After a long first day of the show, day two of the JPMA show arrived a little early. Adding insult to injury was the fact that the satellite coffee bar at the expo hall remained closed for a second day in a row. But we managed to fortify ourselves and head in for a full day of manufacturer visits.
Our first stop on the tour was a visit to our friends at Graco.
We got to see samples from the entire line of SnugRide SnugLock rear facing only seats. This line of well-featured infant carriers include the SnugLock base, which boasts a solid install in seconds. In our recent review of the SnugRide SnugLock Platinum 35, we quickly become very fond of the lightning fast base installation.
The Click Connect bases are changing to include premium lower anchor connectors instead of the standard j-hook style. Graco calls this type of lower anchor connector InRight, but we call it a premium lower anchor connector. Adding this type of premium feature to a base with lower price point is a great step forward in ease of use.
Some manufacturers have a secret booth within their booths. That’s where prototypes, store-specific versions of current or upcoming seats and other goodies are stored. During most visits to this type of secret booth, we have to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements prior to entering. We first met some amazing seats in these booths — the Evenflo Spectrum and Graco Sequel come to mind as my top two favorites!
Today, we got to visit Graco’s booth within a booth. We saw some exciting new variations on seats we know as well as a brand new super awesome thing that unfortunately we can’t say much of anything about. HOWEVER, I will tell you that it’s pretty darn fantastic and we absolutely cannot, cannot wait to share every detail about it with you.
Ease of use and simplicity are two themes we heard a lot today. Every manufacturer we talked to echoed this goal in one way or another — each manufacturer is working, in its own way, toward developing car seats that are easier to use. We couldn’t be more excited to see this theme emerge!
That theme was evident as we walked through the Safety 1st/Maxi-Cosi booth. Small changes to a number of familiar seats are already in production — these small, yet significant changes make the car seats easier to install and use properly. For example, the harness holders on the Grow and Go will be slightly different and even easier to use very soon!
The RodiFix booster that I reviewed a few years ago featured a non-washable cover. I learned this the hard way when my cover fell apart on the gentle wash cycle. Given this history with what is otherwise a pretty great booster seat, seeing the new washable cover kind of made my day. No other caregiver will have to struggle like I did! Plus, the new fabrics are quite plush and come in vibrant colors.
We saw the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max and put their new ClipQuick chest clip to the test. It’s a fabulous innovation that empowers children to buckle themselves in while not letting them unbuckle themselves when they aren’t supposed to! During our visit, we got to admire some new designer fabrics on all of the Maxi-Cosi seats. We also got to admire a stroller or two! Even though we’re not Strollers for the Littles, we’re still swayed by great baby gear, so it was a nice diversion.
It’s hard to describe how excited we are about a little, very special piece of foam that will soon be included with Baby Trend rear facing only car seats. But we are.
This little foam block boosts infants up just enough that the lowest harness setting can fit them properly. It’ll be shipping with new seats very very soon AND available for purchase shortly thereafter. Families who already own a Baby Trend rear facing only car seat can call to order their own.
We gleaned another pretty awesome tidbit about some Baby Trend seats — some models have a grooved bottom that helps them sit properly in a vehicle’s center seat. We. Did. Not. Know. This. But it’s awesome.
Because we’re flexible and persistent if nothing else, we made an unscheduled stop by the Kioma booth, where we met their new rear facing only car seat. It’s made of carbon fiber and other sleek, lightweight materials. Weighing it at just over 5 pounds, measuring just over 12 inches wide, and coming in at $1000 for the base model, it’s not the seat for every family. But then again, no car seat is the right seat for every family; it’s about finding the one that your family can install and use properly every time.
We spent a long time with the team from Chicco. First, we walked their current product line, which includes the newly updated NextFit iX.
This refresh of the seat adds some additional headrest positions, which can help optimize the fit. It also includes a change to the lockoff devices — this new version works just like the ones we know and love on the KeyFit 30 and the Fit2!
Our walk through Chicco’s Kingdom of Car Seats was a fabulously full tour of their entire product line.
We asked nitpicky questions and admired small changes to some seats we love, like the label on infant insert for the Fit2 that lists the weight range.
Not only that, we saw new fashions and fabrics and, for the moment you’ve been waiting for! We saw a new seat that will be coming out toward the end of the year.
..and once again, that’s all I’ve got to say about that. But stay tuned, we’ll share details as soon as they’re available.
Our final stop of the day was to the Britax booth. We saw a lovely range of new fabrics for their existing product line and got a sneak peek at an upcoming seat that, you guessed it, we can’t tell you about yet.
The great news about all of these upcoming new seats is that we WILL be able to share more details about them when they’re released.
Day two was a very full day and your faithful Media team is tired. The trade show portion of the JMPA show wraps up tomorrow, and there’s a public show on Saturday. We’ll be ready to share day 3 with you tomorrow!