Transition to NDCF to Energize CPS Data

This article appeared as an editorial by Denise Donaldson and is followed by additional information about the steps she took with her team to prepare for and use the NDCF at checkup events.

Since the mid-90s, I’ve run a CPS program based in the Seattle area. My team and I have logged thousands of seat checks, and after each checkup event, I let the team and our host agency know our totals—how many checks overall, how many for expectant parents, rear- versus forward-facing, and so on. Then, at year-end, I calculate annual and cumulative figures of our efforts.
These objective reflections of our work give us useful perspective and can be energizing. But lately, a sad truth has dawned on me: We have lazy data!

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It’s Time to Think About Autonomous Vehicles

I’d have to have my head planted firmly in the sand if my initial skepticism about self-driving vehicles hasn’t budged over time. In a few short years, what has gone from bold­ predictions by certain tech giants has developed into mainstream acceptance. Target dates for various rollouts of autonomous vehicles seem right around the corner, rather than in some sci-fi future. In September, the DOT released safety guidelines for autonomous vehicle performance, including a model for state policies.

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Debate in the NICU Continues: What’s a CPST to Think When Doctors Disagree?

As readers know, I am not a doctor.  Occasionally, though, as CPSTs we must consider certain medical conditions that influence the safety or children as vehicle passengers.  Fortunately, there’s no need for CPSTs to hold a medical degree; simply follow the advice of doctors regarding the relevant symptoms of a diagnosis and how they might influence a child’s safety  (either in a crash or during normal riding).  To guide us, we are fortunate to have peer-reviewed scientific studies and policy statements from the medical community.

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Best Practice for Children on Airplanes Still Seems Up in the Air!

However, an industry group takes a first step toward standardization of child safety recommendations aboard aircraft

During a busy summer of travel, I wrote several articles for this issue of SRN while waiting in airports and flying on airplanes.  Like most CPSTs, I travel with an awareness of the families around me and always perk up when I see a CR. Alas, contrary to safety recommendations, I find that most CRs that make it as far as the gate are gate-checked rather than used on board.  It’s understandable that most parents aren’t fully aware of best practice on airplanes; safety messages can be unclear and confusing in a system that allows children under age 2 to ride on a caregiver’s lap.  (And, let’s face it, those safety messages need to be very compelling to overcome parents’ understandable desire to save money by not buying a plane ticket for these infants.)

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One More Note on LATCH Weight Limits: What Do We Tell the Folks?

I was recently asked whether our SRN Fact Sheets were updated to reflect the recent changes to FMVSS 213.  While I assured the customer that we had reviewed all sheets and made any edits needed, I also noted that the changes were minor.  Our fact sheets are meant to provide caregivers with easy-to-read information about best practice, so technical details about subjects like regulations are not appropriate and would in fact detract from the key safety messages.

However, this hints at broader questions that others might share: What do caregivers need to know about the recent update to LATCH weight limits and CR labeling?  And, exactly how should our parent information be changed so it’s current?

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Weight Limit Labels a Step Forward for LATCH

This issue of SRN celebrates the amendments to FMVSS 213 that went into full effect on February 27, 2014, expanding the standard’s scope to include CRs for children up to 80 pounds (formerly 65 pounds).   Although the purpose of this expansion, when first directed by Congress over 10 years ago, was to bring most boosters under FMVSS 213, the effect is to also ensure that today’s wide array of CRs with very high-weight harnesses will be tested according to the standard’s requirements.

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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards—Weight Limit Related

Recent Developments Likely to Change CPS Landscape

(Scroll down for “New Rule Will Expand FMVSS 213 Coverage to 80 Pounds, Clarify LA Weights” and “NHTSA Revises Final Rule, But Concedes Little to Petition.)”

This issue of SRN covers some important developments that will have far-ranging effects in the CPS field for years to come.

First, a year after the AAP and NHTSA released updated recommendations for how children should ride, a survey from AAA confirms what we’ve sensed:  there has been significant awareness and acceptance of these new guidelines by the public. The 2011 Safe Kids study of CPS use indicated that parents were already trending toward keeping kids in each stage longer, and the AAA survey shows that the efforts of the past year have further contributed to improvement.

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