Safety Archive

Installation Quiz. Good, or Not?

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What Is A Tether?

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There are so many confusing things about carseats for parents and tethers rank right up there with “do I use LATCH and the seatbelt together?” (the answer to that one is a wishy-washy no). We have a tether use rate of less than 50% in the U.S., about the same as it was back in the mid-70s. Yes, you read that correctly! It’s gone up and down, but it’s still right around the same—pathetic. Even after teaching a child passenger safety technician class and going over tethers with them—when to use them, how important they are for safety—I still got the deer-in-headlights look from some of the new techs when I quizzed them about tether usage. So if my trained technicians are hesitant about when to use a top tether (how about all the time forward-facing!), I can only imagine the confusion parents are feeling. Without further ado, let’s get to it and learn about tethers.

They Survived

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You probably know ketchupqueen as a frequent commenter to CarseatBlog and she has even contributed an article or two for us. If you visit Car-Seat.org, you know her sage advice given as a Child Passenger Safety Technician and her community spirit. I’ve “known” her for years in cyberspace and even had a chance to meet her and her family last summer briefly (oh so briefly, lol!) inside a very dark rental car in a parking garage. (Hmm, that sounds bad, but I was just giving her a hand installing carseats—really!)

This is ketchupqueen’s family’s story of survival following a horrific rollover crash. As a tech, Anne knew how to protect her family and make sure they were safe, plus she had a little “inside” information that most “average” parents don’t have. As you read through our interview with her, you’ll see how this inside information helped keep her kids safe. This crash, while not sensational enough to make the news in Phoenix, has garnered the attention of the Special Crash Investigations (SCI) unit at NHTSA. SCI collects data from unique crashes and that data aids in designing safer vehicles.

Rear-Facing Until 2 Years Old: Why Not?

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Any time a new recommendation from anything resembling an “authority” is released regarding the welfare of children, critics come out in droves to decry the advice. Sometimes, they have a legitimate concern. Other times, their reasoning is inherently flawed or purely emotional. For a background, be sure to read about the new AAP recommendations and check out the Rear Facing Link Guide for references. In this blog, Heather, Kecia and I put together some answers to fourteen popular questions:

1.) Won’t my toddler be uncomfortable facing the back? No, he or she will be just fine. Most toddlers are actually more comfortable rear-facing because the carseat is reclined and it’s much more comfortable to sleep that way than sitting upright in the forward-facing position. Plus they can prop up their feet instead of having them dangle unsupported.

2.) Won’t their feet or legs be injured because they are bent or crossed or touching the back of the seat?  No, but this is a very big misconception among parents. In reality, during a frontal crash (the most common type of crash), the legs will fly up and away from the back seat. It’s also much more important to protect the head, neck and spinal cord in a crash which is exactly what rear-facing carseats do so well. If you’re still not convinced – there is this study by CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) that looked at injuries to children ages 1 – 4 who were hurt in crashes and leg injuries were rare for those kids in rear-facing seats. However, injuries to the lower extremity region were the second most common type of injury for the kids in forward-facing seats. That’s because the legs of a child in a forward-facing seat are thrown forward and can hit the console or the back of the front seat. Study quote: “Injuries below the knee were the most common, particularly to the tibia/fibula, and they most often occurred due to interaction with the vehicle seatback in front of the child’s seating position.”