Vegas, baby! It’s that time of year, when our intrepid media team heads west (actually east, for one of us) to bring you the latest and greatest in the child passenger safety world.
Follow along with Laurel Frock and myself as we review the sights and sounds of Vegas… from inside the Convention Center!
Our first appointment of the day was with Clek, who had some big news! They introduced us to their new rear facing only car seat, the Clek Liing. We heard it referred to as the “Clekling,” like duckling, and we are fans of that nickname! The Liing will be released early in 2019. The base features rigid LATCH, a tension panel that’s also a lockoff, AND a load leg! We were surprised it didn’t also start dispensing poker chips.
The base has a recline feature with 7 different recline positions. The recline can be engaged after the base is installed.
Clek saw the need for this since on many rear facing only seat bases, the angle changes when the installation is tightened, and many older babies who still fit in the car seat may be more comfortable with a more upright installation.
The carrier portion of the Liing will feature an insert to ensure that it fits its smallest occupants.
The Liing will allow for European seat belt routing when installed without the base. We find that this routing can provide a more secure installation than the traditional American routing that just goes through the top of the carrier.
The harness straps are specifically designed not to twist.
The carrier features a peekaboo window on the back of the canopy, and it will be compatible with with major brands of strollers.
The Liing will have a removable jacket (also known as a cover) for easy cleaning. This author is currently cleaning one of her car seats from a queasy child, and sees this as a welcome addition! Last of all, like other Clek car seats, the Liing is narrow. Clek was eager to show us their sample vehicle seat bench with the Liing and its two other Clek siblings fitting well together. Your two reporters are veterans of the three car seats across club, and we appreciated this demo!
We look forward to hearing more details about the Liing as we get closer to its release date!
Of course, Clek had their whole lineup at the show, not just the new seats, and we enjoyed looking at some favorites — like anything in the Unicorno Disco pattern!
Next stop – Nuna! While Nuna wasn’t debuting a new car seat at the show, they did display some gorgeous new fabrics on their existing product line. They were soliciting feedback on these fabrics for possible inclusion in the future. In addition, Nuna fabrics (except on the AACE booster) will now be flame retardant chemical free.
Our friends at Nuna hinted at an upcoming surprise … they’ll be having an addition to their car seat family sometime this year! Stay tuned for more details on this exciting development!
Food offerings at the convention center have improved in recent years. One of our team was happy to see a kosher deli right in the middle of the exhibit hall! This provided a good refueling stop before our next appointment. Our other team member is more the candy bar type. Thankfully those were available as well!
Energized by our kosher sandwich and our M&Ms, we walked to the UPPAbaby booth to hear their big news! Not one, but TWO new car seats!
First, UPPAbaby will be introducing the KNOX convertible car seat. The KNOX has a no rethread harness and will rear face from 14 to 40 pounds and forward face from 25 to 65 pounds.
An infant insert will be available for purchase, similar to the Clek infant-thingy to adapt their convertibles for newborns. Silicone-backed harness strap pads help keep the child comfortable and the straps secure.
The SMARTSecure System will provide visual confirmation that the car seat is installed correctly. The vehicle seat belt installation features rear facing and forward facing lockoffs, and similar to the Nuna Rava and Britax ClickTight installations, UPPAbaby will be encouraging vehicle seat belt installation instead of lower anchor installation.
The KNOX also features an innovative Australian style rear facing tether. This type of tether serves a similar purpose as a load leg in limiting downward rotation and helping keep the child’s head and neck safer in a rear facing seat. We absolutely love the yellow color on the tether webbing! The tether will be required for forward facing installation, and we hope the yellow color helps ensure that it doesn’t get missed!
The KNOX wasn’t the only new member of the UPPAbaby family. Meet the ALTA! The ALTA is a high back booster that fits children who weigh between 40-100 pounds and who are between 38-57 inches tall. UPPABaby will encourage families to wait until their child reaches elementary school age to begin using a high back booster, a decision we applaud!
The ALTA features an adjustable headrest and side impact pods. These pods are also on the KNOX. The ALTA has rigid lower anchor connectors and a clip to position the lap portion of the vehicle seat belt.
We also noticed that something was missing! UPPAbaby confirmed that the word UPPAbaby is not printed on the booster. That’s because they want to dispel the myth that boosters are ‘babyish’. We applaud this decision as well!
