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Monthly Archive:: August 2009

You Wear Your Seatbelt, but Do You…

…adjust your seat back and head restraint?

Severe crashes from the rear are relatively uncommon.  Depending on the statistics you find, fatal rear end impacts are usually well under 10% of all serious crashes.  On the other hand, rear-enders are a lot more common at lower speeds, in crashes with less severe injuries.  Whiplash injuries are relatively common in these types of impacts.  While they are rarely fatal, they can cause a lot of health issues.  The best way to prevent or reduce the severity of these types of injuries is to make sure your vehicle seat back and head restraint are adjusted correctly.  This website has a great pictorial guide:

http://www.safety.ed.ac.uk/resources/General/Driving_posture.shtm

The IIHS also does a test for safety in rear impacts.  In a future blog, I’ll discuss some flaws with this testing and why the passenger really needs to actively adjust their own seat to protect themselves.

Helping your child cope after a crash

crash sceneHundreds of thousands of children are involved in MVCs (Motor Vehicle Crashes) each year. The lucky ones, and the ones who are optimally restrained in an appropriate safety seat, may walk away with nothing more than bumps, bruises and a good scare.  Depending on the circumstances, others may not be so lucky. But regardless of whether the child was injured or not, being involved in a crash can be a terrifying ordeal for children. As someone who has survived two bad crashes, I can attest to how terrifying it really is – even for an adult. Unfortunately, I also understand that the fear and terror of the event don’t always fade away when the bruises do. It’s so important for parents and caregivers to be on the lookout for signs of traumatic stress in the weeks (and even months) following a crash. A little anxiety, maybe a few nightmares and some generally clinginess after the accident is very common and should be expected. It’s also common (and understandable) for the child to be reluctant to get back in the car.  However, since walking everywhere isn’t an option for most parents – this can be a real dilemma. We need to respect our children’s fears and emotions, and we certainly don’t want to traumatize them any further, but we also need them to get back in the car. For children who are non-verbal or have limited communication skills, it can be even trickier to address the underlying issues and calm their fears.  

Since every child and every set of circumstances is different, no one can claim to have all the magic answers. However, this wonderful website AfterTheInjury.org from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) can provide much needed information and guidance to help children after a traumatic event or injury. It can also help parents to differentiate between typical, normal reactions and those that may be a red flag indicative of traumatic stress. I’m so pleased that this site exists now. I believe it’s an area that really needs more attention and parents need more and better ways to support their children in the emotional healing process after a crash.

Blog Improvements

organizeWe love our readers :) .  To make it easier for our readers to find the blog posts they remember reading, we’ve gone back through and categorized as many as we can to fit into neat little categories like Reviews, Previews, Safety, etc.  This means that if you’d like to reminisce about Marvin, just click the Marvin category and you’ll find all of Marvin’s old posts.

Don’t forget that even though we have this great way organizing our posts, we do have a listing of all our reviews on Facebook too.  Just do a search for CarseatBlog on Facebook and you’ll find us easily!

Safety 1st Complete Air Review Followup Comments

I was going to write a full review, one of my typical epic blogs that you can’t possibly read without falling asleep.  Unfortunately, I fell asleep every time I thought about writing it.  So, I’m going to just add enough followup comments to make you drowsy and then turn it over to another reviewer for more input.  You can find my first look in an earlier blog.

Safety 1st Complete Air

Some thoughts-

My wife likes it.  We used it extensively over the last few weeks, including a family driving vacation.  She is not a carseat advocate, so this is a good endorsement.  You can find the Safety 1st Complete Air and the newer Complete Air LX at Amazon and many other stores.

What should a parent/caregiver expect from a CPS Tech?

The following information was taken from the monthly CPS Express newsletter for certified CPS Techs (August 2009): 

What should you, as a parent or caregiver, expect from a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST)?

The one-on-one education of a safety check usually takes 20-30 minutes, depending on the car seat and the vehicle. The CPST should take all the time necessary to ensure that you feel competent and confident in re-securing the car seat into the vehicle and re-buckling your child into its car seat on your own.

 Card your tech! Ask to see proof of his or her current certification.

 During the check up, a competent CPST will:

• Fill out a checklist form (including car seat type, location in vehicle, misuse observations, if any, etc.).

• Review car seat selection appropriate for your child’s age, size, and review factors affecting proper use.

• Review the restraint manufacturer’s instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual with the caregiver and ensure that both are being followed correctly.

• Ensure that an appropriate seating position in the vehicle is being used, especially when using LATCH.

• Check the car seat for recalls, visible damage and an expiration date. If the seat is unsafe, you should replace the seat since it may not work as it should in a crash.

• Show what is correct or will be corrected before making the adjustment.

• Have you install the car seat(s) correctly using either the seat belt or LATCH system. Feel free to ask to learn how to install the seat with either options or in different seating positions.

• Discuss the next steps for each child, such as when to move to the next type of restraint.

• Discuss the benefits for everyone, including all adults, to riding properly restrained.

• Discuss safety in and around the vehicle (never leaving kids unattended, walking around the vehicle before moving, etc.)

• Discuss your state laws and best practice recommendations for occupant safety.

 

This tool is brought to you by the Child Restraint Manufacturer’s Consortium.

Consortium Members: Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Compass-Learning Curve, Dorel, Evenflo, Graco, Mia Moda, Orbit, Peg Perego, Recaro, Safe Kids Worldwide, Safe Traffic Systems and Sunshine Kids.