It seemed like flying over the beautiful islands between Vancouver and Victoria on a fabulously sunny spring day would be the thing that really launched this adventure on a high note—that is, until I saw a tiny deer grazing on the grass of a residential home in Oak Bay. Even though I was here to test drive a vehicle, I had a hunch that this journey had a little magic in it’s back pocket, but the big surprise was that the cool activities I was scheduled for at the spectacular resort I would be visiting, totally did not overshadow the experience of driving the new 2016 Chevy Malibu.
Take a moment to consider this sobering thought – whether you’re driving around the corner or heading out on a road trip, accidents can happen at any time.
Results from safety checks across Canada reveal that between 30-80% of child car and booster seats inspected are installed incorrectly. Is yours one of them?
Fact: Car crashes are a leading cause of death and hospitalizations for Canadian children under the age of 14.
From using the wrong car seat at the wrong age, to relying on Dr. Google for instructions on proper car seat installation, parents are unknowingly making potentially deadly travel safety decisions.
Certified Car Seat Installation Technician and Parenting Expert Maureen Dennis is here to explain 5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe in a Car Seat:
1. Wrong Seat at the Wrong Age. A common mistake made by parents is not using the correct seat for the child’s height, weight, and developmental stage. This can usually be seen when parents move their child to the next stage too quickly (rushing to get them into a booster seat to accommodate a new baby when they still fit in their harnessed forward-facing seat, for example).
Solution: Know the guidelines of when to make a car seat adjustment and know your child’s height and weight.
2. Car seat not securely installed. Another error often made is when attaching the car seat inside the car. In many cases, the seat is too loosely installed and not tightly secured to the vehicle.
Solution: Your car seat should not move more than 2.5 cm (or 1 inch) in any direction at the base of the seat, right at the seat belt or UAS path.
3. Harness on the child is too loose. How tight is too tight? A common mistake is leaving the harness too loose and not having your child secured properly.
Solution: Conduct the “pinch test”. You should not be able to pinch any of the harness webbing at the child’s shoulder.
4. Placing the chest clip. Another common mistake found is where parents place the chest clip.
Solution: The chest clip should always be at the armpit level – not too low, such as down near their belly button, or up too close- near the neck.
5. Improper placement. Even if the car seat is installed and securely fastened, there are still errors that can occur which may harm your child.
Solution: Make sure that seats in a rear-facing position are at a 45 degree angle to support the baby’s head and neck. All forward-facing seats require a tether strap that hooks to a tether anchor in your car, so make sure you don’t forget that step.
Car seat safety cannot be taken lightly. It is important to install your car seat properly and securely in order for it to do its job in the event of a collision or crash. According to a report from the Canadian Paediatric Society, child seats, when used correctly, reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% and the risk of serious injury by 67%. Using a booster seat instead of just a seat belt alone is a reduction of 59% in injury risk.
I had the incredible opportunity to meet Olympic Gold-medallist Cassie Campbell-Pascall in Calgary with my son Ford. Chevrolet Canada sponsors a hockey helmet program, giving helmets to kids involved in organized hockey. We discussed signs and symptoms of concussions and also had the opportunity to join Cassie on the ice for some fun drills. (Shooting rubber chickens into the net is hugely satisfying!)
What I realized through the experience of listening to Cassie is that sport should be fun. If kids aren’t having fun, they won’t love sport. And if kids don’t feel safe while engaging in sport, they won’t have fun. Pretty simple, but I know several parents who need to realize this in order for sport to be a beautiful part of life.
As Cassie Campbell-Pascall sees it, “we need to understand our role, not just within hockey, but in minor sports in general. We need to ask our coaches “what are goals for the team for this year?” Is it about having fun? Is it about teaching our kids about respect and responsibility and hard work and teamwork and discipline and competition and all those things? Or is it about just winning? It’s really really fun to win, but do you remember how many games you won last year? Do you remember the tournaments you went to though, and the fun times you went to with your teammates? That’s what we remember.”
She talks of the experiences the team had at hotels and on trips – bonding, co-operating and growing as human beings. That’s what makes sport transformative.
I was interviewed as part of the evening and it’s obvious that these Olympians touched me deeply. Thanks, Chevrolet for putting safety and fun into sport.
Chevrolet not only makes awesome vehicles, but they sponsor the Safe and Fun Hockey program. Over the last three years Chevrolet has handed out more than 35,000 free hockey helmets to parents of 5-year-olds in Canada. If your child is five and enrolled in a hockey program, Chevrolet will send you a fantastic Bauer helmet. Amazing!!!! Fitness, safety and of course Canada’s unofficial national pastime.
