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What Does A Good CPS Tech Do?

I frequently read posts on various parent forums from moms and dads who have taken their vehicles and car seats to child passenger safety technicians to be inspected or installed.  They seem to either have glowing reviews of the tech with whom they worked or they were fuming about something the tech did or didn’t do.  So let’s go through the steps a good tech will take with a parent to ensure the car seat is installed and used properly.

You’ve Been Boo’d

This has become a Halloween tradition in my neighborhood and the kids have so much fun with it each year! My oldest has been Boo’ing his friends for about 5 years but this was the first year that my youngest, who’s 4 now, was able to join in the Boo’ing festivities. He had a blast but his giggling almost got us busted last night.

If you’re not already familiar with the game, let me explain how it works and what you need to get started.

What is Boo’ing? It’s a Halloween game where kids secretly leave treats on the doorsteps of their friends and neighbors. It’s up to the recipients to keep it going until Halloween.

How do you “Boo” someone? You need a bag of treats – preferably in a clear cellophane bag or wrapped in clear plastic Saran wrap so it’s obvious that it’s a treat and not something malicious or dangerous. You also need a “Boo” sheet with a picture of a ghost or something halloweenish explaining the rules of the game. The sheet can be double sided with the “We’ve Been Boo’d” sign on one side and the “You’ve Been Boo’d” instructions on the other side. Or, you can use 2 separate sheets of paper. You can even draw a picture and handwrite the instructions:

1.  Enjoy your Treat!

2.  Place the “We’ve Been Boo’d” sign on your front door.

3.  Within 24 hours – make 2 copies of this note, the “We’ve Been Boo’d” sign and 2 treat bags.

4.  Secretly deliver to 2 neighbors/friends without a Boo sign on their door. Don’t get caught!

5.  Keep an eye on nearby front doors to see how far and fast it spreads by Halloween!

Last night we dressed in black hoodies, waited until dark and then the kids and I snuck around to some neighborhood homes and Boo’d some friends. The kids like to hide and watch instead of running away so we pick a hiding location first, then we set down the treat bag on top of the paper, ring the doorbell and RUN! Our first mission went well. The intended recipient came to the door, looked around bewildered, then spotted the loot. Success!

The second house was more complicated. They had a lot of stairs leading up to the front door so we knew that we had to get down them quickly (and safely) to get to our hiding spot on the side of the house. Our first attempt was a bust because either the door bell didn’t ring or they didn’t hear it. We tried again. This time we knocked loudly and ran. The mom came to the door, saw no one and went back inside without seeing the loot on the doorstep! So my oldest went back to knock again while the little guy and I waited by the side of the house. Third time was the charm! She came to the door again and this time she saw the loot bag and the note. The little one was giggling so hard that I thought we were going to get caught! Actually, we did get busted – by the dog! LOL! When she opened the door the second time, their toy poodle bolted outside and immediately saw our shadows lurking by the side of the house. At first I was a little nervous since I didn’t know how the dog would react to us. But it just came over to jump on us in a friendly way before it ran back inside. Someday I have to tell her what a lousy guard dog she has!

Happy Boo’ing!

You've Been Boo'd instructions We've Been Boo'd

Fun Fun FUNtainers!

We’ve had a problem for the longest time with beverage containers.  My dd doesn’t drink juice (yay for her!), so the only drink I’ve been able to send with her to school in her lunches is water.  Well, those pull-top lids were impossible for a pre-K/Kindy kid to open so we resorted to a twist top water bottle that we washed and reused.  The only problem was that it leaked.  And bad.  Every month or so the leaking would get so bad that we’d replace the bottle and start over.  It just never occurred to me to look for a permanent “Thermos”, as we used to call them in the good ol’ days, because I figured a) she’d lose it and b) she wouldn’t be able to open it on her own.  I’ve heard about the FUNtainers, but never paid attention to the threads on car-seat.org about them because I figured they were more like sippy cups for the younger crowd.  Then I went to the Thermos area at the ABC Kids Show and actually saw a FUNtainer and practically begged for 2 samples: one for my dd and one for my ds.

Where do they grow these kids?

Booster until age 8 stickerWe’ve all seen it before. I’m talking about the information in pamphlets and flyers regarding kids and booster seats. Most read like this: Kids should remain in booster seats until they are at least 8 years old, unless they are 4’9″ tall.

Excuse me? I don’t know where this age 8 came from but where I live we don’t see too many kids who are almost 5 feet tall at 8 years or younger. I’m sure they’re out there but seriously, most 2nd and 3rd Graders are NOT the size of small adults. So what gives?

Honestly, I have no idea why it’s so common to see age 8 listed as the magic number when kids can graduate to the adult seatbelt. Yes, I realize that it often says “at least 8″ but trust me when I say that it’s not the “at least” part that most parents remember. Most don’t even remember the 4’9″ part of the message. So where does that magic #8 come from? They sure aren’t referencing the CDC growth charts!

Maybe it’s a social change thing. We’re still getting a lot of parents used to the idea that their 6 and 7 year olds need a booster. Perhaps we’re worried that we’ll turn them off completely and they’ll think we’re all nuts if we tell them the truth. And age 8 seems like a reasonable number for most parents to ditch the booster seat, right?

Wrong.

Most 8 year old kids do not fit safely in the adult seatbelt of most vehicles. Sure, there are always exceptions, like some 3rd row seats which are clearly designed with smaller people in mind. But generally speaking, most kids do not actually pass the 5-Step Test until they are at least 57″ (4’9″ tall). For many kids even 57″ tall isn’t tall enough to get optimal belt fit.

Now, let’s have a look at those handy-dandy CDC growth charts. An 8 year old boy who measures in the 95th percentile for both weight and height is 35kg (77 lbs) and 54″ tall.  And an 8 year old boy who measures in the 50th percentile for weight and height is 25kg (55 lbs) and 50″ tall. According to the growth charts – a boy who measures in the 95th percentile for height won’t hit 4’9″ (57″) until he is 9 years old. That kid in the 50th percentile won’t get there until he’s 11. And a kid in the 10th percentile for height will be 13 before they reach 4’9″.

So I’d like to know where they grow these huge 8 year olds that everyone seems to be talking about? Our dearly departed mascot, Marvin, would have said it sounds a little fishy.