Author Archive

NHTSA Questions Graco’s Logic Regarding Recent Buckle Recall


NHTSALast month, Graco recalled close to 3.8 million carseats due to an issue with sticky buckles. However, they did not issue a recall for 1.8 million infant carseats, including all the various SnugRide models, which have used the same buckle in the past. Many parents have questioned the decision not to recall the infant seats, and now NHTSA has ordered Graco to explain their reasoning. Graco will have until March 20 to respond to the agency’s request.


In the meantime, if you do need a replacement buckle for a Graco infant seat, you can request one by calling Graco 800-345-4109  (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.). For more info on the buckle recall please see: .  For Canada, please see the Transport Canada Recall Information and Graco Baby Canada.

Find out about recalls


IMG_0696 (2)Since last week’s Graco buckle recall, one of the big questions parents have been asking is, “How do I know if my child’s seat is part of a recall?”

The answer is: “Register your seat with the manufacturer, so they can contact you!”

Most manufacturers give you three ways to register a seat.

  1. Each seat comes with a postcard that is pre-printed with the seat’s model and serial number. Just fill in your own contact information, and stick it in the mail. The postage is prepaid!
  2. Click your way to the manufacturer’s website. You’ll need to have the model, serial number, and date of manufacture (DOM) handy. That info can be found on the postcard that came with the seat (assuming you haven’t mailed it in or lost it), or on stickers on the seat itself, and you’ll have to be careful to enter the numbers correctly.
  3. Call the toll-free number on the postcard or instruction manual. This option involves talking to a real, live person, after spending the requisite minutes on hold, but if you have any questions about your seat, you can get them answered at the same time. Once again, make sure you have the model, serial number and DOM in front of you before you call.

If you’ve moved since you first registered your seat, your best bet is to call the company to make sure the company still knows how to get ahold of you. 

By the way, this applies to more than just carseats! Almost all baby gear, from high chairs and swings to strollers and cribs, can be registered with the manufacturer, and doing so ensures that if there ever is a recall, you’ll find out about it. So, what are you waiting for? Send in that postcard!

Puffy coats, bad. Frost bite, also bad.


IMG_3976 (2)Seven degrees Fahrenheit with a windchill of negative 11°. That’s the weather outside as I type this post, and overnight, the windchill will fall to -30°. I know puffy coats and carseats don’t mix, but I also know that weather this cold isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s potentially dangerous.  What’s a safety-conscious mom to do? How do you balance protection from cold and protection from the very real risk of car crashes, now increased by the terrible driving conditions that accompany ice and snow?

The answer is layers! Think about the four ways your layers can protect you:

  1. Base layer/moisture control. If you’re going to be active enough to sweat, moisture control is critical. If you’re just driving to the store or school, this isn’t nearly as important. (I usually skip this step unless my kids are going sledding.)
  2. Insulation. Long underwear, wool sweaters, fleece pullovers–all provide insulation without adding a bunch of bulk.
  3. Outer layer. From light weight windbreaker jackets to heavy winter parkas and snow pants, this layer helps whenever windchill is a factor and also helps to protect you from snow or rain.
  4. Extremities. Hats, gloves, socks, and boots all play a role in keeping extremities warm.

Here are some examples of what that looks like for two of my own kids.

IMG_0651 IMG_0655

On the left are two outfits for my 6 year old, who weighs a little over 40 lb and rides in a True Fit. The first outfit is a sweater dress over a cotton t-shirt with heavy tights, leggings, and an extra pair of socks. The second outfit is a sweatshirt over a waffle knit shirt, heavy tights and thin leggings under blue jeans, and socks.

The outfit on the right came from my 10 year old’s wardrobe. She uses a Clek booster in the car. She has a t-shirt under a turtleneck sweater, and jeans over tights and long underwear with socks. Yes, the long johns are bright red, but no one is going to see them under jeans and socks.

Before we leave the house, they’ll put on hat and gloves. One of my favorite tricks is to wear a pair of stretchy, one-size-fits-all gloves under a pair of thicker gloves or mittens. Not only do layers mean warmth, but if you have to take off the thick pair to do something, the thin pair helps keep your hands from getting cold quite as fast. Boots provide insulation and resistance to water, including melted snow.

Finally, they do wear coats. To help reduce the bulk between them and the harness/seatbelt, I have them unzip before buckling up.

Good News, Bad News – Latest Report from the CDC


First the good news: Child deaths from motor vehicle crashes have decreased by 43% in the past decade. This is fantastic news and definitely worth celebrating.

children-deaths_570px (2)However, there’s still room for improvement. Motor vehicle crashes are still the #1 cause of death for American children, and the data from the CDC’s latest report shows that 1/3 of the children who died were unrestrained. Proper restraint significantly reduces the risk of death, so the best thing parents can do to protect their kids is to buckle them up!

Other points of note from the report:

  • Racial disparity among unrestrained children is significant (i.e., minority children are much more likely to be unrestrained).
  • An estimated 3,308 children under age 5 were saved by child restraints.
  • Infants under a year were most likely to be restrained, while 8-12 year olds were least likely to be buckled.
  • Improved child restraint laws can significantly decrease the percentage of unrestrained children in a state, decreasing deaths and injuries by 17%!

The CDC recommends that children ride rear facing until they are 2 years old, use a forward-facing harnessed seat until at least age 5, and remain in a booster until the seatbelt fits properly. “Buckle up every age, every trip.”

Sources: Vital Signs: Restraint Use and Motor Vehicle Occupant Death Rates Among Children Aged 0–12 Years — United States, 2002–2011 and CDC Vital Signs: Buckle up every age, every trip (February 2014).