Carpool Lanes and Kids

wooden dummy screen shotI’ve long teased my kids that the only reason I had them was to be able to use the carpool lanes during rush hour. And while they’re a lifelong commitment for a minor convenience, it’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable using the carpool lanes with them as my passengers in the car. I wonder why that is, especially in our society where cops see broomsticks with fake heads and blow-up dolls as passengers.

Long before we had carpool lanes (aka high-occupancy vehicle–HOV–lanes) in my city, we used to have to travel down to Phoenix every other week while my son had his DOC band adjusted (for plagiocephaly). Phoenix, being a modern city, had carpool laneshov and I so wanted to use them but it seemed odd to declare my 8 month old as my 2nd passenger. He couldn’t be seen through the tinting in my van’s windows, so I could very easily have been pulled over wasting both my time and the police officer’s. I never used the carpool lane.

I guess I determined that my children were worthy carpool lane passengers when their heads could be seen through the back window. I have tinting, but you can still see shapes through it. It seemed too much of a risk for me until then. I’ve only received one ticket in my driving career and I don’t mind saying it was for hitting a parked car 6 weeks after I got my driver’s license (a well-deserved ticket that the police officer hesitantly wrote, as I recall). We all do stupid things when we’re 16, right? Like throw toilet paper at future husbands and their friends while driving? Yeah.

When do you feel kids become full-on carpool lane-worthy passengers? Is there a law in your state that dictates an age? Do you even use the carpool lane?


New seats added to the “Ultimate Rear-Facing Convertible Carseat Space Comparison”!

Evenflo Momentum - RF space comparisonOur Ultimate Rear-Facing Convertible Carseat Space Comparison is one of our most popular reference articles and I’m pleased to report that it has been recently updated. We now have space grades and data for the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85, Evenflo Momentum & Safety 1st Advance EX 65 Air+ (that’s the newest Advance model with the 50 lbs. rear-facing weight limit). All in all, there are now over 30 higher-weight convertible seats that have been evaluated and graded in our comparison. I’m hoping to add data on the Clek Fllo in the near future.

As we pointed out in the original article – there are so many variables that go into every carseat/vehicle compatibility scenario that it’s impossible to accurately predict which seat is going to be the “best” convertible for rear-facing *your* child in *your* vehicle. The complexity of the situation is amplified by the plethora of options and features available on various convertibles. Still, it was our intention here at CarseatBlog to put together a comprehensive comparison that would serve as a resource for parents and caregivers searching for an extended-use convertible that would keep their rear-facing toddler or older child safe and comfortable without sacrificing the safety and comfort of the driver and/or front seat passenger.


Mythbusters – You need an infant carseat for a newborn!

Presenting to you, another “episode” of CarseatBlog Mythbusting! This week we explore a common myth that plagues many first time parents.

Myth: You’re having a baby, therefore you need to buy an infant car seat.

We see it everywhere. The endless travel systems, the accessories to make it easier to carry that bulky infant seat without breaking your forearm, the preselected registries. It’s no wonder those who are first entering into the world of transporting babies haven’t even thought there was an alternative. And let’s face it, babies are portable, infant seats are portable, so they go hand in hand nicely.

Just grab and go!

Just grab and go!

Confirmed, plausible, or busted?

In a 3 year study done by the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, 28.6% of infants spent between 1.5-4 hours a day in either a car seat or swing. This study was done between 1998 and 2000, and we all know the increase and abundance of travel systems has gone up quite a bit since then! As a society, we spend so much time in the car. When using an infant seat, the convenience of taking it in and out of the car instead of removing the baby while running errands is surely a luxury, but when you add up the hours the infant has spent in that infant seat, it may be startling.

Most infant seats are heavy. Heavy being a relative term but when you add an infant older than a few months, it’s like lugging around a bowling ball in a purse. They’re awkward, and do you ever think about how many weird visuals your baby has gotten when placed on the floor and looking up? It’s a world of knees and crotches!

Babies outgrow some infant seats relatively quickly. Lots of people find it difficult to squeeze a convertible into the budget after purchasing an infant seat only to use it for less than a year. Skipping the infant seat altogether can save money!

