it is an easy to use, comfortable seat that performs well in all functions: harnessed mode, high back booster mode, and backless mode.  The harness height yields a long-lasting seat in harness mode.  With the optimal padding on the bottom, it would suit even the pickiest child in terms of comfort.  With the added J clips, it makes removing the cover a breeze.  The buckle tongue holders also make for a seat that is easy to use, especially in the summer months, as it keeps the hot metal away from the child’s skin. At 19 inches wide, it’s also fairly narrow, which could be beneficial to those families that need to fit 3 across in a vehicle.

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Originally written by Kim Robinson. Edits maintained by CSFTL.

Diono Cambria and Solana Review

The Diono Cambria is the newest booster seat from Diono. Many CSFTL Littles have been fans of the Diono Monterey for some time now; so we were excited to give the Cambria a try!


Diono Cambria high back mode

Diono Cambria high back mode

CSFTL Quick Stats


  • Flexible lower anchor connectors
  • Retractable cupholders
  • Recline setting
  • Requires head support at all times



High back Mode

Diono Cambria high back mode

Diono Cambria high back mode

The Cambria is rated for children 4-12 years old, 40 – 120 lbs, 38 – 63″. CSFTL recommends utilizing a 5 point harness until your child has outgrown it and is at least 5 years old. Read more here about whether a booster seat is the right choice for your Little. The highest belt guide setting on the Cambria measures 20″ tall, making it a great, long-lasting choice. However, this seat requires head support to the top of the child’s ears at all times. Once the child’s ears go over the vehicle support, this seat is outgrown.

To use the Cambria in High back mode, place on the vehicle seat, thread the shoulder belt through the belt guide and the lap belt under the armrests and buckle. Diono recommends the booster sit flush with the back and bottom of the vehicle seat. The high back has a slight recline setting that can be used by pushing the backrest back until it clicks. The Cambria is equipped with lower anchor connectors that can be used if lower anchors are available in the vehicle. Unlike with harnessed seats, there are no weight limits, so can be used the full weight of the booster. Simply connect the anchors and pull the straps on the front of the seat to tighten them.


Backless Mode

Diono Cambria/Solana backless mode

Diono Cambria/Solana backless mode


Once the child’s shoulders are above the top belt guide of the Cambria, they are too tall to use the high back mode. The Cambria’s back can then be removed, and used until the child reaches 120 lbs, 63″ or passes the 5 step test and is ready to ride without a booster. To remove the back, lay the back flat and lift the arms out of the hinges. This installation as well requires support to the top of the child’s ears. The same installation instructions apply to the Cambria in backless mode and the Solana as above. You will use the seat belt and can use the lower anchors if available.


Removing the Cambria backrest.

Removing the Cambria backrest.



The Cambria includes a flexible shoulder belt positioning strap for use in backless mode should the child need it to help properly position the shoulder belt.


Unique Features

Diono Cambria lower anchor connectors

Diono Cambria/Solana lower anchor connectors

Lower Anchor Connectors

The Cambria features flexible lower anchor connectors which help secure the booster seat when not in use, and also make it a little more stable for the child to climb in and out and buckle themselves. To extend the strap, push the button just above the front of the strap and pull the connector from the back. Attach each connector to the vehicle’s lower anchors, then pull from the front to tighten. The lower anchor connectors are upside down from the traditional direction that lower anchor connectors typically face. Because the lower anchors are only holding the booster seat and the seat belt is restraining the child, it’s fine to hook them upside down. If use of the lower anchors interferes with buckling the seat belt, do not use them.



Diono Cambria padding/cover

Diono Cambria padding/cover


The Cambria has EPE foam in the headrest and torso area to aid in side impact protection. There is also a small layer of comfort foam in the seating area to provide a comfortable ride for the child. The cover is easily removable and the manual recommends hand washing and air drying to clean.

The models featured in this review are the Shadow and Sunburst fashion, it is also available in Raspberry and Graphite.





Diono Cambria retractable cup holders

Diono Cambria retractable cup holders

Retractable Cup Holders

The Cambria has cup holders on either side, each side has a circular compartment for a cup and a smaller, rectangular component for a snack or other item. They retract nicely into the base when not in use or to save space in the vehicle. The only problem that we have run into is they retract easily, so it can be cumbersome to get buckled if there is a cup in the cup holder and it is bumped in a way that makes the cup holder try to retract.





Diono Solana

Diono Solana


The Diono Solana is the backless version of the Cambria — it’s sold separately without the back.  It is exactly the same as using the Cambria backless.  So if you are only in need of the backless portion and don’t need the high back option, the Solana is the way to go.  For information on Fit to Child, please the information above on Fit to Child: Backless booster portion.


Fit to Child

High Back Mode

5 Year Old, 40 lbs, 40.5″

40.5", 40lb 5 year old in the Diono Cambria

Diono Cambria: 5 years old, 40 lbs and 40.5″

This child is very small for her age, closer to a 4 year old by height and weight. She does meet the minimums for using the Cambria, and gets a good belt fit when using the headrest in the bottom setting. The belt sits across her chest and on her lap. The Cambria is very generous with interior room and she’s very little, so it can look like the seat is “swallowing her up” but she said she feels comfortable and is happy to use the seat.  She can buckle herself without much trouble and is able to adjust the belt properly so that it is snug and fits her correctly. When using the seat in backless mode, she does not get a good shoulder belt fit without using the belt adjuster strap. Since the Cambria comes with that strap attached (and hidden under the cover on the bottom) that would definitely be recommended for smaller children. While there is no safety difference between using the back and not using the back as long as the child can get a good fit, I would probably recommend using the back for a younger booster rider, because generally he or she will need that extra support from the sides.



