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Carseat Check Events – The Pre-Check Meeting for CPS Technicians and Instructors

Carseat Check EventIt’s the day of the big carseat check event. The traffic cones are out, the updated recall lists have been printed and the LATCH Manuals are ready for action. But wait! Before those parents and caregivers begin to arrive – it’s time to gather your technicians for a quick briefing. This may be the most important 10 minutes of the whole event so don’t skip it. The pre-check meeting will outline expectations, procedures and protocols. In short, the pre-check meeting sets the tone for the entire event.

Each event coordinator has different expectations and pre-check meetings can vary widely. However, here is a general list of what I expect of the technicians who work events with me:

  • Always encourage best practice recommendations. If you don’t give the parents or caregivers the information then you’re essentially taking away their ability to make informed choices. However, don’t be judgmental and respect the parent or caregiver’s choices as long as they are legal.
  • Read the CR instruction manuals or look them up (online or DVD from Safety Belt Safe, USA)
  • Ask the parent “tell me what you know about this seat”. It’s a great place to start and they might teach you something you didn’t already know.
  • Look up every vehicle in the current edition of the LATCH Manual. It only takes 30 seconds and you’ll never know what you might find unless you actually look.
  • Teach parents how to secure the carseat with their vehicle seatbelt system even if the carseat is currently being installed with LATCH. It’s probably the only opportunity they’ll ever get to understand how the seatbelts in their vehicle lock for proper installation of a carseat.
  • Higher-weight harness seats – must check LATCH limits and note the info for parents.
  • Inform parents of the most appropriate “next step” for the child.
  • Don’t forget to ask “who else rides in this vehicle?”
  • Have parents do final install (or at least help).
  • Document EVERYTHING! Especially any “tough choices” made by parent/caregiver. Make sure you note in your paperwork that parent did final install, how the CR was secured in the vehicle and that education was provided.
  • No vehicle leaves without a second set of eyes (experienced) checking it over!

REMINDER – if the carseat or infant seat base has a lockoff device, you should use it for installations with seatbelt unless there is some compelling reason not to do so. Generally speaking, if using the lockoff – do NOT switch the retractor to locked (ALR) mode. Check carseat owner’s manual for details. Note: in these cases it is recommended that you show parents how the switchable retractor works anyway – in case their next carseat does not have a lockoff.

REMINDER – all vehicles made after 1996 have seatbelts that pre-crash lock in some way. Most lap/shoulder belts have switchable retractors but if you encounter a lap/shoulder belt in a vehicle made after 1996 that has an ELR retractor only (it doesn’t “switch”) then you probably have a locking latchplate. Locking latchplates aren’t always obvious and there are many different versions. Test the latchplate by buckling yourself in the seatbelt and pulling up on the lap belt portion of the belt. If it’s cinched and doesn’t loosen when you pull up on it – you have a locking latchplate.

Carseat Check Road SignThere are other protocols in place regarding CR replacement, technician to vehicle ratios, verification of installs for tech recertification, etc., but those vary from check to check depending on the circumstances.  Safe Kids coalitions have specific protocols that must be followed at all events but for those CPS programs (like mine), that are not affiliated with Safe Kids - it’s really up to the person in charge to make sure that the necessary resources are available and the CPS Techs staffing the event are all on the same page.

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Child Passenger Safety Week Kick-Off: Clek Fllo Giveaway!

Clek Fllo - ShadowThis week is National Child Passenger Safety Week and what better way to celebrate than to start off with a giveaway! And what better giveaway than a hot-off-the-molds Clek Fllo in the “Shadow” fashion! This convertible carseat is so new, it’s still waking up every hour and a half for feeding time.

Clek Fllo Specs:

Rear-Facing: 14-50 lbs; 25”- 44” tall

Forward-Facing: 22-65 lbs; 30”-49 and at least 1 year old, though Clek recommends a minimum of age 2 before ff

Clek Fllo Features:

  • 5 sets of harness slots
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Energy-absorbing EPP foam
  • Steel substructure
  • EACT: Energy Absorbing Crumple Technology transfers force away from the child to a honeycomb deformable core in the base
  • Anti-rebound bar: optional, for a more upright install for older and bigger rear-facers
  • Built-in lockoffs for easier seat belt installation
  • FAA certified for use on aircraft
  • Very narrow: great for side-by-side installations
  • All fabrics, except Drift, made of Crypton Super Fabric, a truly wipe-away-the-mess fabric
  • 9 year expiration

Giveaway:

  • To enter, you MUST reply to this blog and leave a comment below (only 1 entry per household).
  • For extra entries, be sure follow the Rafflecopter instructions to Like our Facebook page, Like the Clek Facebook page, and tweet about the giveaway!

