It’s been a few years since any of the big baby product expos have taken place, the last one we attended was in 2019! So when it looked like the ABC Kids Expo was actually going to take place, we decided to send a large team.
Of one person. I got up very early and flew to Vegas (shout out to my parents for the 6 am airport ride and loaner tape measure), arriving in time to get my rental car and head to the Paris Las Vegas convention center to start my action-packed day.
First stop? The bathroom. I have never seen so many toilets in one place. If you ever find yourself at the Paris Convention Center, check it out. You won’t have to wait!
I stopped at the selfie booth, then headed into the show floor and was surprised yet not surprised by the size. It’s. So small. I took one lap around the floor, then headed down each aisle to scope things out. That took about 7 minutes.
For perspective, the previous incarnation of this show was so large, it took up two floors and we often got lost as we navigated the show. That wasn’t an issue with this year’s show. That’s both good and bad.
Despite the show’s decreased size, everyone I met was upbeat, acknowledged the new smallness but had hope that the show will grow back. In a lot of ways, we were just happy to be there at all. I’m still working from home so I was happy to not be doing that for a day, getting to talk car seats was icing on the cake!
My first appointment was with Baby Jogger. They mostly had strollers on hand, plus the City Turn that I’d reviewed last year. It’s still a nice seat, it was good to see a seat we like being highlighted at the show! This stop was the first time (today) that I asked a manufacturer about a combination car seat (no news there) but it wouldn’t be the last.
I grabbed some free candy (no pens this time, there were hardly any pens on offer and I was traveling light, though I did score some very on-brand hand sanitizer) and headed back onto the show floor. I swung by the Clek booth to learn about their new offering: a new fabric called Railroad that boasts a lower price than their other fabrics, it’s available on all seats except the Olli.
It was too early but I got distracted by the Peg Perego booth as I walked by so I headed on in. We’re big fans of their booster seats, they had a few of those on display, along with the Nido rear facing only car seat and…a surprise! The appropriately named All in One is a multimode seat that rear faces, forward faces, then converts to a high back booster. It’s scheduled for release this fall, we’ll certainly make every effort to review one for you when it’s available. It features some low sides, an anti-rebound bar in rear facing mode, and a plush cover. Naturally, I converted the seat from booster mode to harness mode (the harness stores on the seat!) while the reps told me more about the seat. The lower anchors store on the seat pan, they clip into a tidy little spot.
At one point, I sat on some rockers at the edge of the show floor, thinking they were merely there for our convenience. It turns out that they’re part of an adjacent booth but I kept on sitting for a minute as if I was evaluating the chair for purchase.
These visits with manufacturers are always so interesting, I’ll overhear buyers asking questions about fabrics, colors, and availability while the CSFTL team (or just myself) will be measuring harness heights, weighing seats, reading labels, and looking in every corner of a new seat. We always step aside when buyers come into a booth because the sales generated at the show are the primary reason the manufacturers attend these events.
I spent a little time with the Peg Perego Lounge rear facing car seat and dug around some more on the All in One (check out the lower anchor storage, it’s underneath the seat pan!), told the team how much my family had liked our Peg Perego booster, then headed out for lunch.
I wound up at the most spacious, empty place I could find. I realize that a lot of people find the pandemic over but I do not so there I was, enjoying a sandwich with ample clearance around my little table. After lunch and a brief foray onto the Las Vegas Strip (literally just long enough to say “yes, I set foot onto the strip!”), I headed back in to my meeting with Britax.
Not only did I connect with our contact, she invited Britax’s new President over to say hello and give me a chance to tell my favorite story: the CSFTL story. I shared how amazing it is that our team manages to keep our Facebook group accurate. Our tiny-but-mighty group monitors constantly for misinformation or other harmful comments, weeding and refocusing our efforts to best practice in every possible situation.
Britax’s newest offering — some really lovely SafeWash fabrics for the ClickTight convertibles and booster seats was the primary highlight of the booth. My camera does NOT do these covers justice. They’re quite lovely! They’re also free of additional flame retardants (they use natural fibers instead) and can be machine washed and dried. The “using the dryer” bit is so critical since so many seats have fabrics that must be hung to dry.
We also discovered/remembered once more that CSFTL and Britax share an important anniversary — next March will mark 10 years since our website was launched with a review of the Frontier 90, it’s also 10 years since ClickTight technology was launched! We’re honored to share this anniversary.
I wrapped up my awesome visit to Britax, then headed over to sneak some photos from UPPAbaby and Doona.
We’re usually able to set up appointments in advance but didn’t have the opportunity so I dropped in to see what all the hype was about.
Both booths were quite full all day long (good for them, a full booth should = big business!) so I snuck in, grabbed some photos, then headed out.
The day finished with a short visit with our friends from Dorel. They didn’t have a booth at the show, but they had a binder full of Maxi-Cosi and various Dorel brands of car seats. I was able to get a sneak peek at (a picture of) their rotating seat and a multimode seat that should be on the market later this year. We will do our darndest to get these seats and review them for you.
My day at ABC Kids was short, though I still managed to walk 7 miles. It was a terrific way to have a tiny taste of the before times, to meet new friends from car seat manufacturers, and reconnect with some familiar faces. Of all of the things that go on at these shows, the best moments are when we have a chance to explain how awesome the CSFTL team is. I love to share how a small team of highly knowledgeable admins work tirelessly in our Facebook group to provide a safe place for caregivers to share concerns and receive consistent information about best practice.
I look forward to the day when these types of shows are back in full force but for now, it was just perfect, and so good to be back at it.
We’re celebrating this return to in-person expos with not one but TWO giveaways! Our friends at Baby Jogger are giving away one City Turn rotating convertible car seat away to a lucky reader in the United States, our friends at Britax are giving away one Britax Advocate ClickTight in the winner’s choice of those delicious SafeWash fabrics! My camera does NOT do them justice, they are quite lovely in person.
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