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Monday, May 31, 2010
Featured Review: Peg Perego GT3 FORTWO

When you have a 4 year old, 2 year old, 1 year old and a newborn you spend a lot of time thinking about strollers, whether you want to or not. Add in very little space in the car (4 car seats take up an awful lot of room, even in a minivan) and the necessity of passing through an archaically narrow hundred year old door every day, you become obsessed with finding the perfect stroller. You constantly look for the stroller that will make your life even a little bit easier, especially when you are pushing said stroller with one hand and carrying a kicking and screaming 40 pound ball of terror in the other. When I first saw the Peg Perego GT3 FORTWO I got very excited. It offers an inline configuration that folds with the seat in place. It seemed quite possibly perfect for my rather impossible to meet needs, so I was thrilled to give it a try.

Set Up

The GT3 FORTWO comes in a not very big box, which translates to quite a bit of assembly required. It took about 45 minutes to fully assemble the stroller. Luckily Peg Perego always provides a detailed manual with both pictorial & written step-by-step instructions in quite a few languages. It’s not complicated, it just takes a bit of time to put all of the pieces in place. Once you’re done you have a very nice, very compact stroller with two seats.

Features

For me the most important feature of the GT3 FORTWO is the second seat. It’s a sling seat that sits in the basket of the stroller. This means two things, 1) the seat is really out of the way and does not impact performance at all and 2) there is no storage space other than the small parent pack.

The stroller is a three wheeler with a swivel or locked front wheel option. The adjustment is made at the side of the stroller, not in the front, which is quite handy. There is also a 3-setting rear suspension system. Included with the stroller are a foot muff, raincover (for the front seat only), a very generous canopy and a “parent pack” that attaches to the handlebar. The parent pack will hold keys, a cell phone, a wallet and possibly a bit more. It is detachable, so it can be carried with you (fanny-pack style) and has a spot on the side as well which will hold your drink. The canopy is really nice and spacious. Parents will like that it has a mesh insert for ventilation that can be covered for sun coverage and that it can be extended forward to the bumper bar. For partners of different heights, the handlebar is height adjustable, pivot, not telescopic and holds the hand-brake in the center. There are also two pop-out cupholders on the front of the stroller and the clips that hold the parent pack can be flipped down to be used as diaper bag clips.

For parents looking for a travel system, the front bumper bar allows the GT3 to accommodate an infant seat with the included straps. While the specs list it as being compatible with the Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30, I also tried it with my Graco Safeseat and it was very secure. Because the GT3 doesn't offer a full recline it's only suitable for babies aged six months and up without the use of the car seat. The recline on the seat is managed by a lever on the rear of the seat and can be easily lowered one-handed and raised by pushing on the back of the seat. It reclines just far enough as to not hit the rear passenger in the head, so it is more than sufficient for naps. The footrest is also adjustable.

In Use

The GT3 FORTWO offers a really great ride. With three choices for the suspension, it can easily be adapted to any terrain. Even with three wheels and the front wheel unlocked it continued over everything I put in its path without hesitation. I rolled over asphalt, bumpy, old sidewalks, grass, sand, gravel and mulch. I popped over bumps, curbs and even took it up a few steps with my daughter in the front seat. She was very comfortable and wasn’t jostled at all even when she was sitting fully upright. In fact she loved the seat. It was her first upright ride in a forward facing “big-girl”seat and she was thrilled. She loved the wide, comfy, well-padded seat and rode with her feet on the bar. I love that the canopy keeps her well covered, but easily flips back and forth so that I can adjust it as we’re walking for more or less coverage. She loves the mesh insert, so she can look back and see me as she’s rolling along. I can still see her, which makes me feel better too. The recline also adjusts easily with one hand, so it can be adjusted while rolling. The stroller looks a bit bulky with it’s full seat, but it offers an incredible ride and feels very sleek as you roll along. It’s a great combination of comfort for your baby and a great push for you as well.

Because the back (sling)seat comes with a three-point harness, my 20 month old son rode in the back seat and I kept my six month old daughter in the front. The front five-point harness is very nice. It adjusts easily and quickly and has a closure that would be difficult for a child to undo. I found it easy to switch the straps between the two of them despite their very different sizes.

The sling seat is rated to a 35 pound limit versus the front seat’s 45 pounds and is a much slimmer seat that is more a spot for quick rides for those who don’t need to sit or ride all of the time. It is in the basket so it is well out of the way making it unlikely that your child will be hit on the head by something attached to the handle bar. The placement of the seat does however mean it can be a bit trickier to get your child in and out. It is quite low and under the handlebar, which means I have to climb under it whenever loading or unloading my son. The seat back does come up fairly high and it is at a bit of an angle, so your little rider will have head support if they fall asleep.

The three point harness does adjust down nicely, but it doesn't really do what it needs to do as it allows for quite a bit of movement. While out during our test I found that my 20-month-old was able to hang over the seat. Having shoulder straps on the harness would definitely make this less possible.

When your child is in the sling seat you cannot use the basket for storage, so it’s really an either or situation. If you need the seat, you can’t put anything in the basket and if you have anything in the basket it has to come out to use the seat. Because the seat doesn't have it's own canopy I needed to be creative when it was sunny. I was able to unsnap the front canopy and pull it out enough to shade my son adequately . A raincover that covered the back seat would also be nice too just in case you get caught in the rain or really need to take both children out in bad weather.

Folding and unfolding the stroller is easy. To get it open Peg has numbered the steps. Simply press button 1, then button 2 pull slightly on the side handles and it flops flat on itself. The lock is manual and can be a bit tricky to lock. It does unfold easily, you just pull back on the handle bar and push a bit on the seat area or even just give it a good shake and it locks upright.

