Today was day one at the Life Savers convention in Long Beach, California. In addition to the great workshop sessions, we also got to speak to some of the wonderful manufacturers and tech reps at the booths. Some of our favorites of the day were mifold, Dorel, Baby Trend, and Clek.
In this blog post, we are going to focus on the manufacturers who have new products out, or coming available soon.
Jon Sumroy from mifold, the Grab and Go Booster, was AWESOME! He was very enthusiastic about his product and was super great to talk to. He really values the feedback of CPSTs and if you have the opportunity to meet him, go for it! Also, his product is AMAZING! We are very excited about what mifold will mean for the child passenger safety community and the increase in safety it will bring for kids in cars. Its portability and usability cannot be matched. Here are our thoughts about the mifold, in a nut shell:
- Portable, light weight (1.7 lbs), and great for traveling!
- The shoulder belt guide is so unique and cannot be closed without the shoulder belt being correctly routed through.
- The seat pad has “grippy dots” on it that keep the kiddo secure in the booster and it has indentations that increase the surface area of the seat pad.
- Easy to set up and use!
- Here is a video of how it works
Hanna Dwyer and Daniel Dias from Doral were extremely informative as well. In addition to being amazing to talk to, and knowledgeable about their product line, they also took the time to give us detailed information about their seats and talked to us about what is to come for Dorel in the future! They discussed with us their new line of convertible seats that are replacing their Alpha Omega line. These seats are the: Grow and Go, Grow and Go EX AIR and the CONTINUUM.
The Continuum has one cup holder, a stowable harness, 17” top harness slots, and an easy/quick remove cover. This seat will get all kiddos to 40lbs or 40″ rear facing and forward faces to 50lbs. It also converts to a high back booster. With a MSRP of $149.99, this is an affordable price for parents who have average size kids and want a 3-in-1!
The Grow & Go has a two cup holders, a 17” top harness height, stowable harness, and a quick removable cover. It will get all children to 40 lbs or 40″ rear facing and then forward faces to 65lbs. It also converts to a high back booster.
The Grow & Go EX AIR is the top version of this seat. It has dual cup holders, a single-hand adjust no-rethread harness, stowable harness, 17” top harness heightand of course their patented AIR protect technology. Most importantly it rear faces to FIFTY POUNDS! That’s right, 50! They were able to do this by adding some ribbing to the back to strengthen the shell. This seat also has a 49″ standing height limit. It also has a more substantial insert pad and converts to a high back booster.
In addition to the new line of seats, they now have some fun new fashions! Thanks Hanna and Daniel for such great information and for taking an extended amount of time to walk us through your new product line! We are very excited about these seats and think they are a great option for parents who would like to get to 4 years old rear facing AND have the ability to convert the seat to a booster without having to remove the harness. The harness storage is a really nice feature and makes the seat easily convertible for families with multi-aged children.
At the Recaro booth, we examined their new line of seats as well. In their line, we were most impressed with their booster. The performance booster offers 22” top belt guide. This means that even the tallest booster riders will be accommodated. I tried the seat myself to see if it lived up to its touted height limit, and it did not disappoint. I would feel confident that this seat will get most kiddos from booster to 5-steping in HIGH BACK BOOSTER MODE! We were very impressed with this. We also liked that it offered a deep seat pan and wide shoulder room for larger children. One of our favorite features across all of their seats was the LATCH storage. It was easy to find and easy to use and that is always appreciated!
The new rear facing only seat, the Coupe, offers a quick flip recline AND a micro-adjust harness to make sure that you will not have to use a pool noodle and the seat will be appropriately level each time. This seat also touts a no rethread harness.
We checked out one of the new convertibles, the Rally, which has dual cup holders that are also meant to act as an anti rebound bar. This is very bulky seat! It is 21” wide at the cup holders and 18” wide at the top. It has a 22.5 inch seated height limit rear facing; which means most children will outgrow this seat between 2.5 and 3 years old, which is pretty early compared to other seats on the market. That said, we were very disappointed that this height limit was not changed from their other convertibles. It is also a tall seat and may pose installation issues in smaller sedans.
The Recaro Sport is their new combination, or forward facing harness to booster seat. It has mesh cup holders, which we really liked because it made the seat pretty narrow. The LATCH storage was easy to find and use and we really appreciated that. It had an 18” top harness height, making it comparable to the nautilus in length of use. It also has a flip foot recline to help get a proper installation in a variety of vehicle seats. The plush cushion and fabric made this seat soft and comfortable for kids.
Jody Malone from baby trend was not only very informative but also very helpful in answering all of our questions. He had excellent knowledge of the products and even demonstrated the installation of their new Secure Snap Gear infant car seat, which is much improved over the BT flex-lock! So, we will review their new product line, starting with their rear facing only seat.
The Secure snap fit 32/35 is their new infant seat. It comes in two varieties. One has a 32lb limit and the other has a 35lb limit and according to Baby Trend that is the only difference. Therefore, if that is true, we recommend the 32 because most babies outgrow the height limit before weight. This seat has a MUCH better installation than its predecessor. The recline adjuster is a lot easier and I can safely say that I will not be able to call it “the finger crusher” like the last generation seat. It also has a built in lock off and dual adjust lower anchors. With the lower anchor connectors, in order to tighten them you pull while the strap is angled down. This is very important, as they will not tighten if you pull them up the traditional way. Also, in order to tighten the lower anchor connectors, you will need adequate room to the left and right of the base, so having an adjacent seat already installed could pose a problem. The seat has nice fabric and a substantial cushion. However, it still has an 8” harness height at the lowest setting and that could be a problem for fitting preemies and small newborns. It does have a no rethread harness and is easy to adjust.
The PROtect series convertible seats are baby trend’s newest addition to their car seat line up. It is important to note that this is an updated and rebranded version of the TruFit, which was a much loved seat, in its time. The PROtect series seats offer three trim levels: SPORT, PREMIER and ELITE. They are all very similar. They all offer no rethread, infinite slide harnesses. The Premier and elite offer 5 position reclines, while the sport has a flip foot to control rear and forward facing recline angles. The Premier and Elite offer forward facing seatbelt lockoffs. All the seats offer a bubble indicator, however, it is positioned low on the seat base and would be hard to see and use in the car when installing the seat, especially if other seats are installed as well. A unique feature of this seat is the removable head rest. This allows parents to remove it when baby is small and gain room in their back seat and then add it back on after the baby is 22lbs, and needs a taller shell. This will be good for cars that are tight on front-to-back space.
The Yumi Folding Booster is a nice option for parents who need a booster that they can fold up and take with them. It also offers an 8 position height adjustment “no gap back” for added side impact protection. Something that we really liked and have never seen on any other booster was the 3 position belt adjustment that allowed you to adjust how far forward or back the belt guide sits. This will be helpful in making sure the shoulder belt sits flush against the child’s clavicle. Also, Jody told us that they have already checked the booster against the IIHS belt fit test and they anticipate it to be rated a “Best Bet” booster. It has dual flip up arm rests and an easy-off removable cover.
Obviously visiting Trudy at the clek booth was high on our list! The new 2016 clek Foonfs offer new head-wing padding and bottom padding. It is much more plush and they also have new harness covers that are thicker and attach with a button instead of being sewn on. But the best part is the 2016 lockoffs! They are amazing! You must use both of them when using the lockoffs, but they are so easy.
Overall, day one of the conference was a huge success and we cannot wait to share more with you. So stay tuned, there is more to come!