Parenting Archive

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–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?

Helping your child cope after a crash


crash sceneHundreds of thousands of children are involved in MVCs (Motor Vehicle Crashes) each year. The lucky ones, and the ones who are optimally restrained in an appropriate safety seat, may walk away with nothing more than bumps, bruises and a good scare.  Depending on the circumstances, others may not be so lucky. But regardless of whether the child was injured or not, being involved in a crash can be a terrifying ordeal for children. As someone who has survived two bad crashes, I can attest to how terrifying it really is – even for an adult. Unfortunately, I also understand that the fear and terror of the event don’t always fade away when the bruises do. It’s so important for parents and caregivers to be on the lookout for signs of traumatic stress in the weeks (and even months) following a crash. A little anxiety, maybe a few nightmares and some generally clinginess after the accident is very common and should be expected. It’s also common (and understandable) for the child to be reluctant to get back in the car.  However, since walking everywhere isn’t an option for most parents – this can be a real dilemma. We need to respect our children’s fears and emotions, and we certainly don’t want to traumatize them any further, but we also need them to get back in the car. For children who are non-verbal or have limited communication skills, it can be even trickier to address the underlying issues and calm their fears.  

Since every child and every set of circumstances is different, no one can claim to have all the magic answers. However, this wonderful website from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) can provide much needed information and guidance to help children after a traumatic event or injury. It can also help parents to differentiate between typical, normal reactions and those that may be a red flag indicative of traumatic stress. I’m so pleased that this site exists now. I believe it’s an area that really needs more attention and parents need more and better ways to support their children in the emotional healing process after a crash.