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When Carseats Attack

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pill-bottleA couple years ago I wrote a post about the time I sliced my nose open while carrying a carseat box through the house. Many readers also shared stories of times their carseats caused them injuries. It seems to happen a lot. Since then I’ve gotten a few more scrapes and scratches, but never in my life have I had to seek actual medical attention due to a carseat-related injury…until now.

The day before the ABC Kids Expo began in Las Vegas, I was among a group of people helping carry some carseats from a building to someone’s car. (I’m going to let that person remain nameless because this truly wasn’t her fault at all, as she hadn’t even asked for help carrying the seats to her amazing, self-driving electric car. But I digress.)

In retrospect, I could have stayed on the concrete walkway. I should have stayed on the concrete walkway. But seats are heavy and the car was much closer if we cut across the landscaping, which in this case was a bunch of rocks because that’s how environmentally conscious entities landscape in Las Vegas.

At this point I should mention that I was wearing flip-flops and that, because of the carseat, I couldn’t really see where I was walking.

I had just joked that we should watch out for rattlesnakes when my left foot plunged into a hole. I felt jagged rocks tear into my skin on the way down and then again on the way back up.

A few things I should be thankful for:

  1. There were no rattlesnakes.
  2. I didn’t twist or break anything—structurally my foot and ankle were fine.
  3. I didn’t fall over. I did have to run several steps to avoid it, but I stayed upright.
  4. I didn’t drop the carseat.

When I got back into the building I tried ignoring the pain emanating from my foot. (“It’s only a flesh wound!” I told myself.) In fact for a few minutes I didn’t even look at it, figuring it probably wasn’t a big deal and sort of hoping that ignoring it would make the problem go away.

When I did finally look down, I saw minor scratches—a lot of them—but also several deep, bleeding gouges. I bummed a baby wipe and a couple Band-Aids off a well prepared CarseatBlogger and figured that was that.

That was not that.

By the following evening, my foot hurt so much that the lightest touch made me wince. I struggled to put my left shoe on. I ended the night limping, but I wasn’t going to let that slow me down.

The next morning, I noticed my foot was extremely red. I thought it might have been a reaction to the Band-Aids (my skin tends to be sensitive with some types) or maybe from the adhesive irritating the many smaller scratches surrounding the larger gouges. I FaceTimed with my husband, a fireman, to get his take.

The first thing he asked was, “Why is it so swollen?” Until that point I hadn’t even noticed that the outer part of my left foot had grown abnormally large, which probably explained why I couldn’t get my shoe on the night before. That led to a call to my insurance company to find the closest Urgent Care I could go to, which turned out to be less than a mile away. A quick Uber ride later, I was there.

My foot had gotten infected, and the doctor recommended a shot of antibiotics followed by a 10-day course of oral antibiotics. My first question was whether I could still drink. (After all, when in Vegas…) I agreed to everything, of course, and assumed the shot would be given near the wound. Nope. It wasn’t.

The doctor told me to keep off my foot and elevate it as much as possible, which was much harder advice to follow than his “just drink a little” warning. My whole reason for being in Las Vegas was this huge trade show in a huge convention center. I did manage to prop my foot up a few times, but overall I did not do a good job following the doctor’s orders.

The good news is that just a day later, the swelling had gone down considerably and my foot only hurt if I touched it hard—no more cringing in pain because a bed sheet lightly brushed against it.

As I write this a week later, I’m still on antibiotics and I still have a gross-but-kind-of-cool-looking injury. But I also have a good story to tell, and I’ve learned my lesson about wearing flip-flops and blindly walking on rocks while carrying a carseat, just in case I ever find myself in that position again.

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!