When folded the GT3 can be bulky and a bit awkward to get in and out of the car. While it did fit in the small cargo area of my minivan with all the seats up, it was close depth wise. Because I’m not huge, I found it a bit harder to lift than some other strollers with a similar weight (36lbs). I did, however, like that it all folded in one piece including the back seat, so the trade off of the weight is balanced a bit by the ease of set up and break down - in and out of the car.

The GT3 FORTWO comes in two color combinations, Java (brown and silver) and the one I tested, Tropical (brown and orange). It is a very attractive, full featured performance stroller and you will love pushing the it. The stroller comes with the footmuff, front seat rain cover, tire pump (under the seat), rear seat and parent pack and retails for $649. As previously mentioned this is not so much a stroller for two full time riders as a stroller with a spot for a second rider who only rides occasionally. The back seat would need a few more features to make it a viable stroller for two full time riders, such as a five-point harness, a canopy and a rain cover. It might not be the best choice if you are constantly in and out of the car or really need two fully featured seats, but it does offer an incredible ride with a great deal of comfort for the main rider and a convenient seat when you need it. - Kiersten, Staff Writer

Likes

  • Three-setting suspension and air-filled tires
  • Super comfortable ride for your baby and easy push
  • Folds with second seat in place
  • Huge canopy
  • Comfy main seat
  • Included footmuff

Dislikes

  • Lack of five-point harness in rear seat
  • Lack of raincover for rear seat

SPECIFICATIONS:

UNFOLDED

  • Height: 44" 

  • Width: 24.67" 

  • Depth: 50.25"
  • Weight: 35.9 lb


FOLDED

  • Height: 17.5" 

  • Width: 24.67" 

  • Depth: 43.25"
  • Weight: 35.9 lb

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*Thank you to Peg Perego for sending us this stroller for review*


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Céline Dion Expecting Twins!

Some very exciting new for Canadian songstress Céline Dion.

The singer, 42, announced this evening that she is pregnant with twins after undergoing her sixth in-vitro fertilization attempt and turning to acupuncture to improve her chances of a pregnancy.

According to her rep, Céline is 14 weeks along. She will find out the gender of the twins next month.

"We're ecstatic," her husband/manager René Angelil told People. "Celine is just hoping for a healthy pregnancy. She was hoping for one baby and the news that we are having two is a double blessing!"

The new baby will join 9-year-old son René-Charles.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010
Brad and Angelina Hang Out With Pax and Maddox At The Beach

Brad and Angelina spent a laid back afternoon with their two oldest boys and some friends at a beach in Malibu yesterday.

Pax and Maddox had a blast boogie boarding, surfing, and riding around on inner tubes while their parents relaxed on a deck nearby.

To view the gallery click here.

Related Articles: {SPLASH & FAME}


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Saturday, May 29, 2010
Blacksmith Brands Announces Nationwide Voluntary Recall Of Four PediaCare Children's Products

Blacksmith Brands, Inc., in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is voluntarily recalling all lots of four children's products in the PediaCare line. These products are sold exclusively in the United States. These products were manufactured for Blacksmith Brands by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc., (a Johnson & Johnson Company) at McNeil's Fort Washington, PA plant.

The four PediaCare items involved in the recall are:

  • PediaCare Multi-Symptom Cold 4oz. UPC # 3 0045-0556-05 9
  • PediaCare Long Acting Cough 4oz. UPC# 3 0045-0465-04 7
  • PediaCare Decongestant 4oz. UPC# 3 0045-0554-04 8
  • PediaCare Allergy and Cold 4oz. UPC# 3 0045-0552-04 4
Blacksmith Brands initiated the recall as a precautionary step because the products were made at the McNeil Consumer Healthcare Fort Washington, PA plant that has been temporarily shut down. A recent FDA inspection at that facility found serious problems in meeting the FDA's current good manufacturing practice requirements. The recall was not initiated as a result of any consumer reports of adverse events and no consumer complaints have been received about the safety or purity of the products.

While the recall was not initiated as a result of either any consumer reports of adverse events or complaints with respect to the PediaCare products, tiny particles have been found in other non-PediaCare products which were manufactured at the McNeil plant.

Even though the potential for serious medical events is remote, the company advises consumers who have purchased these recalled products to discontinue use. Blacksmith Brands is also asking Retail and Wholesale customers to withdraw the four products from their shelves and warehouses and return the product to Blacksmith Brands.

Consumers with questions may contact Blacksmith Brands on Friday, May 28th 5pm – 9pm EST; Saturday-Monday 9am-5pm EST; and normal business hours thereafter at (888) 474-3099. More information is available at blacksmithbrands.com.

Any adverse events that may be related to the use of these products should be reported to the FDA's Med Watch Program by fax at 1-800-FDA-0178 or by mail at Med Watch, HF-2, FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787. or on the Med watch website at http://fda.gov/safety/medwatch/default.htm

"We're taking this voluntary step because protecting consumers and maintaining their trust are essential to our company's core values," said Blacksmith Brands Chairman and CEO Peter Mann. "Our brands have a heritage that has made them the favorites of millions of families and we are the guardians of that heritage."
To provide these valued products to consumers again as quickly as possible, Blacksmith Brands has arranged to make them at new manufacturing plants and expects to resume shipments of the recalled items in July from those new facilities.

Items not involved in this recall are PediaCare Allergy 4oz., PediaCare Gentle Vapors Plug in Units, and PediaCare Gentle Vapors refills, all of which are produced in other facilities.