WHEN KIDS ENJOY THE GAME EVERYONE WINS. True, right? The kids with screaming hockey parents or those who are petrified of their coach don’t really enjoy the game. And nobody will enjoy any sport if they come home with a concussion.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is the immediate and temporary alteration of mental funcitoning due to trauma to the head or body.
How do you Identify Symptoms of a Concussion?
** If a player loses consciousness, call an ambulance.
– Loss of consciousness
– Poor concentration
-Headache or dizziness
– Ringing in the ears
– Seeing stars, seeing double, blurred vision or loss of vision
Later Symptoms of a Concussion Include
– Memory loss
– Sensitivity to light or ringing in the ears
– Sleepiness or insomnia
What I loved about the presentation and session on concussion was that it reinforces the parenting belief that instincts are very important. If your child is acting differently than they have for years, as a parent you know better than anyone that there could be a problem. Trust yourself.
What Should I do if a player suffers a concussion?
– Remove the player from the game or practice
– Don’t leave the player alone. Monitor signs and symptoms
– Don’t administer medication
– Inform the parent or guardian
– Have the player evaluated by a medical doctor.
There are six steps to return to play. Many hockey stars like Sidney Crosby who have followed these slow guidelines have been able to return to the game.
Parachute helps Canadians reduce their risks of injury and enjoy long lives lived to the fullest. Injury prevention strategies will help parents educate their children, and those who work with their children, about how to prevent and manage concussions.
So use your instincts, pay attention to your kids, grab a helmet and watch them flourish and enjoy as they feel safe.
Few parents can afford a luxury vehicle. But ‘luxury’ means just that. Extra bells and whistles. Budget-friendly vehicles can also offer plenty of what families require. Moms and Dads want to give their kids the best possible advantages: space for gear, groceries and backpacks. Safety. Comfort and great fuel economy. Chevrolet is always thinking of parents and the Trax is one of the best new vehicles for budget-conscious families out there right now. Build on the chassey of the Cruz with an extended wheel base, General Motors was able to keep costs to a bare minimum with this crossover. I had the good fortunte to get a huge shot of national pride when I went on a Canadian adventure with the Chevrolet Trax in Ottawa and Montebello.
The exterior lines and smoothness of the drive were phenomenal, and it was able to carry a ton of stuff. We drove the vehicles just before the holidays in Ottawa and Montebello, Quebec. It was a great test of the Trax, as we whizzed on smooth Ottawa roads and stopped and started a ton in front of the Parliament Buildings and then proceeded to test the off-roading capabilities as we made our way into the wilderness of Montebello Quebec. I’ve never actually been to Ottawa without getting phenomenally lost. But on no other occasion did I have my secret weapon: Onstar. (Finger touches nose).
In conjunction with the Ottawa United Way we delivered trunk loads full of food, toys and diapers to needy families in the Ottawa area. It’s incredible how many thousands of people per day use these homes for meals and also to ‘shop’ for their family. Shelved are stocked with donations of powdered milk, peanut butter, canned goods and pasta and the family is allocated a weekly amount of food. There are (sometimes) even gluten-free options. If they are lucky. For a complete list of homes such as these you can go to UnitedWay.ca.
After picking up reindeer-knitted hats and mitts for my boys at Byward Market, the Parliament Buildings were next on the agenda. At night the buildings glow with white snowflake projections. The fire burned bright at the entrance on this frigid day. On the official tour, I saw the gothic arches decked with holiday lights, and we sat in the viewing gallery overlooking the House of Commons. I studied political science at Queen’s University and participated in a few model parliaments myself, but I must admit that I was pretty surprised at the lack of bodies in the House. You could have turned it into a bowling alley. We left and I realized there was a very boisterous cocktail reception happening which explains the lack of parliamentary participation. Of course I got in trouble for trying to peek over the barrier in order to see who was there. Bad girl. I was completely overwhelmed with pride at our democratic Canadian heritage, though, and felt compelled to explore other nations. (Incidentally I found out while inside our Parliament who would be accompanying me to Liberia as a parent ambassador with Right to Play. I can’t wait to represent Canada.)
