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Happy Haunting!

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It’s almost Halloween! And nothing says Halloween like a post reminding you of all the things that could go wrong on Halloween and how to avoid them. I don’t think that’s very festive though, and I’d like to think most of you folks out there know not to throw your kid in front of a moving car when they’re wearing all black at night, and that you shouldn’t let your toddler crack open a glowstick and drink it.

You know what else says Halloween? Late night snacking. That’s right. You know you do it. After the kids go to bed from now until Chistmas you will be raiding their candy. I’d also like to bow to whoever invented the Switch Witch. Pure genius I tell you. I can just picture it now, because it was definitely a mom, sitting in her living room, yelling “It’s mine! All mine!!” while scooping up candy. And all she has to do is make a trip to Target (yeah, real big punishment there) for a toy. Bonus points if you live in a neighborhood that hands out good candy. You know, quality stuff like Twix and Kit-kats. The candy that says, “hey, I’m a great neighbor that enjoys Halloween”. Tootsie rolls? “I forgot to buy candy till 3pm Halloween day”. Bit-O-Honey? “I hate you and Halloween”. No offense to the fans of Bit-O-Honeys. I still think you’re crazy but I do respect you for your…classic taste. Please don’t smash my pumpkins.

Last year's haul. Kids totally thought I wouldn't sit on the couch and pig out on their candy. Jokes on them! Crispy the cat was the only witness and he never tells.

Last year’s haul. Kids totally thought I wouldn’t sit on the couch and pig out on their candy. Joke’s on them! Crispy the cat was the only witness and he never tells.

They’re not kidding when they say Halloween is a time for the Underworld. Apparently everyone is trying to send you there with the blinding masks so big that you walk into a mailbox, and  the princess skirts that are so haphazardly hemmed that every little girl must faceplant at least once while trick-or-treating. Don’t forget all the elderly folks still insisting on baking cookies (of death?) to hand out even though every single mother out there makes their kid throw them away. And pennies. What’s with the pennies? You telling me to choke to death or wither away in poverty? Not sure of the subtle message of that. Granted, I was ecstatic to get pennies as a kid so I guess my Scrooge is showing. My kids love pennies too so heck with it, bring it on!

 

"Hey Declan, I'll trade you my Bit O Honey for your Twix" "Nope."

“Hey Declan, I’ll trade you my Bit O Honey for your Twix”
“Nope.”

In all seriousness though, Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. I love the whole month of October, the excitement of choosing a costume, the pumpkins, the festivals, the beautiful days. Just when I thought it was getting a little weird for me to be so Halloween obsessed, I had kids and an excuse to continue my crazy. So Happy Halloween to every single one of you! Be safe, have fun, don’t throw your kid in front of cars, watch out for mailboxes and fallen princesses, and don’t feel guilty about eating the Twix and saving the Bit-O-Honey’s for your little honey. You gave them life after all.

Basically sums up my kids in one picture.

Basically sums up my kids in one picture.

EZCarSeat preview from ABC Expo 2016

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ez-darrenCarseatBlog is at the ABC Expo in Las Vegas, and in addition to meeting with established manufacturers, it’s always nice to find new and unexpected products. While we were wandering around this morning, we saw a booth for something called EZCarSeat and went to find out more.

Turns out the EZCarSeat is a product to make it easier to install car seats, especially for people with big hands, short arms, or narrow belt paths. (The narrow belt paths would be on the car seats, not on the people, obviously.)

It’s a plastic guide that easily clips onto a seatbelt to allow people to shove it through a beltpath more easily. It also unclips once the belt is routed and buckled, so there’s no worry about anything interfering with the performance of the car seat.

You can see a quick video here:

It should be noted that the company allows EZCarSeat to be left on the seatbelt once it’s installed, but we strongly recommend removing it as it could interfere with the belt’s function otherwise. The back of the box does say to follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions, so those would also require the product’s removal.

You can purchase an EZCarSeat on the company’s website for $12.

ez-box

Safest 2016 Vehicles Update

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Buy a Safer Car This Summer: The Best SUVs, Minivans and Sedans

Many online automotive websites list the “safest” cars.  Most have pretty low criteria.  Some require an IIHS Top Safety Pick, others an NHTSA 5-Star overall rating.  Yes, these are all safe cars, but so many cars today achieve one top rating that it doesn’t really help family vehicle shoppers all that much.

Recommended-150pxAs always, CarseatBlog goes a step beyond at helping you narrow down the field to the best models in each class of family vehicles.  Every single one of our qualifiers not only is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, with an array of the latest advanced safety features, but is also an NHTSA 5-star overall rated vehicle.  We go even farther, making sure that there are no sub-par NHTSA individual crash test scores and eliminate the lightest vehicles that tend to fare worse in multi-vehicle crashes.  Our extremely strict criteria narrow down the field so much that each qualifier is truly among the safest vehicles on the road today.

Our Winners and Runners-Up are perfect or nearly perfect in every objective factor of crash safety. We also indicate which models provide critical advanced safety features at affordable prices and make sure none are worse than average for carseat installations.  Our Honorable Mentions just barely miss the cut in one aspect or another, but are otherwise extremely safe choices for your family and we would not hesitate to recommend any mentioned vehicle for overall family safety.

For the summer car buying season, we’ve updated our list with more qualifiers that hadn’t previously been tested by the IIHS or NHTSA.  We’ve also added a few Honorable Mentions that were tested too late to be award winners, namely the 2016 Volvo XC90, Infiniti QX60 and Lincoln MKX.  Our lists will be updated as new models are tested into 2017:

XC90 rearThe 2016 Volvo XC90 is one standout addition that earned top marks in each IIHS and NHTSA crash test.  It also avoided crashes in both IIHS Front Crash Prevention tests with an autobrake system that is STANDARD equipment so you won’t struggle to find key advanced safety features on a dealers lot.  It also has a relatively wide 2nd row middle seat, making 3-across carseats possible.  One notable drawback is the lack of top tether anchors for the third row seat, an unusual omission.

Looking for specific recommendations for your family?  Maybe you have a large number of carseats and need to know the ideal arrangement or if they will even fit in a vehicle you want to buy?  We are happy to answer new vehicle selection questions on our Community Discussion Vehicle Safety Forum and our Facebook Vehicle and Carseat Safety Group!

National Child Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention Day

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Today is National Child Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention Day. That might sound like a mouthful, but it’s an important topic. Summer hasn’t even officially begun yet, but almost every day there have been news stories about children being rescued from hot cars—and about children who were not able to be rescued. Just the other day, it happened to the son of a New York police officer.

If you think you’re too good a parent to accidentally leave a child in a hot car, you’re wrong. We posted a piece two weeks ago about how this kind of thing can—and does—happen to loving, attentive parents. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth a look. If you have read it, read it again and share it with people who claim it can never happen to them.

don't forget - heatstroke meme