Here are the first steps taken by the Car Safe Kids team in the Seattle area to begin using the NDCF.
An annual winter hiatus provided an ideal opportunity for my CPS team, Car Safe Kids, to do some preparation and training before adopting the NDCF in 2022. For readers who are also considering this process, here are the steps I’ve taken so far:
STEP 1: A couple of months before our first 2022 checkup event, I sent an email to team members to announce the upcoming NDCF changeover, along with a brief rationale. In the email, I gave the link to the NDCF (www.carseatcheckform.org) and asked everyone to create an account, explaining that they’d need to upload their CPST wallet card and allow a few days for the account to be activated.
The email also noted upcoming Hold My Clipboard webinars. These discussion sessions, hosted by National Safety Council members of the NDCF Team, provide a nice introduction to the form and an opportunity to ask questions. While I assured team members that we’d also have team-specific trainings, about a third of them opted to tune in to one of these sessions to get acclimated. (Find upcoming Hold My Clipboard dates at www.cpsboard.org/webinars.)
STEP 2: About a month before the first 2022 checkup event, I sent an email asking team members to select from one of three Zoom training sessions offered at various times the following week. During the sessions, I shared my screen to go over the carseatcheckform.org website. I started with the sign-in process, and then, to highlight the potential rewards of our effort, I jumped right to a review of the NDCF Dashboard and Table Tool. Next I went through all the other menu tabs on the site (Agency, Resources, How To, and Contact Us) and then ended by going through a practice checkup using the online form.
Over 20 CPSTs attended these sessions, but since a few couldn’t make any of them, I recorded the last one and posted it online. Readers who are interested in checking out the recording should contact me at email@example.com to receive a link.
STEP 3: With the basic introductory trainings complete, I urged team members to practice. On the online form’s “State” field, they can select “Practice” (the top option in the drop-down menu) to prevent practice data from corrupting the real data set.
Another way to practice is to review the hardcopy form (available under Resources at www.carseatcheckform.org), which is laid out and numbered the same way as the online and app versions. This allows the learner to see the outline, all data-entry fields, and indicators for “skip patterns” (where questions are bypassed when the answer to a preceding question makes them unnecessary) on just two pages.
I also recommended the many training materials available at both at www.cpsboard.org/NDCF and www.carseatcheckform.org (under How To). While I let my team members know that they can contact me with questions, email and phone support are provided on both of these sites, as well.
STEP 4: Since we can’t count on a Wi-Fi signal at our event location, a couple of weeks out, I reminded team members to download the free NDCF app onto their devices (iOS, Android, or Kindle; search Car Seat Check Form on the device’s app store). Using the NDCF app, we’ll be able to enter the data in the garage and then submit it when we are back within Wi-Fi range.
The team seems excited to get started using the digital form, especially given the statistics they’ll soon be able to access. We also value the fact that our data will support the CPS field better in digital form. Next up will be preparation for a smooth day-of application. I’ll report on how that goes in the next issue.