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Throwback Thursday: Seatbelt Installs

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This morning, I educated a client on installing their Chicco Keyfit infant seat.  With little effort, they had it installed perfectly with LATCH.   Fifteen years ago, I started my first website with a page on the LATCH system and how it would revolutionize carseats by making them easier to install.  The Keyfit is a fine example of this revolution.

This afternoon, I listened to a great online webinar presented by SafeRideNews, publishers of the excellent LATCH Manual.  The best part of this manual is that it helps certified technicians and instructors wade through the insurmountable information in owner’s manuals, plus everything omitted from those manuals, and condenses it all into nice tables and charts.

In condensed form, this information is still over 230 pages long.  In fact, a typical parent has little chance in the real world of understanding relevant limits for using LATCH on a forward-facing carseat and even a few rear-facing ones.  I expect that most of those who manage to use LATCH correctly will not realize when they must switch to a seatbelt. Even with newer government standards, understanding when to use LATCH can still be mind-boggling for an experienced technician who owns the LATCH manual.  So much so that I am hesitant to install a forward-facing harnessed carseat with LATCH ever again, unless a seatbelt is not an option for any reason.

Back in 2000, I hoped that LATCH would make technicians obsolete.  Today, a technician has to have an advanced degree in LATCH in order to be able to correctly instruct parents on how to use lower anchors and/or top tethers.   I never thought I would miss locking clips and the good ‘ol days before LATCH was prevalent.

Quiz time:  What is quicker?  Installing a Britax Frontier with a long seatbelt path, or figuring out when you can use it with LATCH in a random vehicle that arrives at a checkup event?  If you’re not sure, then perhaps you agree with me that LATCH has become a complete debacle, at least for forward-facing carseats.

Carpool Lanes and Kids

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wooden dummy screen shotI’ve long teased my kids that the only reason I had them was to be able to use the carpool lanes during rush hour. And while they’re a lifelong commitment for a minor convenience, it’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable using the carpool lanes with them as my passengers in the car. I wonder why that is, especially in our society where cops see broomsticks with fake heads and blow-up dolls as passengers.

Long before we had carpool lanes (aka high-occupancy vehicle–HOV–lanes) in my city, we used to have to travel down to Phoenix every other week while my son had his DOC band adjusted (for plagiocephaly). Phoenix, being a modern city, had carpool laneshov and I so wanted to use them but it seemed odd to declare my 8 month old as my 2nd passenger. He couldn’t be seen through the tinting in my van’s windows, so I could very easily have been pulled over wasting both my time and the police officer’s. I never used the carpool lane.

I guess I determined that my children were worthy carpool lane passengers when their heads could be seen through the back window. I have tinting, but you can still see shapes through it. It seemed too much of a risk for me until then. I’ve only received one ticket in my driving career and I don’t mind saying it was for hitting a parked car 6 weeks after I got my driver’s license (a well-deserved ticket that the police officer hesitantly wrote, as I recall). We all do stupid things when we’re 16, right? Like throw toilet paper at future husbands and their friends while driving? Yeah.

When do you feel kids become full-on carpool lane-worthy passengers? Is there a law in your state that dictates an age? Do you even use the carpool lane?

New seats added to the “Ultimate Rear-Facing Convertible Carseat Space Comparison”!

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Evenflo Momentum - RF space comparisonOur Ultimate Rear-Facing Convertible Carseat Space Comparison is one of our most popular reference articles and I’m pleased to report that it has been recently updated. We now have space grades and data for the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85, Evenflo Momentum & Safety 1st Advance EX 65 Air+ (that’s the newest Advance model with the 50 lbs. rear-facing weight limit). All in all, there are now over 30 higher-weight convertible seats that have been evaluated and graded in our comparison. I’m hoping to add data on the Clek Fllo in the near future.

As we pointed out in the original article – there are so many variables that go into every carseat/vehicle compatibility scenario that it’s impossible to accurately predict which seat is going to be the “best” convertible for rear-facing *your* child in *your* vehicle. The complexity of the situation is amplified by the plethora of options and features available on various convertibles. Still, it was our intention here at CarseatBlog to put together a comprehensive comparison that would serve as a resource for parents and caregivers searching for an extended-use convertible that would keep their rear-facing toddler or older child safe and comfortable without sacrificing the safety and comfort of the driver and/or front seat passenger.

http://carseatblog.com/22818/the-ultimate-rear-facing-convertible-space-comparison-review-size-matters/

Star-Crossed Drivers

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zodiacScorpios are independent introverts. Pisces are creative daydreamers. Libras are horrible drivers.

Wait, what?

A Canadian insurance company wanted to see if there was any correlation between astrological signs and driving records. Although the study started off as a joke, apparently some trends became clear. Libras, Scorpios, and Capricorns get into more crashes than the other signs. Pisces, Aries, and Aquarians get the most tickets.

On the flip side, the safest signs for drivers are Gemini, Cancer, and Leo (fewest crashes), and Virgo, Sagittarius, and those already-safe Gemini (fewest tickets).

So should Geminis get a break on their auto insurance premiums? Should Libras pay more? Probably not. Again, the study was undertaken for fun, and it looks like the actual difference in statistics was fairly low. (15.8% of crashes attributed to Libras vs. 9% for Leo.)

Still, it can make for a fun discussion. I’m a Sagittarius, which ranked in the middle in terms of collisions and 11th (meaning second-best) in tickets. Is it just coincidence that I’ve only gotten one ticket in more than 20 years of driving? I’ll let you decide…

How do you rank?

Crashes (Worst to Best)

  1. Libra   (most crashes)
  2. Scorpio
  3. Capricorn
  4. Aries
  5. Aquarius
  6. Sagittarius
  7. Pisces
  8. Taurus
  9. Virgo
  10. Gemini
  11. Cancer
  12. Leo   (fewest crashes)

Tickets (Worst to Best)

  1. Pisces   (most tickets)
  2. Aries
  3. Aquarius
  4. Capricorn
  5. Libra
  6. Taurus
  7. Scorpio
  8. Leo
  9. Cancer
  10. Virgo
  11. Sagittarius
  12. Gemini   (fewest tickets)