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Woman Gives Birth on Carnival Cruise Ship

There was a bit of vacation excitement this week when a passenger onboard Carnival's Paradise Cruise ship needed to be evacuated from the ship on Thursday afternoon because she gave birth prematurely. After the surprise arrival, the ship, which was on a four-night Baja cruise, detoured to San Diego Harbor, where the U.S. Coast Guard picked her up (along with the baby and the mom's mother) in a 41-foot motorboat. The three were then transported to a local hospital and the ship made its way back to its Long Beach, California home port.

Carnival issued the briefest of statements that didn't reveal additional details.

Mother and child reportedly are fine. Cruise Critic member SoCalCruiserGal, who just debarked from Carnival Paradise, posted Friday that "we were on board Paradise. There was an announcement over the loud speaker that the ship was heading back to San Diego since earlier that morning, Paradise welcomed a new baby girl on board. They said that she was premature, but that she was fine."

Cruise lines typically have a policy that prohibits pregnant women past the 24 week period to sail on a voyage. Carnival's policy, in particular, stipulates that "pregnant women are only allowed to sail if pregnant for 24 completed weeks or less at time of cruise disembarkation. All pregnant women are required to produce a physician's letter stating that mother and baby are in good health, fit to travel and the pregnancy is not high-risk. The letter must also include the estimated date of delivery (EDD)."

From the picture the baby looks to be much further along than 24 weeks. If I were to guess I'd say 32-34 weeks.

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Friday, May 28, 2010
Isla and Olive Enjoy Some Pinkberry!

An expectant Isla Fisher was seen out yesterday treating daughter Olive to some Pinkberry after her weekly dance class!

The actress stayed comfy in a loose-fitting flowery jumper.

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{SPLASHNEWS}


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Thursday, May 27, 2010
Heidi Klum Launches Summer Collection A Pea In The Pod In Beverly Hills

Last night Heidi Klum was spotted at the launch of her Summer 2010 Collection “Lavish" outside A Pea in the Pod in Beverly Hills.

During the event Heidi explained that the inspiration for her maternity clothing lines came from her own four pregnancies.

“I experienced fashion challenges during my four pregnancies and combined my knowledge of what works in terms of style, comfort and practicality to create these lines. They are all about making you feel beautiful inside and out; being pregnant shouldn't stop you from being fashionable and feeling great about your changing body. It's an exciting journey.”

Celebrity Moms-to-be in attendance were:

  • Mario Lopez's Girlfriend Courtney Mazza
  • Bold and The Beautiful actress Jennifer Gareis
  • General Hospital actress Rebecca Herbst
  • Jodie Sweetin

{WIREIMAGE}


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Toys R Us The "Great Trade-In" Event - It's Canada's Turn!

Patient Canadians who have waited through 2 US Toys R Us Great Trade In Events will be happy to know that it's our turn!

In an effort to rid Canadian homes of potentially dangerous children's products, Toys "R" Us has launched a program allowing Canadians to return old gear in exchange for a 20 per cent discount on new products.

Company spokeswoman Liz MacDonald said the main motivation behind the program is to raise awareness on recalls and safety regulations.

"Really, we want to let parents know the products they have might not meet safety standards anymore," MacDonald said.

The "Great Trade-In" will run from May 28 to June 11 at all stores across the country. Throughout the program, customers returning used cribs, strollers, car seats and travel systems at any Toys "R" Us or Babies "R" Us will receive a coupon entitling them to a discount on a new product from the same categories. Coupons can be transferred to a friend or family member, and can be redeemed any time during the two weeks.

The Toys "R" Us trade-in was conceived at a store in New Jersey.

When the American campaign was being launched in August 2009, a company spokeswoman said the initiative was a response to the fact that recalls of children's products in the U.S. often draw return rates of less than 30 per cent.

During the first event approximately 55,000 used items were returned.

Since January 2008 there have been 15 crib and bassinet recalls involving over 1.5 million units. It is difficult to assess how many of these products remain in households, since companies are under no obligation to release statistics on how many repair kits or refunds have been issued.

The number of second-hand items still in circulation, coupled with constantly changing safety regulations, is also adding to the amount of potentially hazardous children's products still in Canadian homes, Ms. MacDonald said.

"Some of the products we were selling last year aren't even up to code any more," she said, adding it's easy to understand any reluctance toward throwing away strollers or car seats that appear to be in working condition.

Toys "R" Us said it will be taking steps to ensure returned products don't find ways into new homes.

"Returned items will be identified as soon as they come in, then they will be broken down," she said. "And whatever is recyclable will be recycled."

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Baby Survives After Train Hits Stroller

An Australian baby has escaped with just a few cuts and bruises today after a train struck his stroller, which rolled onto the tracks when the child's grandmother looked away for just a moment.

Security camera footage showed the stroller rolling over the edge of the platform just as the train pulled into the station. The stroller was pushed a short distance down the tracks before the train came to a halt in front of horrified witnesses.

"It's absolutely amazing that this child isn't more injured than what he is, given the circumstances of the accident," paramedic Kate Jessop told reporters. "It would appear, amazingly, that it's nothing more than a couple of grazes and a big fright. ... I was assuming the worst as well and had those awful pictures in my head of a child underneath the train."

The baby and his 3-year-old brother were being cared for by their grandmother. She told officials she saw the stroller on the platform, looked away for a moment, and turned back to see it on the track, the paramedic said.

Miraculouly, the boy, who is in stable condition at Royal Children's Hospital, only suffered some minor facial bruising and grazes to his head. From the Video footage below you can see the 15-month-old boy was riding in a Mountain Buggy Duo! WOW!