After perusing some toy booths on behalf of our littles at home, we made a quick and happy stop at the Unbuckle Me booth. We’ve been big fans of this innovative gadget that makes unbuckling a car seat easier.
We find the Unbuckle Me so handy for anyone with limited dexterity, including children! Because the Unbuckle Me is a standalone product, it can be stored safely during the drive and then handed to the child at the right moment. We were excited to see some new colors! Our review includes a special coupon!
Last but certainly not least on the agenda for Tuesday was the Cybex booth! We got a chance to see a pre-production model of the new Eternis S multimode car seat. The Eternis S will rear face from 4 to 50 pounds, forward face from 22 to 65 pounds, and convert to a high back booster. The Eternis S features multiple headrest adjustment settings. As the headrest slides downwards, the inner part of the seat seat slides forward to accommodate smaller babies and provide optimal positioning.
The headrest can also lean backwards in the tallest positions, which can help a booster rider stay in the correct position while sleeping. The Eternis S will include the SensorSafe chest clip and app, which will alert the caregiver if the child is left in the car or has unbuckled their chest clip. We went into depth on this technology in our Cybex Sirona M review, and we look forward to seeing how this exciting technology evolves further!
On Wednesday, one of our team members headed back west, while the other stayed on for another day full of information gathering! And perhaps a few stops in the adult-sized Baby Bjorn Bouncer.
First up – Britax! Britax will have a new line of washable covers available soon for their rear facing only car seats, the Advocate ClickTight convertible, and the Pinnacle. Britax has also been introducing several exclusive new fabric lines for various retailers. Coolflow offers a mesh layer and ventilated fabric. Dual Comfort will be available at Target. It’s breathable and ventilated, and it absorbs moisture 25% more quickly. The Cool N Dry line features 30% charcoal bamboo fabric that wicks moisture and allows for air flow. Safewash fabrics will be available at independent retailers and are safe to machine wash and dry!
We enjoyed seeing some new colorful fashions for Britax’s rear facing only car seats. Pictured is Cabana, with striped fabric inside the canopy!
Updated Britax Labels
Britax is making one more change that we wholeheartedly endorse. They will be printing the expiration date on their labels! Until now, caregivers had to look to the seat manual or go online to find the expiration period for their child’s car seat. This exciting change has already been implemented on car seats and booster seats manufactured starting October 1, 2018.
Next up, only a short walk away in the convention center, perhaps past the candy bar concession, was a new contact for CSFTL — Agio baby. Agio baby offers specially branded Italian baby products that are only sold at independent retailers. For car seat enthusiasts, this means Peg Perego car seats!
We discussed their editions of the Peg Perego 4-35 Nido rear facing only and the new Peg Perego Kinetic convertible car seats. These models will be available with premium fabrics that are only sold only at these independent retailers, and they will include a 5 year warranty!
The Kinetic, which we hope to review soon, also comes with a spacer to give more rear facing legroom when their new anti-rebound bar is in use.
Last but certainly not least on day 2 were our friends at Diono. If you follow the world of baby gear, you may have heard that Diono has revamped their entire car seat line.
While we’ve had a chance to preview these seats, we were able to get more details and some new information at ABC! The Diono radian 3 rXT and rainier 2 aXT will feature a extra space behind the headwings, enabling the vehicle seat belt to retract more smoothly in booster mode. The new seats have color coded belt paths, and there are indicator dots on the underside of the seat to ensure that the caregiver orients the rear facing boot correctly.
The new Monterey 4DXT booster seat is coming in the spring. It will be available with a wool cover and faux wood paneling on the sides. The 4DXT will include larger headwings that are lined with EPP foam.
The Cambria booster seat will be available in updated fashions to mirror the new colors in the convertible car seat lines.
The Solana backless booster will be returning! We’ve missed it! Also keep your eye out for a new rigid LATCH booster, first shown at the European Kind und Jugend show.
While the ABC Kids Expo was smaller than in past years, we were fortunate to see the debut of two brand new car seats and to be some of the first to learn about some other new car seats and booster seats! We look forward to giving these seats an in-depth look and review in the near future.
When we visit these shows, you’re always with us. The feedback you provide via our Facebook group helps us share invaluable insights with the manufacturers we’ve come to know and love. Keep sharing that feedback and in turn, we’ll continue to bring you new and accurate information from the world of child passenger safety!