Letting Your Teen Drive Your Newer Car: Difficult or Easy Choice?

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National Teen Driver Safety Week 2019

October 20-26 is National Teen Driver Safety Week.  Keeping kids safe in cars has been our focus at CarseatBlog for over a decade now.  That doesn’t stop when they move out of a booster into a seatbelt!  Did you know that the risk to older teens is much greater than the risk to younger children in motor vehicles?  In fact, driving and riding with other teen drivers is simply the most dangerous routine activity that many teens will ever do in their life.   Unlike kids in some younger age groups, car crashes are still the #1 killer of teen drivers.  There were almost 2000 deaths and over 230,000 injuries to teens age 16-19 in car crashes in 2017 in the USA.  By comparison, there were 270 deaths and roughly 41,000 injuries to children age 5-8 in the same period according to CDC Data.

For young children, child passenger safety advocates have a guideline that we prefer to put the least protected occupant in the most protected seating position if possible.  For example, a child in a rear-facing carseat generally is very well protected from side impacts, so they could be placed in an outboard seating position, while an older child in a backless booster might ride in the center seat.  The same principle is even more important for teen drivers.

Of course, teen drivers are always in the driver seat, but what vehicle are they driving?  Are they in mom’s new SUV with the top safety ratings and crash avoidance features?  Maybe they don’t get to drive the newest car, so they use dad’s sedan from five years ago that still has good safety ratings.  Or, are they in a used compact car from 15-20 years ago that may have been in a crash with frame damage?  Is putting the least safe driver in the safest vehicle available a mantra we should be teaching?

 

 

Yes, it’s tough to let your 18 year-old drive that shiny new car, knowing that it’s more likely to get some dents and scratches.  It’s even tougher to let your new teen driver take the wheel of the newest family car, with a much greater risk of it being wrecked in a crash.  The problem is that inexperienced teen drivers also have a far greater risk of being severely injured.  Those advanced crash avoidance features may be what can keep them out of a crash.  If they do crash because of inexperience or distractions, those top safety ratings may be exactly what they need to avoid serious injury.  We have a list of safe and more affordable used and new cars for teen drivers.

If you are worried about your children in carseats being injured in a car crash, consider this table below.  In 2017, about 1,200 children age 0-14 died in motor vehicle crashes.  With any contagious disease, that would be considered an epidemic with immediate public outcry and government action.  Nearly 6,700 young adults age 15-24 died in crashes the same year.  For any cause of death, this is nothing short of a crisis.  According to the CDC, “Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.

You did your best keeping your young kids in carseats and safe in crashes.  It’s so much more important to do the same once they start driving and riding with other teens!  Please, consider the risks before making your teen drive the least safe vehicle in the household.

More fon Teen Driving rom NHTSA

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No More Unsafe Winter Excuses! The Birdy Boutique Car Seat Poncho Review

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A Cold Weather and Winter Jacket Alternative Safe for Most Carseats

It’s still hot outside here but the early morning fall chill is here. You know, the one that makes you dress in layers in the morning but you’re sweating to death by afternoon? Part of our constant morning struggle is kids complaining that they’re cold when they get in the van, but I’m too cheap to let it warm up (hey, it’s above freezing, they’ll be alright) and they don’t want to grab jackets because they won’t need them within a few hours when they go outside for recess. The Birdy Boutique sent me the perfect solution: their car seat poncho!

We all know bulky jackets are not okay in the car thanks to numerous blog posts on the topic, including Jennie’s famous winter coat entry. I’ve reviewed car seat coats that snap/button over the harness to remove the risk of compression, and those are great options too. However they are pricey and therefore not an option for everyone. The car seat poncho is a cuddly, warm, easy to use wearable blanket that is safe.

Birdy Boutique is a shop run by two moms (and sisters!) named Barbara and Joanna who have a passion for safety. They also have a blog on their website, with tons of great topics including DIY projects! In addition to the ponchos, they sell birthday sets and adorable accessories.

The ponchos themselves have been crash tested in an independent crash test facility and are CPSC/CPSIA certified. They are made of high quality fleece, are reversible, and have a hood. The ones we received were gray with arrows and an adorable green dinosaur print with spikes on the hood that my son loved!

They also have a red and black buffalo plaid with antlers on the opposite side, flowers with mermaids, the gray arrows we also received, cupcakes, a cozy black sherpa, and unicorns. They fit children from about 6-12 months up to 4-5 years and measure about 52 inches long by 24 inches wide. Even though the end of the age spectrum is 4/5 years old, my tall 9 year old loved them too. They don’t drape over his legs like they do my 6 year old but they covered his lap (which is still more coverage than a car seat safe jacket) and he claimed it was super cozy.

Dinosaurs!

