We’re back from Nashville and the Lifesaver’s Conference, which focuses on child passenger safety (as well as teen driving and other road safety issues). Here’s an update for what’s new with car seats for 2014 and what’s next:
• Diono said their trio of new convertible seats (Rainer, Pacifica, Olympia) will be begin shipping in May and June (Amazon lists them as May 15). The new booster, the Cambria is slated for July. Originally, it looked like the Cambria would not replace Diono’s older booster (the Monterey), but now Diono confirms the Monterey is discontinued.
• Dorel/Cosco is rolling out several new Disney-themed car seats, in infant, convertible and booster categories. An example is the Disney Baby Minnie Mouse Light N Comfy Luxe infant seat at Walmart. As the name implies, this is a Cosco Light N Comfy infant seat, outfitted with Disney fabric.
• In the category of “how come nobody thought of this before?”, Chicco has debuted a new version of their NextFit convertible seat called the NextFit Zip. The key feature: the cover zips off and can be machine washed. The NextFit Zip is a Babies R Us exclusive at $330. Chicco also has been rolling out exclusive versions of its infant car seat (KeyFit), including a KeyFit Limited at Buy Buy Baby. For boosters, Chicco has discontinued the KeyFit Strada and will replace with a new booster model later in 2014.
• Evenflo has done a mild refresh on its Triumph and Symphony series convertible seats—the new “Platinum” versions of these seats feature OUTLAST performance fabric that Evenflo claims “absorbs hot and cold temperature, releasing as needed. Balancing your child’s body temperature for a safer, more peaceful ride.” Also new: buckle pockets to keep those metal buckles from heating up in the summer sun. The Platinum versions of these seats are (wait for it) Babies R Us exclusives.
• Britax is discontinuing its Chaperone infant car seat, which is still listed on Britax’s web site and sold online. Britax told us they will release a new car seat in August, but was tight-lipped on any details.
• Recaro is still saying it will ship its first infant car seat (tentative name: Guardian) in the summer. It will feature an anti-rebound bar and will work with still-to-be-released Recaro strollers that will debut later in 2014.
• Baby Trend is coming out with a new infant car seat in fall—the Easy Flex 32. It will feature the same shell and handle of the Inertia but a different base that lacks the Inertia’s controlled motion feature. It will run $140 at Babies R Us. Hence, the Easy Flex 32 will about $50 less than the Inertia. Baby Trend said its older Flex Lock infant car seat will be sold as part of travel systems but not as a stand-alone seat.