Proper Transport of the Non-Critical Pediatric Patient in an Ambulance (aka how to properly install a carseat on a stretcher/cot)


On this warm, sunny, spring day – parents were obviously busy doing something other than coming to our check event. That left us techs with a little free time. At one point, some of the fabulous volunteers from the local ambulance corp showed up and the conversation quickly turned to transporting babies and young children in ambulances. I think I shocked a few of the local techs when I admitted that I had never actually installed a carseat on an ambulance cot (What? Something involving carseats that Kecia has never done??? Alert the presses! Lol.) Yes, I understand how it’s supposed to be done. I’ve read the research papers and I’ve seen several presentations on the subject at various CPS conferences over the years but I had never actually done it myself. Well, wouldn’t you know it – a short time later, an ambulance pulls up. Yes, boys and girls – it’s play time! 😀

It was actually a fairly simple install on this nice, new Stryker cot with this particular convertible (original model Cosco Scenera).  For the record, the only type of conventional carseat that should ever be installed on an ambulance stretcher/cot is a convertible. You need to be able to secure the carseat on the cot using two different beltpaths and this is only possible if the carseat has separate beltpaths for the rear-facing and forward-facing positions. Obviously, this setup is only going to work if the child actually fits in the convertible (and that will vary depending on the child and the specific convertible model being used) and if the child can tolerate being transported in the semi-upright position.

First we reclined the carseat into the position meant for a rear-facing installation. Then they showed me how to raise the head of the cot until we had it flush against the back of the convertible. Next we routed the straps nearest the rear-facing beltpath through that beltpath and routed the straps nearest the forward-facing beltpath through that beltpath. They helped me tighten everything up and Voila! Then we strapped in our “non-critical pediatric patient” for good measure (and for the photo op)! Finally, the guys showed me how to load this particular stretcher into the ambulance and secure it. I have to say, I was really impressed with this particular Stryker Powered Ambulance Cot. The hydraulic system was sweeet!


On this particular day, this exercise was all about learning something new in a relaxed and friendly environment. However, in reality, pediatric transport in an ambulance can range from “as safe as possible under difficult circumstances” to “downright scary for no good reason”. Why does it vary so much? Because currently there are no federal guidelines for  pediatric transport in an ambulance. Therefore,  EMS services are free to transport patients in any way they deem appropriate. Personally, I wouldn’t allow my kids to be transported to the hospital in an ambulance unless they really needed to be attended to by a medic on the way there. Unconscious? Not breathing? Massive head trauma? Get him into the ambulance fast and I’m not going to care or worry about how he’s restrained. Broken foot? Get in the car and I’m driving you to the hospital myself.

For more information on the subject see “Crash Protection for Children in Ambulances”:


June 2016 Carseat Deals, Stroller Sales & Coupon Codes

We find the lowest prices on carseats & strollers in June, 2016. Bookmark us and check back frequently for the latest bargains and promo code offers!

Deals Collage Graphic - Spring Summer 2016 - final

Update 6/26/16: We’re the experts on car seats and deals, so we know where to find the best discounts on the products that parents actually want to buy! This list will be updated anytime we see a great deal or promotion code below recent average prices, so you don’t have to wade through dozens of normally priced models to find the bargains.  You can help us (and your fellow shoppers) by leaving us a comment if you find a deal on a carseat, booster or popular stroller that isn’t posted yet.  We recommend that you bookmark this post, as we will make full updates at least a few times per week in 2016!  If we see a bargain deal price on a popular model from our Recommended Carseats List, like the Britax Pinnacle, Britax Advocate ClickTight, Chicco NextFit Zip Air, Graco Milestone, Diono Rainier, Diono Radian, Maxi-Cosi Pria, Clek Foonf or Clek Fllo, we’ll update as soon as possible!

What you need to know about Amazon pricing: it’s FICKLE. When a product’s price is reduced we rarely know how long it will remain at that price. Sometimes it’s a few days, sometimes it’s a few hours. The best advice we can offer you is to ACT QUICKLY if you see a great deal on something you really need or just seriously want. Just adding something to your cart does not guarantee you that item at that price – you must complete the checkout process to seal the deal. Most items on our list offer FREE SHIPPING & FREE RETURNS to Prime members but always double check this before you put the item in your cart and checkout. Not a Prime member? There’s a 30-day FREE trial. It’s a no-brainer! Try it out and score some great deals. You can always cancel before the 30 days is up if you’re not sold on the many benefits of an Amazon Prime membership.

Looking for more info on a certain carseat or booster? Check out out REVIEWS page. We have in-depth reviews of over 100 carseats and boosters.

Prefer to shop at other stores?  If you received great advice from us or discovered a good deal here and then share it with friends, please mention us and also share our links to AmazonAlbee Baby,,, Kohl’s, BuyBuyBaby and BabiesRUs.