As if I wasn’t already feeling the true extent of my Canadian heritage, we drove to Montebello, Quebec. The Fairmont Chateau Montebello is the largest log cabin in the world and has been frequented by Margaret Thatcher, George Bush and Stephen Harper. And also Harry S. Truman, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Bette Davis, and Joan Crawford. And me. But who’s keeping tabs really? The outside chill, hexagonal rotunda, indoor fires, resident Golden Retriever and oversized Muskoka chair provided such a shot of Canadiana I almost expected to find a beaver in my bathtub.
The following day we drove to Fairmont’s other property – the Kenauk. Fairmont Kenauk at Le Chateau Montebello is one of North America’s largest and longest-established private fish and game reserves, with more than 70 lakes within its borders. It employs its own biologists to ensure preservation of the spectacular resources, and naturalists are available for guided exploration of the property.
The car handled beautifully on the bumpy and icy roads. Even when we all had to stop suddenly to pick up the ‘Toro Magazine GoPro’ that had fallen off the outside of their Trax. Awesome footage, BTW.
At the Fairmont Kenauk we had a choice of activity. All of us but one wanted to learn the art of sporting clays, and the other opted for a hike. The rest of us timidly handled the broken down shotguns with racing hearts.
Our guide went through safety rules, use and aim. We mounted the trap shooting stand where a clay pigeon fired from underneath. The 5 stations were crowded as we all tried to blast the orange clay disks apart. Many just wanted to hit one. And most did. As much as I won’t allow my kids to use guns and reprimand them when they point a finger and say ‘bang’, it was clear to see the skill required to excel at the sport.
What I liked about the Chevrolet Trax:
1. Appearance: An Suv look
2. Mirrors with lights
3. 1.4 turbo engine but fuel economy of small car
4. The Chassey is built off same platfrom of small sonic platform which makes it less expensive to build
5. Av hookups allow bluetooth syncronicity of your smartphone music and phonebook
6. The Frame is high strength steel which takes mass out and again makes it lighter, cheaper and easier to handle
7. The seats all fold flat
8. 10 airbags
9. 4 cupholders in centre
10. Solid feel to drive
If I got a wood-beamed room at Montebello for a yearly vacation and went through a clay sporting course, I would be one very happy (James Bond) woman. But only if I were driving a vehicle like the Trax, which is not currently sold in the USA. It would be a full Canadian adventure. The vehicle would have space, be great on gas and handle the winter roads. And maybe hold a few toboggans, a toque and a Hudson’s Bay Blanket. Just for the Canadian continuity.
I grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and am embarrassed that I’d never been to Cape Breton. I have been yearning to drive the Cabot Trail. My chance finally came when the 2013 Chevy Malibu hits the Cabot Trail with spectacular September weather, lobsters and whales.
Those of you who follow my auto stories know that I’m not too technical. I know what a Mom needs, what it means to be family-friendly, and how important style is to exhausted parents who always considered themselves cool. I’ve never even written about gas mileage. You do what you have to do as a Mom. Space, sightlines, safety and cargo seem to trump everything else. So I was SHOCKED that not only did this 4-cyllindar peppy Malibu have what it took to be a family vehicle, but I drove around the entire Cabot Trail (501 kilometers) on just under ¾ of a tank. Wow. For the people who understand these things, it gets 8.1 L/100km city 5.3 L/100km hwy.
Drive Partner: Let’s take the quick route to the Normaway Inn in the Margaree River.
Me: Hmmm. Looking at the map, I think we can bypass the paved road and get there even faster if we follow this one-lane dirt path. There’s a fork somewhere that we have to find though….unless it is grown over.
Drive Partner: OK but if we get murdered/lost it’s your fault. I wonder if Onstar can track us here. (it could)
40 minutes later, after picking apples out the window of the car while giggling incessantly, we realized that it wasn’t much shorter. But we gave the car quite the run! I can honestly say that the shocks are great after going over potholes and puddles the size of apple barrels. You should have seen the caked-on dirt when we arrived. Now that’s driving! And we took the road less traveled. Walt would be proud.
- The touch screen allowed you to select options, sync your phone, change the XM station and was very easy to use. Unfortunately there was no twitter on the screen. (With a lack of Rogers cellular service in northern Cape Breton, all of us social media geeks could not text, phone or use the MiFi units in the cars. It was amusing to see us slowly crumble as the stress of ‘going dark’ set in. I admit – I was the worst of all of us and met many a bed and breakfast owner as I begged for wifi passwords.)
