Canadian Recall: RECARO Performance Ride Convertible Car Seat

RECARO Performance RIDE

RECARO Performance RIDE

On September 23, 2016, Transport Canada announced a recall on the RECARO Performance Ride Convertible Car Seat.

Full Text of the Recall

The Issue

Transport Canada and RECARO Child Safety, LLC are informing the public of a non-compliance of Performance RIDE convertible car seats made between October 2015 and February 2016. Specifically, these convertible car seats do not meet the dynamic requirements for head acceleration of the Motor Vehicle Restraint Systems and Booster Seats Safety Regulations.

Safety Risk

Regulations set forth by Transport Canada require convertible car seats to meet all of the requirements for a dynamic test, including measures for head acceleration during a simulated frontal impact. If a car seat does not meet this requirement, there is an increased risk of injury in the event of a vehicle collision. The convertible car seat in question does not meet the dynamic test requirements set forth by Transport Canada when the bottom half of the infant insert provided with the product is not utilized in the rear-facing position.

Company Action

Transport Canada’s compliance testing program uncovered the non-compliance condition. Upon being made aware of the issue, RECARO implemented a revised instruction manual, which indicates to continue using the bottom half of the infant insert for an extended period of time, and removed a sewn-on weight limit tag from the bottom half of the insert for all future production of this product. This change requires all rear facing children to utilize the lower insert to the highest weight limit, 35 pounds, and ensures the seat meets the regulatory requirements.

Additionally, RECARO will notify all registered consumers who own affected product of the issue and will provide them with updated instruction labels to be affixed to their existing manual, and also request that the sewn-on weight limit tag be removed from the bottom half of the insert.

Consumer Recourse

Consumers affected by this notice should contact RECARO as soon as possible to obtain the updated manual instruction labels and tag removal instructions.

All non-registered consumers or consumers who have moved are encouraged to contact RECARO by email or by phone for the updated instruction labels. The affected seats should not be returned to retailers or the company.

Motor Vehicle Safety
Information: 1-800-333-0371

TP 14566 – Public Notice
Child Restraint Systems
2016-P06 E
September 23rd, 2016

Manufacturer:

RECARO Child Safety, LLC
1681 Harmon Road
Auburn Hills, MI 48326

Importer and distributor:

RECARO Child Safety, LLC
450 Talbot Street
London ON N6A 5J6
us.recaro-cs.com

Consumer contact:

RECARO Child Safety
1-888-9RECARO (1-888-973-2276)
Info-usa@recaro-cs.com

Models affected:

RECARO Performance Ride Convertible Car Seats:

  • Model Name: CA RECARO Performance Ride – Knight
    Model Number: 337.01.KNGT
  • Model Name: CA RECARO Performance Ride – Midnight
    Model Number: 337.01.MNGT
  • Model Name: CA RECARO Performance Ride – Redd
    Model Number: 337.01.REDD
  • Model Name: CA RECARO Performance Ride – Vibe
    Model Number: 337.01.VIBE

Dates of Manufacture:

  • CA RECARO Performance Ride – Knight: 10/30/15 to 1/19/16
  • CA RECARO Performance Ride – Midnight: 10/13/15 to 2/3/16
  • CA RECARO Performance Ride – Redd: 11/3/15 to 12/4/15
  • CA RECARO Performance Ride – Vibe: 10/16/15 to 2/17/16

Number of Units:
(sold to consumers and retailers)

3361

Geographical Distribution:

Across Canada

Keeping Yourself Safe, Too!

If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you’ve heard the flight attendant instructions to put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting your child or other passengers. It should be no different when you are in a vehicle. You’ve done the research and made sure your children and passengers are properly restrained, but are you?  As the driver, you are responsible for yourself and everyone in your vehicle.

Wear Your Seat Belt

Wear your seat belt, too!

Wear your seat belt, too!

Using the seat belt is the single most effective way to reduce injury.  In 2014 more than 2.3 million people were treated in Emergency Rooms as a result of injuries from motor vehicle accidents. Buckling yourself in does more than make that irritating chime stop sounding.

The vehicle seat belt keeps your lower and upper body restrained, so you’re less likely to slide out from under the belt, or impact the steering wheel or another interior part of the car.  It also keeps you in position to optimally impact the airbag.  The airbag is an explosion from your dashboard; if the airbag deploys when you’re facing the wrong angle, or at the wrong time, an airbag can become quite dangerous.

The vehicle belt also keeps you in the car.  That sounds like a no brainer, but staying in the vehicle and not being ejected means you benefit from all of the safety features of the car. In addition, you’re not out in the road being run over and your own car doesn’t land on you.  Equally as important, you don’t have injuries from being thrown 20+ feet and impacting the ground at crash speeds.

Keep Your Car in Working Order

Cars in working order are safer than broken ones!

Cars in working order are safer than broken ones!

