CPSDarren . . . Our CPS Hero and the Last Day of KIM


Each year, the Kidz in Motion Conference recognizes individuals who dedicate themselves to keeping children safe in vehicles.  This year, our very own CPSDarren was nominated and recognized as a CPS Hero.  Besides being a SafetyBeltSafe USA board member and coordinator of his local Safe Kids (no small feats indeed), we know him best as the founder of www.Car-Seat.org, our favorite car seat and vehicle safety question forum where we can hang out and discuss all things car seat.  Please bear with me as I wax nostalgic for a moment.  Back when c-s.org (as we affectionately know it) started in 2001, we had the occasional question here and there.  I noticed the questions tended toward the technical side rather than the fluff side and there were many more posts by men.  Made me wonder where Darren was advertising the site, lol!  In the past few years, membership has grown phenomenally and we no longer are just about car seats and vehicles (and the vast majority of questions and participants are women!).  We have a strollers forum, an area for swapping items, an off-topic area–the fun and community abounds.  And that’s what we love–the community.

So thanks, Darren, for giving us a community.  Thanks for giving volunteer techs a place to go where they can prove they are every bit as valuable and professional as their paid counterparts.  Thanks for giving us a place to earn our CEUs with interesting chats when our local resources don’t have anything available.  Thanks for giving us an outlet to practice our communication skills.  Thanks for giving parents a place to go to ask questions.  I remember being that parent 8 years ago who had questions and nowhere to go.  Who knows how many thousands of parents have been helped or how many kids’ lives have been changed because of the help they’ve received at Car-Seat.org?

Now, to switch gears back to the last day of KIM. 


The Grand and Spectacular?


I must say that Darren puts a lot of pressure on me to write something grand and spectacular!  As I sat savoring my grilled cheese and vanilla shake comfort food at Johnny Rockets this evening after the conference sessions ended, I tried to think about what to write, but I was too busy watching the, ahem, colorful figures of downtown Denver go past, lol.  As for the conference, the only conference I have to compare it to is Lifesavers, to which I’ve been several times.  I decided not to go to Lifesavers this year in part because of its overwhelmingness (is that a word?), thinking that KIM would satisfy my need to connect on a smaller, more roundtable level–that I would actually sit and talk and discuss crash tests and head excursions and the nitty gritty and maybe even network a little.  Well, there was the opportunity to network, but you’d think after 30<smears hand across mouth> years I’d know that I’m truly an introvert at heart and I’m an observer really.  Bah!  The conference itself was similar to Lifesavers in that there were sessions in rooms with chairs; not really a roundtable, small college-class setting like I thought it might be.

So what am I supposed to comment on?  Oh yeah!  News from the car seat manufacturers!  That’s what you’re really here for, isn’t it?

Random Thoughts at KIM


Today started with the child restraint manufacturers session.   Mostly, we heard about revisions to existing products and manuals.  There really wasn’t much for new products.   At least one of these new products was just announced in a press release, so hopefully I can say more about it in this space very soon! I suspect the new products I hoped to discuss will be on display at the ABC Kids Expo in September.   Heather and I will be there as media attendees, so hopefully we will have much more interesting news and photos to share then!

In the mean time, I’ll discuss what the representative from Chicco USA had to say about some of the most common issues they hear about on the customer service line.

The new Britax Boulevard CS


It didn’t make it to the Kidz In Motion Conference, but it’s now in production!  I evaluated a pre-production model of the Britax Boulevard CS recently and found it to be a very clever feature addition.  Basically, the mechanism senses when the tension you put on the harness adjustment strap is meeting resistance from the child.  As you give a solid pull, it gives a distinct tactile and audible [double] click when the harness is adjusted to an acceptable point.  It’s really that simple.

I am going to wait to make a final opinion until I have a production model, hopefully by the end of the month, but my overall impression was positive.  I will say that it is not foolproof.  For example, it can be fooled by thick winter coats, just as a parent can be fooled.  The manual clearly mentions thick clothing is a concern, as it is in every child restraint.  It’s also possible to have the harness tight enough, even though you haven’t yet heard the click (or maybe you released your pull just a bit too soon).  Parents, advocates and technicians who are familiar with adjusting a 5-point harness correctly may find this to be mostly a gimmick, though still a pretty cool one.   On the other hand, for many parents and caregivers who often leave the harness too loose, I found it to be a very quick and simple way to get a good adjustment of the harness the vast majority of the time.  If you pass your seat to a relative, babysitter or daycare, it’s also a simple way to make sure they get it right when you aren’t there!