Sssssssssssspring and sssssssssssssssssummer ssssssssssssssssafety

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I had this all written up and then realized there probably are people out there with some legit fears of snakes. So as a courtesy to those who don’t want any sort of snake talk/pictures/nonsense, I’m going to tell you this post contains all of the above. 🙂

The other day I was in the garage wrapping up an addition to the chicken coop. I was carrying a panel of wood across the driveway and sidewalk out to the side of the house when my bare (yes I know, I’m a cavewoman. I hate things on my feet) foot got tripped up under what I thought was the hose. I had finished watering our blueberry bushes prior to starting the coop panel and had left the hose laying across the sidewalk in true sloppy Alicia fashion. I let out a string of choice words because hey, it was naptime and I can say whatever the heck I want, and kicked the hose out of the way. Except what flew off to the side wasn’t the hose. It was a seemingly never ending length of snake. I proceeded to turn inside out and emit a sound I will never be able to reproduce again. When I recovered, I looked down to see what I was dealing with. A few feet away from me was a shiny black snake with telltale yellowish markings, looking at me like he was insulted. A king snake!

Doesn’t look like the hose but sure as heck felt like it!

Have you ever seen a king snake devour a copperhead? Of course you probably haven’t, but you’re missing out. Ya’ll, I was about to pour this guy a beer at this point and beg him to stay because we live in the South and copperheads this summer are no joke. We practically live outside, we live in a rural area, and have woods bordering our house where our kids play and have forts, walked paths, and other secret kid areas. My biggest fear is one of them stumbling upon a copperhead. So if this harmless 3.5 foot long guy wanted to hang out and eat my biggest fears, I would pay him to do it. Unfortunately he wasn’t impressed with being kicked and I haven’t seen him since.

Kinda guy you want hanging around. Unless you like venomous snakes and rodents.

Winter this past year was generally mild, and the snakes and bugs have been out full force. I haven’t seen so many snake bites in a long time. Our emergency rooms are full of people with unfortunate copperhead encounters. I’m not sure if it’s similar in other parts of the country but for those of you here in the South, you know what I’m talking about. 

So what can you do? Well obviously stay away from them and if you come across one, don’t try to scare it away. Just leave. Most snakes will flee when they hear you coming. That’s all pretty common sense because most of us (normal) people don’t go looking to snakes to trip on. Chances are, any snake you encounter is actually going to be harmless. Where I live, there are about 42 species of snakes and only 6 are venomous.  Here’s a few tips:

-Don’t be like me and walk around barefoot while building chicken coops. Wear closed toed shoes when walking through brushy areas especially.

-Look where you step. Not all snakes are brightly colored like my little friend. Most of them blend right in to the ground and are simply trying to stay hidden. If you step on them, they’re going to bite you simply out of fear. If you notice them before you step, you can move away and everyone’s life can go on. Don’t step where you can’t look first; walk around things instead of stepping over them.

-Keep your yard clean. Don’t like the idea of a snake infestation? Then keep your yard clear of debris, logs, branches, junk, etc. Snakes like to hide and if there’s nowhere to hide then they will probably keep moving on.

-Educate yourself and your kids. Knowledge is power. My kids can identify all venomous snakes in our area. They know they aren’t allowed to touch any snake, even if they know for a fact it’s a harmless rat snake, but I feel like it’s important for them to know what they see.

If you follow these tips, your chances of being bit are low. If you do manage to get bit, stay as still and calm as you can. Don’t apply a tourniquet or go old school and suck out venom.  Don’t decide it’s a good time to get drunk and tell your friends…alcohol and caffeine increase absorption rate of venom. Most importantly, don’t try to catch the snake! Leave it alone and get away. If it’s safe to snap a quick picture for identification then do so but don’t do it at the expense of your safety/time. A lot of the time complications from snake bites are actually from bacterial infections, not the venom itself but that doesn’t mean you can clean it up yourself and “wait and see”. Get yourself to an emergency room stat and get treatment. Chances are the snake was biting out of fear and not to kill, so the amount of venom received is low. If it turns out to be nonvenomous then everyone wins.

Harmless black snake on my mom’s house.

