Review: Cybex Eternis S car seat with SensorSafe and Priam travel system
The latest thing to get smart technology? Your child’s car seat.
When you become a parent, your little one’s safety and happiness are all that lives in the forefront of your thoughts. Well, okay, safety first… From that very first day coming back from the hospital, your mind changes from thinking about your own needs to thinking about theirs. That first day needs a capable car seat (in fact, the hospital will not let you go without it), so why skimp?
With so many choices on the market, how do you know which one to choose? I mean, they’re all tested to the same safety standards, so that’s out as a point of comparison. They’re also all similar in looks, so that’s also out. Price is always a comparison, but if they all passed the same safety tests, why are some more expensive?
Well, in Cybex’s case, that extra cash goes on extra functionality and safety features, such as side-collision protection and the revolutionary SensorSafe tech that’s on their smart car seats such as the $330 Eternis S that we’re going to be looking at today.
Oh, and we’re not stopping there. We’re also looking at their Priam stroller, the heart of Cybex’s travel system.
So, wait… a smart car seat?
Yes, thanks to Cybex, the humble savior of children worldwide (car seats) has joined the ranks of daily use items that can be used with the phrase “there’s an app for that.” See, for all their safety features, there are still two big problems for car seats that can be fatal for the child.
Those are “little Houdini’s” unbuckling their own straps, which can be dangerous enough at low speeds, let alone when zipping away on the highway; and the totally-preventable deaths when parents accidentally forget that their child is still strapped into the car in hot weather. That second one has led automakers to agree to have rear-seat detection tools as standard by 2025, but what is a safety-conscious parent to do until then?
Enter SensorSafe. The combination of a smart buckle on the car seat’s straps, a dongle you plug into your car, and an app that runs on your smartphone combines into a warning system for tired parents. While running, it’ll alert you to the following:
- Your child unbuckling their chest clip
- You walked away from the car with your child left in the seat: Go out of Bluetooth range and it’ll ping you every 60 seconds, if you don’t respond by the third one, a message is sent to your emergency contact group with the last known location of your vehicle. Even if you’re still in range, it’ll ping you every four minutes to remind you
- Your car is too hot or too cold: Extremes of temperature will trigger alerts
- Your child has been strapped in for too long: it’ll notify you after two hours to take a break
Told ya it was smart. In practice, it works great. Setup for me had one hitch – the battery in the chest clip was doa so the app couldn’t pick it up to add. If your chest clip doesn’t flash blue on the left when buckled, get a CR2032 battery and replace it by unscrewing the back of the chest clip.
While SensorSafe is the standout feature, there’s a ton of extra features on the Eternis S that’ll keep your mind at rest. There’s the Linear Side Impact Protection System that reduces side-impact forces in a crash, the patented headrest recline that stops your little’s head falling forward if they fall asleep (which stops airway obstruction), the 12-position, no-rethread harness that’s adjustable with a pinch, and the one-pull LATCH removal system that makes switching between cars simple.
It’s also super comfortable (evidenced by how little my little one complains once strapped in). Even a recent trip to West Virginia didn’t end with tears, as she was also high enough to be able to see out through the windows.
It’s big though – even with the recline features it had some troubles in the second row of a new Ford Explorer. Our Mazda 6 fared better, although we found that now she’s bigger, it’s easier to get in from the unoccupied back seat, instead of the door closer to the seat.
The skinny on height and weight limits:
- Rear-facing infant: 4 pounds (removable newborn inlay for 4-11 pounds) up to 50 pounds and 17-48 inches
- Forward-facing convertible seat: 22-65 pounds and 28-49 inches; child must be two years old
- Belt-positioning booster seat: 40-120 pounds and 44-57 inches; child must be three years old
Remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics advice has changed to continuing using in the rear-facing position until your child has grown out of either the weight or height limit, for the Cybex Eternis S that’s 50 lbs or 48 inches, whichever goes over first.
Travel doesn’t have to be difficult
That brings us to the other half of the equation – a seat for outside the car. I mean, until your little one can walk for long distances, you’re their transportation. That means a travel system that, like the convertible car seat, can grow with your family.
The Priam is one such system with a base frame and options for Priam’s Carry Cot, the ability to connect to several of Cybex’s removable infant car seats, and a seat that can be rear- or front-facing, and lay flat at a squeeze. Oh, and there’s multiple seat fabrics, including some from noted designers.
There’s also an option called the ePriam, which has electric motors in the back wheels to help you climb or descend hills or navigate rough terrain. With all the time you’ll spend pushing a stroller around in the first few years, this might just be the feature that sways you.
It’s solidly built, without the ‘wobble’ our cheaper stroller has. Setup was a breeze, pop in the wheels, zip the fabric over the frame, and you’re away. Bonus points for the extendable handle – most strollers are built for the average female’s height, so us fathers normally must reach down, a most uncomfortable position over time. That ease of use for taller people makes it large though, and it does take about half of the trunk of our Mazda 6.
We’ve not had much chance to use this outside, as we’ve been practicing self-isolation for some time now. I can say that our little one was super intrigued to help put it together and loved zooming up and down the hallway in it. I’ve got no doubts it’ll be just as capable once we’re able to go outside with it.
So, should I buy it?
We all want the best for our kids, it’s just something hard-wired in every parent. We shouldn’t have to compromise on tech for our kids that make our lives easier though, and Cybex knows this. The Cybex Eternis S with SensorSafe has the potential to save lives day in, day out. That’s worth everything to parents, and I hope to see this type of warning system as standard on every car seat in the future.
The Priam travel system is just as integral to happy trips with the little one. It’s easy to maneuver, comfy, and can be configured in all sorts of useful ways. Oh, and if you’re in a hilly neighborhood – get the ePriam, your legs will thank you.
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