Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rivera Family donation (and why we ask for pictures)

Meet the Rivera family!
These adorable boys received two Britax Regent seats from the foundation in July. Usually I am quick to post pictures we receive of our donated seats, but this time, I hesitated....and the reason will become clear. These two boys are 3 and 5 year old, 39.5 and 58.5lbs. We shipped their seats to a local child passenger safety technician.

Things look like they are going well here, with Dad being shown the features of the seat and we see the recline bar has been installed. Looks good so far!
Then we come to this picture. Hmmmm...something definitely NOT right here - the harness is in slots which are way too high for this child. Well, we think, sometimes we have seen techs leave the harness in the top slot if they feel that there is a danger of the harness not being moved to a higher slot when appropriate. We'll give benefit of the doubt, or at least reserve our comments at the moment.
And THIS is the final product!?! The child in the rear of the picture looks like his harness has been moved down since the picture above...that's good, but let's check out the child in the foreground. His harness is definitely one slot too high. Both harnesses are WAY too loose and the chest clips need properly placed at armpit height.
We immediately contacted the family and the technician to whom we had shipped the seat. Turns out that due to scheduling issue, the tech we had engaged (and provided all installation guidance and support) had passed the seat to the local fire department for installation. All issues on these seats as outlined above have been communicated to both the family and the technician we requested install the seat and we were assured that the corrections would immediately be made. We have been unable at this time to verify if indeed this has happened.

85% of all seats are either installed or used incorrectly. The foundation ships seats to CPSTs in order to try to combat these potential issues. This is a prime example of why the foundation requests pictures following an installation. We love to be able to share with our donors where their money is going - they can see their hard earned cash in action saving lives. The flip side to this is we also get to catch any errors of installation or misuse.

Always read your vehicle and car seat owner's manual so that you are also informed on how to correctly install and use your child restraint.
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