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Monthly Archive:: August 2008

Who’s Better? Who’s Best? The Safest Car Seat Question.

For a long time, Child Passenger Safety Techs were told not to recommend specific seats.  They are all safe and pass federal standards, or so said the official training manual.  Most techs dutifully passed this stale company line along to parents.  Fortunately, that all ended when the NHTSA itself started rating seats a number of years ago.  At last, official proof that all carseats are not created equal!  The original ratings were questionable and almost every seat got 4-stars or 5-stars, so they were not really useful.  Now, the ratings have improved and have a wide variation among models. They don’t always match the experience of technicians and advocates, but they are worth a look.

The big drawback?  They don’t actually do any crash testing or correlate the star rating to a risk of injury.

Preschool Paperwork Puzzler

My 3-year old is going to preschool.  Two days a week.  Two hours a day.  Our other two kids went to preschool.  Fill out a registration form, write a check.  Send ‘em off.  Simple.  Right?

Nope.  I have a virtual mountain of paperwork.  So much, in fact, the packet included a handy checklist to make sure I completed everything and 3-pages of instructions to guide me in filling them out!  There’s the registration “contract”.  The Enrollment Record.  The “Getting to Know You Form”.  A Consent Form.  An Employment Form (It’s a co-op, so parents have to volunteer once a month or so).  A state health form for my son.  A state health form for me.  I even need a chest X-Ray or TB test.  A Home Orientation form.    I think I lost the DCFS brochure that I apparently had to sign to indicate I read it.  They also need a copy of a birth certificate.  That’s a new one.

Public grade school is a dream in terms of paperwork.  I don’t even think they asked for a certificate to prove my kids were born.  Funny thing is that all this paperwork is presumably killing trees in order to make sure my son has a safe and secure environment.  I have no problem with that at all.  I do find it a little funny that not even one line on one of the forms asked how he would be transported to or from the preschool.  Not even on the form asking for consent to allow my child to be transported on field trips…

The New *Evenflo Symphony* Carseat – A Sneak Peek

Yesterday many of the frequent visitors to the car-seat.org forums received a tasty little treat -  a sneak peek at a new child restraint from Evenflo that is expected to debut at the ABC industry trade show in September.  

Here’s what we think we know – the Evenflo Symphony will be a 3-in-1 seat like  to the ones that Dorel has produced for years under their various brand names (Cosco, Safety 1st and Eddie Bauer).  It will be a rear-facing seat up to 35 lbs, a forward-facing harnessed seat from 20-40 lbs and it will convert into a highback booster for kids 30-100 lbs.  How well it will perform any of these functions remains to be seen. 

The Car Seat Afterlife

It\'s a garbage can.So, what do you do with a car seat or booster you no longer need?  That’s a big question that lots of folks ask themselves every day and usually the answer is to stick the seat next to the trash can on the curb.  The problem with that fix is that there are other folks who like to look for a bargain, either out of necessity or just to say they found something great (and who hasn’t driven by someone else’s garbage and seen something in mint condition and thought, “Oh, look at that!  If I just had a truck, I would take that home!”).  Car seats are thrown away for a variety of reasons: they’ve been in a crash and shouldn’t be used again, they’ve expired, or perhaps mom found the cutest cover ever and just wanted to get that sickly brown car seat out of her garage ;).

Driving: Right or Privilege?

People get funny when they get into a car or even think about cars.  Common sense?  Mild manners?  Out the door.  In the USA at least, the moment they touch the wheel, people get irrational and some drivers even get a sense of entitlement, superiority and immortality.  Some even seem to think their anti-social car behavior is protected by a constitutional right.  Last I checked, it wasn’t even loosely guarded by a state law.