Safety Archive

What to Do with A Crashed Seat


Uh oh. You’ve just had wreck in your car and your carseats were in there too. Perhaps your kids were buckled in safely and everyone is OK. Now what do you do? Are you aware that some crashed seats shouldn’t be used again, even if it was a minor fender bender? Each manufacturer has a guideline for you to follow regarding carseats involved in crashes and you may have two seats in your vehicle with two different guidelines. is here to help sort out these confusing times for you!

Guest Blog: Tether Anchor Weight Advice: Assessing the Risks


Is it “safer” to teach CPSTs to counsel parents to disconnect a tether at 40 pounds for a child in a high-weight-harness CR when the vehicle manufacturer does not specify a tether anchor weight limit, or to teach that a tether should be used as long as possible following the CR manufacturer’s instructions?

That is the key question that we, Safe Ride News and SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., have asked the National CPS Board (NCPSB) curriculum-writing team in our joint comments regarding updates to the curriculum.  Without any data to the contrary, it seems to us very risky to tell CPSTs to counsel CR users to disconnect a tether for a heavier or taller child in a harness CR when the CR manufacturer’s own limits are much higher.

The brief curriculum content about anchor weight limits for tethers remains for us as CPS advocates, technicians, and instructors one of the most complicated and frustrating parts of the training course.  Regarding that topic (which we emphasize is specific to tether anchors, not lower anchors), we sent an open letter to the NCPSB that was reprinted as an editorial in the May/June issue of Safe Ride News and is available on the SRN website.  We suggest that anyone interested in this topic take a look and voice their thoughts to me at

We do want to recognize and appreciate the Herculean task that the curriculum update team has taken on.  The team is composed of the entire NCPSB (

Deborah Davis Stewart
Publisher, Safe Ride News


Editor’s note:  CarseatBlog strongly recommends use of top tethers, except where clearly prohibited in writing by a weight limit or other restriction in the child restraint or vehicle owner’s manual. The lack of consensus among manufacturers, regulators, agencies and advocates about tether limits simply confuses parents.  Ultimately, this confusion can result in failure to use top tethers, especially for older kids who would benefit the most from their use.  Lacking significant published evidence, applicable standards or relevant policy statements from agencies like the AAP and NHTSA, we must have clearly stated limits in the owner’s manuals and warnings on labels if there is a real risk in using a top tether.  This allows technicians to limit their liability and most importantly, for parents to keep children as safe as possible in their vehicles.  And that, of course, is our goal.

Vehicle Seat Covers: Comfy Coverings or Endangering Wraps?


The lowly vehicle seat cover. Often put on the seat to hide a rip or stain, or to protect upholstery for resale value, it can mean the difference between walking away from a crash or riding away in an ambulance. A bit melodramatic? Sure, I’ve been accused before, but think about it. When you put a seat cover over the top of your side torso airbags, will they deploy correctly in a side impact? In the following video, I address the issue with 3 different inexpensive vehicle seat covers on the market today.



Without a Sound


A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about water safety and how important it is to get kids in swimming lessons.

Today I learned why I should heed my own advice. Today I learned just how easy it must be for children to drown without a sound.

See, in that last post I mentioned that my kids started swimming lessons when they were six months old. That’s only part of the story. My son started lessons as an infant and has continued on, nearly every week, for the past six years.

My daughter, on the other hand, started lessons at six months, but we stopped after just a few weeks. She loved the water but had terrible separation anxiety. Even if I was in the pool with her–even if I was in the pool HOLDING her–she would scream just at the thought of having to go with another person. It got to the point that the instructor couldn’t even give me directions on what to do because my daughter would not ease her death-grip on my shoulders, plus it was hard to hear him over all the screaming.

We decided it was best to take a break for a few months. But a few months turned into more than a year. We have been talking about getting her back into lessons, and I keep meaning to call and see about a schedule that will work with both kids, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.

Then today something happened that made me realize I need to get my butt in gear.

We went to my son’s swimming lesson, as we do every week. My daughter split her time between me and the pinwheels they have in planters along the wall. There’s a good deal of space between the planters and the pool: A few feet of open space, some tables and chairs, then the planters behind those.

As I was helping my son dry off and get dressed after his lesson, I noticed my daughter wandering farther down the wall than I was comfortable with. I called to her to come back; that she had gone too far. She started back toward me and I watched her, but only out of the corner of my eye.

She was there in my peripheral vision–and then suddenly she wasn’t.

I don’t remember hearing a sound, or if I did it was very quiet. If anything, it was a small plop, not the big splash of a child jumping into a pool. There were a couple ripples of water. But I didn’t see her. She had literally vanished.

It’s amazing how many thoughts can run through your mind in a split second. I thought for sure that she had walked down behind another wall. She hadn’t been anywhere near the pool’s edge when I told her to come back. But I also know that when a child is missing near a pool, that’s the first place you check.

So as I was trying to process what had happened, I was also leaping up and running to the ripple. I didn’t see her until I got right up next to the edge, but there she was, flailing in the water.

An instructor was in the pool, too, and reached her at the same time I did. He was very calm and simply told her, “Put your toes down,” and pushed down on her feet, causing the rest of her body to go up. He kept a hand on her until I could pull her out. (At least I think that’s what happened. I wasn’t quite as calm as he was.)

I got her out and gave her a huge hug. She cried for a long time but was otherwise fine.

Once I settled down I marveled at how she instinctively tried to tread while in the pool and how she didn’t inhale any water even though her head was submerged almost the entire time. (Even after the instructor helped her, she still bobbed up and down a bit.) I took it as further evidence of how young children have natural instincts when it comes to learning how to swim–instincts that need to be carefully honed, of course.

She was scared but a few hours later doesn’t seem traumatized by the ordeal. I can’t say the same for myself. I keep thinking of how things might have been different if my head had been turned just a smidge more to my left, or if there hadn’t been an instructor in the pool. It reinforced for me how quickly and silently tragedy can strike. And it solidified in my mind that as soon as the swim school office opens back up, I will be on the phone scheduling her next lesson.