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Made ya look!

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When we hear the term “distracted driving” we usually think of people texting or talking on the phone when driving. There’s been many campaigns against the two, especially texting. We all know texting while driving is stupid, so don’t do it. But what about other distractions? There is always going to be some element of distraction when you are driving; it’s just part of life. That’s why it’s so important to drive defensively, be aware of your surroundings, and keep tabs on multiple things. If you think about it, driving is full of multi-tasking. You’re always listening (is that a fire truck coming up behind me?) and watching. You should be watching multiple things. The traffic signals, your position on the road, your route, the car in front of you, and if you are turning you may be watching for oncoming traffic in one direction and potential pedestrians in another. So what happens when we add in more items to occupy our attention, maybe items that aren’t conducive to driving?

We’ve already acknowledged phone use. What about the radio? “Not Taylor Swift AGAIN!”- click. Click. Click. Still trying to find a song that doesn’t make you stabby. Your eyes are on the road. But is your brain? What about food? Are you eating? I’m guilty of this. I leave my house for work at 6am and believe me, I like to eke out every last minute of sleep. Therefore I usually end up nomming on a cereal bar while driving. Simple bars are pretty easy to mindlessly eat but I’ve seen people dipping french fries while driving. How many of you have seen women putting on make up in traffic? Am I the only one that envisions her lightly tapping the brakes and sending her eye pencil through her cornea?

Kids. For the love of everything holy, the kids. Endless talking, crying, kicking of your seat. Liam, bless his heart, screamed for the duration of every car ride from birth to 18 months. It’s seriously a miracle I didn’t drive over a bridge. For those of you with babies that are currently doing this, my heart goes out to you. I promise it does end. Stay away from bridges.

Seriously though, your kids are probably the most distracting “items” in your car. The grabbing of a dropped sippy cup or toy at a red light. Handing them snacks. Turning around to threaten them with removal of everything near and dear to them if they aren’t quiet this instant! So what can you do? Not much. Sure, you can give them busy books or play music or let them watch the evil DVD players. But I guarantee you they’re still back there, taunting you.

We can’t completely rid ourselves of distractions. It’s life. But we can take action to minimize them as much as possible. Eat before you leave your house or when you arrive to your destination. Set your GPS before you start driving, not while you are leaving your neighborhood.  Ladies, you’re beautiful the way you are without a pencil through your eyeball. Keep your car neat and clean with everything in a visible place so you aren’t rummaging at red lights to see if you remembered to bring whatever it is you need.

Think about your distractions. Think about what you can do to minimize or remove them. You’re worth it, your kids are worth it, and your friends on the road are worth it. Remember, you’re only as safe at the most distracted driver out there. If that isn’t an incentive to spread the word, I don’t know what is.

The good ol’ days.

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The car seat world has really come a long way. The advancements and options are incredible compared to what we had even 5 years ago. What was out of reach for many people years ago has become standard now. We still have a long way to go and many people to help and educate but in the grand scheme of things, things are really looking up for child passenger safety.

That being said, there is one thing from “back in the day” that I wish hadn’t disappeared. It’s not the overhead shield. Not the 20lb limit. Nope. It’s the cute covers. Today it’s totally cool to be neutral and match the car interior. Which is fine if you’re into that kind of thing. But for those of us who prefer bright and fun, we miss it. Sure, there’s a few seats out there with some aqua, green, orange, or red accents. But what about the patterns? Fun prints? For me, an out-of-this-world-everything-I-could-ask-for car seat would still go down a couple notches on my Cool Meter if it was only available in black, gray, and tan. Or maybe a mix of the three. With some wallpaper-like dots that look like they should be on my grandmother’s shoes. If my grandmother were still here. See? A gray seat that just makes me miss my grandmother and her ancient shoes! Not cool.

Remember old school Britax? Oh my. I’m embarrassed of my collection of covers I can’t even use anymore. I hang on to them in hopes of someday. Fido. Jonah. Popsicle. Barnum. The list goes on. Really, the only one that’s survived is Cowmoo, which don’t get me wrong, I love me some Cowmooflauge. But how do puppy prints, whales, and adorable rainbow patterns go out of style for kids? We didn’t have whales on our car interior back then. What changed?

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Sure there’s been lots of cute pink/purple flowery patterns that Cosco, Evenflo, and Britax have released (and possibly more companies I’m failing to mention). But there are more cute things in life than flowers!

Let’s put shoes for the elderly on hold and bring back some puppies.

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.