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Carseat Quandry: Part II

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In Part I, I discussed some issues regarding universal child seat fitment and cooperation among automobile and child restraint manufacturers.  The example happened to be about some new Volvo-branded child restraints that will be available in some countries later this year.  It’s not clear if these child restraints are actually all that new or unique, let alone safer or easier to use than similar models already on the market.  On the other hand, if Volvo has developed a new and improved fitment system unique to Volvo automobiles, that would be impressive, especially given that there was cooperation with a child restraint manufacturer.

This is the Quandry.  Why don’t these companies work more closely together to make a system that is very easy to use and very difficult to misuse?  Why don’t we have child restraints in the USA that simply “plug-in” and work?  Wouldn’t it be great if we had child seats that could be installed tightly, without needing a 300 pound fireman to push it into the vehicle seat cushion so far that permanent gouges are left in the fabric?  Wouldn’t it be great if the average parent could get a rock-solid installation of a 5-point harness child seat in just a few seconds, using only one hand and little effort?  I give you the answer in video format:

 

 
So our new Quandry is this.  We clearly have the technology.  So, why do we still have so many kids improperly restrained and being seriously injured or killed in motor vehicle crashes? 

Car Seat Quandry: Part I

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Last Month, Volvo introduced three new child restraints, developed by Britax Römer (article also viewable courtesy of Sweedspeed). 

– The child restraints are available in three models for children of different ages and sizes:
1. Infant seat, from newborn up to 13 kg, up to about one year old.
2.  Convertible child seat, 9-25 kg, from 9 months to about age 6. Can be turned forward facing no earlier than age 3, preferably age 4, and the child must weigh at least 15 kg.
3. Booster seat with backrest, 15-36 kg, from 4 to about 10 years, preferably longer.

Perhaps of the greatest interest is their convertible child seat that can be used rear facing, “from nine months until the child is about six years old, which is a breakthrough in safety for children in cars.”  It can then be fitted forward facing starting once the child is at least 15kg (33 pounds) and has outgrown the rear facing settings.

Why do CR Manufacturers continue to ignore boys?

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Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’m jealous.  Every time I see a new girl cover hit the market it makes me mad.  Helloooo…. what about boys?  Do CR manufacturers think boys don’t care what their seat looks like?  Do they think parents of boys don’t care?  Maybe they think the seat will be so dirty in a week that no one will be able to tell that it’s a boring brown/tan/black/gray.  

Whatever their reasoning is, it’s wrong and it’s gone on for too long.  With very few exceptions, even the small number of boyish covers in the last 5 years have been less than thrilling.  It just isn’t fair.  Boys like covers that “speak to them” as much as girls do.  

Stop at an Actual Stop Sign? Never!

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I guess I’m getting old and grouchy.  Or maybe I’m not old, but just plain persnickety.  Whatever it is, I seem to be the only one around bothered by people who run stop signs.  Sure, there are letters to the editor in my paper about stop sign runners or people who apply their brakes ever so slightly when approaching a signed intersection.  But who’s going to do anything about it?

Most of the major intersections in my area are controlled, which is good.  We used to be an area of 4-way stops and there was always someone who wouldn’t yield the right of way.  Frustrating, but what can you do?  It’s actually pretty fun to watch anxiety levels rise by coming to a complete, wheels-don’t-turn stop at a 4-way stop.  Try it sometime.  😉  I never realized that I wasn’t stopping at stop signs before until my local Safe Kids coalition did an observational survey at an intersection a few years back.  Out of several hundred vehicles observed, something like only 3 actually came to a full and complete stop at the stop sign.  I was shocked and immediately on the drive home paid attention to my driving habits.  Sure enough, I wasn’t stopping my wheels either when I thought I was.  Now when I see a stop sign or a red light when I’m turning right, I come to a complete stop, much to the chagrin of the driver behind me (sorry, dude, it’s the law and I’m gonna stop).

I’m still amazed by the drivers who don’t even slow down at a stop sign or red light when they turn right.  It’s like it’s not even there; the world revolves around them and everyone else should yield to them, right?  What the heck?  The thing is the number of drivers who do this.  If I only saw it happening once a week, I’d write it off as the person was distracted (um, who hasn’t been?), but it’s often several times a day.  This kind of driving, plus all the drunk and otherwise impaired drivers on the road, plus the drivers going 80 mph in a 45 mph zone make me feel like a moving target who will one day run out of luck.