I Made A Mom Cry :(


I certainly wasn’t trying to upset her to the point of tears but I did, and I feel awful about it.  Let me explain….

I was recently involved in a NHTSA special study called NCRUSS.  I was part of a team that evaluates how children are restrained in the vehicle and what the driver knows about child safety seats and how to install them.  My job was to observe and document restaint use (and misuse), and then refer the parent to a local CPS Tech or Inspection Station for a complete and thorough check.  I know most people won’t/don’t follow through with that so the more dire the situation, the more I feel the need to stress that they really MUST do this.  But I literally have 60 seconds or less when it’s busy and the next vehicle is waiting to convince them of this. 


Not taking the plunge


I’m the first to admit that I have some quirks. I’m scared of aircraft when they’re parked in unexpected places. I hate glitter, chalk, and sand because I can’t stand the way they feel. I’m terrified of driving on mountain roads.

And yet this past week, my family took a vacation that saw us pass airplanes parked on the side of the road, my kid drenched a hat in glitter glue, and we drove through Sequoia National Park–which, if you haven’t been there, consists of nothing but very windy mountain roads.

I wasn’t scared of the drive at first, especially since I didn’t know what to expect. I realized that there was a huge increase in elevation, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me that we’d have to somehow get from one elevation to another.

Thankfully my husband was driving, and thankfully I trust him. He’s a good driver, is very safety-conscious, and knows how I freak out. The roads were relatively well maintained, and there were quaint (and hopefully functional) retaining walls through a great deal of the drive. There was also construction which meant that we spend part of the drive behind pilot cars that led us through the work zone at a slow-ish rate of speed.

All in all, the way up wasn’t too bad, likely because we were mostly on the inside part of the road and I never looked down. Instead I was looking up at the scenery and the trees, which really are huge.

The way down was a different story. On the way down, we were mostly on the outside and I made the mistake of looking down. We were so high up I couldn’t even see the bottom. It seemed like the foliage extended for miles below us. At one point my husband, who was driving not-as-fast as the people behind us (lest I flip out) pulled into a turnout to let others go by. Only he didn’t tell me he was turning out, so all I knew was that our car was suddenly headed off the road. I think I still have fingernail marks in my thighs.

What’s weird is that even though the ride down was stressful, it wasn’t until afterwards that it became terrifying. I keep thinking about those steep drops and how a car could veer just a few feet and plunge to the bottom of the mountain…and no one would ever know! The people would die upon impact, and the thick trees would keep anyone from finding them. Heck, even if there were witnesses, how would anybody get to them?

According to the literature we were handed on our way in, drowning is the leading cause of death in Sequoia. (Men between 18 and 30–not kids–are most at risk, presumably because they’re the most…how to put it nicely…brazen?) But I’m convinced the leading cause of death is cars plunging off the mountain roads.

Irrational? Maybe. Probably. I hope so. But in any case, it will likely be a long time before we head back there. Don’t get me wrong: I want to go back. I’m just not sure I’ll be able to.

So, tell me: What driving conditions or types of roads scare you, if any? Tunnels? Bridges? Snow? Is anyone else as terrified of the mountains as I am? And does anyone have words of wisdom to help me calm down about them?

What to Do with A Crashed Seat


Uh oh. You’ve just had wreck in your car and your carseats were in there too. Perhaps your kids were buckled in safely and everyone is OK. Now what do you do? Are you aware that some crashed seats shouldn’t be used again, even if it was a minor fender bender? Each manufacturer has a guideline for you to follow regarding carseats involved in crashes and you may have two seats in your vehicle with two different guidelines. CarseatBlog.com is here to help sort out these confusing times for you!

Evenflo Amp Booster Review – It Rocks!


This is the booster that makes big kids want to sit in a booster. Really.  Maybe it’s the bright, high gloss colors, or the dual integrated cup holders, or the armrests that kids can actually rest their arms on. Maybe it’s the low profle of a backless booster or the cool graphics available on certain AMP models.  Whatever it is – this seat appeals to older, school-age kids and that is really, really good news. Great news, in fact, because this same age group (generally 6-10 year olds) are considered the “forgotten children” because way too often they have been prematurely “graduated” to the adult seatbelt even though they don’t pass the 5-Step Test.  Who knows, maybe if every second through fifth grader in America had a seat with cool factor like this one, they wouldn’t be so quick to want to ditch their booster seats.  Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of a stretch even for me to imagine but regardless, I’m happy when a CR really appeals to kids (especially older kids) and the Amp does just that.  *Update: The newest Amp models are called “Amp Performance” & “Amp Grahphics“.


Specs & Features:

  • Weight range: 40 – 100 lbs
  • Height range: 40 – 57″
  • Age requirements: At least 3 yrs old
  • Child’s ears must be below top of vehicle seat headrest
  • Product weight: 4.6 lbs (according to my digital bathroom scale)
  • Inside width at hip area: 11″
  • Depth: 14-15″
  • Overall width measured across bottom (15″, flares slightly to 16″ at widest point)
  • Smooth bottom won’t scratch or dent vehicle upholstery
  • Shoulder belt positioning strap (if needed) is attached at the bottom center of the seat and can be used for  either side without detaching and reattaching