Safety Archive

Walk This Way

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Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.50.13 AMAs the name would imply, CarseatBlog’s main focus is on keeping kids safe in cars. But children’s safety extends beyond the interior of the vehicle. With school in full swing and with International Walk to School Day (October 7) just around the corner, this is a good time to review pedestrian safety tips.

According to statistics from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, that hospital saw more children injured by cars than in cars. Between January 2010 and December 2014, the hospital admitted 163 children for serious injuries sustained as occupants in cars. During the same time period, it saw 343 children admitted for serious injuries sustained as pedestrians (and another 62 as bicyclists).Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.17.19 AM

SafeKids recently launched a very cool interactive infographic, aptly named “How to Not Get Hit by a Car.” It’s designed to help children and teens improve their safety as pedestrians.

The main tips:

  • Put down the cell phone. Distracted walking can be as deadly as distracted driving, and 1 in 5 high schoolers crosses the street distracted.
  • Use crosswalks. More than 80% of child pedestrian deaths are from crossing somewhere other than a crosswalk.
  • Wear light-colored or reflective clothes when walking at night. Of teen pedestrian deaths, 75% occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Watch for careless drivers. Look left, right, left, and keep looking as you’re crossing. Don’t assume that drivers see you.
  • Walk on sidewalks. If sidewalks aren’t available, walk facing traffic, and as far over as possible.
  • Watch for cars backing out of driveways and parking spaces. Again, don’t assume the drivers see you.
  • If you’re crossing more than one lane of traffic, check each lane. Pause before stepping into another lane of traffic and make eye contact with each driver.

Some other tips:

  • Make sure children wear helmets any time they’re on a bike.
  • Teach children hand signals for bicycles, and make sure they recognize them even when they’re not the ones on the bikes: They need to know what bicyclists on the road are doing.
  • According to SafeKids, children under 10 should cross the street with an adult. Younger kids don’t have the ability to properly judge the speed and distance of approaching traffic.

 

Recaro Recalls Certain ProRide and Performance Ride Convertible Seats

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Today Recaro Child Safety announced a recall of convertible seats made between April 9, 2010 and June 9, 2015.  Over 173,000 carseats are affected.  These child restraints do not fully comply with the system integrity requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 213. “When the affected child seats are installed using the top tether, the top portion of the restraint can crack and allow the top tether to separate from the restraint. As such, these seats fail to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213, “Child Restraint Systems.” In the event of a crash, the child restraint could fail to protect the child from contacting interior surfaces of the vehicle, increasing the risk of injury.

Recaro submitted a petition for an exemption of non-compliance in July, 2014, and the NHTSA denied Recaro’s petition in July, 2015, after a public comment period in November, 2014.  “NHTSA’S Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that the ProRIDE and Performance RIDE’s noncompliance poses a risk to safety and is therefore not inconsequential. Recaro has not met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 213 noncompliance identified in Recaro’s noncompliance information report is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Recaro’s petition is hereby denied and Recaro is obligated to provide notification of, and a remedy for, that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.”  The NHTSA also has recall related information.

 

Recaro ProRIDE convertible

Recaro ProRIDE convertible

Recaro Performance RIDE convertible

Recaro Performance RIDE convertible

What’s the Fix:

The remedy kit consists of a load limiting strap and instructions on how to install it on your carseat.

If you are a ProRIDE or Performance RIDE owner currently using a now-recalled seat, here’s our advice:

  • If you are using your ProRIDE or Performance RIDE convertible in the rear-facing position – you still need to contact Recaro for the recall fix, but the issue with the tether potentially separating from the shell doesn’t apply in your situation because that’s only a concern when the seat is installed forward-facing.
  • If you are using your ProRIDE or Performance RIDE convertible in the forward-facing position – consider whether or not your child could actually use this seat in the rear-facing position until you are able to obtain the recall fix kit. If your child weighs less than the rear-facing weight limit (which is either 35 or 40 lbs., depending on when your seat was made) and your child has a seated height (measure bottom of tush to top of head) of less than 22.5 inches tall – he or she can still use the seat rear-facing and you avoid the potential issue with the tether.
  • If you are using your ProRIDE or Performance RIDE convertible in the forward-facing position and using it rear-facing isn’t an option, please read Recaro’s statement below:

Recaro USA has issued the following statement:

What You Should Do:

During applicable tests conducted by NHTSA, the dynamic test scores that directly affect the child were still within the limits allowed by the FMVSS 213 standard, hence, you should continue to use your RECARO ProRIDE or Performance RIDE as instructed in your manual. You may check the model number and manufacture date on your child restraint to see if it is affected by this notice. You can find the model number and manufacture date on a white label on the left side of your child restraint. If your model is affected please email recarorecall@m-s-s.com or call our customer service team at 1-866-628-4750 to obtain a repair kit. The repair kit will consist of a load limiting strap and instructions on how to install it in a vehicle.

Look for model numbers of 332.01.AK21, 332.01.KAEC, 332.01.KAEG, 332.01.KK91, 332.01.MC11, 332.01.MJ15, 332.01.QA56, 332.01.QA9N, 332.01.QQ11, 332.01.QQ14, 332.01.QQ95, 333.01.CHIL, 333.01.HABB, 333.01.HAZE, 333.01.JEBB, 333.01.JETT, 333.01.KNGT, 333.01.MABB, 333.01.MARI, 333.01.MNGT, 333.01.PLBB, 333.01.PLUM, 333.01.REBB, 333.01.REDD, 333.01.ROBB, 333.01.ROSE, 333.01.SABB, 333.01.SAPH, 333.01.SLBB, 333.01.SLTE, 333.01.VIBB, 333.01.VIBE and manufacturing dates between April 9, 2010 – June 9, 2015.

