REVIEW: Safety 1st Complete Air Convertible Car Seat

{ disclosure: no compensation was received for this post. a sample was provided, but the opinions expressed are my own }

I recently had a chance to preview some of the upcoming new products from the Dorel Juvenile Group and was intrigued by the Safety 1st® Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat perfect for infants rear-facing from 5-40 pounds and 19″-40″ and toddlers forward-facing from 22-50 pounds and 34″-45.  The  design was strikingly different than any other car seat I’d ever seen and of course the “techy” side of me wanted to know what made this car seat tick.  Although the infant has lasted longer in his infant car seat that the toddler did (at a mere 3 months due to the excess clothing baggage during the height of the winter)  we knew an upgrade to the convertible car seat was on the horizon.

I was completely shocked to learn that side impact collisions are among the deadliest type of collision for children, accounting for 1 out of 3 fatalities, nearly all of which are caused by head trauma. I don’t know why that is shocking considering how fragile their necks are at a young age and our recent education on shaken baby syndrome.  Safety features that we often take for granted like side airbags that protect the head, chest and abdomen reduce driver deaths by an estimated 37%, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

With that in mind, Safety 1st set out to protect the most vulnerable part of our child’s body, and came up with the placement of Air Protect™ Technology on the car seat which diverts crash forces away from a child’s head.  Through the precise release of air, Air Protect™ shields children from side impact intrusion and immediately reduces crash forces at the most critical spot: around a child’s head.  Air Protect™ does this by extending ride-down, the amount of time it takes to slow a child’s movement in a crash.  Dorel Juvenile Group collaborated with Kettering University’s renowned Crash Safety Center to develop a revolutionary new standard for side impact testing with an intruding door technique, which best replicates an actual side impact crash.

I took the opportunity to answer the burning question that’s been on both the husband and my mind for a long time — and we should be chastised for not finding out the answer sooner — which car seat placement is safest when you have 2+ kids?  How do you prioritize the level of safety for each child?  youngest first or last? What a relief it was to find out from the experts at Dorel that while the safest seat is obviously in the middle, the placement of additional car seats either backseat passenger side or backseat driver side does not matter.  Research has not shown any significant differences in car accident rates and injuries with respect to those two car seat placements.  Good to know!

PROS:

  • I love the ease of height and belt adjustments with their QuickFit™ Harness System.  No more figuring out the steps or tooling around blindly trying to clip the right height, etc.,  perfect for fitting the infant or toddler in when necessary.
  • I’m sure it wasn’t intentional but the head air pads actually act as pillows when the toddler falls asleep cushion all those adorable little curls.
  • It has rear-facing longevity accommodating up to 40lbs and 40inches long, and my toddler is only about 3 feet tall helping reinforce the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children stay rear-face as long as possible.

CONS:

  • I wish the seat had several positions especially a recline for when the toddler falls asleep, although I assume it might reduce the stability of the car seat overall.
  • Another con, applicable to all other car seats as well, I wish there was a removable liner for easy washing because I know the toddler will spill something or other at one point or another.
  • I received a cup holder that only fit in the left slot.  I needed a right slot cup holder as the infant’s car seat sat to the left of the toddler.

While the toddler was a little upset with the car seat change initially  — i guess you can have car seat attachment issues too — she happily sits in her “new” seat now and her parents can check off one less thing to worry about — her safety.

The Safety 1st® Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat (MSRP $179.99)  is available in several styles: McKenna (Black/Gray), Harvest (Brown/Orange), Silver Leaf (Black/Gray), Montross (Black/Red), WindChime (Black/Silver), Redwood (Black/Deep Red), Great Lakes (Black/Teal), Oak Ridge (Black/Olive) and can be found at Albee Baby, Amazon, Babies”R”Us, BabyAge, BuyBuyBaby, Diapers.com, Target, Walmart, Sears, and other fine retailers.

For more information on the Safety 1st® Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat with Air Protect™ Side Impact Technology and all the other Air Protect™ products by Dorel Juvenile Group please visit their website at:  http://airprotect.safety1st.com/carseats.php