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RECALL: Harmony Big Boost Deluxe Booster

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May 2018 Harmony Big Boost Deluxe Recall

BRAND MODEL PRODUCTION DATES
HARMONY BIG BOOST DELUXE 11/01/2015 – 06/24/2017

Summary

Harmony Juvenile Products (Harmony) is recalling certain Harmony Big Boost Deluxe booster seats. In the event of a crash, the seat belt may cause excessive force to be applied to the restrained child’s chest. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 213, “Child Restraint Systems.”

Remedy

The remedy for this recall is still under development. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Harmony customer service at 1-877-306-1001.

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.

Recall Information from NHTSA

You Asked: How do I keep my kids safe when someone else is driving?

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While it may sound like an exaggeration, I find driving my own kids around to be kind of scary, because while I can control my car seats and the way I’m driving, no matter how hard I try I can’t control other drivers. But that fear doesn’t hold a candle to the fear of sending my kids off in someone else’s car. When someone else drives my children, not only am I not in control of any of the drivers, but I’m also not usually in charge of the car seating either. And a few years ago, this concern came to life in the scariest way.

While I was in labor with my second son, my husband got a phone call. He wouldn’t tell me what it was about since we had enough going on in that moment, but once the baby was safely delivered, he told me that the call had been to let us know that our oldest child had been in a crash. Thankfully, he was fine because it was a minor collision and because the driver had installed his seat correctly and had buckled him in properly. It was the best outcome of a personal worst case scenario.

When a friend asked me how to help keep her baby safe when someone else was driving him around, I realized that it’s not a topic we spend enough time covering. I’d like to share some of the tips I’ve developed that give me peace of mind when other people drive my kids.

You Asked: How do I keep my kids safe when someone else is driving?

First and foremost, never let someone talk you into something that doesn’t feel safe or isn’t legal. This is a good life mantra in general, but I mean it specifically for child passenger safety today.

It doesn’t matter if grandma finds a booster seat to be more convenient – if your child isn’t ready, it isn’t the right choice. It doesn’t matter if your aunt thinks he looks so cramped rear facing, if your child isn’t 2 yet or if you just aren’t ready to turn him around, don’t do it. You are the boss of your kids, don’t be afraid to make the tough, but safe, choice for your child. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for your choices either.

Now that that’s out of the way, there are several ways to help keep your child(ren) safe in someone else’s car.

If you can, install their seat yourself and demonstrate harnessing with your child in the seat. If possible, you even want to be the person who does the final buckling before they drive off. This is the gold standard in an ideal situation, but it’s also not possible a lot of the time so you may have to get a bit more creative.

If installing the seat yourself isn’t a possibility, talk your child’s caregiver through the process ahead of time, when time isn’t limited and there’s no pressure. Also, provide them with a manual that you’ve reviewed recently. My trick is that I pull the digital version up on my phone so that if there are questions, I can easily refer to the manual myself and give tips. This actually helped me out just last month when my son’s babysitter needed to remove his (latched) booster out of her car before I got there and she didn’t know how to do it. I was able to scroll through the manual, find the page and show her what to do.

If the person isn’t confident with the installation or you want to offer an extra support, you can send links to youtube installation videos. I’m sure some will think this is overkill and that’s fine, but I am of the mind that I’d rather offer too much help than not enough.

Once you’re confident with the installation, show the caregiver how the harness should be, in person if possible. If your child will be wearing the same clothes the whole time they’re with this caregiver, you can get them harnessed in the seat and then remove them from the seat without loosening the straps so it’s appropriately tight. If you do this, make sure to show how to tighten and loosen the harness, just in case your caregiver needs to. If you can’t demonstrate in person, showing them images like these can help.

If your child is old enough to understand and remember, start teaching them car seat rules. My 3 and 5 year old know where their chest clips go and that their harness should feel “snug as a hug”. We started working on this when they were 2 years old, though it takes some time and repetition. Every time I buckled them, I would have them show me where the chest clip should be. Then I would tighten and ask if they were “snug as a hug.” Once I felt like they had a good grasp on the idea, I would occasionally not tighten them fully and see how they responded when I asked if their harness was snug. Truthfully, teaching my kids this has even saved me on several occasions when I’ve started to back out of our driveway without tightening the straps on my 5-year-old who buckles himself, but cannot tighten the straps on his own.

Teaching your kids how their seat should feel and be positioned, and that it’s okay to speak up about it (politely, obviously), will go a long way towards keeping them safe when you can’t be with them.

