Happy new year! It’s been a tough year for some, a great one for others. Regardless, we’d like to celebrate, and thank you for doing your Amazon shopping through our links, most often our weekly Friday morning sales post on Facebook.

Over the weeks our fund builds, and allows us to buy seats for families in need. We have supported:

  • Roadside stops, in cooperation with law enforcement, where instead of fines and tickets, families get support, education, and where needed, a new replacement seat to replace their unsafe one.
  • CPSTs across Canada, working with a family in need of a little help purchasing a new seat. A new seat and help installing it is our favourite way to work.
  • Full or partial CPST training scholarships to those wanting to become a technician, but are struggling to fund their course fee. Sometimes funding students also means that an instructor-candidate completes the work to become an instructor…and we like this ripple effect!

Thank you!

For all of your support – we say thank you. We love what we do, but our volunteer time and knowledge only goes so far. It’s your purchasing that makes this happen! Please remember us the next time you need to do any Amazon shopping.

Contest is now closed! Thanks to all who entered.


Happy Child Passenger Safety Week!

What better way to celebrate than a give away? We are going to try something different this time. We would like to give away *two* car seats, up to a value of $350 each. To enter, nominate a friend, family member, or group (or dinosaur!) who you feel is in need or deserving of a new seat, and tell us why you chose them when you enter. The winner will be chosen randomly, and both the winner and their nominee will receive a new seat! Please be sure to read the contest rules below completely before entering.

Click here to enter!

Contest rules:

Open to residents of Canada age 18 or older except where prohibited. Not open to the four admins of VICST or their immediate family members, nor to anyone who won something from us in the past year or their immediate family members. One entry per household please. Winners must respond within 48 hours to claim their prize. Winner will be chosen randomly with the help of random.org. Contest ends Saturday, September 23, at 5pm pst.

The products offered for the giveaway are free of charge, no purchase necessary, up to a value of $350 each. The seats chosen must be in stock and available for free shipping within Canada and from our favourites list, and we ask that you follow best practice when choosing which seat (we can help!). Final seat selection is at our discretion. We will need contact with both winners for seat choices (but the winner can break the news to their nominee if they desire!).

If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email or a message on our page! (info@vicarseattechs.com)

We have hit 10,000 fans on this page! It’s also the five year anniversary of our website. We think a celebration giveaway is in order. How about a seat of your choice up to a $500 value? We’ve decided to try something different from our usual Rafflecopter and run it on our page. To enter, see this Facebook post for details. Contest ends Sunday, April 30, 2017 around noon pst.

Don’t forget to follow us on YouTube and Twitter too!

Contest rules:

Open to residents of Canada age 18 or older except where prohibited. Not open to the four admins of VICST or their immediate family members, nor to anyone who won something from us in the past year or their immediate family members. Winners must respond within 48 hours to claim their prize. Winner will be chosen randomly with the help of AgoraPulse

The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary, up to a value of $500. The seat you choose must be in stock and available for free shipping within Canada and from our favourites list, and we ask that you follow best practice when choosing which seat (we can help!). Final seat selection is at our discretion.

If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email or a message on our page! (info@vicarseattechs.com)

Please note: This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Guest review from April Ische, a fellow CPST, and mom to four. Huge thanks to April for putting together such a comprehensive and useful review. We’re pleased to add the Goodbaby Abri 35 car seat to our favourites list based on her thumbs up.

Eilee Main

When I was contacted in early December and asked if I wanted to do a guest review of the Goodbaby Evoq Travel System I jumped at the chance! I had been eyeing up the system in the flyers and online and was actually planning on making the trip to my closest Babies R Us to check it out and satisfy my curiosity. I was intrigued to see what Goodbaby was about, and it has been a bit since a snazzy new travel system hit the Canadian market. The Evoq arrived at my door just a few days before Christmas and it quickly became my favourite new Christmas toy – Merry Christmas to me indeed! Let me tell you, this system does not disappoint!

The Evoq travel system retails for $599.99 exclusively at Babies R Us. The system includes a matching rear-facing only car seat, the gb Abri 35, and both are in a fashionable silver and black design called Sterling. The Abri 35 is also available as a standalone seat, retailing for $249.99.

EVOQ & Abri Features:

  • Abri 35 rear-facing only (infant) seat for babies 4lbs-35lbs (1.8kg-16kg) and 17in.-32in. (43cm – 81.3cm)
  • Fit-Loc seat belt lock-off system
  • Evoq stroller to accommodate infants who can sit unassisted, up to 50lbs
  • Adjustable canopy with expandable air-flow option
  • Height adjustable handle for parent comfort
  • Reversible tilt stroller seat with full recline for older baby and toddler; option to face the parent, or face out, with either the stroller seat OR the car seat
  • Glide-on board for older children to stand and catch a ride, can be used with either stroller seat OR car seat in use
  • Stroller seat and car seat made from premium materials
  • Ability to fold the stroller base with the tilt seat still attached
  • Large cargo area for extras
  • Scroll on down for more specifics related to the car seat and the stroller separately

PartsI was impressed as soon as I opened the box. The system came in a large (34 x 20 x 22) box which was packed well! I was pleased (and relieved!) at how few separate parts there were. I am not handy at all and this didn’t look too daunting even for me!

Like most CPSTs I’m sure, I set the stroller aside and went right for the Abri 35 Infant Car Seat. This is a rear-facing only seat with a stay in car base and removable carrier. The car seat connects directly to the wheel frame of the Evoq stroller for a quick and easy way to transport baby.

Abri 35 First Impressions:

Firstly, this was a sleek seat. The materials used in the cover, canopy and infant inserts seemed well made and of high quality, and the seat seemed soft and comfortable. All of the infant inserts, manual, and the registration card in clear view and easily accessible. It was very well padded and the material seemed breathable – nice for those hot days! The harness adjustment was smooth.

It is always recommended that you read and understand the manual for your car seat before using it. As a CPST it’s particularly important to carefully read manuals cover to cover, and not assume anything about a new product on the market.The manual for the Abri 35 is very impressive. It was thorough, well laid out and easy to read and understand. Especially impressive is the level of detail with the warnings, including general vehicle safety that new (and experienced!) parents may not have thought of in the haze of fatigue that comes with a new little person. The manual was also full of helpful tips and tricks which make using the car seat easier, and explains things well. I recommend settling in with a beverage of choice and reading it cover to cover. First step: register your seat with Goodbaby, online right here.

Abri Specs and Photo Gallery:

  • Width of carrier at widest point: 17.5in.
  • Width of base at widest point: 15″
  • Weight of carrier: 8.2lbs, but feels lighter than most, with other carriers weighing in at up to 2lbs heavier.
  • Weight of base: 5.4lbs
  • Length of carrier/base together: 29″
  • Length of base only: 23″
  • 4 sets of harness slots, 3 sets of waist slots, and 3 crotch buckle strap positions:
    • Crotch buckle slots: 3″, 4.5″, 6″
    • Crotch buckle length: Preemie = 2.5″ (only buckle, no strap length), or 4″
    • Width of seating areas at waist: 3″, 6″, 9″
    • Harness height: 4.5″, 7″, 9″, 11″

The Abri 35 is fairly unique in that it can be adjusted to fit such a range of kids. The manual provides preferred harness positions, but any position can be used as long as the fit is correct for the child: waist straps closest to (but not underneath child), crotch buckle strap position closest to (but not under child), and harness straps at or just below child’s shoulders.

