We’re on our final day here in sunny Florida! Kidz in Motion’s child passenger safety conference is a great place for CPS technicians, instructors, and safety professionals from across the industry to meet, encourage each other, and to learn about new trends or techniques. Day one was amazing, but day two was really where we got into the nitty gritty of passenger safety topics and workshops. Dr. Ben Hoffman gave an eye-opening presentation on child poverty’s relationship to passenger safety and the overall weaknesses in safety education. There were also panels on emerging trends in car seat safety and advances in technology being used in car seats and vehicles, and even a seminar on social media and the child passenger safety field. This conference has given us the chance to reflect on where we’ve come and where we’re going, as well as to think about how to apply what we’ve learned in an effort to continue to serve our communities.
Britax– Many of our readers will be happy to know that all Britax seats, except the Parkway and Parkway SGL, are currently made in the US. We will be partnering with Britax for a review and giveaway of the Britax B-Safe 35, so stay tuned for that on Sunday! Britax now only allows using dedicated sets of lower anchors when installing a child restraint, no longer can you borrow lower anchors even if the vehicle allows. Along with this change, Britax has discontinued rear face tethering on newer models of convertible seats. These changes are not currently planned to be retroactive, and as always, review your restraint manual before installing your child restraint. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer for information or clarification. We got fantastic information about the recent recall for Britax convertible ClickTight seats. Their tech representative, Sarah Tilton, assured us that fix kits will be shipped quickly and also offered helpful tips and suggestions regarding application of the kit’s lubricant.
Clek– Recently Clek released their infant-thingy to allow the use of their convertible seats from birth. We recently were able to check it out and offer a review of the insert for our readers. There were no real changes to their convertible line or boosters. Clek did clarify that for the Oobr high back booster, there may be a gap behind the seat in some vehicles due to the angle of vehicle head rests. When lower anchors are used, only the head rest has to touch the seat back. Clek has published a list of child restraint and passenger safety laws for the US and Canada, which can be found as a PDF file. This is a great resource for parents, caregivers, and safety professionals alike.
Cybex- We saw the new Solution M-Fix booster seat, featuring individually adjustable Liner Side-impact Protection (LSP) system. The M-Fix has a 12 position adjustable back and a three position adjustable headrest for comfort while sleeping, as well as rigid LATCH installation. It also features an optimized ventilation system. The M-Fix joins an already strong line of high back boosters, including the Solution Q2-Fix and the and the Solution X-Fix. Unlike the other seats in the line up, the M-Fix has a set torso support so only the head rest moves. This can give a little more freedom in using it next to other seats and less of a confined feeling for those kids who prefer a little more movement.
We also got to see a prototype of the new rear facing only seat, the Cloud Q. The Cloud Q reclines flat for use outside the car. The base is the same as the Aton 2 / Aton Q with the load leg. The seat features a no re-thread harness, 11 position adjustable head rest and large UVB50 canopy. We have no current ETA on the Cloud Q. You can see both Fiona and Jo fit nicely in the harness. As this was a prototype seat, there may be changes made before final production that might further enhance the fit in this seat.
Diono– It is always good seeing the Diono representative Allana Pinkerton at conferences. She spoke very clearly on several panels and is ready to help whenever needed. We’ve said it before, but we’re so thrilled that we’ll say it again – the Monterey dedicated booster is back! We will have an updated review on the re-released version during Child Passenger Safety Week next month. Updates to current convertible seats are also big this year; when using a forward facing convertible Diono seat for a child over 25 pounds, the adjustable bottom must be down. This does not include prior models at this time, only the ones with this information in the manual. We’re really happy to relay another change to the Diono manuals for convertible seats: Diono convertibles will not require replacement after a minor crash. Currently, Diono’s booster seats already follow NHTSA’s guidelines for reuse after a minor crash, and the convertibles will be following suit. If you unsure if your seat needs to be replaced, the Diono team is always happy to answer questions. Above, among the photos of Diono’s current lineup, we’ve shown an internal metal frame from a Diono convertible seat. It’s really cool to be able to see what goes into these seats!
Coming soon in your Diono box – a starter booklet that explains features, provides fantastic tips and tricks, and even offers parents the chance to win cool prizes by becoming a “SuperFan.” For more info, check out Diono on Facebook.
Evenflo– On average, 37 American children die in hot cars each year. Evenflo is attempting to lower that number with their new SensorSafe technology. SensorSafe consists of a chest clip and a plug for the OBDII system of cars, 2008 and newer (though many vehicles before this date may still have the technology available in their vehicles). The system alerts the parent/caregiver that the child is in the car with a series of tones. Currently, the technology is only available on the SensorSafe Embrace 35 DLX infant seat, which is available at Wal-mart. Please do note that SensorSafe is only intended for use on this product and is not for use on other child products or car seats. To find out more information on this innovative technology, please see the Evenflo SensorSafe website. We plan to have a full review out quickly on this seat!
Another new seat from Evenflo is the Lite Max 35 infant seat. This new infant seat comes in two trims, the regular and the Platinum. The Platinum is a stand alone seat with more premium fabrics and will retail for $149.99, same as the SensorSafe. It has the Outlast temperature regulating fabric that is also available on other Platinum models. The regular version is available as a travel system. Both have limits of 4-35lbs, 19-32″, and feature a lock off on the base. The seats have great, thick soft goods, including strap covers, buckle cover, and a substantial infant insert.
Kiddy– We saw Kiddy’s Evolution Pro rear facing only seat along with their World Plus shield combination seat and their Cruiserfix Pro dedicated booster. A review of the Evolution Pro car seat will be available soon. We look forward to seeing more from Kiddy and enjoyed seeing them at KIM.
UPPAbaby– When we (consumers and technicians) talk to manufacturers, they really listen. UPPAbaby heard some concerns about their Mesa rear facing only seat and made changes which will be sure to please. There are new fashions this year, and they come with breathable, temperature regulating inserts and padding. The belt lock off on the base has a new two piece design, which we feel really makes it easier to use. The recline indicator window was made a little smaller so that parents can feel more confident that their base is installed at just the right recline. New graphics on the carrier itself, including ones indicating handle placement in the vehicle, and updated graphics and stickers on the base and car seat help to highlight these limits and functions, plus they offer instructions for use and installation. A function not available on the 2015 Mesa is the European belt path installation. This change will not be retroactive so if you already own a Mesa please follow the instructions in your manual. UPPAbaby has been very receptive to comments and suggestions, and made great changes this year in response.
We really look forward to our last day at Kidz in Motion and feel this has been a great opportunity for us. If you’re a CPS technician or instructor, or work in the passenger safety field, this is the one conference you simply cannot miss. We have made invaluable connections with technicians and programs across the country, and we’re already planning to attend next year’s conference.