Sssso uh, I hear you guyssss have air conditioning in there…

Now that I’ve thoroughly skeeved you out, enjoy your summer! The more you know, the more you are armed to keep yourself safe. No need to walk around in fear of moving tube socks with eyes in your yard. Just treat them like that annoying neighbor- no eye contact, wide movements, and prevention, prevention, prevention! Ssssssssssssssssstay sssssssssssssssssssafe.

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Graco My Ride 65 Recall – May 2017

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Graco Baby is issuing a recall of some MyRide 65 convertible carseats. “In the event of a crash, the child seat webbing may not adequately restrain the child. As such, these car seats fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 213

The recall affects certain seats with model numbers 1871689, 1908152, 1813074, 1872691, 1853478, 1877535, 1813015, and 1794334, but only some manufactured in mid-2014, and that have code 2014/06 on the harness webbing.  Over 25,000 carseats may be affected.

Remedy

Graco will send owners a replacement harness free of charge. The recall isn’t officially scheduled to begin until July 17, so it might be a while to receive the repair kit. If you have registered your seat with Graco, you should automatically receive a notice and the replacement part. If you haven’t (or if you’re not sure) you can call Graco at 1-800-345-4109.

What to do

No injuries have been reported, but this is a safety concern. Until we have more information about this recall, CarseatBlog recommends discontinuing use of a recalled My Ride 65 carseat until you receive the replacement harness from Graco.  If you don’t have a spare seat and need an inexpensive replacement in the meantime, you can check our list of budget seats.

Information from Graco Baby

Graco Baby is notifying customers and providing replacement kits with a new harness and instructions, free of charge.  You may find a complete list of affected model numbers and photos plus a Replacement Form at the Graco Website.  This website provides complete information on how to tell if your My Ride 65 carseat is being recalled and how to contact Graco for a repair kit.

Is your car seat affected?

This recall includes the following Graco My Ride 65 car seats in the table below:

Graco My Ride TM 65 Model Numbers Affected Manufacturing Date Range AND Webbing Tag Code 2014/06
1908152 7/23/2014 through 7/27/2014
1813074 6/20/2014 through 7/27/2014
1872691 5/16/2014 through 8/1/2014
1853478 7/11/2014 through 7/27/2014
1871689 7/5/2014 through 7/24/2014
1877535 5/26/2014 through 7/27/2014
1813015 7/3/2014 through 7/24/2014
1794334 5/20/2014 through 7/15/2014

If you have any questions, please contact our consumer services team at http://www.gracobaby.com/en-US/contactus or at 1-800-345-4109 (Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm ET).

 

NHTSA Campaign Number: 17C001000

Manufacturer Graco Children’s Products Inc.

Components CHILD SEAT

Potential Number of Units Affected 25,494

Summary

Graco Children’s Products Inc. (Graco) is recalling certain Graco My Ride 65 convertible child restraints, models 1871689, 1908152, 1813074, 1872691, 1853478, 1877535, 1813015, and 1794334. In the event of a crash, the child seat webbing may not adequately restrain the child. As such, these car seats fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 213, “Child Restraint Systems.”

Remedy

Graco will notify owners, and dealers will provide consumers with a replacement harness, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 17, 2017. Owners may contact Graco customer service at 1-800-345-4109.

Notes

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Confessions of a (Former) Extended Rear Facing Snob

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I initially got interested in carseats when my oldest child was a baby and the first thing I learned was about extended rear-facing. Prior to having him, I had no idea that there was any real benefit and once I fell down that rabbit hole, there was no coming back. Very early in my research I was told by another parent that if a child is kept rear-facing, they won’t fight it because they don’t know any different. And I bought that line and handed it out like candy to my friends and family. Even more so once I became a CPS Technician.

My first child fit that mold perfectly. He rear-faced until he turned 4 and never once asked to turn around, despite having more than adequate language to do so. He truly didn’t care.

I was so sure this was my doing. I told his story far and wide – the story of how he didn’t know there existed any other option and he was perfectly comfortable and blah blah blah. I was always very polite and never shamed people for forward-facing within the limits of the law, but in my mind I thought they must be crazy. Kids will rear-face forever if you let (okay, make) them.

And then I had my second child. And look, I adore him. He is one of the cutest kids on the planet. He is incredibly smart and when he’s not screaming he’s pretty articulate for his age (2.5 years) too. But he’s also basically a honey badger. He does not care if you punish him, he does not care if you want him to do something. There is no hill too small for him to die on. No battle too silly to fight. His teachers at preschool have complemented me on naming him appropriately (his name is William, we call him Will) because he is exceedingly willful.