By keeping your car well maintained, you reduce the chance that your car will be the source of a crash.  If the tires have low pressure, or are getting bald, for instance, they may blow at highway speeds.  If the car is low on oil, the engine could stop working in the middle of the highway.  Even something as mundane as refilling the windshield washer fluid can allow you to see where you’re going; in the winter if you can’t clear your windshield of slush and mud you may not be able to see.  Working headlights and turn signals not only make your life easier, but lets you, as a driver, communicate with other cars on the road so they don’t misinterpret your direction.

Mirrors

mirrorsMirrors serve a very important role in vehicle safety.  Contrary to what one misguided sales person once told me, vehicle mirrors aren’t there so women can put on their makeup.  Instead, the mirrors help reduce or eliminate blind spots.  It sounds like a fun fact from high school driver’s ed, but take the time when you’re either in a new vehicle or someone has been driving yours to reset your mirrors to a safe location.  Side mirrors should be set so that you have a clear view on either side, with only a tiny bit of the back of your car showing to situate your location.  Half your side view mirror shouldn’t be taken up with a reflection of the side of your car.  Merging onto the highway is not the time to remember you haven’t adjusted the mirrors and you can’t see anything.

Airbags: Keep Your Distance!

AirbagSomething that probably has not occurred to most adults is how close they’re sitting to the airbag in front of them.  Most adults dislike being shoved into the dashboard, so it’s often not a problem, but there is an optimal distance to sit from the airbag to reduce the chance of injury.For the driver, keep a safe distance of at least 10 inches between the steering column and the driver’s breastbone.  In most cases, if you can rest your wrists comfortably on top of the steering wheel, you’re probably far enough away from the airbag.

On the passenger side, because the airbag is bigger, this minimum distance between the dashboard and the passenger’s breastbone is 20 inches.  The passenger airbag is set further away from the passenger, but comes out nearly as far as the driver’s.  As a passenger, allow nearly two full feet between your body and the airbag.

If you have a rear facing child behind you who is limiting this distance, there are a few tricks to try to keep everyone riding safely. You can try to move the car seat to a different seating position, adjust the recline angle on the child restraint to be more upright if possible, or the front seat passenger can sit more upright (but still a safe distance from the airbag) to allow for that extra space between the dashboard and the passenger. Another option is sitting in the back behind the driver, if there is a lap shoulder belt and head restraint available.  That may work better than being too close to the airbag.

Keeping kids safe is something everyone who is reading csftl.org wants to do, but we also want to keep their parents and family friends safe as well.  Don’t sell yourself short just to protect the child.  Likely, both can be done.

Types of Airbags

In addition to front airbags, many vehicle have side curtain airbags.  I’m sure most parents reading this remember resting their head on the door to sleep.  Today, that’s a dangerous proposition as the side curtain airbags may deploy out of the door, or down toward the door, and having a head resting in that deployment zone may increase the chance of injury.  Ideally you will keep five inches between your body and that airbag (even when falling asleep in the back with the kids!).  Five inches isn’t a lot of space, and most people will find that just by sitting in a proper position they will naturally have a safe clearance from the airbags.

Projectiles

Minivan cargo area loaded for a longer trip

Minivan cargo area loaded for a longer trip

I’m constantly amazed at people at car seat checks who tell me they won’t have a heavy object/family dog/IKEA boxes in the car at the same time as their baby.  But they don’t think at all about having those same objects in the car while they’re driving.  Obviously, we would love to never have projectiles in the car, but then there’s also real life.

If you have something like an Ikea run to do, load the car smartly.  Put the heaviest stuff as close to the back of the back seat as possible so the boxes don’t have time and space to gain momentum to move forward.  If you can strap them down front to back and side to side, please do.  Otherwise, do the best you can.  Check your car’s airbag section for information about objects touching the back of the front seats, as something pushing against the back of the front seat may deactivate one or both front airbags.

For everyday cargo, like groceries or a briefcase, put the bag on the floor in the back seat of the vehicle, on the floor in the passenger footwell, or in the trunk.  If you have an open truck, consider using a cargo net over items, or install a hardware mounted gate so the trunk is actually a separate space.

Distracted Driving

In this day and age no one can say they are never a distracted driver.  The radio needs changing, the temperature isn’t right, the child in the backseat decided to throw the third fit of the ride.  We’ve all been there.  Some of it we can’t control: kids will be kids.  If necessary, please pull over into a safe place to deal with a fit, or turn up the music and just head home if being home will solve it faster.

One thing we can control is texting behind the wheel.  At 55 mph, the average text takes your eyes off the road for the length of a football field. Whatever the text is, it’s not worth doing while you’re driving.  Pull over to a safe place to text back.  Or just wait and tell them whatever you need to at a later time.  Not texting while driving means you are far more likely to have that later time.

It’s a message that’s said a million times a day, but it’s a message that needs saying a million more times a day.

