Monthly Archive:: July 2010

Airplanes, Carseats, and Kids—What You Need to Know Pt. 1

So you’ve planned the big trip: the luggage is picked out, you know what outfits the kids will be wearing, you know what snacks everyone will be eating on the plane, but you don’t know what to do about carseats.  Traveling with kids isn’t easy.  So many things can go wrong.  But with a little planning, your trip can be a breeze and when you settle into your seat on the plane, you’ll wonder why you spent so much time obsessing and worrying about the trip in the first place.

Last May, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a Safety Alert urging parents to buy separate airplane seats for all children and to use appropriate child safety restraints for those kids.  Unfortunately, children under age 2 are permitted to ride as “lap babies” for free on planes.  Everything else on the plane—tray tables, beverage carts, coffee pots—are required to be secured during takeoff and landing and whenever the pilot has the seatbelt sign on.  However, these lap babies are only secured by their parents’ arms.  In severe turbulence, which cannot be predicted (can you see an air pocket in the sky?), unbuckled passengers and flight attendants have been thrown against the ceiling and injured, sometimes severely.  In survivable crashes or runway incidents, unbuckled children become projectiles, just like in your vehicle, but at much higher speeds.  There is a device, the Baby B’Air, that tethers a lap baby to the parent’s seatbelt, but it is not approved for takeoff or landing.  In an emergency, a parent using the Baby B’Air will be asked to put the child on the ground, wrapped in a blanket, so the parent can assume the brace position.

How Many CRs in Kecia’s Training Seat Collection? Giveaway!

As I unloaded all the training seats that I took to class in Kingston last week – I got the bright idea to share my collection with our blog readers.  I had no intention of turning it into a giveaway but when I noticed the bag of Lifesavers freebies that has been sitting next to my desk since April – the light bulb went off.  So, here the deal:

The first person to correctly guess how many training CRs are in that storage room (see video below) will win the bag of freebies from Lifesavers!  Keep in mind that you can’t actually see all the CRs in that video although you do see most of them.  Contest will be open until Noon EST on Friday.  I’ll announce the winner on Friday afternoon, by which time I will have the correct answer.  Now the fine print…. eh, I’m lazy – so there will be no fine print except to exclude anyone who actually attended the LS Conference in Philly this year.  However, if you win and you live outside of the US, then it will be up to you to cover any costs beyond the $9 that I’m expecting to spend to ship this box via USPS priority mail.  Oh, and if you make fun of the way I pronounce “Maestro” then you’ll be automatically disqualified.  Capisce?  ;-)

PS – In the event that no one guesses the correct answer then I’ll chose the number that was closest without going over.

Britax Marathon 70 Review – Part III – Installation

This Britax Marathon 70 Installation Review is a continuation of review Part I and Part II.  The Britax Marathon 70Boulevard 70, Boulevard 70 CS (Click & Safe), Advocate 70 CS and the Roundabout 55 are the all new Britax convertible carseat line.

Installation comments in 2005 Ford Freestar minivan (middle row captain’s chair) with LATCH:

The Good News – Everything! The seat practically installs itself, both rear-facing or forward-facing, if you’re using the LATCH system.  Unless otherwise specified by your vehicle manufacturer – you can use the lower LATCH anchors until your child reaches 40 lbs, then you must switch to a seatbelt install.  Many vehicle manufacturers allow the LATCH system to be used up to 48 lbs so check your vehicle owners manual for guidance.  Britax recommends that the tether be used at all times.  If using LATCH in a center seating position that doesn’t have dedicated lower anchors – you can use the lower LATCH attachments on the Marathon 70 if the spacing between those lower anchors is 20″ or less and the vehicle manufacturer allows it.  The “Non-Handed” lower anchor attachments on the MA70 allow you to easily switch the connectors from the rear-facing to the forward-facing orientation.  You just slide the straps back and forth along the metal bar and attach them to the lower LATCH anchors! No more “switching” the LATCH connectors like you had to do on the original Marathon model.

Now the big question: How much room does the new MA70 take up in the rear-facing position? 

Vehicle Safety Quick Tip–Driver Position

While I was at the Lexus Family Safety Camp, the professional drivers gave us pointers to be better, safer drivers.   Here are some tips on how to adjust your seating position as a driver.

Adjust your steering wheel so that it’s far enough away that your arms bend comfortably.  Ladies, I know that some of you have problems reaching the pedals to drive, but you must have space between your chest and the steering wheel!  That airbag will do some serious damage to the girls!  And, while you’re adjusting the distance between you and the steering wheel, adjust the angle of the wheel so that it’s aimed at your chest, not your face.  You want it aimed at your sturdy chest bones, not your fragile face.  If it’s too much to change all at once, try changing just a bit every day or two—you won’t even notice after a week.

Your hand positions should be at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock or a little lower.  If you’ll notice, manufacturers have changed the design of the steering wheel so the hand notches are lower; that’s not just for comfort.  We used to be taught to hold the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, but if you do that now and the airbag deploys, your hands will be forced back at your face.  Ouch!  Nothing like punching yourself in the face ;).  So keep those hands low and safe.

Adjust your head restraint so that the tops of your ears are midway on the head restraint.  If you have adjustable shoulder belts, adjust the height so that the shoulder belt falls midway between your neck and the edge of your shoulder.  You may want it a smidge closer to your neck so that you don’t roll out of it in a crash, but don’t make it uncomfortable so that you push it out of position.

Britax Marathon 70 Review – Part II (with lots of pics!)

The last few days have been really hot here in NY. Like sweltering, broiling hot. But the Marathon 70 wasn’t even breaking a sweat. In fact, she looked pretty fantabulous in her red bikini. Yeah, yeah… I know – it’s an aftermarket, unregulated bikini that will probably void the Britax warranty but seriously, on a 100 degree day – you pick your battles. ;)

All jokes aside, the Marathon 70 is shaping up to be a really nice convertible seat.  And if its crash performance data is as good as Britax claims it is – I think we have serious contender on our hands.