Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cold weather is coming

It's October. I don't know about where you live, but where I live the cold weather is coming. We all want to keep our kids warm when outside, but did you know that their winter coat may not be safe to use in their carseat? Over the past few years I have blogged about way to keep your baby and/or child safe and warm in the carseat. Here a few of the blog posts (you can click on the name to be taken to the blog post).

Carseat Poncho

Carseat Canopy


Keeping Baby Warm in the Car

How to Wear a Winter Coat in the Carseat

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Buckle Bopper

Have you heard of the Buckle Bopper? I hadn't until a few weeks ago. I contacted Marlene, the inventor, and she sent me one to review.

The Buckle Bopper is designed to help caregivers open the crotch buckle on their child's carseat. Many carseat manufacturers are making their crotch buckles more difficult to open, to prevent young children from unbuckling when they shouldn't. Unfortunately, this sometimes makes it more difficult for caregivers. If you have arthritis, carpel tunnel, tendonitis, Parkinson's, or even just long finger nails, you may have a hard time opening your child's crotch buckle. The Buckle Bopper was created so you can open the crotch buckle without using your fingers.

 Simply hold the Buckle Bopper in the palm of your hand. You can wrap your fingers around it if you want to, but it's not necessary.

Then place your other hand under the crotch buckle, between the child and the buckle

Use the Buckle Bopper to push the button to release the crotch buckle.

Since I don't have any problems with my hands, I gave the Buckle Bopper to a friend to try. She has a problem with the bones in her lower arm and hand, and can't do much with her right hand. The crotch buckle she has the hardest time with is the one Britax uses. On a scale of 1 (no problems opening) to 10 (absolutely can't open it), Britax gets a 10 for her. With the Buckle Bopper, she rated it a 4 or 5, because she had to put pressure on it which is still difficult for her.

I love the Buckle Bopper and have added it to my tech bag to show to parents at private seat checks. I really think this will help a lot of caregivers!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Carseat Canopy Review

Somewhere in the money saving blogs I follow on Facebook, I came across a great deal on the Carseat Canopy. I thought I'd buy one to review. Let me start by saying that I absolutely refuse to buy and review the carseat covers they make. They are not safe to use. I bought the part that attaches to the infant carseat handle to cover baby.

They have alot of nice patterns to choose from. I would prefer it to be a solid color to match my carseat, but eh, oh well. When it arrived and I felt how thick the fabric was on the underside, I did not have high hopes. In my head I pictured it completely covering the carseat and air not being able to move freely, and that is known to contribute to SIDS.

I happen to have an adorable new charge that uses a Chicco Keyfit 30. I put the Carseat Canopy on her seat and was surprised to see that there are still little corners for air to get in. It has fabric tabs with huge buttons making you think the Carseat Canopy buttons onto the carseat handle. Well, you would be wrong. I was surprised to find the buttons are just for show and it actually velcros onto the carseat handle.

Even with a little air flow, I don't think it's a good idea to leave the Carseat Canopy over baby long term. Using it to create a dark room while Baby sleeps through the grocery store? No. Using it to keep wind off of baby while you walk from the house to the car? Yes. Using it to keep the sun off of Baby at the park? No. Using it to keep baby warm walking from to the mall in the winter? Yes. I think it's a nice thing to have if you use it for just a few minutes at a time. But just remember that it really needs to be open to let air flow freely and keep baby happy and healthy.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Carseat Poncho Review

A carseat poncho is a safe alternative to using bulky coats in the carseat. I was actually surprised at how thick the fleece was on the poncho. It seemed thick and warm. You can unzip the top a bit to get it over the child's head, then rezip. You can unzip from the bottom for buckling and unbuckling, then rezip again.

I will admit, when Sofi first saw it and tried it on, she HATED it! Today I finally convinced her that she had to at least let me take pictures of her in it, she changed her mind. When she saw how easy it was to use and still buckle herself (that independence is important!), she declared she LOVED it!

I don't think it'd be good for days where the child is running around and playing outside. But I do think it's great for running errands, or just a drive from point a to point b. It's also great for layering. Afraid your child's thin fleece carseat-safe coat isn't going to be warm enough for the cold winter? Add a poncho on top! Sofi could easily wear her thin fleece coat under the poncho, and if she gets too hot in the car, unzip it to cool off a bit.

Put the Poncho on the child when she's in the warm house. Have the child sit in her carseat and put the back part above her head, on the seat.

Unzip from the bottom to buckle child or have her buckle herself.

Make sure harness is properly buckled and tightened. (note, in this picture, the chest clip is still low and needs to be raised)

Zip the poncho back down to keep her warm.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Clek Olli Review

Clek Olli is for 40-120 pounds and over 4 years old. It is a very nice backless booster. One of the things I love most about it, is it has LATCH. When used with LATCH, you don't have to worry about remembering to buckle the seat when not in use, and you don't have to worry about it becoming a projectile in a crash. Olli has a quick release strap for easy removal. Pull the strap and LATCH releases.

The Olli's cover is easily removable for quick cleaning or changing to a different color. It is also treated to resist stains, which makes cleaning spills so much easier.

Where backless boosters are concerned, I really love Olli.

This child is 7 years old and 48 pounds. She fits quite nicely in Olli.