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Twins To Leave Hospital After Premature Birth At 22 weeks

An amazing story in China! A set of twins who arrived an unbelievable 18 weeks early are set to be released from a hospital in central Taiwan's Taichung City where they were born five months ago.

Pediatrician Lin Hung-chih at the Children's Medical Center of China Medical University Hospital said that the baby girl weighed only 500 grams when delivered, while her brother weighed 550g.

After treatment, the twins have grown to 2,065g and 2,375g respectively and could be released as early as next week.

Dr. Lin said he had searched domestic and foreign medical documents and reports for information about similar cases, but found no records of twins surviving if born before six months old.

The survival rate of a pair of 22-week-old premature twins is virtually nil as there are only a handful of babies that have survived arriving at this gestation. Additionally, most hospitals don't resuscitate babies who arrive before 23.5 - 24 weeks.

These babies probably had a better chance of survival because they arrived weighing much more than a baby that is born at 22 weeks.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
First Pic! Bethenny Frankel Shows Off Bryn

Meet Bryn Hoppy! Bethenny Frankel showed off her little peanut on Twitter tonight with the added caption 'I Miss You Daddy'.

The little one arrived almost a month early on March 8th weighing just 4 lb. 12 ozs.

She lays comfortably in a Pottery Barn Kids Pastel Critter Chair.

Dad is Jason Hoppy.

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Red Snapper: Trendy Onesies For Your Modern Baby

When trendy parents Jen & Rob had their daughter Phenix they noticed that there was a lack of cool baby clothes on the market. Pulling from Jen's graphic design experience and Rob's business background the couple set out to create a line of their own that would be cool enough that even they would wear it.

Red Snapper's onesies are smartly designed to include kid friendly elements with a modern twist. A teddy bear in a pile of bubbles, your baby's first alphabet, a priceless barcode and the winding road for a group of counted sheep make up some of the charming designs available for little ones. Made of 100% cotton, these adorable one pieces are also machine washable with tear-away tags for a tag free garment.

To take their product a step further, they introduced our patented center red snap on all of our clothes.

As they quickly learned, squirming crying babies made it very easy to snap the onesies crooked. The red snap provides two things:

  1. Color coding for moms and dads to be able to easily snap the baby right the first time, every time
  2. A very unique design element as well!

And as an added BONUS anyone purchasing 2 onesies will get the priceless onesie for free! All you have to do is e-mail them after the order is placed with the subject line PRICELESS FREE and tell us the size and we they send it out.

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Monday, May 24, 2010
Featured Review: Mountain Buggy Duo Stroller

The first thing that I want to say about the Mountain Buggy Duo is that I love this stroller. I love it so much that it is one of my most favorite strollers ever. I have tried a lot of strollers, so that means quite a bit. When I saw the box coming at me from across the street I admit that I was a bit worried. It was huge, scary huge. When I moved the giant box into my kitchen and it filled quite a large space I began to think that there was no way that this stroller was going to work for us. We have very specific needs and one is a rather compact stroller. Happily, once the Duo was out of the box all of my fears went away and I began to see what an incredible stroller it is. The box is quite deceptive, don’t let it scare you, because, though the Duo does not collapse into a tiny, svelte little package it is a very narrow, light-feeling double that you can push with 1 hand, or even a few fingers. I know because I have pushed it fully loaded with 2 rather heavy children while carrying another (who is often kicking and screaming) over some very bumpy, broken sidewalks. It glides over anything no matter how much weight I put in it or how it’s distributed. I know it’s not the recommended usage of the footboard, but yes, I let my big almost 5 year old old sit on it with his 1 and 2 year old brothers in the seats and it still pushed like a dream. Mountain Buggy was recently purchased by Phil&Teds who moved production from New Zealand to China and made a few improvements to the classic Mountain Buggy. Those who are concerned that quality may have suffered from the move, should not concern themselves. The quality is still there and the improvements are really great.

Now for the more precise details:

Set-up

The Duo comes out of the box almost ready to go. In about 5 minutes you can be off and rolling. All that needs to be done is to attach the wheels and the canopies and you’re ready to go. The manual runs through everything you need to know very clearly and simply. Though since it’s such a straightforward buggy, there’s not much that needs explanation. The stroller is quick and easy to assemble as well as to get to know.

Features

The website describes the Duo as a “slim-line side-by-side with all terrain agility” and that is exactly what you get with the Duo. Perhaps its most attractive feature is that it is a mere 29” wide. And with that 29 inches you get a really rugged, fully featured stroller that will fit through any door, handle a hearty 55 lbs/25 kg per seat and has the tires and suspension to roll smoothly over any terrain in the city or the country. What makes for a good stroller out on in the sheep filled countryside is superbly suited to popping over even the bumpiest curbs and sidewalks or rolling over any mulch covered playground. The 12 inch air-filled tires and rear suspension make this possible, but the swivel front wheels makes turning even in tight quarters a breeze. The wheels can be locked for rolling over very rugged terrain or rougher conditions if needed.

The biggest improvement brought to the Duo by Phil&Teds is the replacement of the single hood with dual canopies with peekaboo windows that offer a fuller extension and a pull out sun visors. No more two-year-olds pushing the canopy off the sleeping baby, your toddler rides with an unobstructed view while your infant has much more coverage than in past Mountain Buggy models. There is a full recline, so the ride is suitable for a newborn, but one of the great features of the Mountain Buggy is that the seat skins are removable. This allows for the attachment of a carry cot or a car seat adapter while your older child still rides next door in a full sized seat. For those with twins, the stroller can be adapted to hold two carry cots or a twin carry cot, so that both infants can ride together where they will be happiest. The carry cots do have their own canopies, can easily click in and out of the frame and can stand on their own, so that your baby can continue to sleep off of the frame.