6 Year Old, 43 lbs, 47″

6 years old, 43 lbs and 47"

Diono Cambria: 6 years old, 43 lbs and 47″

This child carries most of his height in his legs, and is only on the first headrest setting. The Cambria gives him an excellent seat belt fit: placing the lap belt low on his hips, touching the tops of his thighs and the shoulder belt even across his collarbone and flush with his torso. He is very happy riding in the Cambria, the vertical spacing of the armrests makes it very easy for him to buckle himself, and the generous shoulder belt guide allows the belt to slide freely through as he buckles.


Diono Cambria head support

Diono Cambria head support


The Cambria has ample head and torso support, which makes for a comfortable ride whether he is awake or asleep.


7 Year Old, 48 lbs, 49.5″

7 year old, happily using the Diono Cambria in high back booster mode

Diono Cambria: 7 years old, 48 lbs and 49.5″


This child is a taller 7 year old and carries most of his height in his torso. Even so, he is not using the top “click” of the headrest, and would have lots of room to grow using the seat in high-back mode. He, too, can easily buckle himself and really loves that he does not have to buckle the seat during drop off at school in the mornings. He has some sensory issues and enclosed spaces make him uncomfortable, but the wide Cambria affords him lots of space and also a good bit of support for when he feels sleepy.  In backless mode, he gets a good fit without the shoulder adjuster strap, but seems to prefer using it. Belt fit can vary in different vehicles, so it is good to know that the shoulder belt adjuster strap has a convenient storage spot, and can be stowed or used easily.


Backless Mode

9 Year old, 58 lbs, 52″

Diono Solana: 9 years old, 58 pounds, 52 inches tall

Diono Solana: 9 years old, 58 pounds, 52 inches tall



This model finds the Solana very comfortable.  It offers proper seat belt fit — the shoulder belt hits her right across the middle of her shoulder and the lap belt sits across her upper thighs.  The seat itself is a bit wide so she needs to move the Solana over a bit when to access the buckle stalk when she’s getting into the seat.  She’s a big fan of the cupholders.


Diono Solana: 9 Year Old, 115 lbs, 52"

Diono Cambria/Solana: 9 Year Old, 115 lbs, 52″




9 Year Old, 115 lbs, 52″

This child is right at the limits of using the backless portion of the Cambria.  This is actually the Solana backless booster that is sold separately from the Cambria.  We’ve had a difficult time finding a booster to fit him and the Solana is doing a decent job at it.  It’s nice and wide for his wider hips, but the belt fit tends to fit somewhat low on his thighs.  He likes how deep and wide the seating area is and the cupholders are a bonus.  We also both love the lower anchor connectors so he doesn’t have to buckle it in after every ride.




Important Information: Where to find

Diono Cambria Solana Date of manufacture expiration

Diono Cambria/Solana Date of Manufacture and Expiration


Expiration  The date of manufacture can be found on the very bottom of the booster and the manual states on page 2 to not use the seat after 10 years.


FAA Approval  As with all booster seats, the Diono Cambria and Solana are not FAA approved due to airplanes only having lap only belts according to the car seat manual.

Cambria manual is located behind the side of the cover

Cambria manual is located behind the side of the cover



Manual Storage  The manual is a bit hidden, it took me some searching to find upon initial receipt of the Cambria. When looking at the back of the backrest, there is a small sleeve on the left side where it tucks away.


  • Lower anchor connectors
  • Lightweight
  • Deep head & torso wings for lots of support


  •  40 lb minimum does not allow small but appropriately mature 6-7 year olds to use the seat
  • Does not allow overhang
  • Requires a vehicle head restraint
  • Backless portion doesn’t stay connected to the high back portion when the seat is being moved around

Overall Thoughts

Cambria_stockThe Diono Cambria is a long-lasting booster seat with great ease of use and comfort features. It is a great option for children who have outgrown their 5 point harness and are ready to move into a booster seat. It can be found for under $100 on, making it an excellent value as well.

Fuzzing on the Diono Cambria cover after one month of use

Fuzzing on the Diono Cambria cover after one month of use



One thing I noticed after a month or so of use is that the cover tends to come off the front and slide up the booster.  The cover has since started getting ‘fuzzy’ on that corner from the repeated sliding on it.  After contacting Diono, they replaced the entire Solana seat for me.  They stated it wasn’t a safety concern, but was still under warranty.


diono solanaThe Diono Solana is also a great long-lasting backless booster option.  It fits larger children well and is a great option for children not quite ready for the adult belt alone.  It can be found for under $50 on, also making it a great value for a backless booster option.


Diono has been gracious enough to allow two of our readers to win a Diono Cambria for themselves.  CSFTL will be giving away a Diono Cambria to both a United States AND a Canadian reader!!



Diono provided the Shadow Cambria used in this review, CSFTL was not otherwise compensated and opinions, as always, are all our own.

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