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Drive Safely for a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Throughout the year, parents are bombarded with messages from traffic safety websites and social media about how to keep yourselves and your kids as safe as possible.  “Keep them in a harness as long as possible”, “The center seat is safest”, “Buy Brand X deluxe carseat”, just to name a few.  The advice comes with the best intentions, but ultimately much of it is just icing on the proverbial cake.  So what is the ingredient list for the actual cake?  It’s simple.

Please, when driving this holiday weekend, there are only two fundamentally critical steps to the keeping-your-family-safe-on-the-road recipe:

  1. Drive unimpaired and undistracted
  2. Make sure all passengers are properly restrained with kids 12 and under in the back seat.

Those two simple steps will reduce your risk of serious injury considerably and are by far the most important things you can do to keep your kids safe.

ThanksgivBam_72dpiRGBAccording to the NHTSA and a recent Forbes article, Thanksgiving is one of the deadliest holidays in terms of fatal crashes.  In 2012, it was the deadliest, more than Christmas or Independence Day.  The main causes?  You guessed it.  Drunk driving and failure to wear a seatbelt.

By all means, we encourage families to keep their kids rear-facing as long as possible in a deluxe carseat in the center of their minivan.  Why not take every precaution?  But just the two critical steps above will save many lives.  And remember, even if you won’t be drinking and driving, someone who is may be swerving at you.  So don’t be looking at your phone or sending a text!

With early snowstorms and cold weather in some areas already, here are a few extra tips:

Please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday from CarseatBlog!

More tips from the NHTSA – Images courtesy of NHTSA.

 

On Pace for a Deadly Year

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Crash SceneWe’ve seen a steady decline in traffic deaths over the past couple decades, but according to a recent study by the National Safety Council, 2015 might be different. In the first half of the year, traffic deaths were up 14% compared to the same period in 2014, and serious injuries were up 30%. If things continue at this pace, 2015 will be the deadliest driving year since 2007.

What accounts for this increase in deaths and injuries? More driving.

A stronger economy, lower unemployment, and lower gas prices mean that more people are able to drive more miles for business and pleasure. The increased traffic leads to increased opportunities for crashes.

The NSC reminds people to take steps to increase safety, such as buckling up on every trip, using designated drivers, getting plenty of sleep, and never using cell phones. It probably goes without saying, but part of “buckling up” should include using proper child restraints, too.

This study might seem like grim news, but it’s important to remember how far vehicle safety has come in the past few decades, and even in the past few years. Advances in technology like air bags, blind spot avoidance systems, and back-up cameras mean that cars today are safer than they’ve ever been. Some good defensive driving and proper restraints can help make sure you and your family are as safe as possible this holiday season.

In Honor of Those Who Have Served

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veterans_day

CarseatBlog would like to thank all of our veterans who have served our country as well as those who are still serving all over the world.  We appreciate the sacrifices they have made for all of us.  We also would like to thank their families, who support their loved ones always.

Rear-Facing Head Injuries: RF is Still Safer

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ERF - Evenflo SureRide/Titan 65A story from the Washington Post referenced  a study in the current issue of the Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention that found that rear-facing children have some risk for head injuries in rear-end crashes.  When a car is rear-ended, a rear-facing car seat is likely to rotate toward the back of the car, which could throw a child’s head into the headrest or seatback. Does this spell bad news for rear-facing in general? Absolutely not.

While the study did find that children’s heads might strike the seatback/headrest in a severe rear-end crash, there are some things to keep in mind.

  • Rear-facing is still safer than forward-facing. Head, neck, spine, and leg injuries are more likely when forward-facing, so children should stay rear-facing as long as possible.
  • Severe rear-end crashes are rare. Rear-end crashes account for only around 5% of crashes with fatal injuries, according to the latest IIHS data.
  • Overall, rear-end crashes account for about 25% of all crashes, but most of these are not severe or fatal.  This study tested seats at 30 mph, which might seem slow, but keep in mind that most rear-end crashes actually happen at much lower speeds than frontal crashes, usually after some amount of braking has occurred.
  • The study tested only three seats (using three different installation methods for each one) in one vehicle model, a 2012 Toyota Camry rear seat. Although we can take away some information from this study, it is not exhaustive.
  •  Severe and fatal injuries to rear-facing children are much less likely than to forward-facing children.  According to NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge quoted by the Post, “Real-world crash data does not indicate children in rear-facing car seats are being injured by contacting the seat on rebound.

Parents are often worried about the possibility that their rear-facing children might strike the seatback in a rear-end crash or due to the rebound that occurs after the initial impact in a frontal crash. Those concerns aren’t necessarily unwarranted, but they need to be kept in perspective: In real-life scenarios, rear-facing children are far safer than forward-facing ones.

The study does raise a good argument for better rebound control on car seats. Rear-tethers (uncommon on USA seats) and anti-rebound bars can do a lot to keep seats from rotating too much toward the back of the car. Even without these features rear-facing seats are very safe, but perhaps research like this will lead manufacturers to include anti-rebound technology. (And maybe it will encourage the NHTSA to update federal standards in the USA.)  Canada implemented a limitation for rebound on rear-facing carseats in 2012.

In the meantime, keep those kiddos rear-facing. It’s still the best way to ride.  If your rear-facing carseat does not have an anti-rebound feature, then also consider removing any hard objects attached to the vehicle seat or head restraint.  These include video monitors, mirrors with hard surfaces or toys that are heavy or have sharp edges.