When Sunshine Kids (manufacturer of the outstanding Radian car seat) called us a few weeks ago and asked to set up a meeting, they mentioned they had some big news. But we still weren’t completely prepared for what awaited us. After 12 years as Sunshine Kids Juvenile Products, effective today the company will now be known as Diono (dee-OH-no).
Why the change? Well, Sunshine Kids Juvenile Products has always been a bit of a mouthful, so they wanted something shorter. As SKJP has become more of an international company, they wanted something that was phonetic and easy to pronounce in any language. And because of the relative scarcity of short domain names, their options were very limited. So they chose a made-up word that doesn’t exist in any language — an empty vessel, so to speak. Now their task is to build the Diono brand and infuse this new word with all the things that make their products special.
I’ll admit, when I first heard the name, I blanched a little. But I kept an open mind throughout the meeting and by the end of the morning, I felt better. And actually, the great changes to the product line that will be rolling out alongside the new brand name eclipsed any concerns I had about the name itself.
Right now, there are three Radian models available, the Radian 65SL, the Radian 80SL and the Radian XTSL. Going forward, there will still be three models, but they will be called the R100, the R120 and the RXT.
Why the name change? Because the Radian car seats will now be a 3-in-1 seat instead of just a convertible. They will go rear-facing or forward-facing and they’ll also be able to convert to a belt-positioning booster. Diono is calling it “Birth to Booster” — and it’s an amazing upgrade.
The R100 car seat is the new version of the Radian 65. The weight limit is 65 pounds with the harness and 100 pounds as a booster. It doesn’t include a cupholder or body pillows (which the other models do include).
The R120 is the new version of the Radian 80. The weight limit is 80 pounds with the harness and 120 pounds as a booster. It comes with one cupholder and body pillows. The retail price will be $309.99. The RXT, like the Radian XT model, has the same weight limits as the R120, but it also has a headrest for additional side-impact protection (and comfort).
The new Radian car seats are also wider in the seat and at the hip — something they’ve managed to accomplish without changing the external dimensions of the seat. This is good because the Radian is famous for being the only car seat on the market that can fit three across the back seat of a car. Diono also added — wait for it — FOUR cupholder attachment points to each seat. The seats don’t come with four cupholders – if you need that many you can buy them as accessories and attach them, but the possibility will exist for children to have a buffet of beverages at their fingertips in the car.
As always, the Radian car seats will feature a high back and a deep seat enhanced with memory foam. The Monterey booster seat will stay the same functionally, but they made some really nice changes to the fabric designs.
Overall, I loved the product changes that are coming with the Diono brand name. Adding the booster seat functionality to the Radian was a stroke of brilliance, and I think the new “Diono” branding on all the seats looks really sharp. The new seats will be available in October.