Santa Tracker: OnStar Keeps Tabs on the Big Guy

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He's sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when your awake, but the spying can go both ways. For the sixth year in a row, OnStar will again be able to help customers keep tabs on Santa this Christmas.

Related: How to Transport Your Christmas Tree

OnStar is teaming up with North American Aerospace Defense Command's (NORAD) Tracks Santa program; U.S., Canada and Mexico subscribers can follow the big guy's whereabouts across the globe Christmas Eve with a press of the blue OnStar button. Customers can request a "Santa Update" between 7 a.m. Dec. 24 until 5 a.m. EST Dec. 25 and get Santa's location based on NORAD's official Santa Tracker Map.

Motorists with more pressing OnStar needs shouldn't be affected by the added Santa-tracking requests; OnStar says it's adding additional staff to accommodate the higher volume of calls. OnStar can't however, help you get a line on that sold out Elsa doll you've been searching for.

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By Jennifer Geiger | December 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Lexus IS 350 F Sport: Car Seat Check

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Can something fast and stylish also be roomy and comfortable? The Lexus IS 350 with the F Sport Package is the perfect example; it nails the first two, but parents might not get enough out of the backseat in the room and comfort departments. Excellent Latch anchor exposure made installing child-safety seats a breeze, but our rear-facing seats took up more than a comfortable amount of room in back.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Geiger | December 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

Five Unexpected Family Cars

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Most people opt for a minivan or three-row crossover when shopping for a family car, especially when two or more kids are involved. Parents willing to color outside the traditional car-class lines, however, will be pleasantly surprised by what they find.

Read More #FamilyCarAdvice

As a mom of a preschooler and twin infants, just about every vehicle I drive has to pull some sort of family duty. Some excel, some flop in spectacular fashion.

Regardless of what I test, the must-haves stay the same: It has to be safe, comfortable and roomy enough for the kids, their child-safety seats and all their gear. Depending on your family's size and needs, a lot of vehicles might meet that criteria. If sliding doors aren't a must-have, check out our minivan-free list; these five vehicles and their family-hauling chops might just surprise you.

By Jennifer Geiger | December 17, 2014 | Comments (2)

Toyota Social Safety Campaign Aims to Keep Kids Safe

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Despite my desire for a more meaningful Christmas, my family usually goes down to the wire frantically trying to fill shopping carts and stockings. I'm probably not alone with this hectic holiday hullabaloo, but even with all the activity there should be enough time to take part in Toyota's child safety campaign.

Related: How to Transport Your Christmas Tree

Toyota's #BUCKLEUPFORLIFE campaign uses social media to buckle up many children who otherwise would be without child safety seats this holiday season.

By Kristin Varela | December 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

Tested: Clickit Sport Car Dog Harness

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Earlier this year we tested Sleepypod's Clickit Utility dog harness, the top performer in the Center for Pet Safety's 2013 crashworthy study. CPS now conducts voluntary certification tests of pet safety harnesses, and Sleepypod's newest harness — the Clickit Sport — is the first harness to achieve certification. The Clickit Sport earned CPS' top rating of five stars for each size in which it is offered (CPS ratings are assigned by size categories and not across a brand).

Related: Tested: Clickit Car Dog Harness

Since the Clickit Sport is significantly different from the Clickit Utility, we took it for a test drive and found the new harness to be more dog and human friendly.

By Jen Burklow | December 16, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: Car Seat Check

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Kids bring so much joy into their parents' lives. They also bring a lot of mess. Whether its mud-caked shoes or the constant debris of cracker crumbs and sticky fingerprints they leave in their wake, kids and messes go together like peanut butter and jelly. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a luxurious sedan, may be too nice to put kids in, especially considering its $93,825 price tag (including destination); our test car cost $122,895. If that price didn't make you blink, keep reading. The good news is the five-passenger S550 earned top marks across the board in our Car Seat Check.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Newman | December 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Ford Mustang: Car Seat Check

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Redesigned for 2015, the Ford Mustang's new look is rooted in its storied history. The Mustang has grown slightly longer and wider with this redesign, but that didn't make much of a difference when it came to installing child-safety seats in it. With seating for two in back, the Mustang isn't for all families, but after our test, we found it really isn't for great for kids in car seats. Rear legroom is at a premium, so even if you can fit your car seat in the backseat, there's not a lot of room for kids to stretch out.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Newman | December 11, 2014 | Comments (1)

How to Corral Car Clutter

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No one likes to admit that their car's interior looks a bit like a landfill, but with families spending more time in their cars than ever before, it happens. A lot. But families deserve a clean, Zen-like interior (after all, an organized environment leads to an organized mind — or so they say).

Related: How to Clean Up Spills in the Car

Now is the time to do something about that item in the back of your car that goes "skssssssssss, thunk" every time your turn or brake. Now is the time to stop losing your mind over the empty to-go cups piling up in your cupholders (that you "forget" to remove for days). Now is the time to stop obsessing about the ground-in crackers in your floormats and just clean them up already.

Between our staff members and our freelancing mamas, we have a grand total of 15 parents and more than 30 kids between us. And while families aren't the only ones faced with car clutter, we do have a unique take on how to corral it that both the breeders and the non-breeders among us can implement.

By Kristin Varela | December 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Lincoln Navigator: Car Seat Check

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Lincoln's largest SUV got refreshed for 2015, but the Navigator's passenger and cargo volume are unchanged this year. Seating for eight is standard again, but our test model's optional second-row captain's chairs reduced capacity to seven. Accessible Latch anchors make the second row car-seat friendly, but the third row’s tether anchor position and lack of room complicated installation of our booster and forward-facing convertible.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

How many car seats fit in the third row? Two

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By Jennifer Geiger | December 9, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Honda CR-V: Car Seat Check

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Honda's compact crossover took home the top slot at Cars.com's $25,000 Compact SUV Shootout in 2012; how does the revised-for-2015 model measure up? The CR-V was lightly updated with styling and powertrain tweaks this year but interior dimensions remain the same, so its backseat still easily handles two child-safety seats thanks to plenty of space and easy-to-access Latch anchors, including a bonus extra anchor for the center seat.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Geiger | December 4, 2014 | Comments (0)

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