Another improvement from Phil&Teds is to the harness which is now offers padding on the shoulder and crotch straps with a quick release clip and safety button closure. The handle is easily adjustable up and down. Another really great feature is the easy to use foot brake. Unlike many foot brakes it is so simple to use that I can actually flip it barefooted. The fold is a 2 step process with the stroller folding flat on itself. The handle can be flipped so that the stroller stands on its own. The Duo also comes with a bumper bar, no longer an add on accessory, and a very handy bottle holder that very nicely held my bottle of water right where I wanted it.

Use:

The stroller weighs 36 pounds, but it feels much lighter. As I said I was scared that it would be too big and heavy when I first saw it to be a viable option for my family and our ridiculously complicated stroller needs. The day that I planned to give it a test ride I found that it had been moved to the very back of our basement storage room, which meant carrying it a very long way, up the stairs and out to the driveway. Surprisingly it was pretty easy. I lugged it up much more quickly than I expected and unfolded it with ease and that’s when my love of the Duo truly began. Carrying it was a bit awkward for me in spots as it does have a long flat fold and I’m not very big, but it really was not the behemoth that I expected it to be. Immediately I noticed how much more streamlined it was than I expected, how nimble it felt and how easily it rolled. Our quick trip around the block turned into an hour long walk all the way up to my son’s preschool and back through our neighborhood. It was so easy to push that I just wanted to keep going.

I’ve already mentioned that this stroller is narrow for a side-by-side double. The ultimate test for me is will it fit through the narrow old door at my sons’ preschool. Many side-by-sides have tried and failed to go where the Duo went with ease. We actually sailed right through the door without a problem, not much closer at the wheelbase than the inline we usually go to school in every day and we did not get hung up trying to wrangle the handlebar over the door handle as we always do in the one other side-by-side that we’ve managed to fit through. I’ve also already mentioned that it offers an incredible push and a super smooth ride and I truly mean that. The Duo is so easy to push and steer. I was told that I would probably be able to push it with one finger and I’m sure I could. I have no doubt that this stroller will roll over anything in any conditions. I tested it fully loaded over our worst block. The sidewalks are so bumpy and broken I usually end up out in the street, but I managed to pop right on over every huge bump even when I was pushing one handed while carrying my 5 month old with 60 lbs worth of her brothers on board. My formerly favorite side-by-side does not even come close. We tested the stroller on broken sidewalks, mulch, stones, mud, hills, sand and grass. It handled all as easily as it rolled over a flat floor. The air filled tires handle any terrain and the rear suspension evens out all the bumps for a very comfy ride.

I tested the seats with my very large 17 lb 5 month old daughter, tall and skinny 22 lb 20 month old, huge and wide 35 plus lb 35 month old and well over 40 lb just about 5 year old sons. All four fit in quite well and seemed quite comfortable. My daughter was only unhappy when she was reclined fully, but that’s not the stroller’s fault. She was quite happy once I pulled her seat up further so that she could see what was going on around her. Luckily the recline is easy to adjust on the fly, though you do end up with a bit of extra fabric pushing into the seat area when you adjust it up with a child in the seat.

The only time I had a bit of a hard time with the stroller was the first time I folded it, but it was mostly my fault. Once I looked over the directions and tried it again it was quite simple. It’s very easy to fold and unfold with a two step process and it does have a locking strap to secure it, manual not automatic, but it easy to get to and easy to clip and unclip. Another test that it passed impressively was the will it fit in the back of our minivan test. We have 4 car seats in use, so all seats are in the upright position and the space remaining is not that big. Quite a few strollers do not fit or will only fit with the wheels removed, which is not something I’m willing to deal with when toting 4 children in and out of the car. I’m willing to take a stroller in more than one piece, but I am not willing to attach any wheels, no matter how easily they go on and off. Happily the Duo does fit. It’s tight, but it fits in the space with it’s wheels on, though I doubt anything else would fit in with it.

My only complaint really is that it should come with a rain cover. I actually think all strollers, other than a very inexpensive umbrella stroller that is not meant to go anywhere further than a quick trip through the mall, should come equipped with a rain cover, especially when that stroller is expensive and well equipped for all other conditions. People who use their strollers are going to get caught in the rain at some point. People who really use their strollers, especially those who rely on it for daily transport, go out in them no matter what the weather and need those rain covers in wet, windy and cold conditions. That really is my only complaint. As I said at the start, I love this stroller. It may be more expensive than some other strollers, but it is well worth it. You will not find a better ride for your child or a better push for yourself. You really can take this stroller anywhere.

There are several accessories available for the Duo in addition to the Carry Cots and the Storm Covers. The seats can be outfitted with their 2 color reversible fleece or reversible lambswool/micro-suede seat liners or the very warm and toasty looking sleeping bags for cold weather. Also available are the bottle holders that hold up to 1.5 liters, a sun cover, a tire pump and the travel bag. The stroller itself is available in six colors and retails for $679. - Kiersten, Staff Writer

Likes:

  • Incredible Push & maneuverability
  • Narrow 29” width
  • Air-filled tires & Suspension
  • Independent Canopies with pop-out visors
  • Adaptability for newborns with carry cot or car seat

Dislike:

  • Lack of included rain cover


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Amanda Peet and Family Stroll in NYC!

Amanda Peet and husband David Benioff were spotted out for a Sunday stroll in NYC yesterday with girls Molly, 5 weeks and Frances, 3.