- So thank GOODNESS for OnStar Hands Free Calling. Because it is phone via satellite, it had our backs. In a humourous way, we all kept ducking out to ‘sit in the car’ so that we could call our children. The owner at Cheticamp’s great Horseback riding excursion – Little Pond Stables – screamed “One of your Malibu’s is ringing!!”
- The Driver’s window touch feature allowed for straight up and down with one push or pull– convienient at drive-thrus and toll booths.
- A button on the trunk allows it to open by pushing from the outside if car is unlocked.
- James Bond alert. There’s a hiding spot and sync feature for your phone in the dash – right behind the flip-up Mylink screen.
- The remote start on the key fob would be great on the cold winter days. This feature is standard on 1LT and up.
- It’s super roomy (ie you can breastfeed easily in the front or back seat).
- The rear backup camera is standard – even on the base models. My own car only beeps when I get close to something while reversing and I was so used to the beep I almost crashed while forgetting to look at the rearview camera. Laugh. Blush. Just kidding. The rear camera is available in the Power Convenience or Entertainment Packages on the 1LT, 2LT and LTZ models.
- USB connectivity allows you to upload a favourite photo onto the screen – perfect for a family road trip.
- The sunroof was quiet when opened and didn’t distract the driver as some noisy sunroofs do.
- There are 10 standard airbags.
- There are blockers in the grille and specially shaped side mirrors to help reduce drag. Unless you’re on a one-lane dirt road, in which case you probably won’t notice. Both Malibu Eco models have aerodynamic shutters that open and close depending on the speed of the vehicle for aerodynamic reasons.
- The LTZ offers a lane departure warning and forward collision alert that are available in the Advanced Safety Package. Oh. That’s what those beeps were for. Usually these features only exist on much higher-end vehicles.
- The Cabot Trail isn’t the easiest drive. If you’re not completely distracted by the beauty, way too full from the poutine covered in chesse/gravy/onions/peas/ground beef, or staring at the piles of empty roadside lobster traps, you are jigging down hills with windy curves and hairpin turns. And here’s me forgetting my Grace Kelly hair scarf. But I do know that the Malibu hugs the road. Tight.
The All-New Chevy Malibu
Disclosure: UrbanMommies was hosted on a drive trip through the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia. As always, our opinions are our own.
Other Chevrolet Articles:
I couldn’t possibly test a vehicle without the kids in tow. I thought this Chevrolet Spark Test Drive would be a tough one for the boys, as the car was so compact (awesome for squeezing into city parking spots). But for the urban driver? Amazing.
Safety-wise, the 10 airbags, great sight lines and Onstar phone services provide the driver with a ton of confidence. You can’t really beat Onstar (and not just to ask a live person to send directions to the vehicle for the nearest Starbucks). My kids know that if Mommy is ever in trouble, they press the red button and wait for emergency response crews who will track the car via GPS. The peace of mind is priceless.
With USB connectivity for his tunes combined with great maneuverability and talent, my husband was able to back up within 1.5 inches of a pylon and became the proud recipient of the award for this feat (as opposed to the actual pylon award he received in recreational hockey). I was thrilled to be able to tweet that my dear husband ‘won with an inch and a half!’.
The verdict? A great economical and compact choice for big-city driving. It may not be the best option for schlepping gear and multiple kiddos on playdates if you need more than 31.2 cubic feet of volume, but did I mention it comes in pink?
So I was invited on this amazing trip that was sponsored by General Motors and included my whole family. We flew to Orlando, stayed in a stunning home, saw various Orlando attractions and drove a Chevrolet Orlando from Florida to Toronto in the span of 3 days. The only part I was worried about was the long drive with the kids. My husband is injured and unable to drive, so I was on the hook for it all. I was shocked at how enjoyable it was. It was the quintessential Modern Road Trip.
Not only did we love the car, but the technology that was placed in the vehicle enhanced the trip to an incredible degree. The gadgets helped endlessly with ‘Are we there yet?’, fighting in the backseat and getting lost. The only issue was that it was a bit too easy. Too comfy. Compared to old-school road trips, where part of the fun is getting lost and having a good old-fashioned family feud about whose fault it was, we were all blissful. Next time we’d research a few fun things to do off the beaten track and incorporate tech-free hours. It never really occurred to us that the point of a road trip is that you see things along the way – not just your end destination. Channeling the movie ‘Cars‘: “All you see on the interstate is the interstate”. That being said… for the hours you have to put in getting from point A to point B… here’s what got us through.
