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Parenting Archive

Confused about the new AAP carseat & booster recommendations? START HERE!

Welcome to CarseatBlog.com!  You’re here so you’ve obviously heard about the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding carseats and boosters.  Perhaps you saw something on the news today or read a comment on facebook.  You might be a little (or a lot) confused right now and are looking for some accurate info and helpful advice.  We’re here to help!  Consider us your tour guides in the confusing but wonderful world of Child Passenger Safety.

These are the new recommendations from the AAP:

  • Keep kids rear-facing until at least their 2nd Birthday (keeping them rear-facing beyond age 2 is fine also if they haven’t maxed out their convertible carseat in the rear-facing position by either weight or height).
  • Once the child has maxed out the convertible seat in the rear-facing position - turn them forward-facing but keep them in the 5-point harness until they reach the maximum weight or height limits for that particular seat.
  • Don’t rush to “graduate” kids into booster seats before it’s necessary but do use a booster seat once the child has legitimately outgrown the harnessed carseat.  Every seat has different weight or height limits so make sure you understand what those limits are for your seat(s).  Some child safety seats are “combination seats” which can be used initially with the 5-point harness and then the harness is removed after it’s outgrown and the seat is used as a booster using the vehicle’s adult seatbelt system (lap/shoulder belt).
  • Keep kids in a booster seat until they reach at least 4′ 9″ tall (57″) and the vehicle’s lap/shoulder seatbelt fits them properly.  See our blog on The 5-Step Test to help you determine if your older child can ride safely in your vehicle using just the seatbelt.
  • Keep kids out of the front seat until they are TEENAGERS  (and yes, we realize that most 9-11 year olds think they’re teenagers and may act accordingly but they are not actually teenagers and they need to sit in the back seat).  Truthfully, many of these tweens still need to use a booster in order for the seatbelt to fit them properly.  I know what many parents may say about this but I’ve been through this with my oldest child who is now almost 14 and please trust me when I say, “they’ll live”.  And if you’re unlucky enough to crash with them in the vehicle – they’ll live without potentially devastating internal injuries caused by an adult seatbelt that didn’t fit them properly or wasn’t worn properly.

To Worry or Not to Worry?

When it comes to carseats there are lots of things you do need to worry about like making sure the carseat is properly installed and that the harness straps are snug and positioned correctly.  But here’s a brief list of things that you DON’T need to worry about when it comes to rear-facing toddler and older kids:

Guest Blog: The latest, the greatest, and the safest.

I’ve always had to have the latest and greatest when it came to my family’s vehicles.  The new Sienna came out, and I was there.  Then the Odyssey Touring finally had my beloved (and often behated) 8th seat–guess what?  I was there!  And when you think about what vehicle manufacturer is hands-down considered creator of the safest fleet on the road, you think Volvo right?  Guess what DH drives?  Yup, I’m a safety geek through and through.

BLI to OAK via SEA

BLI to OAK via SEA

Our teenaged son will be driving next year, and I’ve spent hours, days, and perhaps even weeks, going through various safety ratings and reading reviews on all of the potential new driveway jewelry on his list.  I’m agonizing over all of the options, all the while balancing safety, fuel economy and style.  Is there a perfect car?  One that looks great, sips at the tank, AND can propel into a brick wall at 80mph without so much as a scratch on my beloved offspring?

But what could top that Volvo XC90 and Odyssey Touring in the driveway?  In fact, what vehicle could have me giving up my much-loved XC90 for something new?  What could be safer than Tank Volvo, right?  And why did I just travel 900 miles to find said vehicle?  Better yet–will I ever allow my teens to drive it?

Quassmobile

Quassmobile

We’ve had to make a few compromises.  Life is full of compromises.  Not everyone can afford the 2011 Odyssey Touring–some of us are stuck babying that 1995 Plunko Calciomamma with 7 passenger seating and 4 top tether anchors…for just a few more years. (Fingers crossed.)  The new Quassmobile has air conditioning and power doorlocks and windows–heck, it even has power mirrors.  But, a few things are missing–like top tethers.  It has none.  Zero.  Ziltch.  It’s also shy a few airbags as compared to my Odyssey–but what vehicle isn’t, right?  Okay, I have to admit–the Quassmobile is completely absent of airbagage.  Again–zero, ziltch..Naaada.

Mason w/ Porsche (Photo: Malcolm Parry, Vancouver Sun)

Mason w/ Porsche (Photo: Malcolm Parry, Vancouver Sun)

My new car is fun to drive, will tow the kids’ boat, and can navigate well off the beaten track.  Every dollar we’re able to bank by “downgrading” our vehicle is another dollar we can put towards buying the latest and greatest once again–but for the next chapter in our lives.  I gained the Quassmobile, and sometime in the next 12 months our oldest son will be behind the wheel of his own new car–and I full well anticipate that one will be nicknamed the Airbagmobile.

Child ID Labels for Car Seats

WHALE logoIn the July 2008 edition of SafetyBeltSafe News, there was an article about a woman in Oklahoma who wants all car seats to have occupant identification labels on them.  I think this is a great idea!  I’ve had make your own labels on my web site since before it became CarSeatSite.com–it just seems obvious to me that you’d want something on the seat identifying your child if you are incapacitated.

A Primer on Manual Reading

boringIt’s OK to admit.  Really it is.  Carseat manuals are boring to read.  Whenever I get a new carseat, I feel a rush of adrenaline, a high, if you will—a new carseat, yay!  I race to pull it out of the box to put it together.  The best carseats are those that go together without needing instructions.  Like backless boosters, lol!  The worst are the ones where you have to crack open the manual for assembly instructions.  Bummer!  I’ll never forget the panic I felt when I decided to raise the harness slot position on my son’s Airway 15 minutes before I was to leave to pick him up from preschool.  Those of you familiar with that seat know it takes much longer than 15 minutes to change the slot height (BTW, for a typical seat, changing slot height takes about a minute).  The manual was less than helpful in showing me how to remove the “blue harness anchor” from under the seat (wha???).  He was very patient that 108° afternoon as I finished it up in the parking lot of the preschool.

Why Do You Do It?

volunteer with parentAs a tag onto Darren’s post the other day about CPS burnout, why do you do CPS?  What brought you into the field?

It’s a question I get fairly often at checkup events from parents: what made you decide to do this?  They find out that I’m not a police officer, I’m not a firefighter; nope, not EMS either.  Just a mom, who, for some crazy reason, decided to learn how to install carseats.  So why did I decide to take a 40 hour class on just carseats and seat belts and crash dynamics?