While many states have laws prohibiting holding a cell phone while driving, most allow the use of so-called hands free devices.   While it might FEEL safer, according to the National Safety Council who aggregated the results of 30 studies, a hands free device is no less likely to cause a problem than simply holding the phone.1  Bottom line?  Those old bumper stickers get it right.  Hang up and drive.  If you have an important call you HAVE to take, pull over at the nearest safe, well lit spot and call back from the Park position.

Impaired Driving

Enjoying your favorite recreational and legal drug may be fun, but getting behind the wheel of the car high or drunk is a very obvious way to hurt yourself and others.  28 people in the United States die every day due to the actions of an impaired driver. Please, if you have been drinking or smoking, wait.  Take a cab or get a ride from an Uber.  Call a friend for a ride.  You’re worth it, your kids are worth it, and the other people on the road who may be hurt or killed are also worth it.
Read more from NHTSA about drunk driving.

Road Rage

It’s so easy to get angry when a fellow driver commits a thoughtless or unskilled action near you on the road.  Resist the urge to escalate — better to stay safe than to engage an angry stranger!  If you feel yourself getting frustrated, it may be time to take a break.  Stop by your local coffee shop or even just pull into a parking lot for a breather.  Getting angry at other drivers is not going to improve your driving; it will only make the situation worse.

Speeding also a dangerous habit, and a factor in nearly one third of all fatal accidents.  Getting there faster isn’t worth the risk.  Drivers that speed also tend to participate in other unsafe behaviors such as aggressive driving, drunk driving and distracted driving.  It reduces the time you have to react to potential crash and can increase the force of the crash.

In Conclusion

At CSFTL, our primary focus is on keeping children safe in the vehicle.  While this remains our focus, we recognize that the FIRST line of defense in protecting a child in a crash is not to get into an accident in the first place.  The decisions you make behind the wheel are just as important as choosing, installing, and correctly using any child restraint. 

 

1 : Lane, K. (2014, April 1). National Safety Council poll: 8 in 10 drivers mistakenly believe hands-free cell phones are safer. Retrieved September 14, 2016, from http://www.nsc.org/NewsDocuments/2014-Press-Release-Archive/4-1-2014-DDAM-opinion-poll-results.pdf

Choosing a New Vehicle

Vehicle shopping is a daunting task. Many times, the sales staff descends upon you as soon as you enter the lot. If you need to quickly replace a vehicle, shopping can be even more stressful. If you are not in a time crunch, you have more time to weigh options. Two of the last three times we’ve chosen a new vehicle, we didn’t have the luxury of time.  As a family of seven, any old vehicle won’t do and when our main vehicle died a painful, unexpected death, we were suddenly living in a world of hurt.

Whether you have two weeks or two hours to make the decision, here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a new vehicle.

Things to Consider

 

  • Make a list of features that are important to you: price, leather, heated mirrors, heated seats, Sirius radio, DVD player, inflatable seat belts, etc.
  • Make a list of features you need: number of seats, shoulder belts, head rests, tether anchors, storage, etc.
  • Take into consideration possible family growth/expansion- are you planning on having more children? Carpooling for school?
    Making a chart of possible seating locations for all children can be helpful. Where will the kids sit now? Two years in the future? Then two years after that? Do your children have only one spot they can sit in or are there multiple seating positions that work?
  • Talk to a CPST to help figure out what you will need for tether anchors or lower anchors. All forward facing harnessed seats should be tethered for optimum safety, so considering tether locations is essential when shopping for a family vehicle.
  • Research vehicles on IIHS for safety ratings.
  • Test car seats in the vehicle: this is especially important for rear facing car seats and when car seats need to be side by side.

 

Starting to Shop

Once you have lists of your wants and needs, visit the car lot. Do not be afraid to tell sales people you are merely looking and not purchasing yet. Also let them know you want to install your car seats in the vehicles they show you.

Many sales people will accommodate these types of requests. If they don’t, find another dealership. Needs for a vehicle will vary greatly family to family and it takes time to find one that fits.

Pro tip: don’t get hung up on one vehicle type. When our van died, we automatically went looking for a new van. However, we found that there were several SUVs that fit our family needs well instead.

Features to Consider

Head Restraints

The head restraints in newer vehicles can be incompatible with some car seats.

Any adult or booster rider that uses a backless booster needs to have head support to the tops of their ears. Make sure all seating positions have a head restraint that is high enough. In new vehicles, these restraints are generally designed to provide optimum protection for those not using a child restraint.

The design can then make installing a child restraint, including high back boosters, difficult or impossible. It’s very important to both try your car seats in the vehicle before you buy and read the child restraint manual to see if the car seat needs to be flush with the vehicle seat. Check the vehicle’s manual to see if the head restraints are removable.

 

Inflatable Seat Belts

 

Inflatable seat belts are labeled and will be thicker than a regular seat belt making them easier to spot.