The three sets of waist strap positions are something not seen on many seats and they may seem daunting at first, but are actually an amazing option for fitting various children! Adjustment is clearly laid out in the manual, although should be done with the manual in hand as doing so is not intuitive and should not be guessed at. Luckily the middle width setting will fit most infants at birth and through to the upper limits of the seat, so this adjustment won’t be needed except for very tiny newborns, or larger, older babies. Take care to route the harness properly, being careful not to damage the energy absorbing foam while doing so.

The seat shipped with the harness on the 3rd highest strap position, middle waist position, and largest crotch buckle position. This setup will be too large for a newborn, and so take care to adjust properly. I found it easy to mismatch the slots in the fabric cover with the slots in the shell, and it’s important that everything lines up.

  • Front adjust harness that was easy to both loosen and tighten.
  • Infant head and body support (optional for comfort and fit).
  • Harness strap covers (optional for comfort and fit). The straps covers, while being nice and soft, are quite large and bulky and had the potential to interfere with tightening the straps on the child’s shoulders. On the preemie doll, newborn doll and a 3 month old tester, there wasn’t enough room for the harness covers as the babies were just too small. On the older children the harness pads fit, , but they still made making sure the straps were placed properly on the child’s shoulders a bit tricky. Thankfully they are optional, and can be removed as desired.
  • Clearly labelled stickers and warnings.foam
  • Canopy that reaches to handle and allows comfortable carrying room. While the canopy extends right to the handle to provide great sun and wind coverage, moving it back and forth takes two hands, and must be carefully snapped into place to stay fully extended.
  • Energy absorbing foam that completely surrounds child’s head, neck and torso
  • Fit-Loc seat belt lock-off on the base. Achieving a secure installation with this technology was extremely easy and it is one of the best features of this seat! Simply lift the lock-off, choose your Lock Offmethod of installation (seat belt or UAS, not both), remove slack, then simply close the lock-off for a quick, easy and solid installation. Before releasing the lock-off unbuckle the seat belt or release the UAS, and then push firmly down on the lock-off and press back on the release tab. Be careful not to catch your fingernails on the lock-off as it releases as it pops up quickly once released!
  • Premium lower anchor connectors with release button for simple and straight forward connecting and releasing on the vehicle anchor bars
  • Recline adjustment foot with four recline positions. The Abri 35 has two weight-based
    recline requirements. One for 4-20lbs (blue) and one for 20-35lbs (green). This foot allows for a full range of reclines and it was not necessary to use a rolled towel under the base in any of the vehicles tested. With the great design of the recline foot both weight-based reclines were able to be easily achieved with either method of installation. Vehicles with very flat vehicle seats may not allow for installation at the more upright recline required for older, heavier babies.

recline indicator  recline foot

  • Colour coded recline indicator: while the indicator is simple, straightforward and clearly labelled, the blue and green on the indicator can be a bit difficult to tell apart in low light and shadows. The flashlight on your cell phone will come in handy in the dark
  • Expires six years from date of manufacture
  • Retails for $599.99 as a travel system, or coming spring 2017 will be a standalone seat for $249.99, exclusively at Babies R Us

Abri 35 Fit to Child:

A wide range of sized and shaped infants and even a few toddlers were tested in the Abri 35 for this review and with the exception of the child who was right at the standing height limit, all fit well and seemed happy and comfortable. Most kids will reach the standing height limit of 32″, or their heads will be to within 1″ of the top of the shell, well before they hit the weight limit. This is common across most seats.

Preemie Doll17″ long, preemie clothing size. Abri 35 fits incredibly small babies beautifully, with room to spare!

It is incredible how small this seat adjusts down to, while providing a snug and cozy fit with the optional infant insert.

Our preemie doll measured just 17″, the height minimum for the Abri 35, and fit amazingly well, a real strength for this seat! Straps were on the lowest setting, waist straps in the inner positions and the crotch buckle in the preemie setting. The straps were well below the doll’s shoulders. 

IMG_7158 IMG_7159 IMG_7160

IMG_7162When routing the crotch buckle strap on the preemie setting be aware of the seam on the harness, ensuring it is pulled back through to the inside of the plastic shell to remove slack that can be hidden on the outside of the shell. This can make taking the seat out of preemie setting a bit difficult as there is very little slack left in the strap to turn and push the retainer clip back through again. Parents will need to push the seam back through the shell slot in order to release the retainer clip from the preemie setting. This seat can absolutely be recommended for very small babies with confidence that they will fit appropriately.



Newborn Doll: 19.5″ long, newborn clothing size.

Representing an average-sized newborn, this doll also fit well in the seat and needed the harness height adjusted to the second-lowest setting, and the middle settings for crotch buckle and waist straps, a good bet for those expecting average-sized babies. The manual recommends the rear buckle position for a newborn, however with this position, the buckle was coming from underneath the doll, thus it was moved into the middle position. Cloth vs disposable diapers could very well affect this fit too, so read up on how to adjust and what to look for on your own little person.

Newborn Doll

Eilee: 3 months old, 10lbs, 4oz, 22″ long, 0-3m clothing size

At this size Eilee was still on the same setting as a newborn (middle buckle, middle waist and 2nd harness slot). Eilee was our main tester and used this seat for about a month in various vehicles. She always seemed comfortable and never fussed in the seat. She never became sweaty in the seat which is a testament to the breathability of the materials used. Both infant inserts were still used for Eilee and she fit well with them. The head support pad fit well, giving comfortable side support without pushing her head forward into a dangerous position.

The straps were fairly easy to adjust on a baby of this size with the exception of the chest clip being a bit tough to slide along the straps. We found the harness covers to be a bit bulky on her at her size, and removed them. We will likely put them back on once it is summertime and her neck is more exposed. We plan to use this seat until she outgrows it as we have found it very user friendly!


Sophia: 5 months old, 16.5lbs, 27.5″ long, 12m clothing size

Sophia was just at the 3rd harness slot, middle buckle slot and middle waist straps. The fact that Sophia is much larger than Eilee, yet still on the middle waist and buckle straps, shows the range of kids the seat can fit properly without too many adjustments needed. This is good because, as mentioned earlier, the waist straps can be tricky to change so it is nice that parents shouldn’t have to do it often. Sophia still had room width wise in the seat and didn’t seem confined at all. We did, however, remove the infant insert cushions at this point as they made her a little squished. Her mom commented how she liked that the seat cradled Sophia better than some others they had used.


Adelyn: 8 months old, 18lbs, 26″ long, 6-9m clothing size

Addy was at the 3rd harness slot, middle waist setting and front buckle setting. It is interesting to see how she and Sophia are very close in size but fit into the seat differently, and still the Abri 35 still fit both girls wonderfully. Thumbs up for versatility for fitting children of different shapes and proportions. Addy’s feet hung well over the foot end of the seat (which is not a safety or fit concern), but she still had lots of shell above her head and didn’t seem uncomfortable or squished at all. We also removed the infant inserts for her.



