September 21, 2005

EU-Turn, J-Turn, We All Turn And Stare At Aprica's Super-Car Seat

aprica_marshmallow.gifAprica, one of two giants in the Japanese Baby Zaibatsu, has launched its flagship car seat (and I don't use the term lightly) in Europe. The Aprica Euro-Turn is the EU version of the J-Turn, or as it's officially known in the home market, the Marshmallow J-Turn Neo-Thermo G1155.

These Japanese car seats totally break with the Western paradigm. When I first saw them last year, they freaked me out. Now, the Aprica-EU site has a lot of clear, English explanation for the Euro-Turn's myriad of features, and I can appreciate them more, but they still freak me out.

Some key points and functions:

  • The car seat allows kids to lie down, since, according to Aprica scientists, newborns and infants should really be lying down, at an optimal angle of 170 degrees.
  • It pivots for forward- and rear-facing mode, allowing you to use one car seat all the way through 18kg. [Which is good, since they're around $1,000 in Japan. I'll let you idle on that for a second...]
  • The Euro-Turn is so large, it extends over the edge of most cars' seats, requiring a t-shaped kickstand brace underneath. [A lot of Japanese car seats are like this. It's also due to the short rear seats in compact Japanese cars. There's a fairly short list of compatible and semi-compatible car models. Caveat emptor.]
  • The materials, fit, and finish of these things is incredible. Some of the sweetest padding and fabric I've ever seen on a baby product [which makes sense, I guess, since it's 5-10x as expensive as anything else].
  • In Japan, they use these as infant bassinet/beds, too. That's partly why I freaked out, because they looked like Hannibal Lecter-style infant incapacitators. Swaddling ain't got nothing on the Marshmallow J-turn.

    These things weigh as much as a car, but if you're interested, there's a list of European retailers on the site. Have at it.

    Aprica Euro-Turn Reclining Car Seat
    [, via dt reader jacqueline]
    Aprica Japan Baby Bed/Car Seats []
    Previously: Marshmallow Baby Rack

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