So, you asked: how do I keep my kids safe when someone else is driving and the simple answers are:
  1. Install the seat yourself, or make sure the person installing it knows exactly what to do.
  2. Demonstrate proper harnessing or show pictures so they know exactly what to do.
  3. As your children acquire language and an opinion, teach them what proper usage should look and feel like so they can advocate for themselves.

More on keeping kids safe in the car:

5 Tips for Sharing Carseat Tips with Friends

Tweenbelt Safety

Throwback Thursday: Safety Devices of Yore

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I was browsing through some old patent drawings from the National Archives (as one does) and I couldn’t help noticing that a lot of them were for safety devices. Since this is a safety-related blog, and since we haven’t done an old-fashioned Throwback Thursday post for a while, I figured I’d share some with you.

Poison Prevention

When a picture of a skull-and-crossbones isn’t enough, this bottle for holding poison comes complete with sharp spikes to deter people from grabbing it unless they really, really need to.

Drowning Prevention

This hat is intended to keep people from drowning, although it might work best if one’s head already happens to be a balloon.

Fire Escape

This intricate system of ropes and pulleys would allow people to be lowered to the ground during a fire. It’s not a bad idea (at least in theory–I’m not entirely clear on how it works), but I love the look on this guy’s face. He’s super nonchalant, like he escapes from fires every day and is getting really bored with it now.

Sports Safety

It’s worth remembering that once upon a time, catchers didn’t wear gear at all, so even though this isn’t as sleek as what catchers of today wear, it’s better than nothing, I guess. Plus, this face-and-chest-protector, which looks like a miniature prison, would probably deter collisions at the plate because I don’t know who’d want to run into that.

Transportation Comfort

Have you seen those hammocks you’re supposed to attach to yourself and to your airplane tray table before putting your baby inside? (Note: CarseatBlog does not recommend using those. Babies belong in car seats on a plane.) Well, this invention reminds me of that…only it’s for adults! And you could use it on so many different kinds of transportation! Just attach part of it to your seat, part to the seat in front of you, then hoist yourself up and go to sleep.

Handsfree Phone

Okay, this isn’t really a safety thing since people in 1882 wouldn’t have been using their phones while driving. But still, I like this early “Bluetooth” idea, even if it’s not completely wireless.

Creepy Baby

This isn’t safety related at all, but I felt like I should include it anyway.

Lest it seem that I’m making fun of any of these ideas (and okay, I am, but just a little), I do recognize that every safety device we have today came from somewhere, usually with roots in the distant past. Ideas and products evolve over time, and I give each of these inventors credit for coming up with solutions to problems of their day, and probably doing a better job than I could have. I sort of hope that 100 years from now, someone will be laughing at how ridiculous our safety products are, because that would mean they’ve gotten a lot better.

You spin me right round, baby.

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Roundabouts have been around for awhile, and I’m sure they’re more popular in some areas of the country than others. I just found out that Northerners call them rotaries. Silly Northerners. 😉

We’ve mostly had 4 way stops at our intersections, and the number of accidents, even fatal ones, have been phenomenally high. Traffic lights require money, so therefore a roundabout at the most problematic of intersections was decided upon. It is BFFs with the older roundabout down the road a quarter mile, so basically our main road is a stretch of whirly twirly fun.

However, one thing I’ve noticed is that not everyone seems to know how to use a roundabout. I can count fairly high the number of times people have shown me gestures of love because I didn’t stop inside the roundabout to let them in. It’s also very common for people to brake inside the roundabout and wait for me to enter. Neither scenario is correct, and increases risk for traffic incidents.

Roundabouts are beneficial for a number of reasons. Most importantly, they reduce the number of accidents. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in the most recent of studies, they reduce total accidents by about 35%, and injuries by 76%. Fatalities in a roundabout are nearly unheard of. That’s much better than getting t-boned when someone runs a stop sign at a 4 way stop! They also improve the flow of traffic, let people make u-turns safely, and require little maintenance.

So, how do you properly use a roundabout and avoid being “that guy”? One word, yield. You yield to traffic within the circle. You don’t stop within the circle to let someone in. You don’t pull into the circle in front of a car thinking they are supposed to yield to you. You stop at the entrance, wait for a break in traffic, and enter. When you exit the circle, use your signal so the car at the next entrance knows you are exiting and does not have to wait for you to pass. If you’ve never used one, they do take some time to get used to. However, after awhile, they’re very straight forward and it’s great to not have to stop completely like you would at a stop sign, providing flow is low and there’s no one in the circle for you to wait on.

So there you go. Now you know how to use a roundabout. Or a rotary. Life tidbits ya’ll, you’ll thank me next time you go on a road trip and come across one of these monstrosities.