Inflatable seat belts are labeled and will be thicker than a regular seat belt making them easier to spot.

 

Some model year 2011 and newer Ford and Lincoln vehicles, as well as some models of Mercedes have inflatable seat belt. This feature can be tricky for car seats.  Currently, only a few seats and boosters are approved for installation with the inflatable belts.  A car with this feature limits your choices in terms of where car seats can be safely installed.  For some seats you can avoid the issue by using lower anchors for installation but be mindful of lower anchor weight limits on your child’s car seat.

Vehicle Interior

Leather Seats vs. Cloth Seats

Know your car seat’s rules on seat protectors and what, if anything, is allowed under your car seat. Also know how to care for and protect whatever interior you choose. While shopping you might ask the dealership if they offer any upholstery protection options.

Lower Anchors

This lower anchor guide can help access lower anchors that are not easy to reach.

This lower anchor guide can help access lower anchors that are not easy to reach.

 

 

Check the vehicle’s seat bight for lower anchors. Are they easily accessible? Do you prefer lower anchor installation? Are there enough lower anchors for your needs? Sometimes the lower anchors on a car are buried deep into the seat bight, making them difficult to find and use. Some car seats have lower anchors guides available to help with this situation, see which type your potential vehicle has and decide if that setup works for your family.

 

Backseat Configuration

Middle Seat Hump

Sometimes the middle seat in the back comes with a significant hump.  This can make installing a car seat in this position difficult or impossible. A hump in the middle floor position can also make a seat with a load foot incompatible with that position as well. However, a back seat with a hump in the middle may be an option for a child who only passes the Five Step Test on slightly higher seats.

 

 

Overlapping Seat Belts

The vehicle seat belts overlap each other. This setup is unsafe for two passengers to be in these positions simultaneously.

Some vehicles have overlapping belts that make installation of three car seats impossible; in some cases using all three seats for child restraints will be prohibited by the vehicle’s own manual. Overlapping belts can be found in many sedans and even SUVs. Keep this in mind when planning your seating chart; overlapping belts can make  a vehicle with five seat belts functionally a four passenger vehicle.

Shoulder Belts

This seat belt in the Dodge Caravan does not come into contact with this child's shoulder making it a dangerous belt fit.

This seat belt in the Dodge Caravan does not come into contact with this child’s shoulder making it a dangerous belt fit.

 

All vehicle occupants who are booster age and above need a shoulder belt. Lap only belts can only be used for harnessed seats, and for forward facing harnessed seats  that position will also need a tether anchor.  Lap only belts can never be used with boosters and should not be used by adults or children who pass the five step test. Be sure the shoulder belts are designed to fit properly. Some vehicle belts are so far forward that they cannot safely restrain any passenger, though they may work for some high back boosters or harnessed car seats.

 

Side Bolsters

These are tricky little things that can really impede car seat installation, especially if you need to fit three across. A back seat may measure big enough to fit several car seats side by side, but when figuring bolsters into the equation, you may lose many inches of room needed to install the car seats in the outboard positions. Again, installing car seats before purchasing is an important step in deciding what car will fit your family.

Storage

Does the vehicle have enough room for your family’s gear?

Vehicle storage is an important consideration, especially for growing families! See if they vehicle has enough room to safely stow groceries, your stroller, sports gear, luggage, and other items. If not, are you able to adjust your load to fit the vehicle?

Tether Anchor Locations

Proper use of a tether anchor.

The tether anchor is the forward facing harnessed seat’s VIP (very important part). Check the vehicle to see if there are enough tether anchors for anyone who needs a harnessed seat.  When it comes to tether anchors, the more the better. More anchors means more flexibility with seating positions. Many minivans only come equipped with three tether anchors total and more cannot be added. Check all seating positions and the vehicle manual to be sure that the vehicle has enough tether anchors for your situation.The Car Seat Lady has a fabulous guide to lower anchor postitions in a variety of current vehicle models that may help with decision making.

Tether Anchors in Older Vehicles

If you are purchasing a car that was made prior to 2001, ask about retrofitting tether anchors to add additional tether locations. While this used to be more commonplace, tether retrofit kits are becoming harder to find. Chevy vehicles in particular are almost impossible to retrofit so keep that in mind when purchasing an older vehicle.

 

Vehicle Size

Just because it’s an SUV or minivan doesn’t mean that it will be big enough to fit three car seats across one row or have enough storage for your needs. The same goes for full sized sedans. Whatever your specific seating needs, make sure the vehicle can do what you need it to.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a new to you vehicle is not easy to begin with, but it can quickly become overwhelming when child restraints are added into the mix. Planning ahead is your best defense, but we all know that’s not always possible. We hope that this guide will help with your next vehicle purchase, whether you have time to plan ahead or not.

 

Originally written by Jennifer Penick. Edits maintained by CSFTL. 