Winner must have a U.S. or Canadian shipping address.  Hawaii and Alaska are also included (though may incur extra shipping fees)! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms)

Winner must have a USA or Canadian shipping address to claim the prize. Only one prize will be awarded, in Shadow fashion.

You are not eligible if you have previously won a carseat or any sponsored giveaway at CarseatBlog.com during 2013 or 2014 (our own giveaways of goody bags and such don’t count if no sponsor was mentioned). Carseatblog writers and editors are also not eligible. Only one entry per household/family, please. If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count.

We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above. We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules for any reason.

The contest will close on September 28, 2014, and one random winner will be chosen shortly thereafter. If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize within 7 days, a new winner will be selected.

Good luck!

Please note: If this is your first comment at CarseatBlog, or if you are using a different computer/device or a new email address, your comment may not appear immediately. It will not be lost; it may just take a few hours for it to be approved. Thank you for your understanding and patience as this is the only way we have to reduce comment spam.

Happy Child Passenger Safety Week!

RibbonSeptember 14-20 is National Child Passenger Safety Week. We at CarseatBlog would like to thank technicians, car seat manufacturers, safety advocates, and parents for everything they do to keep kids safe in the car.

If you need your car seat checked, many organizations are holding events on Seat Check Saturday (September 20) or throughout the week. This is also a good time to share safety information with friends and family.

  • Keep children rear-facing until at least 2 years old.
  • Keep children in a harnessed seat until they fit properly in a booster seat and are mature enough to sit properly in the belt (usually a minimum of 5 years old).
  • Keep children in booster seats until they fit properly in an adult seatbelt. The seatbelt should sit low on the hips, touching the thighs. The shoulder belt should cross the middle of the shoulder, and the child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when s/he is sitting all the way back.
  • Children should ride in the back seat until at least 13 years old.
  • Wear your seatbelt, and put down the phone while driving. Kids learn from the adults around them.

Resources to find a local event or fitting station:

Safe Kids USA

NHTSA

2015 Britax G4.1 Convertibles and ClickTight Convertibles Comparison

Britax logo Greetings from the ABC Kids Expo! We knew our readers would be interested in comparison photos of the 2015 Britax G4.1 convertibles and the new ClickTight convertibles.

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G4.1 Convertible Updates: 

Lower LATCH anchor limits will change

  • Roundabout G4.1, Marathon G4.1 and Blvd G4.1 – Rear-facing up to 40 lbs. (unchanged from current G4 models); Forward-facing up to 50 lbs. with LATCH (after that you must use seatbelt to install seat)
  • Advocate G4.1 - Rear-facing up to 40 lbs (unchanged from current G4 models); Forward-facing up to 45 lbs. with LATCH (after that you must use seatbelt to install seat)

SafeCell branding: Roundabout & Marathon will be “Complete”; Boulevard “Complete Plus”; Advocate “Complete Max”

Shorter tether strap length (extenders will be available for rare cases where strap isn’t long enough to reach tether anchor)

Boulevard G4.1 and Boulevard ClickTight:

Pictured below are the 2015 Britax Boulevard G4.1 (red) and the new Britax Boulevard ClickTight (green).

Britax G4 and ClickTight  Britax G4 vs ClickTight front

Britax G4 vs ClickTight back to back  Britax G4 vs ClickTight side

Britax G4 vs ClickTight top 2  Britax G4 vs ClickTight top

As you can see the shape of the shell is different but overall the new ClickTight Boulevard isn’t wider than the current Boulevard G4 model.

Quick Comparison of G4, G4.1 and ClickTight Specs:

All Britax convertibles (G4, G4.1 and CT models) are rated from 5-40 lbs. rear-facing

G4 and G4.1 models are outgrown rear-facing by height once the child’s head is 1″ from the top of the shell (not the headwings)

All ClightTight models are outgrown rear-facing by height once the child’s head is 1″ from the top of the headwings (Note: Boulevard  CT and Advocate CT models are taller than the Marathon CT model)

All Britax convertibles (with the exception of Roundabout) are rated from 20-65 forward-facing and up to 49″ tall.

ClightTight models have taller top harness slots than G4 and G4.1 models.

Finally, an update to our earlier previews with a forward-facing ClickTight installation.  (Rear-facing install shown in our previews linked below)

For more detailed info on the new ClightTight convertibles see our previous posts on the subject:

Rear-Facing Space Comparison: Britax G4 Convertibles vs. New Britax ClickTight Convertibles

Britax Marathon, Boulevard & Advocate ClickTight Preview: Game Changers for Installation, and Rear-Facing Too?

More on New Britax Advocate, Marathon and Boulevard ClickTight: Sneak Peek Review

 

Pre-Order Britax ClickTight convertibles at Amazon.com

Pre-Order Britax ClickTight convertibles at Albee Baby