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Monthly Archive:: January 2009

Alpha Omega Elite / Eddie Bauer 3-in-1 as booster (Part II – Combo Seat Review Series)

I’ve decided to document how various combination (harness/booster) seats fit my   4-year-old, 41 lb, 43″ tall son in booster mode.  He’s at the size where most parents would be switching from the 5-pt harness to  the vehicle’s lap/shoulder belt in booster mode if they had a combination seat with a 40 lb limit on the harness.  In each case I’ll use the same seating position in my van – driver’s side captain’s chair in a 2005 Ford Freestar.

The IIHS booster study compared the fit of various boosters using the 6-year-old Hybrid lll dummy who weighs 51.6 lbs (23.41 kg) and has a standing height of almost 45″.  I thought it would be even better to show belt fit on a child who was just over the 40 lb weight limit for the 5-pt harness.  I’ve decided to focus exclusively on combination seats because of their popularity with parents of children in the 2-5 age group.

This week we’ll be looking at the Alpha Omega Elite (aka Eddie Bauer Deluxe 3-in-1) as a booster.  This is the older and most popular model with the 40 lb limit for the harness.  There is a new version of this seat that goes to 50 lbs with the harness.  I have no idea if that model has been modified in any way that would improve belt fit in booster mode.

The Car Seat Click Tips

Do you own a Britax convertible?  If you’ve ever removed the harness from the seat to clean it or just for the heck of it (hey, why not, eh?), there may be a chance that you haven’t put it back on the seat properly.  What’s that you say?  It lines up straight, it’s not twisted, and it’s on the splitter plate just fine (the splitter plate is that metal T-shaped piece on the back of the seat that holds the harness ends).  But wait!  Perhaps the Velcro isn’t lining up with the cover any more.  Aha!

The Carseat Bible?

A lot of resources are thrown around by child passenger safety advocates.  Safe Kids, the NHTSA, Transport CanadaSafetyBeltSafe USA, Safe Ride News and, of course, CarseatBlog.com.  All of these sources have good information and should be on a must read list for parents interested in reducing their child’s risk from the #1 killer of kids.  There is one resource that may be the most respected of all.

It has been updated for 2009, though it appears similar for the most part to the 2008 version.  It’s none other than Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families 2009, by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  It’s a great collection of basic advice for both parents and doctors.  Sadly, many pediatrician’s are not up-to-date on injury prevention issues such as child passenger safety.  If your pediatrician is giving advice that is different from what is in this guide, you should politely suggest that they order copies for their patients and take the time to read it themselves!

It’s not a perfect guide.  It’s lacking references to vital resources such as Carseatblog.com, Carseatsite.com and Car-Seat.Org.  Aside from that, it’s definitely worth the time to read and to pass along what you learn to other parents of young children!

Dirty Jobs

Let’s face it – if you’re a neat freak or a germaphobe you’re going to have some issues as a Child Passenger Safety Technician.  I think most of us understand that Cheerios, Goldfish crackers and the occasional french fry are par for the course.  And most of us have kids ourselves so we understand the realities of having food in the vehicle. 

Personally, as much as I’d love to have a no-food-in-vehicle rule that’s just not going to happen.  We spend too much time on the road and the kids (and I) need to snack sometimes when we’re on the go.  However, I do make an attempt to keep the carseats relatively clean and the kids aren’t allowed to eat anything really messy in my van.  I also vacuum the crumbs out of the seats every time I go to the car wash.  Still, I’m always surprised at what accumulates underneath the seats when I occasionally need to take them out.  

With that said, I’ll admit to being totally grossed out by some carseats that I have to work with.  You know the ones I’m talking about….  I wonder how the neat freaks and germaphobes among us deal with these situations?  Do they don the rubber gloves?  Full hazmat suits?  Pretend they have to pee really badly and lock themselves in the nearest bathroom for 20 minutes hoping another tech will deal with it in their absence?       

I had this gem recently at a check event.  The picture really doesn’t do justice to the solidified gooey mess that used up half a container of Lysol wipes.   Can you tell what it was that I had to clean?