And my little honey badger, who is petite enough that he could rear-face to middle school, is miserable in his rear-facing convertible. Every single time we get in the car he climbs into his seat and sits facing forward. Sometimes he will ask me if I think he’s funny (spoiler alert: nope), sometimes he will just demand to sit that way, but the common thread is that each time we get in the car I have to wrestle a 24 pound honey badger to rear-face in the car and get him buckled before he planks out of the seat.

At first I thought great! I will nip this in the bud and then I can write something to help other parents with this problem. But well, please don’t hold your breath on that post because the only tip I have is to give myself an extra 5 minute cushion every single time we go somewhere so I can force him into his seat. My child cares DEEPLY that he is rear-facing and he has never faced forward a day in his life.

So let me publicly eat my words. Some kids care. Some kids care very, very deeply about rear-facing, even if they have never forward-faced. And some parents would be completely reasonable to want turn their honey badgers forward after age two, even if they had room to grow rear-facing (note: I’m not encouraging this, just saying I understand it and do not judge it for even a second).

As for me, I choose to fight the fight each day, partially in hopes that I’ll break his carseat spirit and partially because the kid didn’t get his stubborn streak from his dad. You don’t grow a honey badger in a vacuum.

To my fellow badger parents, I’m sorry. If you have figured out how to cure this problem, please share. I’m all ears. And maybe some tears.

The Safest All-in-One Carseats? New 2017 Crash Protection Ratings & Methods from Consumer Reports

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Graco Milestone, Graco 4Ever & Evenflo Symphony with SureLATCH top the All-in-One ratings from Consumer Reports

3 years ago Consumer Reports implemented a new, more rigorous crash test for carseats and started releasing the results of their ratings to subscribers. CR’s goal in creating the new test wasn’t to recreate the wheel. We know every carseat on the market here in the U.S. must be able to pass a basic frontal crash test (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213), therefore we consider all carseats on the market to be “safe” because they can all pass this baseline test. However, we also know that all carseats are NOT created equal and it would be naive to assume that they all provide exactly the same levels of protection.

Consumer Reports set out to find which seats provide additional margins of safety, above and beyond FMVSS 213, and so they developed their new crash test to be more rigorous than the federal standards. Their crash test ratings scale will indicate a “BASIC,” “BETTER,” or “BEST” rating to indicate how well the child restraint performed as compared with the rest of the seats in that “peer group” category. One main focus of this new crash test is head protection, since head injuries are very common in crashes, even among properly restrained children.

This crash test was designed by an automotive safety engineer and peer-reviewed by an independent crash testing expert with 40 years of experience in the field. Testing is performed at an independent, outside testing facility. This test utilizes an actual contemporary vehicle seat (a 2010 Ford Flex 2nd row seat) with a floor below it, unlike the government test which has a 70’s era back seat bench with no floor. There’s a “blocker plate” (pictured above) installed in front of the test seat to simulate the front seat in a vehicle. The blocker plate is intended to recreate the interaction that happens in real life crashes when the child or the carseat interacts with the back of the front seat. In addition, the speed of this test is set at 35 mph (instead of 30 mph which is standard in FMVSS testing). Those who follow vehicle ratings will recognize the 35 mph speed as the same speed used to crash vehicles in the NCAP program. CR’s new test applies 36% more energy to carseats than their old test protocol and a more severe test results in a greater distinction among carseat performance.

Consumer Reports crash tested 14 All-in-One models in up to 7 configurations, both forward-facing and rear-facing, with various dummy sizes, using LATCH or a 3-point seatbelt.  Several models that received a “BEST” rating for crash protection are also on our Recommended Carseats List. We recommend the Graco Milestone, Graco 4Ever and Evenflo Symphony DLX/Elite with SureLATCH because of their ease of use and fit-to-child in all 3 modes (rear-facing, forward-facing & booster).

  

In addition to the Crash Protection Rating, Consumer Reports still gives each model an overall numeric “Score.”  This is based in part on the Crash Protection Rating and also other more subjective factors, such as ease-of-use and fit-to-vehicle in various modes.

Top Performers in the All-in-One Category