The new mom had her hands full as she took turns carrying each of her girls while the other rode in the stroller. She definitely needs a buggy board or a double stroller.

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Minnesota Mom Gives Birth While Driving Herself To The Hospital As Dad Steers

Is there nothing this woman can't do? A Minnesota mother has surprised many by giving birth to a baby boy while driving herself to the hospital, with the newborn's father steering the car from the passenger's seat.

Amanda McBride, 29, was rushing to the hospital Wednesday when suddenly her water broke and the baby "just slid out."

Amanda said that she was feeling labor pains at work, so she drove to pick up the baby's father and headed for the hospital.

Dad, 33-year-old Joseph Phillips, was not able to drive because he has a history of seizures.

He told The Pioneer of Bemidji newspaper that Amanda yelled at him to take the wheel as she cradled the 8 pound baby boy, who was later named Joseph Dominick Phillips.

As expected, officials at North Country Regional Hospital say they were stunned to learn the expectant mother was driving.

The new baby, who is the couple's first, joins Amanda's two other sons, and Joseph's two daughters.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010
The Schreiber's Sunday Stroll in Washington Park

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber spent a relaxing day with their children Alexander "Sasha", almost 3 and Samuel Kai, 17 months playing at Washington Square Park yesterday.

The busy mom just arrived home from Cannes where she was promoting her new movie 'Fair Game'.

Because it was filmed just after she gave birth to Sammy in 2008, director Doug Liman made her undergo rigorous physical training for the role.

She says,

"Because I was in a wholly maternal state at the point when we were supposed to start shooting, Doug said, 'OK, get your a** into boot camp and toughen up, lady'.

"It was a fascinating two-day period - how many people can say they've breast-fed while packing a weapon?"

The boys ride in a Baby Jogger City Mini Double Jogging Stroller ($400)

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Chris Noth and Family Enjoy Day At The Park

Sex and The City star Chris Noth enjoyed an active day with his son Orion and girlfriend Tara at a Beverly Hills park yesterday.

Even though he has no problem keeping up with his son, Chris recently revealed that getting into shape for Sex and The City 2 was challenging.

“It was a nightmare,” says Chris. “I went to a health resort down in Brazil to get fit and work off my belly then came back, only for the girls to leave me and go off filming in Morocco for three months.

“I had to try and keep trim and fit until they got back and we could pick up shooting again. It was hard!”

Whatever he did worked. We can't wait to see Mr. Big reprise his role in the sequel!

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Summer Sweetness! Lollipops Organic, Upcycled and Vintage Childrens Clothing

In the last year the upcycled clothing market has exploded with hundreds of new companies designing unique pieces from unclaimed, vintage or material. This responsible way of recycling produces some unique, handmade pieces that can be worn for years or passed on.

Lollipop Designs creates some truly adorable organic, upcycled and vintage pieces for both girls and boys. Their simple designs feature modern, whimsical accents that are handcrafted using the finest reclaimed cotton and accented with designer and vintage fabrics.

"Always playful, always mindful... recycling never looked so sweet!"

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Friday, May 21, 2010
Marc and Jennifer Lunch With Their Twins in France

Twins Max and Emme Anthony were spotted enjoying an upscale lunch at the Eden Roc hotel in France yesterday with parents Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.

The pair sported matching white outfits and sunglasses that also matched their security team!

Last night Marc and Jennifer took time out from the Cannes Film Festival to help raise $6.7 million (£4.8 million) for AIDS research at a star-studded gala.

Auctioned off at the event were 10 lavish gifts, including a gold-plated bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, a day with former U.S. president Bill Clinton, and a flight in a fighter jet.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010
UK Mom Welcomes Sextuplets 14 Weeks Early!

Excited news in the UK! An unnamed mom has defied the odds to give birth to the first sextuplets born in England for more than quarter of century.

Surrounded by a team of doctors and nurses, the 31-year-old woman welcomed four girls and two boys last Friday at just 26 weeks gestation, weighing between 1lb 5oz and 1lb 15oz.

The tiny babies are now in the NICU under 24 hour care at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.

Doctors say the few days and weeks will be 'critical' for the siblings, who are dependent on a vast array of medical equipment and the devotion of experts for their survival.

Staff at the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals said they felt 'privileged' to have played a part in the birth, which had been the subject of meticulous planning over several weeks.

There were different teams of medical staff at the birth to look after the mother and each of her babies.

Dr Kenny McCormick, Consultant Neonatologist said:

'The next few days and weeks will be critical. Babies that are born this early need a lot of specialist care.

'They are receiving round the clock intensive care and specialist nursing at the moment and their condition is constantly monitored.'

During this difficult time the couple has asked to be left in peace to focus on their babies.

Even though they seem more common, such a high number of babies is incredibly rare and the birth of sextuplets is estimated to occur in just one in every 4.5million pregnancies.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Cutest Spring Trend – Bow Dresses!

A-line retro-styled dresses with big beautiful floppy bows at the neck are the perfect spring and summer dresses for little girls!

No pink flowers or little girl patterns in this collection! Rocker Baby’s bow dresses pairs sophisticated styling and prints, creating dresses perfect for a summer day or special occasion.

Some with longer sleeves, and some with little puff sleeves, bow dresses come in sizes from newborn to 5T, and slightly larger sizes are available as a special order. All are made of light-weight cotton perfect for keeping little ones breezy and cool on hot summer days. My personal favorites would definitely have to be the ‘Apple Green’ bow dress and the sweet ‘Little Audrey in the City’ dress.

