Angel Guard Products, Inc., made it official in March that it has discontinued its Angel Ride Infant Car Bed. The announcement confirmed the fears of regular customers, who had noted with concern that the product was unavailable for the past several months.
Over the past several years, the Angel Ride Infant Car Bed was an important transportation solution for many newborns who, in predischarge testing, were prone to heartrate and/or breathing problems if seated semi-reclined in a regular CR. It was one of only three car beds available in the U.S., and the only one that required only one vehicle seat for installation. Made just for preemies and low birthweight babies, it allowed use from birth to a child size of 9 pounds and 21.5 inches. It made no limitation on how small an occupant could be, other than to say that the harness must fit properly. This made it uniquely useful for many NICU discharges, since the other car beds require infants to be at least 4.5 or 5 pounds, and very few regular CRs allow use by infants under 4 pounds. (Currently available models include Combi Shuttle, which allows use from birth, and Combi Coccoro, which allows use beginning at 3 pounds.)
Angel Guard is aware of the important niche that the Angel Ride filled, and in an announcement letter to customers, it expressed how difficult the decision to end production was to make. Recognizing that its valued customers would want to know the rationale behind this decision, the company stated:
“Our decision is based on a number of factors. First and foremost, this is a highly unique specialty product and the growing cost of quality product liability insurance for specialty infant products has grown to be prohibitive. Additionally, the low production volume nature of this specialty product has made it increasingly difficult to source the highly specialized components in the small quantities needed. The ever expanding regulatory environment also necessitates costly testing and on-going compliance support. Finally, new entries into the car seat market that accommodate lower birth weight infants have reduced the demand for the car bed.”
Angel Rides in good condition that are currently in use may continue to be used until the expiration date stamped on the bottom of the car bed is reached. As with any discontinued technology, it is possible that the Angel Ride, or a similar product based on it, could be reintroduced by another company at some point in the future. SRN believes this is likely to occur and will report as news is announced.
UPDATE: Car Bed Coming Back (SRN Sept/Oct 2018)
Merritt Manufacturing has told SRN that it is working to bring the former Angel Ride Car Bed back to market. As reported in the May/June issue, this model was discontinued by Angel Guard earlier this year, leaving a gap in CR options for infants who cannot ride in a semi-reclined position without having breathing and/or heartrate problems, but who are otherwise ready for hospital discharge.
Specific timing, model name, and pricing were not available at press time. SRN will report fully when the car bed is released.