It’s still absolutely gorgeous here, although I continue to find the expression, “But it’s a DRY heat!” completely not compelling. Dry or wet, it’s still hotter than this delicate New Englander finds reasonable.
I continue to remain inspired and rather awed by meeting some of the child passenger safety greats in the rooms here at KIM. Short of flinging myself prostrate as a rug under their feet and shouting, “I am not worthy!” though, I’m left with hanging back and feeling grateful that I’ve gotten a chance to be part of such an amazing and hard-working, dedicated community.
I’d like to touch base on a few things from yesterday, and go into some of the stuff I’ve learned today. This won’t be a picture heavy entry, but we do have some exciting news. Those of you who follow our Facebook page or our Twitter feed all ready know. Today Ryan Hawker from Dorel Juvenile products confirmed that effective January 2015, when the Apt 50 and the Scenera Next are released, labeling will reflect a two year minimum to forward face! Once that happens, Cosco will talk with their sister brands Safety 1st, Maxi-Cosi and Eddie Bauer about making that a uniform minimum on all their seats.
In addition, there is some talk about raising the minimum weight of their combination seats above the current 22 lbs. We were able to have a quick discussion about the relative merits of raising a minimum weight, where that might exclude some of those tiny kids who are three and four years old, and still might be fine forward facing. I voiced the opinion that I thought a more conservative weight minimum raise, added with a raised age minimum, would be sufficient.
For our Canadian readers, Ryan was not able to comment today on whether the labeling changes will be reflected in Canada’s selection of seats. As soon as we have that information we will be forthcoming with it.
I wanted to discuss the new Scenera next a bit more with you fine folks this evening. As you know from yesterday’s entry, the Scenera is getting a new, shiny appearance and branding come January 2015. We noted that the top harness position appears significantly shorter, but theorized that perhaps this was simply a pre-production mock up open to adjustments before release.
Cosco wanted to do a few things. They wanted to keep a low-cost, budget friendly, easy to use, easy to access, seat on the market, and they wanted that seat to be a ” really, really great rear facing seat”.
To start, they wanted to address the concern of the bottom harness position. At about 7.5″, it was low enough to fit good sized newborns, but not low enough to guarantee a great fit for smaller newborns. Now with a 5″ bottom harness position, it will actually fit the bottom most 5 lbs and 19″ babies it’s rate for.
So, you ask? Why move the top harness position down? After Ryan explained it to me I understood completely where they were coming from. With the lower harness position, the harness could now no longer be tightened enough to secure a fit on the tiniest passengers, so they had to remove some length from the original harness. And with the removal of the length, well, now the harness wasn’t long enough to accommodate that old 14.75″ position.
In most seats, the manufacturers handle this problem with several different techniques. Different sized loops at the splitter plate can be adjusted to make the harness longer or shorter, or anchors at the hips can be repositioned to add or take away length.
But, as we all know, adding FEATURES to a seat, also adds COST to a seat. The improvements and updates over all had all ready increased the MSRP by 7 dollars, and Cosco didn’t want to price that seat any higher and risk creating a product that their target audience couldn’t afford.
When Ryan asked if we felt they’d made the wrong decision, I didn’t hesitate before I responded, ‘no, absolutely not’. A rear facing seat under 50 dollars that will get almost every child from tiny newborn-stage to at least 3 rear facing, and possibly longer is an absolute gift to the market, and we at Car Seats for the Littles want to extend our heartfelt commendation to the team at Cosco who worked on this new design. Props to you!
Manufacturer’s Panel Day 2:
Kid’s Embrace has come far in the last four years. From the original Dale Earnhardt, Jr. combination seat with the 15″ top harness position and two harness slots, they have expanded into a whole line of licensed characters, and much more reasonable top harness position and a series of backless boosters. Kid’s Embrace revealed a whole line of new covers today we should be seeing in the coming year, including Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Captain America, Scooby and the Disney Princesses, starting with Cinderella. In addition, Dora will be discontinued for a make over reflecting her older stature.
In addition, the backless booster line will soon include a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Kid’s Embrace remains committed to fostering increased child passenger safety by designing seats that children will want to use.
Nuna Pipa went over their current rear facing only seat and announced their planned line of navy, scarlet, sand, right, blackberry.
Safe Travel Systems:
The Ride Safer Travel Vest continues to be offered in versions 2 and 3, and the GoLightly booster is slated to be released this October. The height and weight limits are still not quite firmed up for release. FAA approval could happen tomorrow, or next year, depending on the mood of the government. We’re very excited about this possibility!
An updated base with a new lock off is being released. No new product.
Check into tomorrow for an update on some of the more technical stuff we reviewed this afternoon!