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Carseat Check Events – The Pre-Check Meeting for CPS Technicians and Instructors

Carseat Check EventIt’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 to gather your technicians for a quick briefing. 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 the technicians who work events with me:

  • 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 judgmental and respect the parent or caregiver’s choices as long as they are legal.
  • Read the CR instruction manuals or look them up (online or DVD from Safety Belt Safe, USA)
  • Ask the parent “tell me what you know about this seat”. It’s a great place to start and they might teach you something you didn’t already know.
  • 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.
  • Teach parents how to secure the carseat with their vehicle seatbelt system even if the carseat is currently being installed with LATCH. It’s probably the only opportunity they’ll ever get to understand how the seatbelts in their vehicle lock for proper installation of a carseat.
  • Higher-weight harness seats – must check 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?”
  • Have parents do final install (or at least help).
  • Document EVERYTHING! Especially any “tough choices” made by parent/caregiver. Make sure you note in your paperwork that parent did final install, how the CR was secured in the vehicle and that education was provided.
  • No vehicle leaves without a second set of eyes (experienced) checking it over!

REMINDER – if the carseat or infant seat base has a lockoff device, you should use it for installations with seatbelt unless there is some compelling reason not to do so. Generally speaking, if using the lockoff – do NOT switch the retractor to locked (ALR) mode. Check carseat owner’s manual for details. Note: in these cases it is recommended that you show parents how the switchable retractor works anyway – in case their next carseat does not have a lockoff.

REMINDER – all vehicles made after 1996 have seatbelts that pre-crash lock in some way. Most lap/shoulder belts have switchable retractors but if you encounter a lap/shoulder belt in a vehicle made after 1996 that has an ELR retractor only (it doesn’t “switch”) then you probably have a locking latchplate. Locking latchplates aren’t always obvious and there are many different versions. Test the latchplate by buckling yourself in the seatbelt and pulling up on the lap belt portion of the belt. If it’s cinched and doesn’t loosen when you pull up on it – you have a locking latchplate.

Carseat Check Road SignThere 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.

2015 Britax G4.1 Convertibles and ClickTight Convertibles Comparison

Britax logo Greetings from the ABC Kids Expo! We knew our readers would be interested in comparison photos of the 2015 Britax G4.1 convertibles and the new ClickTight convertibles.

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G4.1 Convertible Updates: 

Lower LATCH anchor limits will change

  • Roundabout G4.1, Marathon G4.1 and Blvd G4.1 – Rear-facing up to 40 lbs. (unchanged from current G4 models); Forward-facing up to 50 lbs. with LATCH (after that you must use seatbelt to install seat)
  • Advocate G4.1 - Rear-facing up to 40 lbs (unchanged from current G4 models); Forward-facing up to 45 lbs. with LATCH (after that you must use seatbelt to install seat)

SafeCell branding: Roundabout & Marathon will be “Complete”; Boulevard “Complete Plus”; Advocate “Complete Max”

Shorter tether strap length (extenders will be available for rare cases where strap isn’t long enough to reach tether anchor)

Boulevard G4.1 and Boulevard ClickTight:

Pictured below are the 2015 Britax Boulevard G4.1 (red) and the new Britax Boulevard ClickTight (green).

Britax G4 and ClickTight  Britax G4 vs ClickTight front

Britax G4 vs ClickTight back to back  Britax G4 vs ClickTight side

Britax G4 vs ClickTight top 2  Britax G4 vs ClickTight top

As you can see the shape of the shell is different but overall the new ClickTight Boulevard isn’t wider than the current Boulevard G4 model.

Quick Comparison of G4, G4.1 and ClickTight Specs:

All Britax convertibles (G4, G4.1 and CT models) are rated from 5-40 lbs. rear-facing

G4 and G4.1 models are outgrown rear-facing by height once the child’s head is 1″ from the top of the shell (not the headwings)

All ClightTight models are outgrown rear-facing by height once the child’s head is 1″ from the top of the headwings (Note: Boulevard  CT and Advocate CT models are taller than the Marathon CT model)

All Britax convertibles (with the exception of Roundabout) are rated from 20-65 forward-facing and up to 49″ tall.

ClightTight models have taller top harness slots than G4 and G4.1 models.

Finally, an update to our earlier previews with a forward-facing ClickTight installation.  (Rear-facing install shown in our previews linked below)

For more detailed info on the new ClightTight convertibles see our previous posts on the subject:

Rear-Facing Space Comparison: Britax G4 Convertibles vs. New Britax ClickTight Convertibles

Britax Marathon, Boulevard & Advocate ClickTight Preview: Game Changers for Installation, and Rear-Facing Too?

More on New Britax Advocate, Marathon and Boulevard ClickTight: Sneak Peek Review

 

Pre-Order Britax ClickTight convertibles at Amazon.com

Pre-Order Britax ClickTight convertibles at Albee Baby

The 2014 JPMA Innovation Award Nominees – including a sneak peek at the new CYBEX Cloud Q Infant Carseat!

2014 Parents Pick Award

http://babysafetyzone.org/2014-parents-pick-award

Voting ends today at 5:00 p.m

Carseat Nominees:

Cybex Cloud Q - JPMA stockCYBEX Cloud Q Infant Carseat - The first infant car seat here in the U.S that can recline completely when used on its stroller, becoming a carry cot. A mechanism allows the backrest to recline completely, and the foot end of the seat flattens out and extends to support baby. Like the current Aton 2 and Aton Q models – the Cloud Q comes with the LSP system (Linear Side-Impact Protection) and a Load Leg on the base.

The Cybex Cloud Q Infant Carseat will officially debut at ABC Expo in a few days and we promise to get the full scoop for you as soon as possible!

Stay tuned because there will be ABC updates posted to the blog starting on Saturday evening. As you probably already know facebook is random and unreliable (you might not see our posts in your newsfeed) so make sure you check the blog regularly for updates if you don’t want to be the last to know about all the exciting new and improved products at the show!

Rear-Facing Space Comparison: Britax G4 Convertibles vs. New Britax ClickTight Convertibles

Today we wrapped up the 10th annual Kidz in Motion (KIM) Conference in beautiful, sunny, New Mexico. It was another great conference and a good time was had by all. While I was here I had the opportunity to do some comparison testing of the current G4 Britax convertible models and the brand new Britax ClickTight convertibles that now available for pre-order. I was particularly interested in seeing how the seats compared side-by-side when installed rear-facing.

The vehicle used for this comparison was a 2014 Dodge Charger. Both the driver seat and the front passenger seat were set in the same positions at the same recline angle in order to accurately compare how much room each seat took up while rear-facing. On one side we installed the Britax Boulevard G4, on the other side we installed the new Britax Boulevard ClickTight. Both seats were installed with seatbelt.

Britax Blvd G4 and Blvd CT

Since the new ClickTight convertible models have 7 recline positions that can be used to achieve an appropriate recline, I took several different measurements so you can have an idea of how these new seats will fit rear-facing in backseats as compared with the Britax G4 convertible models which have a reputation for fitting exceptionally well in tight spaces.

Installed at a recline angle appropriate for a newborn or young baby with the headrest in a low height setting- the Boulevard ClickTight model took up approximately 3/4 of an inch (.75″) more room than the G4 model did. That’s still better (space wise) than most other convertibles currently on the market.