Uncategorized Archive

Size Matters


This will come as no surprise to most of our readers.  Length isn’t everything; it’s the width that tends to be be an issue.  Take, for example, these two towering titans:

The one on the left measures an astounding 20 inches at its widest point, while the one on the right is even wider at 21 inches!  Every situation is different, of course, so depending where they are placed, being so wide may or may not be a problem.  Also, parts of them are narrower, so they may mesh differently with adjacent models.  The Graco My Ride 65 (left) and Britax Advocate CS (right) are competitive in many regards and also share a distinction of being among the widest convertible seats on the market.

Turning 40 is No Picnic


No, we’re not talking about me this time, though I can attest that it was a little harder to turn 40 years old than I expected.  Here’s the topic for today:

When it comes to child passenger safety, graduations are usually not joyous events.  In many cases, every time a child reaches an important age, weight or height milestone, it means they will “graduate” to a type of child seat that provides less protection.

Dorel Arriva Infant Seat – Legal/Ethical Dilemma


This week I picked up two infant seats from one of the local PDs because I had received a phone call from a social service agency that needed a carseat for an expecting client.  This Spanish-speaking mom from Peru doesn’t own a vehicle and relies on taxis and public transportation to get around.  I knew this particular PD had infant seats so I asked if they’d let me have a couple – and they did. They gave me new, baseless, 5-pt Dorel Arrivas with a 2006 DOM.  The Arriva was a cheap infant seat that was popular years ago (popular as in many were sold) but currently it’s only available institutionally to CPS programs.  

The first thing I noticed when I took off the plastic was a shiny yellow sticker on the buckle.  When I looked, it said:

Purchase / Use of this Product is Subject to
an Agreement to Resolve Disputes Outside of
Court.  See Instruction Manual for Details.
!WARNING:  Remove this label and discard.  Label can be a choking hazard to your child.

(Anyone else see the irony in the warning about the sticker itself? Their lawyers are certainly thorough, aren’t they?)

Lessons from a roadtrip

Over the holiday weekend we drove half-way across the country with three kids. Florida to Western MO, then all the way back two days later. Now, before I start getting sympathy letters, it wasn’t THAT bad all things considered. The infant was more tolerant of his car seat than I expected. The two year old loved the perpetual construction zones in Georgia that supplied never ending views of tractors, dump trucks, and other machinery. The 5 yr old got to talk the whole time, from the third row where we couldn’t quite understand what she was talking about.
What helped the trip go well? First, we rented a Mazda 5. The gas we saved mostly paid for our rental since Hertz gave us a good deal and called it “mid-sized.” Me being able to sit in the second row with the baby saved us many stops and was worth more than we paid. The two “big kids” got to sit in the back, but weren’t so packed in that they could reach each other easily like in our daily three-across set up. It was surprisingly comfortable for all of us and got decent gas mileage, although you’d think a 4 cylinder would get over 30 on the highway, but I think 29 was the best we got. I spent about 75% of my passenger time in the middle row next to the baby, and drove for about 3 hours each way while my husband got to play mom in the middle seat. I think he decided it was more relaxing to drive! It made us really want to buy one, but we just aren’t sure that there is enough room for a family with three kids. We didn’t have to take a pack and play, stroller, or other large baby gear. If we did I’m not sure it would have fit with both back seats in use. We have over a year to decide, but it’s in the running at least. The rest of the things that made the trip go well are pretty standard: DVD player, snacks like raisins, cheddar bunnies, and cheerios on yarn necklaces. Oh, and stops and Chick-fil-a play places are at the top of the list too.
The worst things about the trip? Georgia construction zones. I’m not joking when I say that it’s been in a constant state of construction for longer than we’ve lived here- over 7 years. I think it’s just so they can double the speeding fines for everyone driving to and from Florida. As a runner-up: the rain. Ever time I would drive it would pour down sheets of rain. I’m used to driving in the rain. I live in Florida. I just want to know why did it only seemed to happen with monsoon-intensity when *I* was driving? Pair that with a construction zone with no shoulder, cement barricades and 18-wheelers; It would make anyone want to pull over for a latte! Lastly, gas. No, not the PRICE of gas, natural gas courtesy of my dear husband. Never give your husband BBQ on a road trip… Lesson learned! 
Anyway, to all of you planning family road trips this summer, have fun, stay safe, and stay sane. Oh, you might want to stay away from BBQ places too!