Alice: 20 months old, 19lbs, 29″ tall, 18-24m shirts, 12-18m pants

While Alice still has a ways to go until the weight limit of 35lbs on the Abri 35, she will likely reach the 1″ of head space fit rule fairly soon and didn’t have a lot of harness length left on the seat. Alice was on the 4th harness slot, middle waist setting, and front crotch buckle. The buckle was against her and appeared to almost be under her while she was wearing a cloth diaper. Limited use for a child of this size could be something to consider for parents who use cloth diapers. The manual states that the buckle slot cannot be under the child, and at 19lbs and in a cloth diaper, Alice is nearing several of the limits of this seat.



Colton: 2 years old, 25lbs, 32″ tall, 2T clothing

While most parents have moved onto a convertible style seat by this point — and if we were consulting with Colton’s parents we’d be encouraging them to shop for a new seat immediately — we decided to see if the Abri 35 would fit as long as stated. At the 32″ standing height limit Colton still had just an inch of shell above his head, which was pretty impressive, as it means the seat’s shell is decently long/deep for long term use. He was on the 4th harness slot, outer waist setting and front buckle. With a disposable diaper on, Colton still fit relative to the buckle slot. The issue here was that the Abri 35 ran out of harness length for a child of this size. We managed to secure him in the seat in just a thin shirt, but there was no room left at all. Even a fleece sweater would not have fit under the harness anymore. The seat was no longer user friendly at this point, nor comfortable for him. Like most seats, the 35lb weight limit is overstated, but the height limits (both standing height and fit requirement of 1″ of shell above the head) seem very reliable.


Fit to Vehicle

A few general comments about installing the Abri 35:

Overall the Abri 35 base and carrier install was simple and straightforward in most of the vehicles tested. It is always recommended to try a seat in your vehicle before purchasing if possible. The Abri 35 was put to the test in a variety of types and ages of vehicles. It was installed in the vehicles in as many different ways and positions as possible, and overall performed really well!

While already praised in this review, the Fit-Loc seat belt lock-off tightening system on the Abri 35 really does make getting a secure install with this seat very easy! Why would you install with the seat belt instead of UAS, you might ask Many parents prefer to install a seat in the middle of the vehicle, and in the vast majority of vehicles, you can not use UAS there. There was absolutely no issue getting the base to less than one inch of movement in any of the vehicles or positions tested and no issues at all with tilting. In some vehicles it took a bit of force to close the lock-off, but never beyond what would be considered reasonable. At times the convenience seam/fold found on some seat belts fells inside the Fit-Loc lock-off on the base, but did not prevent the lock-off from closing properly.

The range of the recline foot was invaluable and made it possible to easily achieve the proper recline in most of the test vehicles. The more upright recline required for 20-35lbs children could not be achieved in two vehicles with flat seats however, which is unfortunate as not much can be done to remedy this problem. Abri 35 is not alone with this issue, and vehicles with very flat seats tend to be difficult to work in as a general rule.

Baseless installation was straightforward in many vehicles, but was prone to tipping or other challenges on firm, non-compressible leather upholstery, as is common with many other car seats.

Front-to-back space allowed for a 5’6″ passenger to sit in front of the installed Abri 35 in all of the vehicles tested, but a very tall person sitting in the front seat may experience leg room issues.

The base did tend to overhang the vehicle seat in many vehicles, but by an allowable amount (up to 20% is permitted). Vehicles with very short back seat depth may prove incompatible.

Vehicle Test Gallery:

2016 Honda Civic, 4 Door, Cloth Interior

Abri 35 installed well in the middle and outboard. The centre hump in this car made a baseless install tricky there. UAS install and seat belt install at a variety of reclines was straightforward.

Civic Center


2005 Mazda 6 GT Fastback, 4 door, Leather Interior

Abri 35 installed well in all positions in this car. The slippery leather and firm upholstery made a baseless installation tricky. Front-to-back the seat fit nicely in this car.

Mazda 6 outboard Mazda 6 leg room

2009 Jeep Patriot, 4 Door, Leather Interior

The Jeep Patriot didn’t get along as well with the Abri 35 as the other vehicles, and illustrates vehicle features that are challenging for many car seat installations. While the more reclined 4-20lbs recline was achieved with both the seat belt install and UAS install, the more upright 20-35lbs range was not possible as the flat vehicle seat meant that the Abri 35 could not be made upright enough. The seats in this vehicle were fairly slippery leather and very firm and unforgiving so even using pressure upon tightening the belts to attempt the higher weight recline was unsuccessful.

Patriot outboad


2014 Dodge Durango, 4 door, Leather Interior

This was the main vehicle the Abri 35 was tested in and it installed well in all positions and install methods tried. The Durango was a really excellent test vehicle due to its variation in seat belt features seen in many vehicles. The Abri 35 installed perfectly at both weight reclines with seat belt installs, UAS installs, and baseless in outboard positions. Like many SUVs, it could not accommodate this seat in the 3rd row as there wasn’t enough front-to-back space.

The Abri 35 was installed in the centre beside a rear-facing Clek Foonf on the 60 portion of the second row in the Durango and still allowed for the 40 portion of the seat to tumble forward beside it for third row access WITH the carrier on the base. Abri 35 is the only rear-facing only carrier/base type seat that has allowed this (others tried include the original Britax B-Safe 22, Britax B-Safe 35, Chicco KeyFit 30, Graco Click Connect 35, and Peg Perego 4-35). All other seats have required the carrier portion to be removed before tumbling the outer portion of the seat. This is excellent news for parents with tight three-across needs, or those with 3-row SUVs requiring a seat to tumble to gain access to the 3rd row. Rejoice! 

Durango Outboard IMG_7177 IMG_7176

EVOQ Stroller

If you are considering the Abri 35 as part of a travel system it is the Evoq stroller that forms the other half, and here’s the lowdown on it! The Evoq stroller is a wheel frame that can accommodate either the Abri 35 car seat, or the reversible tilt stroller seat with a toddler up to 50lbs and 45in. The Evoq is a single stroller with the additional glide-on (standing) board for older kids.

The reversible tilt seat is meant for children who can sit unassisted, and is not meant for newborns or younger babies as the stroller’s harness system does not safely adjust to their smaller size.


  • Cup holder
  • Lightweight at 35lbsStroller cargo area 1
  • Cargo basket with 10lb weight capacity: the Evoq features a large cargo basket. As with many strollers, there is a frame bar through the basket which does limit fitting something like a large diaper bag in it, but it is more than sufficient for a smaller bag, toys, snacks, etc.
  • Adjustable handle for comfortable pushing. Both my 6’1″ husband and myself at 5’6″ could comfortably push the stroller as the handle adjusted to our different heights
  • Adjustable canopy which features an additional zip out to further extend
  • Reversible Tilt Toddler Seat. The seat on the Evoq is a sharp looking seat, made of premium materials. The seat features an adjustable foot rest and fully reclines for sleeping. As mentionedGlide on 1 earlier, but worth repeating, the stroller is only for children who are sitting unassisted, and not for newborns or younger, smaller babies. The harness system does not adjust small enough for newborns or small babies, or maintain a safe and comfortable position.
  • Foot brake that was easy to engage and disengage and held firm
  • Glide-on board for older kids. This is a great feature! Sabelle (size of an average 3 year old) was able to comfortably use the board and see over the seat of the stroller. The older kids tested loved the option and had fun getting to ride too. There was plenty of space and it was easy for them to hold onto the sides of the stroller frame. The stroller was still easily pushed with a child on the board. This is a wonderful feature for use in busy parking lots or crowded spaces because it kept my older kids in one place while still allowing me to easily push the stroller.