What’s in your CPST Kit?

Originally published in May 2014. Updated in October 2015 and again in May 2016.

What’s in your CPST kit? It’s a popular question that Child Passenger Safety Technicians ask one another, so thought I would go through a tour of what I carry in my tech bag. A little background: I’ve been a CPST since 2010, and I’m about to be confirmed as an Instructor. I work for the fire department and I do a couple dozen checks a month. I have a storage trailer that contains my large backup of supplies, but here is what is in the bag that lives in my trunk and travels with me to every check.

Continue reading

Child Passenger Safety Technicians: How to Recertify

Child Passenger Safety Technician card

Child Passenger Safety Technician card

So you’re a CPST now. Congratulations!

For most new technicians, the first year or so is really about getting your feet wet. You’re getting the hang of working with parents and understanding different seats and vehicles. Once the initial class is complete, recertification can seem to be a ways down the road; until all of a sudden it’s two months before the expiration date and an email pops up reminding you to recertify.

The process can be a little confusing the first time, so we have created a guide to help walk both American and Canadian CPSTs through it. If possible, start early! You can complete the requirements at any time during your certification cycle, and submit them up to four months before your expiration date. Cycle dates will still stay the same, you can submit early without losing any time.

Requirements

Child Passenger Safety Technicians in the United States must renew their certification every two years (Canadians, scroll down for details!). Here are the requirements:

  • Perform 5 seat checks
  • Work at one community event — either a seat check event or a community workshop
  • Earn 6 continuing education units (CEUs)
  • Pay a renewal fee

Continue reading

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro Review

Car seat manufacturer Kiddy started in Germany and has a strong history in the children’s market there.  Kiddy currently offers a few seats in the United States including the Kiddy World Plus and the Cruiserfix Pro that we’ll review today.

The Cruiserfix Pro is a belt positioning booster that includes a variety of features that I would not have thought to include on a booster — adjustable thigh support, adjustable sidewings, rigid lower anchors, and shock absorbers. Those features contribute to the awards that this seat has won.

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • High back booster weight range: 33-100 lbs
  • High back booster height range: 38-60 inches tall
  • Highest booster guide position: 20.5″
  • Expiration: 8 years
  • Does not become a backless booster
  • Replace after 10 mph or faster crash
  • Does not require a vehicle head rest behind it
  • Required to be flush against the vehicle seat back

Features

  • Rigid lower anchor connectors
  • Adjustable length leg support
  • Torso support widens as the child grows and the headrest is raised
  • Thermotex fabric
  • IIHS Best Bet booster fit

Features

Padding

The Cruiserfix Pro is very cushioned with lots of room in the hip, torso, and shoulders.  I’m told that this padding makes for a very comfortable ride!

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro fully adjusted

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro fully adjusted

One unique feature about the Cruiserfix is that as the headrest is raised, the shoulder area expands as well.  This gives growing kids more room so their shoulders don’t feel squished in the booster. This made for just the right amount of support for my new booster rider — the side supports helped remind her to stay in place. However, the head rest area doesn’t expand so the child may feel more closed in by the head rest as they grow.

Thigh Support

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro leg support pulled out

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro leg support pulled out

The thigh extension is another unique comfort feature. This section of the seat pulls out to 4 different positions so that children with longer legs don’t slouch or leave legs dangling uncomfortably. This was my daughter’s favorite feature of the seat; previous seats have caused her to slouch due to lack of support in the thigh area.

Thermotex Fabric

The seat’s fabric is yet another comfort feature. Certain areas of the seat contain Thermotex fabric, which is designed to increase the circulation of air and keep the child from getting too hot.  When we first reviewed this seat, it was during the winter but since then we’ve had the chance to use the seat during some warmer weather and our models have nothing but good words to say about staying cool.

KSA — Kiddy Shock Absorber

Yet another unique feature on the Cruiserfix Pro is the Kiddy Shock Absorber. This feature borrows ‘crumple zone’ technology from the automotive industry, placing a shock absorber on both sides of the seat shell. The manufacturer describes this feature as follows:
“The vehicle seat belt rests against the KSA when installed properly. In the event of a collision the force of impact is transferred into the KSA and deforms the special crumple zone materials inside.”
Like all features that aren’t part of the FVMSS213 standard for car seats, we can’t assert one way or the other if this technology adds any safety to the seat; we can say that it has the potential to do so.

Rigid Lower Anchor Connectors

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro has rigid lower anchor connectors

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro has rigid lower anchor connectors

 

The Cruiserfix Pro is equipped with lower anchors, which Kiddy refers to as k-fix.  This allows the seat to be attached to the lower anchors of the vehicle, if your vehicle is equipped with them.  This is a convenience feature and prevents you from having to remember to buckle the seat belt in if it’s not in use.