Gray Arrows

Using them is pretty self explanatory- simply buckle the child in and then place the poncho over their head so it drapes on top of them like a blanket. The back is designed to be lifted up over the back of the car seat so the child doesn’t have any bulk behind their head. Of course my son was stubborn and insisted on NOT doing that for pictures but given how the poncho fits him, there really wasn’t a concerning amount of material behind his head. It mostly laid safely to the sides and wasn’t more than what a hood on a jacket would be.

Snug and cozy while safely buckled underneath!

A photo from their website that shows how the poncho can be draped over the back of the seat.

These are great options for the budget-minded family and perfect for both cold winters and mild seasons with chilly morning car rides. I really appreciate Birdy Boutique for reaching out to us and offering up their super cool items to try! I always love supporting small businesses, especially mama and veteran owned businesses, and their package was so personal and sweet. From one Army family to another, thank you for your service, Barbara!

You can purchase Birdy Boutique’s car seat ponchos on Amazon or at the Birdy Boutique website. They retail for $39.99 but at the time of writing this they are on sale from $24.99 and up.

Thank you Birdy Boutique mamas! I received no compensation for these products from Birdy Boutique and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

GIVEAWAY! Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-One Carseat

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Britax’s new One4Life ClickTight All-in-One carseat  is now available and we have a full review here! We’ve also partnered with our generous friends at BritaxUSA to give away a new One4Life ClickTight carseat to one lucky winner (USA only, sorry)!

One4Life ClickTight Specs & Features:
  • Rear-facing: 5-50 lbs. AND child’s head is 1” below top edge of headrest
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., 49” or less
  • Highback booster: 40-120 lbs., 44-63”, at least 4 years old
  • Improved ClickTight installation with color-coded belt guides
  • Adjustable 9-position base
  • No re-thread harness with 15 position headrest
  • Energy-absorbing, rip-stitch V-shaped tether
  • SafeCell technology
  • High strength steel reinforced frame
  • Energy-absorbing EPP foam
  • Deluxe push-on LATCH connectors
  • Flip-forward buckle pad
  • Built-in cooling channels with ventilated mesh for improved air flow
  • On-board harness storage for booster mode
  • Two dishwasher-safe cup holders
  • Easily removable machine-washable cover
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires
How to Enter Britax One4Life ClickTight Giveaway:
  • Leave us a comment below (required to be eligible to win), then click on Rafflecopter to qualify yourself.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print – winner must have a USA shipping address to claim the prize. Only one prize will be awarded. 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 October 20, 2019, 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.

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. Your comment is not lost; it just goes into a moderated queue where it has to be manually approved by one of us. This may take a few hours depending on our availability. If you are outside of the US or Canada, your comment may be blocked by our system. Thank you for understanding, as this is the only way we have to manage spam comments.

Good luck!

Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-One Carseat Review

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2019-2020 Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-One Carseat Review

Britax has finally hit the scene with a brand-new all-in-one carseat: the One4Life ClickTight. We’ve been waiting for a long time for them to jump on the bandwagon since it seems everyone has an all-in-one these days (I mean, if *everyone* is doing it, you must follow suit, right?). That must explain the name, too? 😉 Well, Britax doesn’t disappoint with this feature-rich carseat that improves upon the already easy-to-use ClickTight installation system to give us a 50-pound rear-facing weight limit and tallest all-in-one booster.

One4Life Weight and Height Limits:
  • Rear-facing: 5-50 lbs. AND child’s head is 1” below top edge of headrest
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., 49” or less
  • Highback booster: 40-120 lbs., 44-63”, at least 4 years old
One4Life Overview:
  • Improved ClickTight installation with color-coded belt guides
  • Adjustable 9-position base
  • No re-thread harness with 15 position headrest
  • Energy-absorbing, rip-stitch V-shaped tether
  • SafeCell technology
  • High strength steel reinforced frame
  • Energy-absorbing EPP foam
  • Deluxe push-on LATCH connectors
  • Flip-forward buckle pad
  • Built-in cooling channels with ventilated mesh for improved air flow
  • On-board harness storage for booster mode
  • Two dishwasher-safe cup holders
  • Easily removable machine-washable cover
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires
  • MSRP $364.99-$399.99

Cadet Drift Eclipse Black Plum Black Diamond

One4Life Measurements:
  • Harness height: 7 ½ ”-19”
  • Shoulder belt guide height: 21 ½ ”
  • External widest point: 19 ½ ”
  • Base width: 14 3/4″
  • Shell height with headrest: 30 ½ ”
  • Shoulder width: 14”
  • Crotch strap depth: inner slot: 1 ½ ” without infant insert (headrest in lowest position); second slot: 1 ½ “ with infant insert, 5 3/4 ” without insert; outer slot: 7 ½” without insert
  • Seat depth: 13”
  • Seat weight: 29.5 lbs. with padding, 28.9 lbs. without padding

Don’t forget about our comparison database!

One4Life ClickTight Installation: