ABC Kids 2017: Part One

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Heading in to ABC Kids

Heading in to ABC Kids

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again!  No, not just the time of fabulous fall weather and impending holidays, it’s time to enter a giant expo hall full of car seats and assorted baby gear to check out the 2017 ABC Kids Expo!

The addition of the JPMA show to the lineup of expos this year translates to fewer car seat manufacturers attending ABC Kids, so we’re cramming most of our schedule into one really full day but spreading it into two great articles for your reading pleasure.

A wall of Chicco GoFits!

A wall of Chicco GoFits!

We started our journey with a stop at the coffee cart, then headed to Chicco where once again, I thanked anyone who will listen for my personal favorite backless booster — the GoFit.  We’ve taken ours on a number of airplane trips (it stores nicely in the overhead bin while we’re in flight), and we’ve sent it off for many a carpool ride with nary a worry about my kiddo being able to use it properly.

Chicco NextFit iX

Chicco NextFit iX

We also had the opportunity to review some of the key features of the NextFit iX and see the production model of a new surprise that we still can’t share with you just yet. We should be able to share info about this exciting new offering from Chicco (spoiler: it’s not a stroller) very soon. And we’re pretty sure you’ll be as excited as we are about it!!

Initially, we couldn’t share any of the pictures that we took at the Chicco booth because they all include pictures of the thing we can’t tell you about just yet. So we went back and got more pictures just for you!!

Unbuckle Me

Unbuckle Me

We also visited the Unbuckle me team.  We’ve been chatting with them since before their Kickstarter launched.  Now that their product is available, we’re eager to take a closer look at this handy gadget!  Designed by an Occupational Therapist, it reduces the force required to unbuckle the child’s car seat.  It does not attach to the car seat in any way and is quite effective.  Stay tuned for a full review of this new tool but for now, here’s a quick video:

Our schedule allowed enough time to enjoy a nice buffet lunch outside of the Convention Center.  I can’t quite explain how happy that made me.

Kids Embrace Fun-Ride booster seat

Kids Embrace Fun-Ride booster seat

We returned from lunch to visit our friends at Kids Embrace.  We’d first met their lineup of character-themed car seats many moons ago and hadn’t spent a lot of time with their seats since those days.

Kids Embrace lineup ABC Kids 2017

Kids Embrace lineup ABC Kids 2017

They’ve had some major changes since then, and they have shifted their focus toward ease of use and other community-minded efforts.  We’ll be sure to stay in touch with them as their company and product line evolves.

Britax Endeavours

Britax Endeavours

Our next stop was Britax, where we met their latest rear facing only car seat, the Endeavours.  It’s a well-featured seat that we met at JPMA earlier this year but couldn’t tell you about until now!  Please stay tuned for a full review of this seat.

Britax Click Tight convertible in Spark fabric

Britax is launching a lovely update to their product line that will only be sold at stores that are part of the Brixy brick and mortar network of independently owned and operated baby stores.  This new “Spark” fabric is quite plush and smooth.

Britax is also offering their own version of the USAA car seat booklet that was a mainstay of our CPST toolkits for years.  Right now, that booklet isn’t available for wide distribution or download but you bet we asked if it would be at some point!

I’ll wrap up this article with a true highlight:  a visit to the Graco and Baby Jogger conference room.

Graco TurboBooster Takealong

Graco TurboBooster Takealong

We’ve seen versions of the almost-in-production-but-not-quite-yet TurboBooster Takealong for a while now but were sworn to secrecy. I’ve been wanting to tell you for SO LONG. But couldn’t.

UNTIL NOW!

Graco TurboBooster Takealong

Graco TurboBooster Takealong

Now, I can tell you all about this carpool-friendly booster seat.  It comes in both backless and high back models.  It offers all of the features we know and love about the TurboBooster: consistent seat belt fit, ease of use, light weight, and portability but adds the Holy Grail of carpooling — it FOLDS UP to be 8 inches by 15 inches, which fits into a child’s backpack when folded. It includes a convenient carry bag but also has an ingenious handle built into the middle of the seat.

Booster riders who are carpooling can bring their own seat (have a seat, kids!), get themselves set up in a variety of vehicles without adult assistance in most cases, and enjoy the same kind of consistent belt fit that we’ve come to expect from the TurboBooster.

The high back version will retail for $99 and the backless version will retail for $49.

 

We also saw Graco’s new EZ Tight lower anchor connector system. This handy mechanism is added to the Platinum line of convertible and multimode Graco car seats and makes installing the seat with lower anchors pretty darn simple!  Stay tuned for a longer review of this innovation.

Baby Jogger CityView

Baby Jogger CityView

Baby Jogger showed us their first toddler car seat, the multimode CityView.  This seat looks and acts an awful lot like the Milestone and SlimFit seats we already know and love, so we’re eager to see how the anti-rebound bar and updated soft goods stand up to the CSFTL test once the seat hits the market!

Stay tuned for more from the CSFTL team at the ABC Kids Expo 2017!