 

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro has guides for the rigid lower anchor connectors

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro has guides for the rigid lower anchor connectors

Kiddy also includes guide funnels in case you have lower anchors that are buried deep within the seat bight.  The lower anchor connectors can also be pushed back into the seat if they aren’t being used in the vehicle, to prevent interference with the seat bight in a car without lower anchors.

When using the lower anchors with the seat, they will click (or “klick” according to the Kiddy Manual) into place.  You will know they are correctly attached to the lower anchors when the indicators on the attachments show green. Once the lock indicators show green, press the release button while pushing the seat towards the vehicle seat back.  The anchors are connected via a flexible stalk so the Cruiserfix Pro moves around a little when connected via these anchors. I found that this flexible stalk helped the Cruiserfix Pro sit nicely in my vehicle seat which has a bit of a dip to it.

Flush Against the Vehicle Seat

The Cruiserfix Pro requires the entire bottom of the seat be touching the vehicle’s seat and vehicle seat back.  If you have a vehicle with adjustable seat backs, make sure that they are in the upright position.  If the headrest of your vehicle pushes the booster forward, adjust or remove it so that the Cruiserfix Pro can sit flush against the vehicle seat back.  Check your vehicle manual to make sure that removing the head rest is allowed — if the head rest is creating a gap and cannot be removed from the vehicle, the Cruiserfix Pro’s manual suggests trying a different vehicle or seating position.

 

Fit to Child

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro seat belt guide

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro seat belt guide

The Cruiserfix Pro is a winner of the IIHS’s Best Bet for fit on boosters because it offers an excellent belt fit for children that are at the minimum age, weight, and height requirements for the seat. While we applaud this type of excellent belt fit, CSFTL recommends harnessing your child until they are mature enough to use a booster properly on every ride.

Shoulder Belt Guide

In addition to all of the other unique features of this seat, the shoulder belt guide is also unique.  Instead of just being a belt guide where the belt is threaded through, it has a release mechanism that makes removing the child from the seat easier.  By pressing down on the shoulder belt guide to release it, the seat belt feeds back into the vehicle’s seat belt retractor more smoothly.

Fit to Child

5 Years Old

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro: 5 years old, 45 lbs, 44 inches tall

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro: 5 years old, 45 lbs, 44 inches tall

At newly 5 years old, this model is at the youngest end of the age range we suggest for booster riding. He’s 5 years old, weighs 45 lbs and is 44 inches tall.  Before making the move to a booster full time, his family will take a hard look at how ready he is to sit properly on every drive.  One way to decide is by reading our article Harness to Booster, When to Make the Switch! We’re including him in this review to illustrate how well the Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro fits a variety of children, including some of the smaller riders.

6 Years Old

Kiddycruiserfixpro, cruiser fix pro, high back booster, no back booster, nbb, hbb, reclining booster, Kiddy

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro: 6 years, 49 lbs, 48 inches tall

This model is 6 years old, weighs 49 lbs, and is 48 inches tall. The shoulder belt lays nicely across the middle of her shoulder and the lap portion of the vehicle seat belt lays flat across the tops of her thighs. She was able to buckle herself in properly without too much fuss from the front seat.

6.5 Years Old

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro: 6 years old, 51 lbs, 47 inches tall

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro: 6 years old, 51 lbs, 47 inches tall

This model is 6.5 years old, weighs 51 lbs, and is 47 inches tall. The Cruiserfix Pro was her first dedicated booster — she had ridden in a harnessed car seat until this point. The wide, cushioned sides, and the easily accessible belt paths for the seat belt have made the Cruiserfix Pro a fan favorite from her first ride in the seat!

9.75 Years Old

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro 10 years old, 63 lbs, 55 inches tall

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro 10 years old, 63 lbs, 55 inches tall

This model is just days weeks away from her 10th birthday.  She weighs 63 lbs and is 55 inches tall.  According to the stated height limit of the seat, she has 5 inches of height left to grow in this seat. However, with the top shoulder belt height of 20.5 inches, she’s already outgrown the seat.

 

Important Information: Where to Find

FAA Approval

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro FAA Label

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro FAA Label

Because the Cruiserfix Pro is a booster seat, it’s not approved for use on aircraft. We’d suggest that families who would like to use the Cruiserfix Pro on an airplane trip pack the seat in a cardboard box, then check that box through as luggage.

 

Date of Manufacture

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro Date of Manufacture Label

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro Date of Manufacture Label

The Cruiserfix Pro has an 8 year expiration.  The date of manufacture is found on a label underneath the seat’s bottom.  The label also includes information on replacement after a crash.

Manual Storage

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro manual storage

Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro manual storage

The manual for the Cruiserfix is also very clear and easy to understand.  As a technician, anything that makes things easier to understand makes me very happy! It even comes with a handy storage compartment for the manual on the back of the seat.