Components of the Modern Roadtrip:
1. iPads. Each child in the back of the car was given an iPad and a credit for iTunes. And here I was thinking that my next vehicle had to have AV installed. For the cost of a couple of first-generation iPads and back-of-the-seat attachments, the kids can look at movies as well as find the golden eggs in Angry Birds. That’s modern. (Maybe not great parenting but modern all the same).
2. OnStar – Oh WOW – where have I been? I feel so secure and I loved talking to a real person. OnStar got us to Disney and home, though I am so bad at paying attention, my hubby still had to remind me to change lanes. After a few days I realized that you could also dial friends and family. I think that’s when my driving deteriorated.
3. MiFi: Rogers MiFi created a hotspot in the car so that laptops and iPads could be connected to the internet. If I hadn’t been driving I would have been seriously geeking out…
4. Sirius XM radio – we made a pact. If I drive I got to listen to Broadway the whole time.. And Martha Stewart, and favourites from Y2K. (I was actually nice and changed the channel once in a while). But I still sang at the top of my lungs as the Appalacian Mountains whisked by.
5. The backup sensor. As a tech innovation I have to mention it. Great tool – especially when someone walks unexpectedly behind the car. I’ve driven a few cars with video backup and I like the simple beep better. Less visual distraction.
6. The USB hookup. iPods can be connected directly to the car, and you are able to see your whole playlist on the stereo controls. The best? There’s a hidden compartment for the music player so you don’t even have to worry about it being stolen when you leave the car. (Or look at cords all the time).
7. The fold-down seats. Popping carseats in and out was super-easy, and all seats in the back folded down flat with tremendous ease. You don’t even have to jimmy the headrests off – they duck down when you pull the lever. Because of our fun accommodations as we drove through Savannah and West Virginia, we didn’t actually sleep in the car, but with this feature, you could create a campout in the back. Think of all of the fun you could have as a family hangin’ in the trunk.
Part of the success of the trip was the vehicle itself. I haven’t been asked to write anything about it, but I was so impressed that I feel like gushing. For the past few years we have been test driving BMWs, Land Rovers, Porsches and lots of family vehicles. (Well, expensive family vehicles.) We’re starting to develop a pretty clear idea of essentials for busy moms and families. In terms of the Chevrolet Orlando, we gave it a high score. Here’s why:
1. Carseats clipped in easily.
2. Good visibility and windows that were large.
3. The backup sensor (we’re usually pretty tired).
4. Not only can the stroller get into the trunk with ease, but there was a ton of room for our shopping after a trip to Target. (Much room needed, believe me).
5. You can you see the kids in the back seat (the Orlando has a childview mirror)
6. 7 seats with the option of putting 6 up so that there is still storage in the trunk.
7. Don’t laugh. It’s important. I didn’t break a nail or two when opening the driver door quickly. The handle is long-nail-friendly.
8. The technology was amazing – electrical ports front and back, and USB.
9. Drink holders in the armrest in the back for the kids.
10. Automatically locks when you put the car in drive.
11. Windshield wipers covered a big surface area.
12. OnStar handsfree calling and Navigation – knowing where you’re going reduces stress.
13. Low back windows in order to increase kids’ visibility – it keeps them entertained.
14. Don’t laugh again. I liked the look of the car. I want a friendly-looking beast of a vehicle.
15. I loved the driver’s armrest.
16. Ease of cruise control rocked – right on the steering wheel.
17. All seatbelt clips had fabric around them which prevented mini lego pieces (and Cheerios, and smarties… ) falling into Neverland (excuse the Disney reference).
18. The material of the seats seems totally durable and dried really well when we soaked it. With rainwater. Stop snickering.
19. The seats go very high up for short/vertically challenged people.
20. Directional compass right on console is so helpful for those of us who are navigationally impaired.
21. Easily cleanable cockpit without many places for dust and schmutz to collect.
22. You can put a drink in each of the doors.
23. You can open the trunk hatch with one hand when you’re carrying a baby as well as groceries.
24. The driver’s seat goes really far back in case you need to use the car as a nursing/feeding place.
25. Especially with seats 6 and 7 down, the back makes a great diaper change area.
Mom stuff that’s crucial – wouldn’t you agree? In all, we loved the car and also the idea of a family roadtrip. We became closer as a family and saw areas of North America that we have only ever heard about. Now, if only we could find the rest of those Golden Eggs.
Disclosure: UrbanMommies was provided air and car travel, accommodation, meals and one day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. For more insights, we Tweeted under the hashtag #chevyorlando.