Best Uses:

Evoq is ideal for walking, travel, shopping, or city. At 35lbs this is a fairly light weight stroller, and while very well built, is not one that is meant for off-roading or rough terrain. The solid rubber tires did perform well on the hard packed snowy sidewalks, but wasn’t tested in deep snow. It was fantastic in stores, including those with tight aisles as the wheel base isn’t too wide. The Evoq turns on a dime and pushes easily with one hand, even with a child on the glide-on board. Once you have weight in the stroller (i.e. a 30lb two year old, vs a 10lb 3 month old), there is a noticeable difference, but it is still very doable. The stroller was easy to pop up onto sidewalks and over curbs if needed (Note: this is not safe with a child standing on the glide-on board).

The Evoq stroller seems to worked best for older babies, toddlers and young preschoolers which is exactly who it is geared towards.

Out of the box the stroller only took about five minutes to fully set up. It was so easy and the directions were straightforward and easy to follow. The stroller can be folded with the seat still attached, although it makes for a long fold with the seat on which didn’t allow for it to fit nicely in tight trunks/cargo areas. It isn’t hard or time consuming at all to simply take the seat off and fit it in differently though, so the large fold does not need to be a deterrent. The frame alone is very lightweight, easy to fold and unfold and fit well into the vehicle trunks/cargo areas we tested.

Fold with seat folded wheel frame

The stroller fit in the trunk of the 2016 Civic, the smallest vehicle tested with the seat attached. It was a bit tricky to get in and out and took up the entire trunk, but it was doable. Without the seat attached, the Evoq frame took up only half the trunk.

Civic Seat on frame fold Civic wheel base only
Another test was the 2014 Durango cargo area with the third row up. The Evoq did not fit with the seat attached to the folded frame, but it did fit easily with the seat taken off and placed beside the frame. The system is so easy to fold and remove the seat that this wasn’t an issue at all.

Durango Cargo Area


Kid Fit in EVOQ:

6 Month Doll: Our 6 month tester doll fit the Evoq well. She was on the lowest strap setting, but the straps tightened down to secure her no problem. Important to note again that smaller babies should not be buckled into the stroller seat because they can’t be properly positioned if they are too small to properly adjust the harness.

6 month doll


Sabelle: 2.5 years old, 38″ tall, 30lbs, size 2/3 clothing.

Sabelle still fits in the stroller comfortably and she was happy to ride along each time we used it. The stroller was usable for a child of this size in both the parent-facing and outward-facing orientations, although Sabelle greatly preferred the outward option. She was able to climb in and out on her own and the stroller was still easily pushed. Sabelle was also large enough to use the glide-on board and hold onto the sides of the stroller frame.

Sabelle outface Sabelle parent face


Harper: almost 6, 43″, 40″, size 4/5 clothing

We pushed the Evoq near its limits with Harper. He feels much too big for this stroller even though he is still 10lbs from the weight limit and 2in under the height limit. His head was above the back of the stroller seat and his legs were either very bent up on the foot rest or dangling uncomfortably. He said he wasn’t comfortable in it and the harness system was difficult to close around him. While most parents would not be using a stroller anymore for a 6 year old, Harper is about the size of an average 4 year old, an age in which many parents are still using a stroller periodically.


In Conclusion

The Evoq Travel System as a whole is a wonderful new addition to the Canadian market! The system is great quality and stylish while still hitting an affordable mid-range price.

The Abri 35 rear-facing only car seat in the system should accommodate most babies until parents are ready to switch to a convertible car seat for continued rear facing, with very realistic height and fit limits. It is lightweight, and features technology that is sure to aid parents when using it, most notably the recline foot and the amazing lock-off. Caution when choosing this car seat only if you have very flat or very shallow vehicle seats, otherwise consider it an excellent narrow, lightweight, and long-lasting option, and the newest addition to our favourite rear-facing only car seat list! We look forward to it being available as a standalone seat as well.

The Evoq stroller is easily transported, versatile and comfortable for older babies and toddlers to use for many years.

Overall, I would highly recommend this travel system to parents looking for something quick, light and easy to use within a city setting.

Thank you to all of the moms and babies who helped with this review! Beth and Sophia, Lindsay and Adelyn, Brandi and Alice, Carly and Colton and my own little kiddies Eilee, Sabelle and Harper. Also, thanks to my fellow CPSTs Brandi, Carly and Regan who helped test this system, and offered up some great viewpoints!

We would like to thank Goodbaby for supplying the travel system used and tested in this review, and also for the one they are providing to one lucky winner – see below to enter! All opinions are our own.


April-headshotApril Ische is the frazzled mother of four. She has been a CPSAC technician since spring 2015 and works part time at a local baby store (usually with kiddos in tow). With kids at every stage of car seats, there is plenty of opportunity to play! When not working or car seating, she can be found with her kids at the step dance studio or the hockey rink.



This contest is closed – thanks to everyone who entered and congrats to the winner!

To be eligible to win first post a comment on this blog that answers this question: What’s your favourite feature of the car seat, and your favourite feature of the stroller Then tell the Rafflecopter “I commented!” and trust us to add your comment as soon as we can.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

_mg_2094-copyI have never been able to stay upright while sleeping well even as an adult, so I was very excited to receive a Cardiff headrest to try out and we put it to good use on some road trips this summer. The Cardiff headrest is meant to be used for older children in a backless booster seat or for five-stepping passengers with the seat belt only. It does not change the fit of the seat belt. It is available for $75 on Amazon as well as at Canada’s Baby Store.

The purpose of the Cardiff is to provide side head support to children and adults who have outgrown a high-back booster but still tip out of the belt while sleeping. It helps passengers stay upright, which in turn keeps the shoulder belt properly positioned over their collar bone.

Transport Canada requires that all booster seats in Canada be tested on a test bench that simulates the average frontal crash. Several sized dummies are buckled into the booster seat and the test apparatus is “crashed,” (propelled above 48 km/h and 24.5G) and instrumentation on the dummy records how the dummy moved and what forces were applied to the head and chest. The Cardiff Headrest was added to this set-up and all readings were below the requirements. In-vehicle testing was also performed under more extreme conditions and still all readings from the dummies were below the Transport Canada requirements.

Here’s the take-home message: In these testing scenarios the Cardiff wasn’t presenting an added risk. Of course, real kids in real cars and real crashes won’t perform exactly the same way. However, if the difference is being slumped over because of no head support (where a high back booster isn’t available or possible) and definitely out of position at the time of a crash, or the chance that the addition of a Cardiff might cause an injury, as a parent I’d go with the option most likely to keep my child in proper seat belt position. It is an after-market product and it is up to parental discretion whether you are comfortable with its use for your own child. Although this product was tested to see if it changed how a dummy fared in a booster seat, it is unregulated and not subject to any testing to be sold.