Overall Thoughts

There are some specific situations where the Cruiserfix Pro shines — it fits well in the the third row of a Chrysler Town and Country, which is notoriously difficult for booster seats because of the sloped seats and awkward seat belt geometry. The Town and Country can also be tricky for high back boosters because the ceiling is quite low in the 3rd row, but the Cruiserfix fit nicely even with the headrest fully extended.

Because it has a small footprint, but wide top, it may not be ideal for three across situations unless you are placing it next to a rear-facing seat where the shoulder supports would not interfere with another seat.
My overall impression of the Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro is nothing short of love.  With its combination of unique and functional features and its comfort features, it makes this booster a top contender for families shopping in this price point.

Kiddycruiserfixpro, cruiser fix pro, high back booster, no back booster, nbb, hbb, reclining booster, Kiddy

The few minor drawbacks to the Cruiserfix Pro are the the seat’s weight (only an issue if you’re carrying it between vehicles on a regular basis) and that it does not convert to a backless booster. The fact that it does not convert to a backless booster does slightly shorten the lifespan of the seat, however my 10-year-old friend Ben, shown below, still fits nicely in the Cruiserfix!

I can’t end my review without mentioning my new friend Ben. Kiddy was kind enough to include him for my review of the seat; Ben is the size of an average 10-year-old. We know that kids need a booster seat until they are 10-12 years old, so he is perfect for evaluating how an older child will fit.  He has also become a familiar face at our dining room table.

 

 

kiddycruiserfixpro Want to win a Cruiserfix Pro of your own? Kiddy is offering a giveaway! One lucky reader will win! Enter the contest below for your chance to win.
Contest is open to US residents only, remember that CSFTL recommends your Little be at least 5 years old before riding in the Cruiserfix Pro.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Can’t wait for the contest to end and need one NOW?  Check it out on Amazon! Thank you to Kiddy USA for providing CSFTL with this AWESOME seat to review.  As always, we were not compensated for my opinion, all opinions are our own. Originally written by Kim Robinson, published December 2013. May 2016 edits and updates were made by Liz Tan.

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 Review

The Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 is an exclusive new rear facing only car seat only available at Target.  We’re excited to see how it stacks up against their other rear facing only car seats.

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • Weight range: 5-32lbs
  • Height range: <32″
  • Shell height: 18″ (top of adjustable back in the highest position)
  • Lowest harness position: 8.5″
  • Crotch strap position: 4.5″
  • Weight (carrier only): lbs
  • Expiration: 6  years
  • Handle position: With base during travel Storage Position, without base during travel Carry Position, storage or non-rocking position

Features:

  • Easy to use, push on,  lower anchor connectors
  • 3 part easily removable padded insert
  • 4 position recline to easily adjust to different vehicle seats
  • Individual lower anchor adjustments
  • No rethread harness easily adjusted with a twist of a knob
  • Seat angle indicator on seat for use when installing both with and without the base.
  • Multiple seat angle positions for small versus larger children.
  • Seat belt lock off on base
  • Puzzle buckle
  • D shaped carry handle for ease of carrying
  • Front base release lever on the carrier
  • Adjustable length crotch strap

Installation

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 installation

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 installation

Baby Trend put quite a bit of thought into changing up how to install this new seat.  Previous Baby Trend rear facing only seats had a bit of a learning curve, but the Secure Snap Gear 32 is quite user friendly.  Installation with the base includes easy to tighten lower anchor straps, and an easy to use seat belt lock off for seat belt installations.  The base has 4 recline positions that make installing the seat at the correct angle fairly simple.

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 Recline Indicator

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 Recline Indicator

The recline indicator circles are located on the car seat itself. It also has 2 different allowable recline angles; one for infants who weigh less than 22 lbs and a more upright angle for children who weigh 22-35 lbs.

 

 

With the Base

Baby Trend Secure Snap base install

Baby Trend Secure Snap base install

Installation with the base was very simple with both the seat belt and lower anchors.To install the base with the lower anchors, just pull them out of their handy storage compartment on the bottom/side of the base.

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 lower anchor installation

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 lower anchor installation

The lower anchors are much bigger than those of most other rear facing only seats, but are fairly easy to install.  Both anchors have separate tightening ‘tails’.  This can help get a nice tight installation.

Once the lower anchor connectors are attached to the vehicle lower anchor attachments, tighten each strap until there is 1″ or less of movement at the belt path.  To loosen the lower anchor straps when removing the base from the vehicle, push down on the oval red button. This requires two hands — one hand holds the button down and the other hand loosens the strap.

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 seat belt installation

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 seat belt installation

The lock off on the base makes seat belt installation pretty simple. Press the red latch on the base to release the lock off door.  Once the lock off flipped open, thread the seat belt through the belt path, tighten the seat belt, then close the lock off door.