A convertible seat is definitely an option. While not all fit small or new babies well, there are some great candidates! Here is our list of recommended convertibles for infants. They stay in the car and you can either wear your baby in a carrier or place them in a stroller. Most strollers on the market these days recline enough to be suitable for a floppy newborn. Some even reverse so baby faces you. It’s also a great way to get some use for that Snuzzler you got at your baby shower that you learned isn’t safe in a carseat!


Graco Size4Me Convertible with newborn

For lots of situations, an infant seat is best. Many of us hate waking a sleeping baby. However, given the multitude of carseat options, ways to carry your baby, and tons of great strollers, the idea of NEEDING an infant carseat is definitely BUSTED.


Don’t be afraid of us!

Sesame Street refers to a special group of people as “Community Helpers”. These people include those who chose careers that most people wouldn’t want/be able to do in order to serve their community, and typically don’t get compensated nearly enough for it in monetary terms. These people include firefighters, police officers, nurses, soldiers, teachers, etc.

Teach your child to honor and respect those who have made and continue to make their world safer.

Teach your child to honor and respect those who have made and continue to make their world safer.

I’m a nurse, and happy to be part of that group. I see more in a 12 hour shift than most people see in a life time. It’s pure, it’s raw, and it’s real. I see people at their worst and most vulnerable. I choose to take care of them regardless of who they are or what they’ve done or what secrets they are hiding.

I’ve been spit on, hit, pushed, cursed at, you name it. But you know what the worst thing is? The thing that hurts the most? Adults who use me to scare their children. There’s a child running up and down the halls of our unit and instead of saying, “Come here please, people are sick and we need to be quiet”, I hear, “Get over here or I’m gonna get that nurse to give you a shot”.

Unfortunately a large percentage of my job involves doing things that involve pain. Pain that is unpleasant but oftentimes necessary. Please don’t teach your children that is all we do and they should be afraid of us.

We are all here to serve you and protect you as well as your children. Telling them we will give them shots if they don’t listen or arrest them when they’re misbehaving isn’t fostering the feelings of trust we strive so hard to achieve.

Please, think of your community helpers. We do our jobs because we love you. And we love your kids. Teach your kids to love us too! Allowing them to feel safe around us may help save their lives one day.

Kids naturally want to pretend to be superheroes. Teach your kids that superheroes don't always wear capes and exist on TV. Sometimes they wear helmets or scrubs, and show up in our darkest hour. And they're real. Sorry Spiderman!

Kids naturally want to pretend to be superheroes. Teach your kids that superheroes don’t always wear capes and exist on TV. Sometimes they wear helmets or scrubs, and show up in our darkest hour. And they’re real. Sorry Spiderman!

Evenflo Extends Expiration Date on Transitions & Evolve Combination Seats to 8 Years

Evenflo Transitions - MercuryWe wanted to share this recent news update from Evenflo with our readers. Evenflo has extended the lifespan on their ADVANCED Transitions & Evolve Platinum Combination Seats to 8 years from the DOM (Date of Manufacture).

This change is retroactive so if you currently own a Transitions or Evolve seat and the DOM label states that it expires in the year 2021 – please make a note in your instruction manual that you can actually use your seat until 2023-xx-xx.

Evenflo Transitions - DOM sticker labeled

Evenflo has recently updated the expiration date for both Evenflo Transitions and Evenflo Evolve 3-in-1 combination seats. Initial production included labels with a 6-year expiration from date of manufacture, but due to the extended use of this seat, new labels will include an 8-year expiration from date of manufacture. Accordingly, your child’s Transitions or Evolve may be safely used for 8 years from the date of manufacture.

If you have any other questions, please contact ParentLink at 1-800-233-5921 (U.S.) or 1-937-773-3971 (Canada), MondayFriday, 8 am – 5 pm (EST). You can also contact us online at:  http://evenflo.com/Support/Contact_Us/.

Stay tuned for a full review of the Evenflo Transitions coming soon!