The Cardiff comes in a package with all the necessary hardware to install it. It was simple to install, but requires an adjustable headrest with posts. It should install well in most vehicles with the right type of headrest. Installation only took a few minutes and it was easy to switch it to different vehicle seats as needed. The wings can be adjusted up or down depending on whether it’s in use and the height of the passenger using it.

_mg_2091-copy _mg_2092-copy

The children we tried it with all like the Cardiff and appreciate the extra support they get from it. A few found they preferred it slightly off-centre as they tended to lean their head to one side more than the other and they liked that side of the headrest to be closer. Luckily this is easily done. In my vehicle, my own child who I used this with usually sits in the outboard passenger side, and I did find there was a slight decrease in my field of view. In my van it was not anything that I felt impeded my ability to drive but in a smaller vehicle it may be necessary to experiment with other seating positions. It fits a wide range of children in a variety of vehicles, but as usual if possible always try before you buy to make sure it works in your situation.

14694892_10153908657557267_826864101_n cardiff-meredith1 cardiff-fiona2

As I said earlier, I have always had trouble staying upright while sleeping myself, so I decided to give it a try on a longer drive. The wings are slightly flexible and have a bit of give when leaning on them, which took a bit of getting used to but was nice when going over bumps as it flexed with my head. Overall it felt solid and well made. There is padding added for comfort. I was able to sleep and liked that I could easily tuck the wings up when I didn’t need it anymore.


Overall I was very happy with the Cardiff headrest. It was easy to install in the vehicles we tried it in, allowed the passenger using it to sleep easily and comfortably, and kept them upright so that the seat belt was safely positioned. If you or your child are too big for a high-back booster but still fall asleep and have issues with slouching sideways when sleeping, it is definitely an option worth considering.


Want to check it out for yourself?  Buy one from Amazon.ca or Canada’s Baby Store. Thanks to EI Brands one lucky reader will win a Cardiff Booster Seat Headrest for themselves! To enter use the Rafflecopter widget below, and make sure to leave a blog post comment here answering this question: What use do you have for a Cardiff? Do you have a big trip coming up? Or maybe you often drive home late at night? Tell us about it! Comments don’t show up until we approve them but that’s okay – tell the widget “I commented” and let us take care of the rest!

Thanks to EI Brands for providing the Cardiff used in this review but as usual, all opinions are our own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

13700107_10154188907626351_5275425233955228001_nLindsay Wilson is a homeschooling mom of three and a co-founder of Vancouver Island Car Seat Techs living on the island. She has been a Child Passenger Safety Technician for almost six years now. If you need her, she is currently filling up her bathtub in preparation for a coming storm.

51vjLh3oJHLAmazon.ca is having a super deal on certain seats for Prime members! We want to take advantage of this
with a quick flash contest as a thank you to everyone using our links for their shopping. We will be using random.org instead of Rafflecopter for this one.

Just fill out the below linked form and we will draw at 7pm pst on Monday, July 11, 2016. You can choose between any of the sale Frontier CTs assuming they are under $300 and qualify for free shipping at the time of contest close. If the Frontiers are out of stock or the sale is over, or your child is years away from forward facing, you can use $300 towards a seat on Amazon that is in stock, qualifies for free shipping, and is on our favourites list.

We will contact the winner shortly after 7pm Pacific…and plan to order immediately to take advantage of sales. If you do not respond to our call or email within ten minutes we’ll move on to the next person. The entry form gives you the option for email and phone…we suggest you do both!

One entry per person please! Multiple entries will be disqualified. Open to residents of Canada who are the age of majority in their province who have not won one of our contests in the last year, excluding the admins of VI Car Seat Techs and their immediate families. Void where prohibited by law. We love comments but you must click the below “enter here” button to qualify.

Choices available for this contest as of contest opening are Frontier ClickTight in Vibe, Kaleidoscope, Congo, or Cowmooflage.

Contest is now closed! Thank you for your entries! Stay tuned for the winner shortly.

Want to take advantage yourself? Here’s how!

There are other deals available, but you must sign up for Amazon Prime to take advantage. You can cancel the subscription before 30 days. Buying through our links helps us buy seats for donation and run future contests, so thank you!

22599_10153240015751351_2841763408889106860_nProperly introducing the Evenflo SecureKid! It has had a place on our favourites list for some time now, but we haven’t had much chance for hands-on experience. The model we were sent to review is the SecureKid Platinum DLX in Emory, which features Evenflo’s Outlast fabric, buckle pockets, and new SureLatch technology (more on that one later).


The SecureKid is available at Babies R Us and Shop.ca (where it’s also under the Snugli label) with a regular price of $220-$230 depending on trim levels, but the Snugli is on sale for $140 right now (Aug 20 2015) on Shop.ca. It is also at Costco.ca in the ‘LX’ trim for $190, with premium push on connectors and variation in head padding.

In harnessed mode it fits children 22-65 pounds and 28-50 inches and the tops of the ears are below the tops of the child restraint head rest and child is at least one year old and the harness is coming from at or slightly above the child’s shoulders.

In booster mode, it fits children 40-110 pounds and 43.3-57 inches and at least four years old and the tops of the ears are below the tops of the child restraint head rest.

Features:buckle storage

  • Outlast fabric, which Evenflo says will regulate the temperature and keep baby comfortable on particularly hot or cold days — We didn’t have any cold days to test it on, but the fabric did stay cool on the really hot days we had while testing the seat
  • Buckle pockets to tuck the buckles away when the child is not in the seat
  • Dual cup holders
  • SureLatch UAS connectors, a neat system to make UAS installation easier in many vehicles
  • Easily removable cover that can be machine washed (never machine wash the harness straps!)
  • Easily transitions from harness to booster and includes handy storage for the harness straps when in use as a booster so they are not lost

Fit to child:

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At 22 months, 35”, and 32 pounds, we would recommend this child still be rear facing, but he fit nicely in the SecureKid. The head protection is nice but does push forward slightly, which may be an issue for children who still sleep in the car especially, though the large head wings make a nice place for a tired child to rest their head.


This child is five and about 43” and 38 pounds. She said the seat was very comfortable and loved the cup holders. She noticed that the hip straps were placed further forward on her legs than on most seats she’s tried, but they didn’t bother her. This could be a good thing in some situations (such as certain surgeries or a child who finds the straps uncomfortable when they are closer to the body).

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This seven year old is around 47 pounds and also found the seat comfortable in both harness mode and as a booster. The belt fit is excellent. The lap belt sits nice and low on her thighs and the shoulder belt is centered nicely on her shoulder.

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The belt fit on this 50 pound, 50” seven year old was also excellent. She found it was a bit narrow in the shoulders but otherwise was comfortable, and it would make an excellent seat for tall, slim kids. She had some trouble buckling around the large side wings, which may provide additional side impact protection, but thought she’d be able to do it with a bit of practice. 