 

Without the Base

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 Baseless Installation

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 Baseless Installation

Installation without the base is fairly straightforward as well.  Set the seat on the vehicle seat, thread the lap portion of the belt through the guides on the side of the seat (leaving the shoulder belt out), lock the belt whichever way your vehicle requires, then push the seat into the back of the vehicle seat and tighten the belt.  Make sure there is no red showing in the circles on the side of the seat.

Fit to Child

Newborn

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear Fiona

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear Fiona

Fiona – 7 lbs, 17″
Our newborn Huggable Images doll, Fiona, just barely fit with all of the padding in.  Her fit overall was good except that her shoulders were just barely below the bottom harness slot.  With an 8.5″ bottom harness slot, the Snap Gear may not fit all newborns well.  The inserts can be used at any weight/length and the separate insert pieces can be added or removed at any point.  I would highly suggest using them for newborn fit though.  Even just the little boost can make the difference between the infant’s shoulders meeting the bottom harness slot or not.

 

Toddler

Lucas – 16 months, 20 lbs, 31″
Our Huggable Images doll, Lucas, is just under the height limit of 32″ and about 12 lbs under the weight limit.

Features

The newest addition to the Baby Trend family includes several new features.

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear handle

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear handle

Delta Multiposition Grip – This type of handle is unique to Baby Trend car seats.  This handle offers a number of options for the most comfortable spot to carry the seat.

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear no rethread harnes

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear no rethread harnes

 

No rethread harness – With a simple turn of a knob on the back of the seat, the head support and harness move up or down to correctly position it on the child.  When rear facing, a child’s harness should always be at or below their shoulders.

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear Seat belt lock off

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear Seat belt lock off

Seat belt lock off on base – This device locks the seat belt in place and keeps the seat from tilting, which can happen with a lap/shoulder belt installation.

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear Seat recline angles

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear Seat recline angles

 

4 Recline positions – The recline angle adjusts for different vehicle seat slopes with the push of a button.

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 lower anchor tightening

Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 lower anchor tightening

 

Individually adjustable lower anchor connectors – This feature tightens the base.  Pull each side individually to tighten.  The second adjuster makes it easier to achieve a snug installation.

Important Information: Where to Find

Baby Trend Snap Gear 32 FAA Approval

Baby Trend Snap Gear 32 FAA Approval

FAA Approval
The FAA Approval is found on page 64 of the instruction manual and on the side of the car seat.  Airplane use is allowed but only without the base.

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear Seat expiration

Baby Trend Secure Snap 32 Gear Seat expiration

Expiration
The Expiration information is found on page 19 of the instruction manual and is imprinted in the plastic on the bottom of the car seat.  Date of manufacture labels are on both the underside of the base and the underside of the car seat.

Overall Thoughts

The Baby Trend secure snap gear 32 rear facing only seat is a solid choice for families wanting a long-lasting rear facing only car seat.  Because the lowest harness slots are fairly high, this seat isn’t the best fitting option for every newborn.

However, the installation process is amazing and the seat is quite easy to use.  Baby Trend did a great job of updating their base to make it easier to install in most vehicles with either lower anchors or seat belt.   Overall, I was impressed.

Baby Trend provided the Baby Trend Secure Snap Gear 32 rear facing only car seat for this review.  CSFTL was not otherwise compensated and opinions, as always, are all our own.

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

Measurements

  • Weight: 18.5 lbs

Features

  • 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.

Pros

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.

Installation

  • 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.

Cons

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

Manufacturer:

Transtek Automotive
Address: Fl 6h, Unit C16, No.299 Guanghua Road, Ningbo, China, 315103
Tel #: 0574-87856611
Email: 2846053608@qq.com

Importer and distributor:

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited
Address: 2180 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario
M4P2V8
Consumer contact:

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

Canadian Tire Communications, 416-480-8453, mediainquiries@cantire.com

Models affected:

Apramo:

Model Name: NB BOOSTER SEAT
Model Number: 046-6045 (K11-1618CTC)

Model Name: NB BOOSTER PROMO
Model Number: 199-5607 (K11-1631CTC)

Kukuxumusu:

Model Name: KUKU BOOSTER BLUE
Model Number: 046-0735 (KU20143CM)

Model Name: KUKU BOOSTER PINK
Model Number: 046-0736 (KU20153CM)

Dates of Manufacture:

Apramo: September 2013 to September 2015

Kukuxumusu: February 2013 to September 2015

Number of Units:

87,230

Geographical Distribution:

Across Canada

Issue:

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

Issue

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.

Manufacturer

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

Consumer contact

Customer Service

1-866-947-3287
Email: info@kidsembrace.com
Models affected

KidsEmbrace Friendship Series Cinderella Combination Booster Seat

Model Numbers:
40000CINCAN

Dates of Manufacture

2015-02-02 and 2015-02-06

Number of Units

560

Geographical Distribution

Across Canada