New rear facing car seats at Kind & Jugend 2014
The annual Kind und Jugend convention in Cologne took place this past weekend. This is a huge fair where manufacturers show their new models and ideas. Clothing, toys, furniture, strollers and of course car seats. CarSeat.se was of course there to check out the new rear facing seats.
We have some minor updates from Maxi Cosi, Britax, Axkid and Klippan. Besafe has done a nice redesign of their Izi Kid i-Size model. Fairgo has a new i-Size seat. Diono has a very interesting project trying to bring their US Radian model to the Swedish market. Finally we have a brand new and fantastic rear facing i-Size seat from Condord. The Concord Reverso is a huge step forward for the i-Size seats and will have a large impact on the market. Read on for more details
We’ll start with the upgraded seats and finish with Diono Radian and Concord Reverso, the two most interesting items
Britax: The rear facing models remain the same at Britax for the next year with the same colors. Why change such a great lineup of superb rear facing seats. The largest change was actually the new logo. The new logo comes with new “values”. Lots of photos of kids and parents being “free”, playing in the grass and enjoying nature.
An interesting new feature is now included in the forward facing King model which is of course not sold in Sweden since it’s meant for young children who should sit rear facing. There is an indicator light which show when the harness is tightened enough. Indication will then change from red to a green light. An audible signal will also sound to alert if harness is unbuckled.
The new feature also has a smart function which will tighen the harness when needed. Lets say a child is placed in the seat properly and the green light is on. While driving the child moves around a lot and the harness is starting to loosen. The harness will then automatically tighten and keep the child secure. Nice!!
This feature can be useful and will be implemented in the Max-Way model. The only other rear facing seat with any kind of buckle indicator is Klippan Triofix/Triofix Recline which has an audible signal. This feature will likely be in place during next year according to Britax.
Maxi Cosi: No new rear facing seats. The infant seat Pebble Plus was shown at the fair. It’s the first infant seat which is approved for the i-Size standard. Parents might wonder why this is different? The new i-Size standard include side impact testing which makes it difficult for infant seats to pass. Pebble Plus is strenghened and will pass i-Size testing. Infant seats are smaller and not as strong as our larger rear facing seats. We would prefer to make side impact testing far more violent but the infant seats would then not pass.
Klippan: Same seats as previous year. Both Kiss 2 and Triofix Recline were shown in a beautiful leather fabric which can be custom ordered. We had some discussions about a new base for Triofix with adjustable foot brace and angle. Next year?
There were some very nice and fancy stands but Klippans simple poster of their previous car seats was likely the best. Low tech but effective. Showing off their first rear facing seat from 1967!! That is quite a few years ago. Even nicer is that my father purchased one of these seats and I sat rear facing for almost four years before my sister got the seat. Cool!!
Fairgo: Showed a new i-Size seat which is used extensively by Fiat for their car seat testing. Used rear facing, with adjustable head support and a smart base were the foot brace and leg space can be adjusted. Some changes still to be made for the final production version.
Axkid: No new rear facing seats but a new infant seat which has been designed by Axkid. Some new colors for next year, the Tetris pattern will be standard. The mechanism for manually locking the head support on Minikid and Duofix has been improved.
Besafe: Had a large beautiful stand this year with the second best bar after Concord:-) The popular Izi Plus seat was shown in some new colors. It’s still the only seat installed with seat belt and the higher 25 kg rear facing weight limit with adjustable recline while driving. It has of course also passed the Swedish Plus Test.
The current Izi Kid i-Size has been redesigned and Besafe have done a great job. The new design is sleek, beautiful and has great recline. The head support is easier to move and the seat can now be used both rear and forward facing.
The seats sold in Sweden will be blocked from being used forward facing. Why? In Sweden car seats used forward facing for young children are not sold for safety reasons. I’m sure Besafe will continue to honor the Swedish gentlemens agreement on this important issue. The new i-Size seat will be available next year.
Diono: A very interesting project with the US Radian model. This model has had great success in US for many years. It can be used from birth, has a fairly tall seat shell, is built around a steel cage and can also be used forward facing with a harness up to 36 kg in later years. Using a forward facing seat with harness for older kids is not any safer but some parents still prefer to do so.
Diono now want to bring Radian to the Swedish and European market. This is interesting since Diono is trying to have the seat approved rear facing to 25 kg (55 lbs for the Americans) without a support leg and also without tether straps. This is something no other seat has managed to do.
There are some issues which need to be solved. One is the lockoffs on the side which were not in place on the demo seat. Another one is to handle the large rebound forces without tether straps. Certifying a seat up to 18 kg (40 lbs for the Americans) is no big deal with rebound forces and can be handled with a foot brace. Approving the seat to 25 kg with the much heaver Q6 dummy instead of a Q3 is very different.
The US FMVSS 213 standard allow more forward movement than the European ECE R44 standard so it will be interesting to see how this is handled. We had a long and interesting conversation with Jim and the others regarding possible issues and possibilities. Internal testing is apparently finished and things are moving forward. Being able to sell a rear facing car seat with tall seat shell, 25 kg rear facing weight limit and without tether straps is definately an advantage. It could possibly be a very large advantage. We are looking forward to hear more during the fall regarding a firm date for approval. Exciting!
Concord: The new Reverso seat is a breakthough for the new i-Size standard. The seat has some smart solutions but the main advantage is the very low weight. Reverso weigh an incredibly low 10 kg.
Why is this important? Seats approved for i-Size have a maximum weight of 33 kg which include both the seat and the child. Isofix seats are in general very heavy and most weigh around 15 kg. That means maximum weight for a child in an i-Size seat is 18 kg. Maxi Cosi Pearl XP is an exception and is approved to 18.5 kg.
Those who have larger and heavier kids rarely use seats with Isofix since the 18 kg weight limit easily can be reached after a couple of years. Reverso is approved to 23 kg thanks to its low weight. Parents can now use Isofix even for heavier kids and this is something no other seat can offer.
The design to keep the weight down is simple. The seat consist of a very strong frame surrounded by EPP and EPS. There are lots of ventilation holes to keep your child cool. Head support is adjusted by twisting a knob with smooth function. Angle is adjusted the same way with the seat actually moving up and down on the support leg which height is adjusted with one hand.
The Isofix connectors have an indicator for correct installation and there is an additional indicator on the support leg. Isofix release is done by pulling a short strap on each side of the seat. The strap can only be pulled sideways to release the Isofix, not upwards since a child then possible could manage. Smart! The foot brace has automatic spring loaded adjustment and is easy to use. Reverso is approved from birth to 105 cm although it will like the other i-Size seats last longer height wise. Infants use an included baby insert the first few months.
There are two items which can be improved which will likey be done in the next version. None of them are safety related. The straps for the harness are 25 mm wide and look narrow. These will of course easily handle any collision forces but they look narrow. The buckles are already prepared for the standard 40 mm width so this is easy to fix. The harness is also a 3-point, not a 5-point. This does not affect safety but many parents might believe so. A good upgrade would be to use a 5-point harness to make parents feel calmer.
It looks like Reverso will be the first i-Size seat to pass the ultra strict Swedish Plus Test. It will be done in the coming weeks at VTI in Sweden and CarSeat.se will be there. What about the price? Concorde will cost just under 400 EUR which is significantly cheaper than other i-Size seats. High rear facing weight limit with Isofix, i-Size approved, Plus Test approved and also low cost. Well done!
Reverso will be available for pre-ordering at CarSeat.se in november with arrival in December. See short video below of Reverso features.