Documentation is a must when checking CRs, but paper checkup forms use resources, take up storage space, and don’t lend themselves well to data aggregation and analysis. Since many CPSTs now have access to a smartphone, laptop, and/or tablet, the time may be right to consider a digital alternative.
The National Safety Council, in partnership with Tennessee Tech University iCube, has developed just such a tool. The new Digital Car Seat Check Form is a free, optional way for CPSTs to collect information that is automatically stored and compiled, so it’s easy to generate reports, create statistics, monitor trends—and lessen the use of paper.
To announce the new tool, AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, one of the technology’s sponsors, hosted a dinner meeting at the Kidz in Motion Conference that gave attendees a chance to interactively learn about the form from the experts who developed it. Also present were CPSTs who had field-tested the prototype, and the session gave all attendees a chance to provide first-impression feedback. Beforehand, the developers were available throughout the day to assist conference-goers with the prerequisite of creating an online account, so attendees could use the form on their own devices, following along with the presenters during the dinner session.
Knowing that CPSTs have various needs, the developers have planned three versions of the form:
Web-based: To use the web-based version, access to Wi-Fi or a data plan is needed on a device like a laptop, tablet, or phone. This format is available to use now.
Paper: Yes, paper! For people who like the format but who can’t get online or don’t have the necessary hardware when doing a checkup, there is a paper version available, as well. When this version is used, the data can optionally be entered into the online system later in order to take advantage of the data management capabilities. This is also an option for programs that want to use an agency-specific liability statement or gather personal information on their clients. (Intentionally, personally identifiable information cannot be gathered using the Digital Car Seat Check Form. However, agency-specific liability statements can also be added to the Digital Check Form.)
App-based: An app-based platform is a third option that’s currently in the works. This will allow users to access the form on an app, even when they don’t have access to the internet. Later, when the device is connected to the internet, the car seat check data will upload to the CPST’s user account.
To learn more—and to contribute insights to this process—go to www.cpsboard.org. All CPSTs and CPST-Is now have the opportunity to create an account, log in, try out the form, and provide feedback. When logged in, use the Report Feedback tab at the top of the account webpage to let the developers know about glitches, missing or confusing information, or to offer accolades. The developers will use feedback from the field to optimize the tool’s usefulness over time.
Approval of new accounts may take three to five business days, so plan ahead. CPSTs will be asked to upload a copy of their current certification card (available on their CPST profile page). Get familiar with the layout of this tool before meeting with caregivers. A playlist on YouTube includes six helpful videos for learning how to use the form. If you have questions or would like to schedule a group orientation, email email@example.com.