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News Archive

DOT Press Release: Good News and More Good News!

The press release last Friday from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is big news for the CPS community.  Apparently, NHTSA has been ordered to develop a side impact safety standard for child restraints.  Finally!  Now, there’s no telling how long it will take NHTSA to come to a consensus on what the standard will be, how it will be implemented and when child restraints will be required to meet it.  Still, at least the ball is starting to roll on this issue. 

Transporting Special Needs Children? It’s EZ with the Roosevelt

The Roosevelt has been at a number of conferences and shows over the last few years, including the Lifesavers conference we just attended.  It doesn’t get a lot of publicity, because it’s a rather expensive model intended for special health care needs.  It does, however, have some more mainstream applications.  For example, it has an upper weight limit of 115 pounds, maximum height of 62 inches and a top harness slot of over 22″.  That alone makes it one of the only options for older kids in the top few percentiles of weight or height who may not be ready for a booster or seatbelt.

Special needs child restraints serve a very important purpose, from preemies to teenagers who can’t use a conventional carseat for any of a number of reasons.  Just as there are specialty seats for this purpose, there are many specially certified technicians who have taken an extra course to be familiar with these issues.  Working with you, your child and their physician or therapist, a special needs tech can help create a personalized transportation plan. 

Do you have a child with special health care needs and have questions on what to do when transporting them in your vehicle?  Our discussion forums at Car-Seat.Org now have a special forum for this purpose (and also for issues involving alternative transportation like school buses and aircraft).  It is monitored by around a dozen certified technicians who have taken the special needs transportation course.  The forum is overseen by a course instructor who works with special health care needs patients in a hospital setting.  Please feel free to browse or ask a question!  No registration is required, though questions from unregistered guests may take some time before they are approved and appear to the public.

New Recaro Signo Recall

RECARO North America, Inc. is recalling certain Signo child restraint assemblies manufactured from February through September 2008. The central front adjuster strap on some seats may slip within the metal adjuster (A-Lock) that controls tightness of the harness, thereby preventing the harness from being properly tightened. If this condition existed and a vehicle crash occurred, the child would not be properly secured in their child restraint system and may sustain injury. RECARO will notify owners and replace any defective child restraint system free of charge. The recall is expected to begin during March 2009. Owners can contact RECARO customer service toll-free at 1-888-473-2290.

At this point, this is the only information that we have.  We weren’t able to find any additional information on Recaro’s website at the moment but we’ll continue to post additional details when they become available. 

In the mean time, if you own a Recaro Signo that was manufacturered from 2/2008 – 9/2008 please check your harness straps to make sure there isn’t any obvious slippage.  

Britax, Safe Kids & NHTSA Responses to Tribune Article

From Britax:

3/2/2009
The Chicago Tribune published a story Sat., Feb 28th that covered the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) tests. In this article, the reporter raises concerns about the highway-speed safety of car seats. The purpose of NHTSA’s NCAP tests are to test the performance of cars in frontal collisions to provide carmakers and consumers with information about the performance of vehicles – not child seats.

Britax welcomes any changes to current federal standards that work toward furthering child safety. For example, we fully embrace NHTSA’s efforts to encourage parents to use a five-point harness and keep their children in rear-facing positions for as long as possible. We also support NHTSA’s effort to implement side impact testing as a part of the federal standard, and have shared our own side impact testing practices with them. We look forward to working with NHTSA to continually advance the standards child seats are held to, and the protection they offer.

 

From Safe Kids:

Are Car Seats Safe?

 

An article in the March 1, 2009 edition of the Chicago Tribune suggested that unpublicized government crash tests from 2008 may have revealed “flaws” in car seats. While the details of the tests are still unclear, one thing remains undisputed: car seats save children’s lives every day. It is critical that parents and caregivers continue to use car seats for their children.

Correctly used car seats and booster seats are extremely effective, reducing the risk of death in a crash by as much as 71 percent. And the number of children killed in crashes over the past 30 years has dropped significantly, mostly due to the widespread use of car seats and enhanced child passenger safety laws.

Safe Kids USA always puts children and their safety first. Despite the report in the Tribune, the car seats on the market today are still the best, proven way to protect children in the event of a crash. Parents should continue to buckle their children in the right car seat or booster seat on every ride.

Safe Kids believes that more testing for car seats and vehicles can only continue to advance the child passenger safety field and improve the level of protection we can offer children when they ride. The more we know about car seats and how they react in crashes, the better equipped we will be to push for new technology and improvements that will keep children safer.

But there are a few important things a parent can do today to make sure their child is getting the best protection when using a car seat or booster seat:

  • Always use the right restraint for your child’s height, weight and developmental age.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions that came with the car seat.
  • Make sure your car seat and vehicle work together. For example, the largest car seat on the market may not fit in a compact car as well as a smaller car seat. Remember all seats meet the same Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
  • Get help installing your seat the right way. Find a Safe Kids car seat checkup event at http://www.safekidsweb.org/events/events.asp. A certified car seat technician will guide you to the right seat for your child and vehicle and teach you how to install it correctly.
  • All children under 13 should ride in a backseat.

 

 

NHTSA Statement on Review of Federal Standards for Child Safety Seats

March 2, 2009. At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the safety of infants and children is vitally important.

That is why parents and caregivers alike can be assured that correctly placing your child in a safety seat in the rear of the vehicle is absolutely the best protection against serious or fatal injury in a crash.

Every single child seat on the market today meets our rigorous safety standards, without exception. Our standards mean that each and every child seat on the market must withstand a crash test that replicates the forces found in nearly 99 percent of all crashes involving infants.

Though current standards are exceedingly tough, the agency is always looking at ways to make highway travel even safer for children. Accordingly, NHTSA has launched a top to bottom review of current child safety seat standards. That review will be swift and thorough.

Meanwhile, the parents of America need not be alarmed about the safety of children while riding in the family car.

Unsafe Infant Child Seats Found in Crash Tests? Don’t Panic. Yet.

As you may know, the Chicago Tribune recently revealed data from some testing done by the government on infant car seats.  This wasn’t the usual sled testing used to pass child restraint models for sale to consumers.  It was a new type of testing done for research in conjunction with the NCAP testing of new vehicles by the NHTSA, something not required for child seats.  Are the flaws a major concern?  Is this important for the safety of your baby?  Is it another Consumer Reports type of blunder with improper test methods, leading to hysteria among parents?  Perhaps somewhere in between?

I’m out of town on a short trip, but Heather and Kecia are working round-the-clock to sort through all the fine details!  Stay tuned this week for the 411 on what you really need to know about crash tests and infant carrier and base child seat models from Graco, Combi and others.  In the mean time, federal officials interested in a long-overdue update of their standards might read our blog from last year on the subject of inadequate testing:

http://carseatblog.com/?p=121