You can also order a fix kit directly by visiting recaropromotion.com/RIDErecallSept2015. Please be prepared to enter your model number and manufacture date of your child restraint.

Happy Child Passenger Safety Week, 2015

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RibbonSeptember 13-19 is National Child Passenger Safety Week. Once again, CarseatBlog would like to thank technicians, car seat manufacturers, safety advocates, and parents for everything they do to keep kids safe in the car.

If you need your car seat checked, many organizations are holding events on Seat Check Saturday (September 19) or throughout the week. This is also a good time to share safety information with friends and family.

Key points to remember:

  • Keep children rear-facing until at least 2 years old.
  • Keep children in a harnessed seat until they fit properly in a booster seat and are mature enough to sit properly in the belt (usually a minimum of 5 years old).
  • Keep children in booster seats until they fit properly in an adult seatbelt. The seatbelt should sit low on the hips, touching the thighs. The shoulder belt should cross the middle of the shoulder, and the child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when s/he is sitting all the way back.
  • Children should ride in the back seat until at least 13 years old.
  • Wear your seatbelt, and put down the phone while driving. Kids learn from the adults around them.

Resources to find a local event or fitting station:

Safe Kids USA

NHTSA

Visit us on Facebook and feel free to use our Child Passenger Safety “ribbon” as your profile picture for the week (or longer!)

NHTSA Be Informed graphic

“Bin the Booster” Campaign

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parkway knightThe “Bin the Booster” campaign is British Britax’s gift to the internet, much like Graco’s buckle recall—it keeps popping up in people’s feeds causing unnecessary panic and bewilderment on this side of the pond. In a simple crash test video, Britax compares a backless booster (portable booster cushion as they call them over there) to a high-back booster. In this video, the child dummy sitting on the backless booster rotates around the shoulder belt while the child dummy sitting in the high-back booster remains properly positioned.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 12.19.49 AM

It’s a marketing tool. Britax only makes high-back boosters in Europe (the backs can be removed in the U.S.). There’s nothing abnormal about the way either dummy reacts in this crash test. Crash tests are very scary to watch—the video slows things down to a speed to which we can comprehend what’s happening. If we were to watch it at full speed, at the end, we’d likely think, “OK, great,” and move on to the next thing. Slow motion gives great impact, doesn’t it? Probably the most important thing to notice, however, is that there are 2 different types of dummies used, and this can greatly affect motion in a crash test. Simply placing the stiffer dummy in the high-back booster makes it seem more appealing because it will have less movement around the seat belt. (As much as I’d like to take credit for noticing that, I am not a Euro dummy specialist. Car-seat.org member _juune pointed it out in one of our threads on this topic.) Once you’re aware of this tidbit, you can see the dummies are shaped differently.

There are some schools of thought that high-back boosters provide better protection, especially in side impacts. It makes sense, right? By having head wings filled with EPS or EPP foam surrounding your child’s head and torso in a crash, there’s something to take the impact and spread the force instead of having their head hit the door or window or side pillar. On the other hand, having that back on the seat puts the child several inches forward on the vehicle seat, closer to the front seat and side pillar. In a crash, the child could much more easily hit the front seat or pillar, especially in a small vehicle. Are we starting to overthink things here? Maybe I can help settle your thoughts with this quote from a study done by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (bolding mine):

This study reconfirms previous reports that BPB seats reduce the risk for injury in children 4 through 8 years of age by studying a greater percentage of children aged 6 to 8 years than previous studies. After adjustment for potential confounders, children who were aged 4 to 8 and using BPB seats were 45% less likely to sustain injuries than similarly aged children who were using the vehicle seat belt. Among children who were restrained in BPB seats, there was no evidence of a difference in the performance of backless versus high-back boosters.

Let’s also add side curtain airbags into the equation. Side curtain airbags are fabulous safety devices for all members of the family, including kids in carseats. These airbags deploy straight down the roofline of the vehicle to the bottom of the windowsill, protecting the head area of passengers. A child sitting on a backless booster will be boosted up to have the protection of the side curtain airbags. Of course, so will a child in a high-back booster. This is assuming your vehicle has side curtain airbags, which not all vehicles on the road do.

LX460airbags

So what can I do to make my kid safer in a booster?

  • Use your child’s harnessed seat until they outgrow it, which is when their shoulders reach the top harness slots, the weight limit is reached, or the tops of their ears are over the top of the carseat. If that happens before age 5, consider buying another harnessed seat with higher limits.
  • Use a booster seat. All the cool kids are doing it! Your child simply won’t fit safely in a seat belt made to fit an adult until they are adult-sized. Period. Boosters raise kids up so that seat belts fit them over their sturdy bones and are more comfortable.
  • Use a high-back booster in the beginning. New booster riders like the feeling of being in a carseat yet having more freedom, plus they have a place to rest their heads when they sleep.
  • Switch to a backless booster when they outgrow the high-back booster. Yep, kids grow and they grow fast. That high-back booster, even the tallest one on the market, will be outgrown by height before your child outgrows the need for a booster. So switch to using a backless until they can pass the 5-step test:

1. Can sit with bum all the way back.
2. Knees bend at the vehicle seat edge.
3. Shoulder belt centered over the shoulder.
4. Lap belt touches the thighs.
5. Can stay this way the entire ride.