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Discussion Starter #1
Hey All,
With #2 on the way, we needed another car seat so I could have seats in the Ody and in my sedan. Reusing my infant seat for #2, moved the Century (also had the latch retrofit kit too) over to the Accord and got the Expressway for the Ody to replace.
My daughter is right around 25 lbs, so the Expressway seemed to be a good choice since it offered Latch. Also, had a gift cert. to The Right Start and they had the Expressway in stock (the last one in 3 stores I called) so I snatched it up.

Basically, the Expressway is a front facing only version of the Roundabout with Latch attachment.

Overall, I think it's a great seat, mounts easily and very securely, but I do have some issues with it. It has the new "HUGS" system, which I feel makes it very difficult for weaker individuals to get the harness really tight. But in my own engineering view, do think it probably does what it was designed for (better control of upper body/head/neck motion), assuming of course it is properly used.

Anyhow, I took a bunch of pics, and was wondering if people are interested in an in-depth look/review of this product. I can do this, but want to gauge interest first since it would be a bit of a job for me to write something up that does this seat justice. I'm travelling this week out of the country, so it's likely I don't get to doing something till next week.... Let me know if you parents (and Caviller) are interested...


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-SJ (former username: shinjohn)
'01 DEP EX, and I'm workin' on it! (slowly)
 

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The ease of use for the HUGS system is a complaint I've heard a number of times. I have no reason to question its safety, though.

I'd certainly be interested in seeing a writeup. I'd also welcome it if you posted a copy at http://www.car-seat.org , too!

Thanks.
 

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I also looked at the new Britax seats with the HUGS system, and was disappointed. I'm not quite sure what they were trying to accomplish, but the HUGS system seems to be a step down from the mechanism they use on the Roundabout--at least from the standpoint of everyday operation.

I wonder what they use on their Super Elite?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey All,
Back from Taiwan (finally!) and catching up on the board. Unfortunately a couple of mishaps for me..

1) Got food poisoning the last day in Taiwan, just recovered now (thank goodness!)
2) Hard drive on home computer failed (mechanically) while in Taiwan so recovering files now (yes, I was an HDD engineer once, so I can acutally resurrect this one!).

This means that my promised review of the Expressway will be coming later, since pics are on the HDD. Why not take new pics then, you ask????

I'VE RETURNED THE EXPRESSWAY TO THE STORE I BOUGHT IT FROM, DUE TO MY OWN ASSESSMENT OF THE NEW HUGS SYSTEM.

Kudos to The Right Start in Burlingame for taking the seat back and providing excellent customer service!!!!

The story: I left out of town and my wife tried using the seat on her own a couple of times. Being 8 months pregnant, her dexterity is somewhat compromised, and she is showing signs of Carpal Tunnel, which she experienced post-partum after our first one arrived.

Needless to say, even after reading the instructions several times with her, and showing her the proper procedure for tightening the straps, she could not do it without inducing significant pain to her arms/body.

The issue is that HUGS provides a second set of "positioning" shoulder harnesses for the chest strap and rubber shoulder grips/guards. These cause constant friction with the main harness straps, and makes it much more difficult to tighten the strap. Now if no kid is in the seat, and the straps are nice and straight, they slide quite easily to tighten. Put in a kid, and the HUGS straps get bent, and bind with the main harness straps ALOT. It increases the force of tightening from what you'd normally expect to something like 3X to 4X the amount of force to tighten. Then you constantly must pull the HUGS straps toward you to keep their position constant and from preventing them from getting sucked too much into the seat, causing more binding. Now if you had 4 hands, you could hold the HUGS straps in place, while pulling the tightening strap, and position and feed the main straps, blah, blah...

IMO, I think this is a critical design flaw i n seats with the HUGS system. Maybe some may say my wife is "weak", or she's "not doing it right" but you know what, I don't care. If she cannot use the straps/harness to get our daughter tighly secured in the car seat, it doesn't matter. I'm not going to use it, and I can't recommend it, no matter how good the crash test results, etc...

Now you may ask, why not just take the HUGS straps off? Well, the chest clip is integral with the HUGS, so no go. Also, that would be ALTERING the tested, certified config, which (to me) may make it questionable.

I'm in the search for another seat now, and my time is running short. Anyone have suggestions? Thinking Roundabout now.... Couldn't find the Triad anywhere.. Anyone know if it is available anywhere?

This seat is for my ~25lb 2 yr old daughter.. I don't mind buying another seat for her either at 40lbs. Looking for LATCH and prefer, but not a requirement. Want ease of use and of course, safety.

Anyhow, thanks in advance, and view the above as a precursor to my full review. (BTW, there are ALOT of things I LOVE about this seat too!)

-SJ

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-SJ (former username: shinjohn)
'01 DEP EX, and I'm workin' on it! (slowly)
 

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I think what you described is what I found very disappointing in my brief review of the HUGS system.

I knew right away that it was inferior in ease of use to the system used on my Roundabout. And the best system is the one that's used, and used properly. If HUGS gets in the way of using the system, it's no good.
 
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