Dave Milligan, our rep for Regal Lager, really loves his job, and he really, really, really loves the new Cybex Aton Q Infant Car Seat. Why is this product so exciting? We asked Dave a few questions via email.
Q: Before we get started, tell me a little about what you do at Regal Lager, and how Regal Lager is related to Cybex.
Regal Lager is a distributor, now in our 21st year. We specialize in bringing brands to the US that we feel would benefit both the owner of the brand and our US consumers. We do everything from sales to marketing to shipping and customer service; it’s all done internally.
My job is to work with our sales reps and retailers making sure that we are all on the same high level of product knowledge. I do trade and consumer shows and staff training at retail stores, and I also get to help with display concepts, packaging design, and about 100 million other fun and exciting things.
Q: Give me the elevator speech: quickly, what makes the Aton Q Infant Car Seat such a special product?
There are a few things that separate the Aton Q from any other car seat on the market: the base with a Load Leg, the Linear Side Impact Protection (LSP), the no-rethread harness system, easy base installation, the flexible shell, triple side impact protection, and an amazing disappearing canopy. Safety is our thing, but this seat also is easy to use and looks great!
Q: Let’s go through the Aton Q feature by feature. The Telescopic Linear Side-Impact Protection, or LSP – it looks like cute little telescoping robot arms, but it has a really important safety purpose. Please explain what they’re for and how they work.
The LSP is step one of our unique “Triple Side Impact Protection” – the Q is the only seat on the US market that has it! The LSP is the first level, the flexible EPS foam is number two and the adjustable internal EPS lined headrest is number three… unmatched protection.
In a nutshell: the arms telescope out towards the car door panel. In a crash scenario, it is best to start the dissipation of the energy created by the crash as soon as possible, much like a crumple zone in the front of a car does. The LSP starts the process and helps to channel away energy from the baby. You cannot make energy disappear, but you can manage it! The LSP is an energy managing device that saves lives.
The LSP is unique to CYBEX in the US and is one of the key safety features that helped the Aton Q to win the prestigious JPMA innovation award at the ABC show last fall. Keep in mind that only now is the US working to get regulations in place, but currently has no laws or regulations at all on side impact, whereas Europe has had them for years and the Aton Q is a European seat!
In terms of other crash protection, the Aton Q’s base also has a Load Leg, which keeps the car seat in the correct position in the event of a car crash and channels dangerous energy away from the baby, and prevents rebound. It also has a flexible shell, which allows energy caused by a crash to pass through it instead of banging against it. The shell is lined from head to toe with EPS foam, as is the internal headrest.
Q: Next, the Automatic Height Adjustment, which provides a flatter lying angle for babies. You mentioned that it’s tied into the no-rethread harness adjustment, and that it’s a subtle but very important feature that caregivers might not notice. Can you explain how this works and what it’s for?
Most of us are aware of the “pinch test” that allows us to test whether or not the shoulder straps are tight enough when securing our kids in their car seats. Well, it is also important to know if the crotch buckle is tight enough, and unfortunately, the pinch test will not work for this.
Our no-rethread harness system takes care of this automatically, and here’s how: we tied the function of raising and lowering of the harness to raising and lowering of the floor of the Aton Q. So as you place your newborn baby in the Aton Q, the harness will need to be adjusted to a very low setting. As they grow taller, the harness will be raised little by little. The magic is that as you raise the height to accommodate your taller baby, the floor of the Q automatically lowers, which gives them the needed extra room!
This feature is totally unique to the Aton Q and will prevent accidents. My favorite thing about this feature is that most parents will not even know that it is there and helping to keep their baby safer, since it’s under the fabric set and largely out of view.
Q: The canopy looks super sharp, but it does a lot more than that! Tell me a bit about it.
The designer canopy is really a marvel of form and function. If you were to look at the Aton Q with the canopy folded back, you might question if the Q had a canopy at all, because it hides away! This robust canopy simply ratchets forward to become a generously sized, breathable designer canopy. Just to make it even more special, we made it color coordinated with the fabric of the seat it is on, and made sure that it is SPF 50 to provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
Q: And the height-adjustable headrest: it works so smoothly and intuitively with the harness. Tell me about why this is better than your average car seat.
The height adjustable headrest serves more than one purpose. First, it serves to correctly support the head and neck of a baby. It is important to keep in mind that babies are not “one size fits all,” and that to better protect them we need to adhere to their sizing and realize that their sizing will change. The adjustable headrest helps us to accomplish this. Another very important reason we added the adjustable headrest is for extra side impact protection. The headrest is comprised mostly out of EPS foam, and is made to absorb energy and protect small children at the same time.
Q: How does installation work for the Aton Q? I understand that you can install it with or without the base. What are the advantages and disadvantages either way?
When we designed our base, we wanted everyone to be able to install it quickly, easily, and correctly. We wanted this to be the case whether you are the 90-pound mom or the 250-pound dad, and even if you had no experience with installing car seats we want you to get an amazing install every time.
Even seasoned car seat experts are shocked at how easy and incredibly tight the installation of the Aton 2 is. It uses a specialized belt-tensioning plate, which gives even a very small adult the leverage to get an unbeatably tight installation. You can use this with LATCH or the lap/shoulder belt.
You can also install it without the base, which we call the European installation method. In Europe, if you want to use a base you have to buy it separately. Most seats do not have a base. Europeans are not as concerned with convenience as we are in the US! With that being said, their safety standards exceed ours. When you are riding in a taxi cab or are driving a rental car on vacation, you may not want to bring your base along with you. Testing shows that using the European installation method is just as safe as using the Aton Q with the Load Leg base.
So basically, you have three quick, easy, equally safe installation options:
3. European installation (without the base)
Q: I understand that the Aton Q infant car seat is also compatible with a wide variety of strollers. Among the Magic Beans selection of strollers, which one would you love to see an Aton riding on?
We totally understand that using your stroller and car seat together as a travel system is really important, and for this reason we developed the Aton series of car seats to be compatible with lots of different strollers. We have followed the Maxi Cosi “footprint,” meaning that if your stroller brand offers car seat adaptors that will fit a Maxi Cosi car seat, chances are quite good that it will also fit CYBEX. We have a few favorite strollers just like everyone. I personally like the Baby Jogger City Mini and City Select for two kids. Stokke and Bugaboo are also a couple of amazing brands.
Q: Is there anything I’ve missed that you want to make sure our customers know about?
The bottom line is this: if a consumer is driven by which car seat is the safest on the market, it is nice to finally have clear, easy to understand comparative data that shows that this is the winner! If they are into the sleek design and unique functionality – this is the winner. If they are more interested in what has won awards for design and function and safety – this is the winner. Ease of use — this is the winner. Versatility — this is the winner. Very cool fabrics and canopy function – this is the winner.
And it’s so nice to be on the winning team!