Select Editors’ Picks:

These carseats may not be great deals right now, but are among our Editor’s Picks and are reader favorites, too.  For our current deals, please scroll to the next section.

NEW – Indicates a new deal or lowered price within the last 7 days
** – Indicates a Recommended Carseat

Chicco KeyFit30 Fuego  Graco SR40 - Fern

Infant Carseat Deals:

Mythbusters: Vehicle headrests are meant to break vehicle windows


Every once in a while, a meme goes around on Facebook that catches my attention. And one such meme has been making the rounds on my friends’ profiles. For some reason, this one has been wildly popular and everyone seems to be very excited about the implications and benefits of this information.


And it has gotten me wondering. Is this true? Because if so, I had no idea and what a great hidden trick! If not, then it is probably sort of dangerous for people to be spreading it to others when there are devices that are specifically created to help break windows in an emergency.

So let’s get to some myth busting or maybe confirming this time?

MYTH: A vehicle headrest is left deliberately detachable and sharp so that it can be used to break a vehicle’s window and the glass of a vehicle window is easily broken from the inside.

I’m going to break this down into two parts: the headrest and the window.

Let’s look first at the major function of a headrest. It’s part of the restraint system and anyone who is using a backless booster or a seatbelt alone, absolutely should have a headrest. It is critically important for preventing neck hyperextension in a crash and could be the difference between a spinal cord injury and just normal whiplash. So that’s its primary function. Now what about the window breaking?

I did some poking around the internet and found a very long (and dull) document about headrest function and design written by NHTSA. Despite being at least 10 pages long, there is nothing in it about the potential to break vehicle windows.

The other thing that leads me to believe that this part of the myth may not be true is that not every vehicle has removable headrests. It seems like if this was part of an industry standard, then there wouldn’t be these outliers with non-detachable headrests. And I took off the headrests of both of my cars and sadly, neither were sharp.

I’m going to go ahead and say that a vehicle headrest isn’t left deliberately detachable or sharp for window breaking. It is potentially a major bonus (if it can indeed break a window), but it is not a part of the primary design of the vehicle seat in anything I’ve found.

Now, to the second part: whether vehicle glass easy to break. I really felt strongly that the answer to that was no, but there is definitely a lot to learn about vehicle glass.

FMVSS 205 — This sets clear standards for automotive window transparency and the strength of automotive glass required to keep occupants inside the vehicle during accidents. That right there, sounds like strong glass, right?

The windshield is made of laminated glass, where the side windows are tempered glass. Laminated glass is two layers of glass with a layer of polyvinyl butyral in the middle. The PVB allows the glass to absorb energy and makes it stronger than typical glass, which both helps maintain the roof space in a roll over and prevents passengers from being ejected through the windshield. I strongly suspect that laminated glass would not yield to a vehicle headrest prong.

Tempered glass is glass that is heated and quickly cooled. What this does is allow the outside layers, which are cooler, to contract and compress, but the inside, which is still hot, is able to expand, making the glass extremely strong both when put until tensile and compressive forces. Tempered glass is somewhere between 5 and 10 times stronger than standard glass. While this process makes strong glass, it does make the edges weaker, which is why those edges are ground and smoothed down (look at the top of your windows to see what I’m talking about). Might this weakness be how a vehicle headrest can break a vehicle window? Arguably yes, but! let’s look again at our myth.

It states that the vehicle headrest is deliberately detachable so it can be used to break a vehicle window, which we’ve already found to be dubious at best, and that the vehicle window is easily broken from the inside. The way that the tempered and laminated glasses are created is entirely for the opposite purpose. These glasses are intended to be exceptionally strong: to hold the frame of the car stable, to keep occupants inside, to withstand the concussive force of the passenger airbag. Nothing about the design of laminated or tempered glass is in any way easy to break.

Verdict: This myth, as it is written, is busted.

Now, before you comment with the video of the woman breaking her window open with the vehicle headrest, which I have seen, know that I’m not saying that it is impossible. I’m simply saying that, per this meme, a vehicle headrest is not created with this intention in mind and that vehicle glass is very intentionally hard to break. And more importantly, there are several tools on the market that will reliably and much more easily break your window open in a crash and you should absolutely have at least one of these in your car. Many will double as seatbelt cutters and could literally save your life in a crash involving water or a heavily damaged door.

belt cutter1



In the end, I’m hoping that this meme will slowly die, or perhaps be replaced with one that includes information about belt cutter/window breaking kits so that more families don’t have to hope their headrests come off or that they can get the exact right leverage to break their window in an emergency. Let’s not rely on hoping that vehicle companies imagined this secondary benefit of a headrest and instead spend the $5 for peace of mind and confidence that you have the ability to escape after a crash.

Memorial Day Remembrance


Memorial Day Meme