Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Do you need a car seat?

My husband has said for years that he doesn't trust statistics. "Statistics," he says, "can be skewed any way you wish to prove whatever point you wish to make." We came to blows over 'statistics' when it came to deciding to keep our son rear-facing - a discussion I am very pleased to say that resulted in our son rear-facing to the full 33lbs rear-facing weight capacity of his seat (and beyond his 4th birthday).

Today, Good Morning America did a piece on the new book 'SuperFreakonomics' and highlighted one of this pair of gentlemen's contentions that a 2 year old fairs no better in a seatbelt alone than when using a car seat. Firstly, let's get beyond the sensationalism of that statement and deconstruct what the actual message this pair makes. I don't want to rework some of the fantastic work already done by Darren of Carseatblog.com on this piece and I will cut right to the chase on this subject.

The bottom line on this discussion is that upwards of 85% of car seats are installed or used incorrectly - the video piece in GMA proves my point so eloquently and I am sure, unintentionally, showing an infant seat using a JJ Cole BundleMe and a child in a puffy winter jacket, chest clips positioned too low that they will not keep a harness on your child's shoulders in a crash, and children with seatbelts cutting across their necks. All classic examples of misuse. The real issue at hand is how to ensure that our children are restrained in their seats correctly (whether that restraint be a car or booster seat), and that their child restraint be correctly installed.

There are resources available to parents to help you do this - make an appointment with your local child passenger safety technician TODAY - don't put it on your 'to do' list. Between today and when you get to making the appointment, that crash (which could result in serious injuries, or worse) can happen. These people are trained to assist you and volunteer their time and effort to helping YOU learn how to correctly install and use your restraint.

Ensure at your appointment with your technician that you KNOW how to correctly install your seat. The last person to install the car seat and to secure your child in their restraint should be YOU - not the technician. Do not leave the appointment until you are comfortable with your skills. If you have follow up questions at a later time, contact the technician. They will LOVE to answer them for you.

The foundation will always answer your questions about installation or usage. We have a team of advisory technicians on staff who love to help you keep your children safe. Email us at info@kyledavidmiller.org today. We are here to help!

Interesting thought on this sensationalist piece.....did anyone ask these gentlemen how they restrained their children when they were 2 years old? Mmmmmm......thought not! ;) Don't believe the hype.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dressing for winter and safety

The first snowflakes fell today in my town, though I know for many of you, you've had some snowfalls already. Not too sure about this global warming - brrrr!

As I secured my sons into their seats this morning, I made mental note that it was a good time to have a little virtual chat with you all about how to dress your children both warmly and safely in their child restraints.

You've probably heard from your car seat technician, or read online, that you should not secure a child in their seat while they are wearing thick bulky layers. The reason behind this is, in a crash, those puffy layers which made it difficult to secure the harness tightly, will compress in a crash and make the harness too loose to correctly secure your child. This could lead to injury or even ejection of your child from their seat. Don't believe me? Watch this YouTube Video:

My youngest son wears a Car Seat Poncho which is a wonderful, purpose designed poncho that keeps children both safe and cozy in your vehicle. The double zip function makes it easy to push aside the material in the front while you secure their harness underneath. The poncho then sits over the harness putting nothing bulky between your child, their seat and the harness. I love this product and it is my #1 child christmas/birthday gift. Donna Eng, the owner of this company, very generously gives a donation of $3 to the foundation on the purchase of these two styles of ponchos.

My oldest son wears a polar fleece jacket from LLBean which is very thin in terms of layering, but keeps him nice and warm.

When my youngest was still in his infant seat, I used a shower cap style of car seat cover to keep him warm, like this one from Lands End

PLEASE PLEASE do NOT use the JJ Cole BundleMe product in your infant car seat. This product is not safe to use in a car seat. It gives a bulky layer between your child and their seat. interferes with the harness and it is NOT crash tested (despite their claims) - there are no crash testing standards for items like these to comply to.

Other options available - use a blanket and place it over your child and their harness after they are secured into their seat. Or, secure your child into their seat and put their coat on backwards.

If you have a thin jacket that you are wondering is safe for your child to wear under the harness in their seat, there is a simple test you can do.

1) Secure your child while wearing their jacket into the seat. Check the harness passes the pinch test.
2) Without loosening the harness tightness, unbuckle the harness and remove the coat from your child.
3) Rebuckle the harness (but do not tighten in any way) and perform the pinch test once again.

If the harness passes the pinch test, the coat is fine to wear. If not, the coat is too thick.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Please vote - only two days left!

Would you please lend a moment of your time to vote for the foundation? We are currently in 6th place. If we win, the prize is $10,000! That would help a LOT of children get safe car seats! You can vote once per email address here: http://www.ilovechristiecookies.com/contest/form.asp Select the Kyle David Miller Foundation from the drop down list.

Thank you so much!