This child is 9 years old. She too fits quite well in Olli. She looks and feels squished in several other backless boosters, but is quite comfy in this one.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Diono vs Sunshine Kids

In 2011, Sunshine Kids Juvenile Products changed their name to Diono. Their seats stayed mostly the same, with some changes made to add a booster mode. However, the Radian has changed alot over the years and it can be quite confusing, especially with retroactively increasing their rear facing weight limits in 2008. Here is a break down of the major differences in the seats. Along with the weight limits, I'd like to note there are height limits as well, which I do not have listed here. ***Sunhine Kids/Diono says some of their seats can be used up to the full 65/80 pounds with LATCH if your vehicle was made after Sept 2005. However, I feel it's important to point out that most vehicle manufacturers also have a weight limit for LATCH, and you should abide by that as well.

Diono Radian RXT
- Rear facing 5-45 pounds. Forward facing up to 80 pounds. Booster mode up to 120 pounds. ***Diono says LATCH can be used up to 80 pounds in harness mode if your vehicle was made after Sept 2005.

Diono Radian R120- Rear facing 5-45 pounds. Forward facing up to 80 pounds. Booster mode up to 120 pounds. ***Diono says LATCH can be used up to 80 pounds with the harness if your vehicle was made after Sept 2005.

Diono Radian R100- Rear facing 5-40 pounds. Forward facing up to 65 pounds. Booster mode up to 100 pounds. ***Diono says LATCH can be used up to 65 pounds with the harness if your vehicle was made after Sept 2005.

Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL- Rear facing 5-45 pounds. Forward facing up to 80 pounds. Has adjustable headwings. ***Sunshine Kids says LATCH can be used up to 80 pounds if your vehicle was made after Sept 2005.

Sunshine Kids Radian 80SL- Rear facing 5-45 pounds. Forward facing up to 80 pounds. ***Sunshine Kids says LATCH can be used up to 80 pounds if your vehicle was made after Sept 2005.

Sunshine Kids Radian 65SL- Rear facing 5-40 pounds. Forward facing up to 65 pounds. ***Sunshine Kids says LATCH can be used up to 65 pounds

Sunshine Kids Radian XT- Rear facing 5-40 pounds. Forward facing up to 80 pounds. Has adjustable headwings

Sunshine Kids Radian 80- Rear facing 5-35 pounds. Forward facing up to 80 pounds. Seats manufactured after Sept 1, 2008 can be used up to 40 pounds rear facing.

Sunshine Kids Radian 65- Rear facing 5-35 pounds. Forward facing up to 65 pounds. Seats manufactured after Sept ,1 2008 can be used rear facing up to 40 pounds.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is rear facing safe when you're rear ended?

That is a question that gets asked alot when we try to explain the benefits of rear facing. I'm sure you've read my post about Anne's crash. Well, now I'm going to tell you about Rachel's crash.

Rachel's family was traveling in their 2005 Toyota Sienna. She was traveling with her husband, and 3 sons. Her oldest, T1 was 3.5 years old and riding rear facing passenger's side 3rd row in a Radian 80SL. Her middle son, T2 was 2.5 years old and riding rear facing driver's side in the 3rd row in a Radian 80SL. Her youngest, T3 was 13 months and riding rear facing in the 2nd row in a Combi Coccoro.

They were on the highway and saw traffic had stopped ahead because of a crash. As any attentive driver would do, they slowed to a stop. Unfortunately, the tractor trailer behind them didn't have time to stop. He swerved onto the shoulder to avoid hitting the Sienna in front of him. When he swerved, he jackknifed and the trailer hit the Sienna at an estimated 50mph.

This is what Rachel's van looked like

See the vehicle headrest sticking out of the back window? That is the 3rd row center seat. T2 was sitting on the driver's side. See how smashed in that is? T2 was rear facing, in a rear end collision. T2 had the ONLY injuries in the car.

(ignore the crayon in his hand). He had 12 stitches in his forehead. The paramedics couldn't believe the child sitting there survived.

Rachel is not a Child Passenger Safety Technician. Rachel is a Mom that wants the best for her children. She knew to keep her children rear facing. She knew how to make sure she was using and installing her seats properly. What she did, saved her sons lives. All 3 boys were rear facing, and all 3 boys walked away from the crash. So my answer is yes, rear facing is still safe in a rear end collision. If you have any questions as to whether or not your carseat is used and/or installed properly, please visit a CPST and have it checked.

When you're involved in a crash, it is usually safest to leave the child buckled in their seat. The carseat acts like a built in body board, and the paramedics should try to remove the entire seat with child still in it. However, sometimes you need to remove the child. Rachel commented that she took the boys out of their seats for a few reasons.
"There was gas on the ground from another vehicle and they were terrified. They were screaming and trying to unbuckle and get out and I just... I couldn't leave them there. I couldn't leave T2 pinned to his seat with a hunk of metal in his face. Also we couldn't get the big boys seats out, I tried for a few seconds but gave up."

Rescuers were amazed that they all walked away. Here is another quote from Rachel:
"Yeah, I don't understand how we are all ok. Especially T2... every single person coming on scene thought they were dealing with at LEAST a medvac, if not a casualty. People didn't believe us when we told them the 2 year old I was holding that kept shrieking "I can't want a bandaid!!!!!" was the kid sitting there"
T2 is in the blue shirt in this picture.

(Rachel was 7 months pregnant at the time of the crash)