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Gear Guy Guide: Spring 2014

Checking out new releases from Peg Perego, Cybex, Ergo, and lillébaby

GGGMay14

After a bit of a dry spell, the baby gear industry has seen some movement the past few weeks. As always, we look to our Gear Guy, Jamie Grayson, for smart reviews. Here, his thoughts on the five big-ticket launches that caught our attention this spring.

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35, $279.99
"Suitable from 4 pounds (thanks to great inserts designed for low birthweight babies), the Primo Viaggio 4-35 is lighter than the previous Perego infant seat—but loaded with more features. The base uses a very efficient locking mechanism for seat belt installation, and is narrower than many competitor seats. But installing without a base is where the 4-35 really shines. The carry handle flips down toward the baby’s feet, and the lap belt is thread across it; this way, the handle functions as an anti-rebound bar. (It also clears up any confusion about the correct position for the handle.) At the same time, the shoulder belt uses the European belt path on the back of the seat, ensuring an incredibly secure install without the base. For now, the 4-35 is only compatible with new Peg Perego strollers, but they are working on adapters for other stroller brands. The 4-35 retails for $279.99 at buybuybaby.com."

Peg Perego Book Pop-Up, $799.99
"Speaking of Peg Perego, I have to admit I've never been a huge fan of their strollers (don’t hate me). But their new Book Pop-Up is quite nice and a great addition to the “luxury” stroller market. It conveniently folds with the seat facing either direction—and is freestanding when folded! But what truly sets the Pop-Up apart is its ability to fold with the bassinet still attached. (Amazeballs!) You can also rock the bassinet when it's on the ground and adjust its incline, which is great for babies with reflux or gas. I also like that the stroller has a large undercarriage basket and a solid, height-adjustable handlebar for one-handed-steering. The Pop-Up retails for $799.99, including the frame, bassinet, and stroller seat (suitable up to 50 pounds), at albeebaby.com."

Cybex Aton Q Infant Car Seat, $349.99
"I’m an unabashed Cybex Aton lover. I can easily say the Aton 2 is my favorite infant seat on the market (although I love many), so I am thrilled with the Aton Q and the changes Cybex has made in their newest model. The Q has a no-rethread harness that wonderfully simplifies height adjustment, a much-improved canopy that provides way more coverage, exciting new colors, and side-impact safety technology that's integrated into the car seat shell to divert crash forces from a side-impact collision. It’s a bit heavier than the Aton 2, but still one of the lighter seats on the market—and it's compatible with most strollers using Maxi-Cosi adapters. The Aton Q is suitable from 4 to 35 pounds, has a height limit of 30 inches, and retails for $349.99 at galtbaby.com. It’s not cheap for an infant seat, but you paid how much for that diaper bag?"

Ergobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier, $159.99
"The announcement of the 360 carrier was met with controversy because it allows wearers the option to face the baby outward. But I’m not here to chat theories about forward-facing or overstimulation; I’m here to chat about an incredibly comfortable and easy-to-use carrier. Featuring a new, wider waistband (which means less muffintop, hello!), the 360 can be configured for front, side, and back carries. When your baby hits 6 months and has head and neck control, you can also face him out, fully supported in a seated position; the seat can be narrowed, too, so that your little guy doesn’t spread his legs too wide. The “seat” of the 360 also has quite a bit more structure and built-in padding than other Ergo carriers, so that your child actually “sits” in it. One drawback is that the 360's weight limits are a bit lower than other Ergo carriers (26 pounds in the front and 33 pounds on the back, rather than the usual 45 pounds), so it won’t last throughout toddlerhood. But this carrier is about as ergonomically correct as it gets. The 360 retails for $159.99 at mbeans.com."

lillébaby COMPLETE All Seasons
"The lillébaby COMPLETE has long been one of my very favorite carriers (it’s super comfortable and allows for a multitude of carrying options). I like the lillébaby Airflow, too, because it offers superior ventilation in warm weather. But for those of you who live in areas with all four seasons—I'm all about the new All Seasons carrier. Hot out? Simply unzip the front panel for mesh ventilation to prevent swamp ass. Polar vortex? Zip up the panel for protection from wind and chill. It's as multi-climate as you can get. The All Seasons retails for $135 at lillebaby.com."