Monthly Archive:: September 2010

To All First Responders: “Thank You”


Yesterday there was a mass-casualty Motor Vehicle Crash near my home in Orange County, NY.  DH and DS1 were stuck in the traffic nightmare that ensued when they shut down all North and Southbound lanes of the NYS Thruway (I-87) between the exits – a stretch of about 17 miles.  So far, there have been 7 fatalities from this single-vehicle MVC (6 yesterday, 1 more died last night).  None of them were children but that hardly seems like a consolation.  Anyhow, after gawking at all the grisly photos of the crash scene, I’m reminded again of my appreciation, gratitude and respect for all First Responders.  I could never deal with the emotional fallout of seeing things like this so I bow to those who can and do.  And I promise to keep doing my part (admittedly, the easy part) focusing on injury PREVENTION – if they promise to always be there to help with the really difficult tasks.

I’ve played the part of the crash victim on a few occasions in my life but never had the chance to say “Thank you”, in person, to those that first came to my aid.  So, to the guy in the White Suburban (who wound up being a volunteer firefighter) that I nearly ran off the road when I lost control of  DH’s red ’73 Mustang back on that September 1996 evening on the Saw Mill River Pkwy – Thank you.  I hope you know how very grateful I have always been for your care and comfort in those first, scary, post-crash minutes.  And another big “Thank you” to the driver of that highway crew truck who parked his huge vehicle with flashing lights behind my totalled Ford Taurus on the shoulder of the NYS Thruway on that rainy autumn afternoon in 2005.  It was such a relief to have you protecting my poor wrecked vehicle (with toddler DS2 and I inside), from the rest of the Interstate traffic whizzing past us at 70 MPH in the rain. You were our guardian angel before the Trooper and the tow truck and DH arrived to help. I’ll always remember and appreciate what you did for us that day.   

As I sit here on my couch today – watching a great Dallas/Bears game, having a cold beer, playing cards with my 6 year old – I’m careful to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that I slept well last night.  I can guarantee that there were plenty of First Responders (here and elsewhere) who didn’t sleep at all last night.  I don’t know how they’ll manage to cope with whatever they saw yesterday but I hope they find a way because we all need them to be ready for the next emergency call.  I don’t know if “thank you” helps to speed the healing process in any way but just in case it does – thank you, thank you, thank you!  I’m so glad you do what you do – so I can have the luxury of focusing on what I love to do (keeping kids safe and sleeping at night).

Graco Nautilus Elite: First Look Review


Graco Nautilus EliteThe original Graco Nautilus model has been a popular forward-facing seat for many years. The Nautilus Elite model distinguishes itself with shoulder belt lockoffs to aid with seatbelt installations.  It also has adjustable width side wings on the head restraint section.

The Graco Nautilus is a very popular combination seat that converts from a front-facing child safety seat with a 5-point harness to a booster, either high-back or backless.  Because of these three modes, Graco calls it a “3-in-1”, though parents should be aware that it does not install rear-facing like some other “3-in-1” products.  The Nautilus accommodates kids front-facing with harness from 20 to 65 pounds, from 27 to 52 inches tall, subject to other height restrictions.  It can also be used as a high-back booster from 30 to 100 pounds for kids 37 to 57 inches tall.  Finally, it can be used as a backless booster from 40 to 100 pounds for kids 40 to 57 inches tall.

4’9” / Age 8 / 80 lbs.: Does Your Kid Still Need A Booster?


I’ve been patiently waiting, just like other parents, for my oldest child to grow up—he’s 10 and a half now (born New Year’s Eve, 1999, and yes, we had our bathtub filled with water—did you?).  I know, I know.  They’re only little once, I should appreciate him being small while he is, yada yada yada.  Small is not a word I’ve ever associated with my ds.  He was big from the get-go and only got bigger, lol.  Since I’ve been a child passenger safety technician for most of my ds’s life, I’ve had a keen interest in how he fits in carseats and vehicles.  Now that he’s 4’11.5”, he’s tall enough to be riding in just an adult seatbelt, right?

You’d think so.  When he’s walking around in his shoes, he’s definitely 5’ tall, little bugger.  He’s catching up to me 😉 and is taller than some women already.  Generally the only kids taller than him in his class at school are the girls.  So why is he still in his backless booster when he’s clearly over 4’9” and close to 80 lbs., which is what NHTSA tells us is the safe height for kids to move out of boosters?  Even the Ad Council has these great ads educating us about 4’9”.  Twenty states have laws based on 4’9” and of those twenty, five states have added provisions about 80 lbs.: children must ride in boosters or some other form of child restraint until they meet the height and/or weight criteria before moving to an adult seatbelt.  Only two states, Wyoming and Tennessee*, have laws requiring kids to ride in boosters to age 8.

2011 Honda Odyssey First Look Review Part II: The Ultimate Family Truckster


In Part I of my review of the 2011 Honda Odyssey, I covered the child seating and safety aspects of this new minivan pretty extensively.  This part will touch on some of the performance, electronics and luxury features.  Most of these aspects will be thoroughly discussed in mainstream media reviews and on other websites and blogs, so no need to go into boring specifications, tables and numbers.

I’ll also discuss my trip to the lovely Estancia resort in La Jolla, California, where I was able to preview the new Odyssey along with bloggers from various other parenting and mommy-centric websites.  My trip started on a Thursday evening with a “business elegant” dinner in a conference room where the new Odysseys were on display.  About 20 mommy-bloggers and I were present at this event.  Mainstream media attended the previous day, followed by international media the following day.  On Friday, we started with a multimedia presentation and Q&A session on the new Odyssey.  We then paired up and were given directions for an extended test drive around San Diego, ending at Qualcomm Stadium.  I partnered with Kacy, from Every Day I Write the Book and Design Mom.  Instead of following the rest of the crew immediately onto the drive route, we hung back a bit to take care of the most important aspect of a nice drive in the country.