Monthly Archive:: January 2010

Child ID Labels for Car Seats


WHALE logoIn the July 2008 edition of SafetyBeltSafe News, there was an article about a woman in Oklahoma who wants all car seats to have occupant identification labels on them.  I think this is a great idea!  I’ve had make your own labels on my web site since before it became–it just seems obvious to me that you’d want something on the seat identifying your child if you are incapacitated.

Evenflo Symphony 65 as Booster Review – Part XI Combo Seat Review Series


I’ve decided to document how various combination (harness/booster) seats fit my youngest son in booster mode.  In these photos he is 5-years-old, 46 lbs and 45 1/2″ tall.   He’s at the size where most parents would be thinking about switching from the 5-pt harness to the vehicle’s lap/shoulder belt in booster mode if they had this particular seat.  Even though the Evenflo Symphony65 has a 65 lb weight limit for the 5-point harness (please note: the original Symphony model is only rated to 40 lbs), realistically most kids will probably outgrow the harness by height before reaching that weight.  While technically he still fits height-wise in the 5-point harness, he’s close to being too tall for it.  He’s also well within the age and size range to use this seat in booster mode.  As with all the previous combo seat as booster reviews that I’ve done –  I’ve used the same seating position in my van – driver’s side captain’s chair in a 2005 Ford Freestar.

The IIHS booster study compared the fit of various boosters using the 6-year-old Hybrid lll dummy who weighs 51.6 lbs (23.41 kg) and has a standing height of almost 45″.  In the most recent round of IIHS booster fit testing, the Symphony65 model was rated a “Good Bet”.  After seeing the belt fit on my son (whose size is currently comparable to the 6 year old Hybrid III dummy) I would have to agree.  Actually, I think the belt fit on my child in my vehicle using the Symphony65 is better than good – I think it rocks! 

Nanny State


New York, Ohio and other states have recently added or updated their child passenger safety laws.    All but a few states in the USA have relatively strict laws pertaining to the restraint of children in motor vehicles.  Many of these are among the strictest in the world, requiring kids to be in a harness or booster until at least 8 years old .  At the opposite end of the spectrum, some states like Florida have relatively lax laws, ending at 3 years of age.  Some countries have no such laws at all, for kids or adults.  In some cultures, it is normal for newborns sit on a nanny’s lap, having only luck or their parent’s faith to protect them.  Is it better to rely on the lap of a nanny, or is it better to have our government nanny us all with restrictive laws?

The debate on motorcycle helmets is not entirely different.  Both sides toss around statistics that make their case sound compelling.  There are other issues, like cost, hassle and fun.  Shouldn’t the driver have a choice?  If their risk is higher without a helmet, aren’t they the party that should decide if they want to take the risk or not?

There is one difference with child seats.  A legal driver of a motorcycle is presumably beyond the age of reason and their choice will not generally affect the well being of anyone else.  Kids 8 and under aren’t even to the age of reason and certainly cannot be expected to decide upon matters of life and death for themselves.  They require a responsible adult to make these choices for them.  But what if the adult isn’t responsible?  Perhaps they don’t know any better, perhaps they don’t care.  Skeptics may simply hate goverment interference and seek out any isolated statistic showing that kids don’t need child restraints, allowing them to rationalize behavior contrary to accepted safest practice. 

Whatever the reason, is it just OK to say that Darwin’s theory will tend to rid the gene pool of those who choose not to adequately protect themselves or their offspring?  We have a lot of superfluous laws in the USA and its states.  Is this just another one that wastes the time of law enforcement and the money of its citizens?  Or is it one saving the lives of many children and also saving huge sums of money in medical and funeral expenses?

A Primer on Manual Reading


boringIt’s OK to admit.  Really it is.  Carseat manuals are boring to read.  Whenever I get a new carseat, I feel a rush of adrenaline, a high, if you will—a new carseat, yay!  I race to pull it out of the box to put it together.  The best carseats are those that go together without needing instructions.  Like backless boosters, lol!  The worst are the ones where you have to crack open the manual for assembly instructions.  Bummer!  I’ll never forget the panic I felt when I decided to raise the harness slot position on my son’s Airway 15 minutes before I was to leave to pick him up from preschool.  Those of you familiar with that seat know it takes much longer than 15 minutes to change the slot height (BTW, for a typical seat, changing slot height takes about a minute).  The manual was less than helpful in showing me how to remove the “blue harness anchor” from under the seat (wha???).  He was very patient that 108° afternoon as I finished it up in the parking lot of the preschool.