Sophisticated enough to be a ‘big girl dress’, but with out a doubt sweet enough for little girls! - Belinda, Staff Writer

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Featured Review: Britax Frontier XT Harness-2-Booster

Now that my son is almost 5 it is time to move him into a bigger car seat and give his smaller one(Britax Boulevard CS) to my youngest, 16 months. After doing some research we decided that the Britax Frontier XT was the perfect seat for us because it will hold him in 5-point until he is 65lbs (85lbs in the U.S) and then be able to be used as a booster seat to 100lbs (120lbs in the U.S).

Out of the box this seat would have probably been ready to go if my oldest was 2, the starting age for the Frontier, but we had to make a few adjustments to make it work for him.

Because the straps are located behind and underneath the car seat, both the height and middle positioning(tongue) belt need to be adjusted before installing the Frontier into your vehicle.

At first glance I was convinced this was going to be a challenge because the tether strap crosses over the height adjustment panel leading you to believe that more needs to be done than what is. But after consulting with my manual, I realized that I just need to pull up on the panel lever and move it up as needed - easy. REALLY easy.

The next adjustment, the tongue, was just as easy. Just like on any stroller, you just need to unclip, feed through the desired position and you're done.

Once in my truck I was impressed with the size of this seat. Measuring only about an inch wider than our Boulevard CS, the Frontier is more spacious and comfortable for my little guy. Gone is the body pillow in the middle of the seat to make room for a growing child, but still included in the design in Energy-Absorbing Foam Liner (EPS) to absorb and distribute crash forces. For your child's safety, the Frontier also uses the HUGS™ (Harness Ultra Guard System) to reduce forward head movement and cushion their chest in the event of impact.

My son was super excited about his new seat. It is more like a regular chair that sits upright and now he has a place to put his sippy. The integrated cup holders on each side are conveniently designed to fit common beverage holders such as 20 oz reusable water bottles. This is also nice for me as I don't need to be constantly handing him his cup every time he's thirsty. The mesh on the back of the seat is also a great for keeping him cool in warmer weather and the material wipes down easily if he spills mistakenly, which he has done - twice!

One of the biggest concerns parents have about car seats is the installation. To help with some of this, Britax offers both a comprehensive step by step booklet and an online video. Additional picture instructions are also on the side of the seat for quick reference. For Canadian residents, these instructions are in both French/English.

When putting the seat into my vehicle, my husband was surprised at how easy the Frontier to install. Because it sits flat against the seat, he found it easier to position and connect.

Why 5 -point for so long? Even though some of my friends have already moved their kids out of their 5-point harnesses into tradition boosters, we feel safer having our little guy in a seat that protect him if we are in an accident and hold him securely. Because many boosters use the car's seat belt system, there is always a chance the seat belt could fail in an accident leaving your child unprotected. In the event of an accident, a five-point harness system is designed to make contact with the strongest parts of the body – the hips and shoulders, and transfer crash forces over those strong parts of the body.

I highly recommend this seat for parent who are looking to transition their toddlers (over the age of 2) into a seat that they will use for many years.

Some additional features include:

  • Compatible with SecureGuard which works with the vehicle safety belt in booster mode to prevent the child from sliding under the lap-belt portion of the safety belt during impact, thus minimizing the risk of abdominal injury (accessory sold separately)
  • Tangle Free, 5-Point Harness with 10 harness height positions (up to 20") and three buckle positions for a snug and secure fit as your child grows
  • Certified for Aircraft Travel in Harness Mode
  • Energy-Absorbing Base deforms in the event of a crash to absorb impact forces
  • Premium, Push-Button Lower LATCH Connectors for a quick, simple, and tight installation
  • Harness-2-Booster converts to a belt-positioning booster seat
  • No Re-thread Harness Adjustment allows you to adjust the harness height without having to re-thread the harness straps

More information available at Britax's website.

*A sample was sent for review*


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Tuesday, May 18, 2010
John Travolta and Kelly Preston Are Expecting!

Exciting news today! Just one year after loosing their 16-year-old son, John Travolta and Kelly Preston have announced they are expecting a new addition!

The message, which was posted on Kelly's website read:

"It's impossible to keep a secret ... especially one as wonderful as this. We want to be the first to share this great news with everyone that we are expecting a new addition to our family. Love, John, Kelly and Ella.

Whether or not Kelly is pregnant or if the couple is adopting was not mentioned. Either way we wish them the best!

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Julie Bowen Shows How She Breastfed Her Twins! (PHOTO)

During a recent appearance on George Lopez Modern Family's Julie Bowen showed off a photo of how she saves time - by breastfeeding both of her twins at the same time.

As viewers saw the picture, she explained:

"It's like two little liposuction machines on you. They suck the fat out of you. They call it the 'double football hold'. You hold one here, and here [gesturing to her breasts], like two footballs." She joked: "[This is] the end of my career. They're doing God's work right there - helping me return to my birth weight."

John and Gus, Julie's twins, recently celebrated their first Birthday at The Coop in Studio City, Calif. The party was organized to raise money and supplies for Baby2Baby, a charity founded in 2006 by Marnie Owens, Lee Michel and Karis Jagger (Mick Jagger's daughter) that donates gently used baby items to families in need.

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RECALL: 44,000 Rashti & Rashti Children's Giraffe Blankets Due to Choking Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Rashti & Rashti, today announced a voluntary recall of about 44,000 Giraffe Security Blankets that were sold exclusively at Target. The balls on top of the giraffe's horns can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

The recall involves the pink "I Love You" security blanket with a giraffe plush head. The blanket measures about 14 inches wide by 14 inches in length. "I Love You" is embroidered on the blanket. Style number Y22230H and "Just One Year a division of Carter's" are sewn into a label on the blanket.