Fit to vehicle:

The seat installed well in harness mode and the shoulder belt retraction was good in booster mode in every vehicle we tried, including one with notoriously long buckle stalks. However, we always recommend trying it in your vehicle before buying as fit can vary widely with different vehicles. We found the top tether to be quite short, which could be an issue in some vehicles (particularly vans with tethers on the floor or further back on a tail gate). Don’t despair though! Evenflo does have a tether extender available if this is an issue in your own vehicle, and you can contact them to have them send you one.


One feature we were keen to try is the SureLatch technology, which are retractable UAS anchors that are supposed to make the seat easier and faster to install. These are not available on all trim levels but we did get a chance to try them out on the review model. We found it lived up to expectations in the vehicles we tried it in, and you can see a video of it in action here. We do know there are some vehicles that, due to the angle of the UAS hooks or the seat bight, the SureLatch is not as easy to use, but overall I could see this being an excellent choice for a grandparent, someone who needs to move the seat around, or anyone with joint pain in their hands who may have trouble pulling a strap tight.


Note that your child must be under the latch weight limit for both the vehicle and the seat. The weight limit for this seat is 50 pounds, but your vehicle may have a lower limit so always double check. If your child is over the weight limit, or your vehicle does not have UAS or does not allow for UAS use in the position you are installing the seat, using the seat belt is just as safe provided you can get an acceptable installation. Overall the seat was easy to install with both seat belt and UAS.


One thing that is different about the SecureKid in booster mode than most other booster seats, is that it has a level to line ground and a towel can be used at the back of the seat if needed to level that line (this doesn’t apply in harness mode though). This is one reason it’s very important to always read your manual, as no rules are universal!


Overall impressions

This seat is a nice, lightweight seat that makes both a good harnessed seat as well as a nice-fitting booster seat on the children we tried it on. It has 18” top harness slots, meaning that while it is not the tallest seat on the market, it will get all but the tallest or longest-torsoed children to an appropriate age for a booster seat, and then makes a good high-back booster that will last those children until they are ready for a low-back booster seat. With the SureLatch technology, light weight, and easy conversion from harness to booster, this would be excellent for grandparents, daycares, or anyone else who has to transport more than one child. It would also be great for anyone with hand or joint pain who struggles tightening the straps on most seats.

Thank you to Evenflo for providing the seat in this review. All opinions are our own. They have also generously offered one Secure Kid Platinum DLX in Emory to one of our readers. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below and tell us in a blog comment what feature of the SecureKid would be most useful to you and why.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

11707765_10153412967887165_8408673300298440703_nUpdated 2019. The Monterey as described in this article has been discontinued, which makes us super sad because we loved it so very much.

Diono does make a seat called the Monterey XT, but it’s not quite the same as this one, although certain elements are similar.

It’s b-a-a-a-c-k! Back and better than ever is the Diono Monterey booster, seen here in review (and scroll down, as a giveaway!). It had disappeared from the market for about a year and we were very sad…and then thrilled to learn it was making a comeback! The Monterey is a favourite of techs, and for very good reason. It is one of the tallest boosters on the market, kids find it very comfortable, and it generally provides excellent belt fit in a variety of vehicles.

The Monterey retailed for $160 and was widely available.

It is currently available in three fashions: Bloom (pink), Surf (blue), and Heather (grey, reviewed here).

Diono_Monterey_Bloom_Angled_WithCupholdersDiono_Monterey_Surf_Angled_WithCupholdersMonterey Heather

What we love

  • Fits children 40-120 pounds and 38-63”, making it one of the longest-lasting and tallest boosters available
  • Provides excellent belt fit on most kids in most vehicles
  • The adjustable seat back width means it can be adjusted for different-sized kids, helping smaller children stay contained and in position, while still being comfortable for larger kids who would still benefit from the back portion
  • Long seat pan provides lots of support for long-legged kids
  • Has UAS so it’s not a projectile when not in use (optional)
  • Variable recline positions for comfort and to fit various vehicle seat shapes
  • Stowable cup holders can be tucked away when not in use or if you need more room (what treasures would your kids keep in theirs?)

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Fit to child:

The Monterey in high-back mode provided excellent belt fit on every child we tried. As always though, we do recommend always trying a seat before purchase if possible. The children we tested said they love how cushy and comfortable it is and the retractable cup holders.  One 7 year old said she liked it even though it wasn’t pink – gasp!

At 21″, the backrest adjusts to one of the tallest heights on the market, meaning it is a great choice for tall and long-torsoed kids who could still use the support of the back.


When evaluating belt fit of a booster seat to a child, you want to ensure the lap belt is low and flat on their thighs (not up high on the belly) and that the shoulder belt is centered in the middle of their collar bone.


On the smaller end of the spectrum, the child below is five and is just 40 pounds and 43”. Her regular seat is still a harnessed seat. The lap belt fit was excellent and she declared the seat to be very comfortable. I appreciated the ability to adjust the side walls narrower.

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Another smaller child, at five, 42 pounds and 42” tall. Again, the belt fit is excellent and the seat pan gives lots of support to her legs.


These two kids have very similar stats, at 50” tall and 51 and 55 pounds respectively. Again, excellent belt fit and they found it very comfortable.

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At 9 ½, 62 pounds, and 56″ tall, this child normally rides in a backless booster (and is clearly super thrilled to be testing this out in highback mode!), but she is within the specs and still just fits. This would be very useful for a young but tall child who would still benefit from the support of the high-back, or for a child who still falls asleep in the car to give them somewhere to rest their head so they don’t slump out of position.


Road tripping with her family this 8 year old is 90lbs and 4’8″ (54″) tall and prefers to have the back on the 2012 version of the Monterey (virtually unchanged except for the style of the upper belt guide so we included this photo for comparison).

ML in Monterey


Using the Monterey as a backless booster may or may not work for your child/vehicle combination. When buying a seat now for a 5-6+ year old it is hard to predict their build, or know for sure what you will drive, when they have outgrown the back and need to use it backless. Pictured here without the back we don’t like the belt fit on the lap belt; it’s too low on the legs and isn’t making contact with the hip bones — because without the back portion on the child has scooted back away from the belt. If you do find that is the case consider a backless booster such as Diono’s Solana, or another option well-suited to your child.

Fit to vehicle:

20150713_201522_resizedThe Monterey also worked exceptionally well in most seating positions and vehicles that we tried. It does have UAS hooks to latch the booster into the vehicle with an up-front adjustment mechanism to tighten and loosen each connector. This does not provide any extra safety to the booster rider, but does mean that the booster seat isn’t a projectile when not in use, and is a convenience feature that we find, well, convenient! Use of UAS is an optional feature, and if you don’t have UAS in the position you use the booster in we always recommend buckling the booster in when not in use.

11265426_10153412938357165_2803299625134764172_nSometimes with high-back boosters the shoulder belt won’t always retract properly through the belt guide. This is not ideal as the belt won’t be in a good position to keep a child restrained properly if, for instance, the child has leaned forward (hopefully while the car is not in motion!) or if you have had to brake suddenly. Compared to previous versions of the Diono and Sunshine Kids Monterey this revamped Diono Monterey has a redesigned belt guide that tends to be very friendly with most shoulder belts. We found it worked very well in most of the vehicles/seating positions that we tried, including one position where the belt comes at an awkward angle that generally doesn’t work with high back boosters. We did find one seating position in one vehicle where the belt didn’t retract, but in general the Monterey would be an excellent bet.

