News from the Mount Olympus of the Baby Industrial Complex: Maxi Cosi will start selling the Cabrio, it's Stage 0 carseat [that's EU-talk for 0-8kg, or 0-9 months or so, although the Cabrio is actually designed for up to 13kg, adding several more months, at least to its usable life] with an IsoFix base [which is EU-talk for the LATCH system. Sheesh, different words for everything, it's like Europe's a whole nother country or something.]
LATCH, if you didn't know (and I didn't, since, like your friend's mom at swimteam, we drive a 1985 Mercedes) is a mandatory low-angle tethering system that's been built into the backseats of most all passenger vehicles in the world since 2001 or so. But to avoid the appearance of buckling under to world government, I guess, the US called it LATCH in its legislation, while Europe still calls it IsoFix. [Stop sneering, England, since you apparently call it IsoFit. England: "Why, it's almost like Europe."]
Anyway, you can rejoice at Maxi Cosi's expanded safety options if you like, but LATCH isn't actually any safer than seatbelt installation, only more knucklehead-proof. And even though EU carseat regs surpass those in the US, doesn't mean the Cabrio's any less (technically) illegal in the US. Or does it? I don't know.
And don't clap too long. Even though IsoFix/LATCH was revised in early 2004 to require a top tether, Maxi Cosi decided they didn't want to start meeting that standard until they have to: . The "Top Tether" system that uses this third fixing point will be great when many cars have it but in the meantime," they say, we're punting. Find the knucklehead in this picture.
So far, the Glasgow Pram Centre is the only place taking orders for August delivery, £89.99.
Holy smokes, the IsoFix base is another £74.99. [GPC, thanks to DT reader Kate]
Kinderworld's selling it together, same price, "4 months delivery" [itsakinderworld.co.uk] [7/1 UPDATE: A READER JUST EMAILED TO SAY THAT THE STORE IS OUT OF BUSINESS BUT STILL ONLINE, TAKING ORDERS THAT ARE GOING UNFILLED AND UNSHIPPED. CAVEAT EMPTOR, UNFORTUNATELY.]
LATCH and other tether system info [car-safety.org]
[update: according to babycare.nl, the Cabrio Isofix isn't coming out until 2006. See renefjr's comments below.]
[7 Oct. update update: one Steven Gell writes to say that Kinderworld is back up and running under new ownership. Their new address is Itsakinderworld.com. Of course, I don't think they--or anyone--has the ISOFIX Maxi-Cosi's yet.]