Parents or caregivers should immediately take the recalled blankets away from children and contact Rashti & Rashti toll-free at (888) 594-3730 between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at www.rashtiandrashti.com for a full refund.

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Dannii Minogue Shows Her Growing Bump
An expectant Dannii Minogue showed off her huge baby bump in the latest episode of 'Australia's Got Talent'.

Dannii, a judge on the hit TV show, stood up to applaud two acts and as she leant forward the large bump was clearly visible thanks to her tight-fitting designer white dress.

The new baby is due to arrive in mid July which is just two months away. He or she will be the first child for Dannii and boyfriend Kris Smith.

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Featured Review: 2010 Peg Perego Skate Stroller

In 2008 when Peg Perego introduced the Skate stroller it was my #1 pick for strollers being introduced that year. In fact, the original Skate has been my stroller of choice to use when out at the park or mall since that time. I love the way it drives on all surfaces and it's ability to be used as a infant seat carrier, bassinet and regular stroller have made it a very valuable piece of baby gear for my family.

For 2010 Peg Perego has made some fairly significant changes to the stroller, making it lighter, more practical and easier to use. We recently had the opportunity to test drive the new Skate.

Here is what we found:

Installation: Out of the box all I needed to do was pop the wheels on, open it up and attach the toddler seat and canopy. Wheel installation is fairly straight forward as the front and back wheels are completely different sizes. Peg Perego has added green lines to the front wheels to give the installer an idea where to attach them. Once on, a quick turn of the lever to lock them is all that is needed.

Getting started: Opening the stroller is a breeze. Simply unlock it with the lever on the right hand side and pull it up. Once open parents have the choice of 3 height settings and whether or not you would like your child to face out or face you. The bassinet setting is now indicated with a symbol to help parents immediately identify the right position. When using the toddler seat there are 3 positions: upright, reclined and completely flat for a sleeping baby - all adjustable before you install the seat or with a lever at the back of the seat if needed. Included with the stroller is a Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30 car seat adapter. A single line and double line indicate the proper sides and positions to place each adapter. The infant car seat can only be positioned facing you, so that you can watch them at all times.

One of the big changes Peg Perego made for 2010 was making the bassinet and toddler seat 2 separate pieces. Now parents don't have to worry about memorizing the steps to convert the unit from one state to another. The newly designed bassinet is both spacious and nicely padded. I personally like this bassinet over the converted version. It is much more solid, secure and spacious. For your baby's comfort it also comes with a pad that can be removed for washing. A stand is also available(extra charge) for it so that you can extend it's use into the house or while out at a friends or grandparents house.

For your convenience the canopy can be used with both the stroller seat and bassinet. Like with the original model, the Skate's canopy is extremely spacious. When opened fully, it covers most of my son, a feature that I have used in rainy weather and on sunny days. For 2010, the canopy also has a mesh screen at the back to allow air to flow through the stroller.

Another big change is the addition of a fixed 5-point harness. I love this. I can't tell you how many times my son was able to wiggle his way out of the old 'freedom of movement' harness used on all of Peg Perego's previous models. The new stroller seat has also been given a new 'tailored look' to create some extra room for your little one.

Pushing the Skate is a dream. The wheels, which are designed with ball bearings and shock-absorbing springs, no longer need an air pump to inflate them and even with my oldest in the stroller, I can push the Skate one handed through the mall while carrying my youngest. This has always been my favourite feature of this stroller. Even thought the original version weighed 33lbs + the weight of the child, it always pushed like it was 5lbs. This is also the case with the 2010 Skate as well.

While storage under the stroller looks as though it doesn't hold much, I have had great success with the bungee cord system Peg Perego uses. I like that the elasticized cords keep all of my purchases secure and in place while out. I also use the nubs on the side of the stroller meant to attach the bottle holder to carry extra bags if needed. New for 2010, the Skate comes with a shopping basket that is removable. I cannot count the number of times I have been at the grocery store and there are no baskets available. This fixes this! It can't hold a full grocery shopping, but it will definitely accommodate a good $20 or $30 worth of purchases, something that moms who like to visit the market will love.

After we originally reviewed the Skate many of our readers e-mailed us telling us the foot muff was not practical. I am happy to tell you that the new design is great. The magnets that were initially used to secure the bottom to the the base of the stroller have been replaced with a more secure set of snaps and a set of loops at the top that connect with a button.

When re-designing this stroller, Peg Perego listened to customer feedback and fixed many of the issues parents were having. I would love them to come out with additional infant seat adapters so that parents who have infant car seats from other manufacturers can also use this stroller with their seats. I also wish there was a way to fold the stroller down with the bassinet or stroller seat on in any position. Currently it only folds down with the seat attached if it is in the middle position, upright, facing out. While this is fine for me, it confuses my husband when he uses the stroller.

With that small issue aside, I love this stroller. All of it's great features paired with the fact that parents can use the whole system from birth straight up to 4 years old make it a great choice for practical families. PLUS Coming very soon, Peg Perego will be introducing a jump seat that will accommodate a second child under the stroller. According to Peg Perego's website the new seat will be compatible with all Skate models and will hold a child up to 40 lbs.

Like:

  • Push
  • fixed 5-point harness
  • new fabrics
  • additional shopping basket
  • generous canopy
  • ability to be used as a double

Dislike:

  • Car seat adapter not universal

The 2010 Skate comes with the frame, stroller seat, bassinet, cup holder, rain cover, infant seat adapter and shopping basket for $699. (available in 4 colors Kiwi, Java, Black Step and the one we tested - Tropical)

*Thank you to Peg Perego for sending us this stroller for review*


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