Diono wants the Monterey seat back to make contact with the vehicle seat and to minimize gaps; if there is a gap, they have advised to contact them for evaluation. Some larger or fixed and forward-leaning head restraints may create too large of a gap to be safely used with the Monterey but as vehicle geometry varies so widely it’s best to leave the decision making to the manufacturer. Take a clear photo or two from more than one angle and let them evaluate the fit for you.


The Monterey does require vehicle head support behind it, even in high-back mode, so it is not an option for vehicles with no head restraints. Diono does not allow the vehicle’s buckle to cross the lower belt guide, so it also may not be an appropriate choice if your vehicle has very long buckle stalks.


Overall impressions:

The Monterey is an excellent booster seat that is loved by technicians, parents and kids alike. It provides excellent belt fit on a large range of children, is one of the tallest high-back boosters on the market with one of the highest weight ranges, and has features to make it a comfortable and convenient seat to use.

It is not the seat for you if you need a booster in a position with no head restraint or if your vehicle has exceptionally long buckle stalks. It may not work if you have fixed, forward-leaning head restraints. As always, if possible try before you buy to ensure it fits your child in your vehicle.

Thank you to Diono for providing the seat shown in this review. All opinions are our own.

Thank you to Diono for providing one booster seat in “Heather” fashion to one lucky reader – this giveaway is closed! Please remember that booster seats aren’t an appropriate option for a child until s/he is consistently over 40lbs, and has the maturity to sit properly in position at all times, usually beginning around age 5-6+. Do you have such a creature?

O22599_10153240015751351_2841763408889106860_nnce again, Shop.ca is having a super deal! We want to take advantage of this with a quick flash contest as a thank you to everyone using our links for their shopping. We will be using random.org instead of Rafflecopter for this one. Just fill out the attached form and we will draw at 9pm est on Wednesday, June 3rd (6pm pst). You can choose between any of the MyRides or the Snugli SecureKids linked below as long as they are in stock and showing free shipping.

One entry per person please! Multiple entries will be disqualified. Open to residents of Canada who are the age of majority in their province who have not won one of our contests in the last year, excluding the admins of VI Car Seat Techs and their immediate families. Void where prohibited by law.


Choices available for this contest:

Snugli Harnessed Booster in grey (Evenflo SecureKid) $124

Snugli Harnessed Booster in camo (Evenflo SecureKid) $137

Graco MyRide in Spritz (pink/brown) $142

Graco MyRide in Marston (green/brown) $132

Contest is now closed! Thanks to those who entered. Big congrats to Kelsey G, the lucky winner!

Want to take advantage yourself? Here’s how!

The deal is good for anything, not just car seats. If you would like to take advantage of it yourself, go through these steps.

  1. Get a shop.ca account here and we get $25 for our seat donation fund the first time you make a purchase of $75, and you get a bunch of Aeroplan points if your order is over $99, and a big Aeroplan bonus on the first order with your number added to your account; http://www.shop.ca/?plcktb=ZwBzWm4KZg2
  2. Add your item to your cart – specific links for spectacular deals below.
  3. At checkout use coupon code RMN50OFF125JUNE for $50 off an order of $125 or more. If you have a second seat to order (or anything else for that matter) do a separate order and use coupon code RMN40OFF100JUNE. You can use each code once per account.
  4. Tell us here or on Facebook what awesome deal you scored because we like to live vicariously through you!

    ALL car seats and booster seats


    We couldn’t have a Hump Day post without a camel picture!

10967665_10152998923025568_68309605_nOnce again, Shop.ca is having a super deal that a purchase over $250 gets $70 off. We want to take advantage of this with a quick flash contest as a thank you to everyone using our links for their shopping. We will be using random.org instead of rafflecopter for this one. Just fill out the attached form and we will draw at 9pm est on Thursday, February 5th (6pm pst). You can choose any car seat between $250-$300 that shows as in stock and free shipping. If you’d like a more expensive seat, you must be around tonight or tomorrow morning to e.m.t. the extra funds. Please select a seat off one of our “favourites” lists.

One entry per person please! Multiple entries will be disqualified. Open to residents of Canada who are the age of majority in their province who have not won one of our contests in the last year, excluding the admins of VI Car Seat Techs and their immediate families. Void where prohibited by law.

This contest is now closed – thanks to all who entered!

Want to take advantage yourself? Here’s how!

The deal is good for anything, not just car seats, and it’s possible if you go through ebates you will get an additional 20% off as well. If you would like to take advantage of it yourself, go through these steps.

  1. Get a shop.ca account here and we get $25 for our seat donation fund the first time you make a purchase of $75, and you get a bunch of Aeroplan points if your order is over $99, and a big Aeroplan bonus on the first order with your number added to your account.  Then close the window without adding anything to your shopping cart.
  2. Sign up for ebates here and they’ll donate $5 to our seat fund; get 20% back–> it comes quarterly via cheque. In the search window look for shop.ca, and click through to it. Sign back in.
  3. Now that you are in shop.ca via the ebates portal find your item(s) and add them to your cart. All car seats and booster seats here (travel systems are categorized differently).
    Add Aeroplan if you use it to collect points.
  4. Try coupon code RMN70OFF250FEB for $70 off – click on the bolded “here” in the paragraph about not being able to use both, and type it in. Although it says you can’t use both it seems to still work.
  5. It’s also possible that if you are NEW to shop.ca you will be given a promo code for $15-20 off when you activate your account.

_MG_9083-copyHow about a quick New Year’s Eve contest as a thank you to everyone for shopping through our links? Thanks to you all, we have managed to take advantage of sales and secure donation seats to help local families in need, and for a booster drive we hope to run in the new year.

Shop.ca is having a super deal that ends tonight where a purchase over $250 gets $70 off. We want to take advantage of this with a quick flash contest as a thank you to everyone using our links for their Christmas shopping. We will be using random.org instead of rafflecopter for this one. Just fill out the attached form and we will draw at 9pm est tonight (6pm pst). You can choose any car seat between $250-$300 that shows as in stock and free shipping. If you’d like a more expensive seat, you must be around at 9pm est to emt the extra funds. Please select a seat off one of our “favourites” lists.

The deal is good for anything, not just car seats, so if you would like to take advantage of it yourself, add your items to your shopping cart, and at checkout use code RMN70OFF250 Bonus? we get $25 into our donation fund if you are new to shop.ca!

One entry per person please! Multiple entries will be disqualified. Open to residents of Canada who are the age of majority in their province who have not won one of our contests in the last year, excluding the admins of VI Car Seat Techs and their families. Void where prohibited by law.

Contest is now closed!  Good luck – and happy 2015!

