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Mythbusting: LATCH vs Seatbelt Installation

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In this episode of CarseatBlog Mythbusting, we look at the common perception that LATCH installations are safer than seat belt installations.

Myth: For the safest installation, install your carseat using the LATCH system, not the seat belt.

As most people know, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) is touted to be the easiest and most simple way to install your child’s car seat. Because it’s somewhat “new” and is more frequently mentioned, a lot of people just assume it is safer to use the lower anchors and tether instead of the seat belt and tether (when indicated).

 Evenflo Momentum - tethered

The LATCH system was designed to simplify car seat installation, which in theory would reduce the risk of the seat being installed incorrectly. Simply put, the easier it is, the more likely someone will get it right. A correctly installed car seat is a safe car seat. Seat belts can be finicky at times and the different types of locking mechanisms can be confusing. However, it’s not so cut and dry. LATCH systems are differently placed in different cars. Some are extremely easy to access, and some are buried deep and almost impossible to reach. Not all cars have lower LATCH anchors in the center seating position, and many people prefer to install in the center so the child is furthest from any point of impact. In fact, one of the most common statements I hear from parents is, “I installed the carseat on the side instead of the center because my car does not have LATCH in the center and I was told LATCH is safer”. Add in the new LATCH weight limits and things get really hairy.

A carseat installed correctly with a seat belt (and tether, if forward-facing) is just as safe as a carseat installed correctly with the LATCH system of lower anchors and a top tether. In some cars, the lower LATCH anchors are buried and it is easier to get a proper install with a seat belt. In other cars, the anchors may be beautifully easy to access and it’s quicker to click, tighten, and go. It really depends on your vehicle, your child, and your car seat. One method triumphing another in terms of overall safety is false. Consider this myth busted!

LATCH_sketch

Note: Most infant seat bases and rear-facing convertibles are installed using just the lower anchors. Forward-facing seats are installed using the tether too.

Mythbusters – You need an infant carseat for a newborn!

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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!

GracoSize4Me70newborn2

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!

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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!

The Top 5 List of Shame.

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Let’s face it, kids are honest. To a fault at times. We’ve all had the embarrassing moments  where we want to disappear.

One of Liam’s latest gems involves movies.  I rented Neighbors on the RedBox last week and Liam asked if he could watch it. I told him no, because it was a movie for adults. He asked why, and I said because it had stuff not appropriate for kids. He said, “Oh, like not pooping in toilets? That’s inappropriate and so is talking about poop”. I just ignored it while he cracked himself up. Fast forward to later that day, we were in Target and he points out some cardboard cut out with a Frozen movie character. The employee standing nearby goes, “Oh, are you a big Frozen fan?” Liam says, “Well, I like Toy Story better but my mom doesn’t like Frozen. She only likes adult movies where they poop everywhere.”

Cue awkward silence.

Starting preschool has opened a whole new world to the embarrassing moment files. And often, it doesn’t even involve your kid directly. I actually do a fairly decent job of embarrassing myself without the help of my spawn. So here we go, a top 5 list of embarrassing moments in preschool.

1) Forgetting all your kid’s basic info. I wrote down my birthday instead of Liam’s on his preschool paperwork. To be fair, we have the same date, but I put 1985 instead of 2010. So for awhile, they had a 28 (at the time) year old preschooler. At least by 28 you can wipe your own bottom, right? Then, to add insult to injury, I was asked when Declan’s birthday was and I was off by 3 days. Oops.

2) Forgetting your kid altogether. Do you know how many times I’ve run errands with just the baby while Liam was in school and when I turned around to back out the parking space, saw his empty car seat and had a brief moment of panic that I left him inside Target somewhere? More times than I’m going to admit on this public blog, that’s for sure.

3) The awkward drop off. You know, the kind where you are straggling in 15 minutes late. The baby is in pajamas, your jeans are from yesterday (and the day before? Shhhh!!!) and have dried yogurt on the leg, the other kid has a permanent scowl on his face because he couldn’t finish playing before it was time to leave, you say hi to people without actually looking them in the eye because you’re trying to stay awake. Yeah. Actually, we aren’t rude or homeless. Just perpetually late. There is no way we are going to make the 7:15am drop off for kindy next year.

4) Not knowing anyone’s name. It’s bad, really bad. Everyone is Susie’s mom or John’s dad. Even as the contact in your phone. Maybe it’s just me being terrible with names but I’m hoping I’m not the only one. Then, you pass the timeframe where it’s still appropriate to ask what their name is. When you’ve been to the park multiple times and chatted for awhile and know the names and ages of all each other’s kids..yeah, it’s too late. Your time has passed. You are going to still be friends with them 5 years later and there’s going to come a time where they will catch you trying to sneak a look at the pile of mail on their counter, desperately trying to see what their name is. Explain that one. That’s right, you can’t. So don’t let the time frame pass you!

5) The Michael Jackson. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say pretty much all kids have gone through this, but moms of boys will probably understand better. All the kids are standing together nicely doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and there’s yours absent mindedly grabbing his crotch like it’s covered in ants. I gave up worrying about it awhile ago but there is something fairly awkward about introducing yourself to another mom, “Hi! I’m Alicia. My son is Liam…he’s that one over there. Yes, the one in the dinosaur shirt scratching his behind while trying to lick his own nose.” Classic.

I guess all we can do is write it all down, then give it to them later in life. So they can say, “Thanks mom. Thanks for dragging your sleep deprived, sour yogurt wearing butt to school so you can talk to nameless people while I go against social decency. I’m a happy, functioning adult now that no longer grabs himself in public. I love you!”

Yes, I have the kid that won't even stop being wild for a 2 second photo.

Yes, I have the kid that won’t even stop being wild for a 2 second photo.