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Safety Archive

Incompatible Carseats and Vehicles

This week we welcome Debbie (Defrost) for Guest Wednesday.

 

No one wants to hear that their new carseat will not install correctly in their vehicle.  Carseat techs tremble at the very thought of having to tell a parent that the carseat they are so pleased with and proud of – that they found for such a great deal, and that matches their car interior perfectly! – simply will not install safely in their vehicle.  For many parents, it seems like a ridiculous concept – “Incompatible?  What, are they getting married?”

Safety Bug

When did the safety bug bite you?  I’m guessing you’re here reading the blog because somewhere along the line you became interested in seat belts or vehicle safety or your child’s safety.  But have you always been a safety-minded individual or did something happen to make you that way?

DWTM: The New DUI

Welcome to my niece, Britanny, a writer/reporter and also Wednesday’s guest blogger:

Hello, my name is Brittany, and I am a distracted driver. I like looking at the pretty colors in the leaves of the trees while driving down a scenic highway where a deer could jump out at any moment. I like singing the lyrics to my favorite song with the music too loud while an ambulance pulls up behind me with its lights on. I like holding conversations with my passengers, using my hands to gesture instead of holding the wheel. I am guilty of liking all of these things, but I will tell you one thing I am not guilty of, DWTM.

DWTM (driving while text messaging) is the newest craze. It has swept the nation faster than you can say “lol”. Girls who once chatted with their phones attached to their ears now have their eyes glued to their keypads as they hurl down the highway at 75 mph. Businessmen (and women) who until recently had to use their laptops for email purposes are typing messages on their Blackberries with one hand, holding coffee with the other, and steering with God-knows-what. Scary, right? You have no idea. I have witnessed the consequences of DWTM and I can tell you, they aren’t pretty.

Carseat recommendations

Take pity on me because Marvin is a tough act to follow ;)  Seriously,  that’s one  smart little fella and that link he posted was just priceless. 

Anyhow, the previous blog post “Who’s better?  Who’s best?” got me thinking about the practice of recommending carseats.  The current standardized Child Passenger Safety training curriculum, as well as the previous curriculum, strongly discourages CPS Technicians from recommending specific seats.  The curriculum tells us that it’s okay to recommend specific features (like a 5-pt harnesses, front harness adjuster, etc.) but that we should not recommend specific brands and seats.  So why is it so common to see CPS technicians and even instructors (both online and IRL) recommending specific seats to parents and caregivers?  Let’s examine the issue a little closer…

Who’s Better? Who’s Best? The Safest Car Seat Question.

For a long time, Child Passenger Safety Techs were told not to recommend specific seats.  They are all safe and pass federal standards, or so said the official training manual.  Most techs dutifully passed this stale company line along to parents.  Fortunately, that all ended when the NHTSA itself started rating seats a number of years ago.  At last, official proof that all carseats are not created equal!  The original ratings were questionable and almost every seat got 4-stars or 5-stars, so they were not really useful.  Now, the ratings have improved and have a wide variation among models. They don’t always match the experience of technicians and advocates, but they are worth a look.

The big drawback?  They don’t actually do any crash testing or correlate the star rating to a risk of injury.