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  1. #1
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Combi Connection

    The Combi Connection infant seat is rated for infants under 22 lbs. and under 29”. The infant seat itself is light at about 7 lbs. (I don’t remember where I read that), but the base is pretty hefty for some reason. Online the seat will retail for $149 and is designed to fit into Combi strollers. I feel that the price is pretty steep given the lack of features (namely what parents are looking for in a seat—padding) in the seat, but it is in competition with the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio, not the Graco SnugRide. It’s an upper end seat with an upper end price.

    Features: abundant EPS foam; egg shock foam; harness pads; ample belly pad; infant pad insert; harness adjuster can snap to cover to keep it from hanging; seat release lever on base; smart looking cover; compatible with the Combi City Savvy, Savvy EX, and DK-5 life style strollers; 7 year lifespan

    Drawbacks: no padding on handle; no padding on seat once infant pad is removed; snag-friendly fabric; harness pads are 5” long; instruction manual; clip-style LATCH connectors; large chest clip

    Bottom harness slot measurements: they are slanted / \ and measure 7.5” at the highest point and 7” at the lowest point with the infant pad in; without the infant pad, they measure 9” and 8.5”
    *Oops! I didn’t think to measure the top harness slots or the distance to the crotch strap, but it didn’t seem excessive or too tight with either doll I used to test the seat with.

    Instruction manual: Very poorly done—it explains things well, but jumps from talking about the infant seat to LATCH then to the infant seat then to installation then to the infant seat then to seat belt systems; it should have been organized into 2 sections: one on seat belt systems and installation and the other on the infant seat. There are also differences in illustrations between the manual and what is actually available on the seat. For instance, in the manual, the illustrations show the LATCH connectors to be the higher-end “alligator-style” that push onto the LATCH anchors in the vehicle; however, on the base, the LATCH connectors are just the clip-style. Another difference is the shape of the egg shock foam pad. The manual illustrations show it being a kind of trapezoidal square, but it’s actually a t-shape. The canopy directions are also very minimal and it would be impossible to remove the canopy following the directions in the manual if the supplement with b&w photos weren’t included. The manual also called the seat the “Prim Baby Car Seat.” Oops!

    I also had some issues with the directions when it came to installing the base. For example, it said, “If your vehicle has the LATCH System, the LATCH System should be used whenever possible.” I agree, but I’m also trained. I think an untrained newbie parent would take that statement to mean that “I must use LATCH no matter what, even if it means that I shouldn’t use the center position of my car because I don’t have LATCH there.” Or even worse, the newbie parent will use LATCH in the center position of their car when they can’t because the vehicle manual doesn’t allow it.

    Also, in the section regarding free-sliding latchplates, it said, “For rear-facing, use the locking clip to secure the lap belt (see “Locking Clip” section). For forward-facing, use the locking clip to secure the lap/shoulder belt.” (Emphasis added by me). There are a few things wrong with these statements, lol. A locking clip should never be used on a lap-only belt, nor should it be threaded only onto the lap portion only of a lap/shoulder belt. And, an infant seat should never be used forward-facing.

    Harness: Pretty typical 5-point harness, though the chest clip is quite large for an infant seat. The harness adjuster felt stiff, possibly because of the way it’s routed on the bottom of the seat. It is routed through a plastic “tunnel” on the bottom curve of the seat that seems to cause friction. When tightened, it also causes the end loops of the harness to bunch up at times when the harness is shortened for a small baby.

    Installation: Initially installing the base was a little awkward. I read the manual (OK, looked at the pictures) just long enough to be dangerous and not know what I was doing. This is a base where it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to install it correctly without looking at the directions. The belt path is a serpentine belt path. It goes through 2 blue belt guides on either side of the base, then is routed under the base. When installed with a lap/shoulder belt, the shoulder belt is left out of the belt path—no more tippy bases! Once you figure out the belt path, installation is very easy. I do wish the manual included installation photos of the base. The drawings just don’t explain it as well as a photo does. Here’s a trick: buckle the seat belt first, then pull some slack out (but don’t lock the belt). Lay the base across the lap belt, then pull the belt up and into the blue belt guides.

    LATCH install:
    <a href="http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/murphydog77/insidebeltpath.jpg"><img src="http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/murphydog77/insidebeltpath_small.jpg"></a>

    Shoulder belt install:

    <a href="http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/murphydog77/baseseatbeltinstall.jpg"><img src="http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/murphydog77/baseseatbeltinstall_small.jpg"></a>

    <a href="http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/murphydog77/insidebeltpath.jpg"><img src="http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y172/murphydog77/insidebeltpath_small.jpg"></a>

    Installing the seat without the base was very easy as well. If the shoulder belt is long enough, it can be routed behind the seat first before going through the belt path for extra support. I believe that my seat belt was damaged when I installed the infant seat without the base. I have a run in my seat belt that’s about 1.25” long. I do plan to have the dealer replace the seat belt, but it was difficult for me to tell if the damage came from the seat or if it was a weak spot in the belt to begin with; the van is a new 2005 Sienna.

    The recline was easy to achieve. There are 3 recline levels from which to choose and the adjuster was easy to use. I was able to get proper recline (according to the indicator) using 2 of the 3 recline levels on the base, though using no recline at all gave me the best results in my van.

    Overall this is a smart-looking seat with nice safety features. With the infant pad, it should fit small babies nicely and has lots of growth room for larger babies. I wish it had more padding for both baby and parent.
    Last edited by murphydog77; 12-12-2005 at 01:01 AM. Reason: Pictures added

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  3. #2
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great review!

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