Check picIt’s the day of the big carseat check event.  The traffic cones are out, the updated recall lists have been printed and the LATCH Manuals are ready for action.  But wait!  Before those parents and caregivers begin to arrive – it’s time for a quick staff meeting.  This may be the most important 10 minutes of the whole event so don’t skip it.  The pre-check meeting will outline expectations, procedures and protocols.  In short, the pre-check meeting sets the tone for the entire event. 

Each event coordinator has different expectations and pre-check meetings can vary widely.  However, here is a general list of what I expect of technicians who work events with me:

  • Look up every vehicle in the current edition of the LATCH Manual.  It only takes 30 seconds and you’ll never know what you might find unless you actually look.
  • Use SBS USA Summary Sheets to manage your limited time effectively and to ensure that you don’t miss anything important.
  • Always encourage best practice recommendations.  If you don’t give the parents or caregivers the information then you’re essentially taking away their ability to make informed choices.  However, don’t be judgemental and respect the parent or caregiver’s choices.
  • Document EVERYTHING!
  • Have parents do final install (or at least help).
  • Teach parents how to secure a CR with their vehicle seatbelt systems even if the CR is currently being installed with LATCH.  
  • HWH seats – must check vehicle LATCH limits and note the info for parents.
  • Inform parents of the most appropriate “next step” for the child.
  • Don’t forget to ask “who else rides in this vehicle?”
  • No vehicle leaves without a second set of (experienced) eyes checking it over.        

There are other protocols in place regarding CR replacement, technician to vehicle ratios, verification of installs for tech recertification, etc., but those vary from check to check depending on the circumstances.  Safe Kids coalitions have specific protocols that must be followed at all events but for those CPS programs (like mine), that are not affiliated with Safe Kids – it’s really up to the person in charge to make sure that the necessary resources are available and the CPS Techs staffing the event are all on the same page.