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Insights From a Team Adopting the NDCF, Part 3: Things Get Real

Part 3 of a 3-part series. At the end of this article, you'll find links to parts 1 and 2 of this series, which include an editorial by Denise Donaldson about why her team is adopting the NDCF and information about the steps she took to prepare her checkup-event team.

After preparing over the winter to use the NDCF, my Car Safe Kids staffers eagerly jumped in with both feet during our first checkup events of 2022, held at Seattle-area hospitals on March 5, March 26, and April 9.

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Insights From a Team Adopting the NDCF

Part 2 of a 3-part series. This article is followed by links to part 1 and 3 of this series, an editorial by Denise Donaldson about why her team is adopting the NDCF and information about the steps she took to use the NDCF at checkup events.

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:

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Transition to NDCF to Energize CPS Data

Part 1 of a 3-part series. This article appeared as an editorial by Denise Donaldson and is followed by links to part 2 and 3 of this series, information about the steps she took to prepare her checkup-event team 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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