Monthly Archive:: November 2009

The Pre-Check Meeting


Check picIt’s the day of the big carseat check event.  The traffic cones are out, the updated recall lists have been printed and the LATCH Manuals are ready for action.  But wait!  Before those parents and caregivers begin to arrive – it’s time for a quick staff meeting.  This may be the most important 10 minutes of the whole event so don’t skip it.  The pre-check meeting will outline expectations, procedures and protocols.  In short, the pre-check meeting sets the tone for the entire event. 

Each event coordinator has different expectations and pre-check meetings can vary widely.  However, here is a general list of what I expect of technicians who work events with me:

  • Look up every vehicle in the current edition of the LATCH Manual.  It only takes 30 seconds and you’ll never know what you might find unless you actually look.
  • Use SBS USA Summary Sheets to manage your limited time effectively and to ensure that you don’t miss anything important.
  • Always encourage best practice recommendations.  If you don’t give the parents or caregivers the information then you’re essentially taking away their ability to make informed choices.  However, don’t be judgemental and respect the parent or caregiver’s choices.
  • Document EVERYTHING!
  • Have parents do final install (or at least help).
  • Teach parents how to secure a CR with their vehicle seatbelt systems even if the CR is currently being installed with LATCH.  
  • HWH seats – must check vehicle LATCH limits and note the info for parents.
  • Inform parents of the most appropriate “next step” for the child.
  • Don’t forget to ask “who else rides in this vehicle?”
  • No vehicle leaves without a second set of (experienced) eyes checking it over.        

There are other protocols in place regarding CR replacement, technician to vehicle ratios, verification of installs for tech recertification, etc., but those vary from check to check depending on the circumstances.  Safe Kids coalitions have specific protocols that must be followed at all events but for those CPS programs (like mine), that are not affiliated with Safe Kids – it’s really up to the person in charge to make sure that the necessary resources are available and the CPS Techs staffing the event are all on the same page.

Goin’ Shopping Friday? Here’s an Idea!


foogoWe’ve recommended the Foogo line of Thermos products before.  I reviewed a sippy cup last year.  This year, it’s a food jar.  They’ve added a few colors, including a sporty pink thermos that’s stylish enough for my 9-year old daughter to tote to school!  It’s under $20 and great for school lunches.  If I put near-boiling soup in it at 7:15am in the morning, it’s still hot when she eats around 11:30am.  Thermos says it keeps foods cold for up to 7 hours or hot for up to 5 hours.  She claims it keeps food a little warmer than her previous, industrial black Thermos jar.  You can also get the matching water bottle that keeps drinks cold for up to 12 hours, according to Thermos.  Both have stainless steel interiors, so no worries about leeching nasty chemicals out of plastic.  They’re also dishwasher safe.  That’s great for the food jar, as I always hate washing the soup residue off of the inside.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a practical gift, this is an inexpensive one to consider this weekend.  Just be sure not to fill the food jar past the lip on the inside or the contents will spill out as you tighten the lid!  If you’re shopping online, please use our links to and Toys R!

We’re Still Here (And Asking For Your Vote!)


Our blogs have been a bit scarce lately, as we’ve all been busy with other things over the last week or two. We’ll pick it up a bit after Thanksgiving. In the mean time, here’s an easy way to donate to THE national, non-profit organization dedicated to child passenger safety.  It won’t cost you anything but a few seconds if you already have a Facebook account!

Chase Bank is offering funds to non-profits if they get enough votes before 12/11. We are small but if everyone we know votes, there is a small chance we might qualify. It’s easy to vote.

Go to

If you are a member, up at the top right, login/use password and you’ll be asked to name the charity

SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. (zip code is 91003–maybe if you put that in, you won’t have to type our name)


Then, if you are willing, and have a FACEBOOK wall, Chase will send a note to your Wall that you voted for us. 

If you are feeling really activist, tell some folks to whom you can forward a message and maybe they’ll join the voting.

If you don’t have a Facebook page, apparently, Chase will help you create one. 

What’s in a Review?


Chances are you’ve come to the blog to read a carseat review at least once.  Perhaps you’ve seen our dismissals of the Consumer Reports carseatreviewgraphic ratings and the NHTSA Ease of Use ratings and thought to yourself, “Well, they’re biased.  They want us to come read their reviews and clicky-click on their links.  I’d rather trust CR, the magazine I’ve trusted my whole life with my other purchases, and NHTSA, the government safety agency that rates vehicles.”  No doubt you’ve seen other reviews on the web: some are quite brief, while others just talk about things such as how their 6 mo. old loves to sit in the booster seat.  Who do you trust?  Why should you put any stock in a review at over any others?  What makes any one review better than another?