~Laura, Lindsay & Jen

photoHello, Id like to nominate a good friend of mine Cathy. Cathy has 5 children , her youngest being Randy at the age of 3. I actually steered Cathy away from her 3 in one eddie bauer seats and introduced her to the britax seats when he was ready for a carseat! She uses a marathon for him in her van but she is a school bus driver and has a cosco sceneria for him to ride in her bus for her daily route but he is quickly outgrowing it. I feel for her concern to keep him in the 5 point harness on her bus as our buses rarely get cancelled even when they should be cancelled and unlike me who may choose to keep my kids home so they don’t have to endure the unsafe ride on the bus she being the driver has no choice but to take him with her. Also he still has his afternoon nap on the afternoon run so he needs the comfort of his carseat as well. We had a discussion and both feel a seat like a nautilus or a frontier would be the best choice so he can continue to use it after hes outgrown his marathon, preferably the simplist install and lightest weight as she sometimes has to make quick switches from bus to bus.

Thank you for considering my friends Cathy and Randy

An itsy bitsy Lukas
Snug in his bucket seat
Graco Snugride 35
Its safety hard to beat

A fave seat of VICarSeatTechs
Their reviews & tips I trust
In shopping for Luke’s next car seat
Read through their site I must

So many seats to choose from
Where to even start
A dozen brands of options
From Amazon to Walmart

Lukas is a tall boy
A consideration to be sure
You narrowed down the choices
Your passion true and pure

So now the big decision
The Foonf or Diono
I’m leaning towards the higher base
But can’t go wrong, I know

So much I didn’t know of
But now I can attest
V. I. Car Seat Technicians
Truly are the best!

IMG_1753I have 2 kids. They will be 5 and 2 in April. When I had my oldest daughter I knew nothing about car seats and am ashamed to say I just thought they were all the same and it wasn’t a big deal. We bought a snugride 22 that was on sale cheap (later found out it was 2 years old already and that was why). We were lucky that both our kids were tall and they both *just* fit with the straps below the shoulders. Now almost 5 years later I have become obsessed with car seats and safety. I go crazy watching all my daughters friends go into preschool after getting out of no back boosters. Most of them are 4 but very few are above 40lbs so they aren’t even legal. I have taught my kids that they are being safe. My daughter has taken on my obsession and now will tell people in stores that car seats don’t go on the carts or that the chest clip is too low. People seem to be interested when she tells them and they ask questions. All of them have been receptive to me helping them but I think if it wasn’t for her being the first one to say something they wouldn’t have listened. My daughter is now in a Britax Frontier XT in one vehicle and the CT in the other. Our Ct really doesn’t work well and is very hard to get it tight enough and we have been frustrated with it. My son is still rear facing and will be for a long time. We took advantage of the sale on the Evenflo sureride when it came to Canada. We even got it for my parents vehicle. We also have an APT for him. We have a Britax marathon that we used for my daughter but it is an older one (expires 2015) and only rear faces to 32 inches so that one is just not able to be used. I have passed on the seat to a cousin that was in need and could safely use it. I am bad for passing on my seats to those in need as I know that I have treated them properly and I want all children to be safe. I have even passed on one of my daughters frontiers to someone that still needed a harness. I am now scouting out seats that my husbands second cousin can use for an unexpected little bundle due in June. She doesn’t understand car seat safety and her mom gave her an old seat that was used 20 years ago. She is willing to learn and I am willing to teach! This is my son coming home and the straps are just below the shoulders.

DSC_9579This is my miracle baby, Abigail, nice and snug in her car seat ready to brave this winter! My story is about myself though 😉 I am a former car seat tech (had to take a break due to personal reasons) but I was very active in my community and on-line helping to educate those in my mommyhood. The other day, the subject of those “Healthy Canadians” commercials came up in a Facebook group I am a member of. Someone said “Those commercials remind me of Annabel”…I have never been so proud 🙂 They are listening 🙂

IMG_0287My name is Charli and I was born in July 2013. I am still pretty brand new but looking back at pictures, I am amazed how much I have grown! Mommy says that in just a couple of inches and a few more pounds I will need a new seat. As you can see, I was not a big fan of “the seat” the first time they locked me in. It was cold and scary and there was no mommy in there with me. But then they put that cold mommy-less seat in the car… OH the CAR!! I love the car, it is my happy place! I just wanted you to know that I can tell when my mommy has been reading your website or that funny page with the blue strip at the top, almost immediately she starts doing something new. My favourite was when she did something to the straps that lock me in tight, she made them way more comfortable and I felt so much safer once they were a bit longer! Thanks for teaching my mommy what I need to be safe. The other thing she started doing is the extra wiggle of the seat when she puts me in the car, it makes an extra click and I think it makes my mom happy. I like it when my mommy is happy. Although I have become very much attached to my current seat, I would love for you to give me a new one so that I can sit up taller.

I have started driving my son’s friend to and from school when he moved out of our school area (his parents don’t have a vehicle) so he wouldn’t have to move to his 4th school since the start of the school year. I have committed to driving him home from school and have found someone else to drive him to school. A friend gave us 2 older booster (still good until the end of the school year!) but I would love for this little guy to have cool seat of his own. He is a great kid who deserves something new.

I am a big fan of your website and have used it many times for myself and have referred others to it as well. I am very happy with our car seats (Diono Radian RXT and also Graco Snugride 35).

I wanted to nominate a family that is in need of four car seats. This particular family is a grandma who took custody of her four grandkids to keep the family together (she still has a teenager living at home, too). She had to quit work as the youngest is only 4 mos old, but she gets no support for the kids, of whom the older ones are 7, 5, and 3.

Here is a quick story of our journey to better car seat safety:

In early 2006, we welcomed our very first babe. We were young and keen and thought we had it all figured out. When he turned one, we did what ‘all’ parents did and invested in our first convertable car seat, and turned our 20lb babe forward facing. After all, that was what was suggested at the time, and what the car seat manufacturers, public health, ICBC etc. recommended. In 2008, we welcomed another baby to the family, this time a wee girl! When she turned one, she had not reached 20lbs, and much to everyone’s dismay, we kept her rear facing until she reached that point at a whopping 15 months. Not gonna lie, we felt pretty darn proud of ourselves for going against the ‘norm’ and keeping her rear facing until she actually reached all of the requirements, When it seemed that most turned at one whether they were big enough or not. Fast forward to early 2011 and along comes baby number 3 – another boy:-) I spent the next year of his life researching the heck out of car seats and car seat safety, and when he turned one, without hesitation, we kept him rear facing. Which he remained up until he was nearly 3. We now have another beautiful baby girl, who is nearly 5 months old, who will remaining rear facing for a LONG time!

Although, I do have serious mommy guilt thinking back on how we did things with our first two, when you know better, you do better, and that is exactly what we have done. Thanks to Facebook pages and websites like this, we all have access to loads of valuable information as well as help and support from some amazingly knowledgable ladies, and I know I speak not only for my own family, but many many others, when i say, that we are beyond thankful for that!

We are now on the cusp of needing two more seats for our brood. A full sized seat for our little babe, that we are able to use for extended rear facing, and a forward facing seat for our skinny mini almost 6 year old who has nearly out grown her forward facing seat by height, but is only a whopping 32lbs, and has a long way to go before she can be out of a 5 point harness!
Thank you for this wonderful contest that our family would be absolutely thrilled to win!!