An article in the last issue of SRN focused on how to read an owner’s manual to learn whether a CR feature is a lock-off or not. In response to reader comments and questions, as well as recent recalls, this article builds on that coverage to look at related issues: the concepts of soft locking and dead zones.
For Indiana’s virtual CPS conference in June, Darrin Keiser, senior director of operational quality at Dorel Juvenile Products, gave a presentation that described why concerns about the limitations of gravity-based recline indicators have prompted Dorel to plan to shift away from using them on future models. Read More from “Why Dorel Plans a Move Away from Gravity-Based Indicators”
The newly released version of the National CPS Certification Training curriculum does more than earlier versions to introduce the concept of overhang by including a slide and explanation in the technician guide. It tells students to ensure that the base (footprint) fits on the vehicle seat by checking the CR owner’s manual to learn about overhang, and it says to use the “80/20 guideline” if instructions don’t give other advice. It points out that some manufacturers require 100% of the footprint to rest on the vehicle cushion and that some vehicle seats are too shallow for some CRs. Read More from “Is Your CR Hanging Out Too Much?”
Have you noticed that it’s become more common for RF-only car seat instructions to allow European belt routing (aka, Euro-routing) for baseless installations? If a car seat model allows this method, but the vehicle belt appears to be too short, try this technique. Read More from “Tip for Euro-routing when a lap-shoulder belt seems too short:”
FMVSS 213 requires CRs to be tested while installed using a lap-only belt. Therefore, there is no required U.S. test to measure the effectiveness of installations using Euro-routing, since that technique involves a lap-shoulder belt. However, from experience in Europe and through voluntary testing, many manufacturers recognize the benefits of Euro-routing and choose to offer it as an option on CRs sold in North America. Read More from “Finding Lap-Shoulder Belts to Be Too Short for Euro-Routing? Try This Tip”
NOTE: This article describes car seat brand/model usage, as of a certain date. Always check the product instructions that come with any given car seat.
Graco now allows the use of European belt routing (aka Euro-routing) for baseless installation of all SnugRide CRs with Click Connect (including all SnugLock models) in the U.S. and Canada. This permission is stated in the most recent instructions of most SnugRide models, but is also retroactively given on units of Click Connect SnugRides that do not state this permission in the instructions. (Go to the FAQ section at www.gracobaby.com and search Euro to find written permission from Graco.) Read More from “Options for European Belt Routing Expanding”
Halo traction is used to hold the head in place and stabilize the cervical spine after surgery or injury. It is comprised of a metal framework (called a halo, due to the fact that it encircles the head) attached by pins to the patient’s skull and connected to the body using straps or a vest. The device allows children to move around and participate in many regular activities during the weeks or months of recovery. Although helpful tips for caregivers of children using a halo can be found online, very little is said about safely transporting these children.
A dual-latchplate belt system, discussed in the editorial on page 2 of the 2019 March/April SRN, is the only modern seat belt in which assembly before use may be required. In the spectrum of passive-to-active protection, therefore, this type can be considered “extra-active.”
Dual-latchplate systems are generally the same across many vehicle brands, but specific design variations exist. Always check the instructions for the particular model in use.
Read More from “Understanding Dual-Latchplate Lap-Shoulder Belt Systems”
In the past couple of years, the introduction of such LA adjusters as Evenflo’s EasyClick and Graco’s EZ Tight is an encouraging sign that NHTSA’s requirements for LA attachment weight limits have not squelched CR manufacturers’ interest in innovating to improve LATCH ease of use. Now that five years have passed since the regulation went into effect, it is a fitting time to reflect on how the regulation has affected CR types, in general.
All CPSTs have been trained in how to use a belt-shortening clip (BSC), the heavy-duty device that holds webbing so that a CR can be installed using a lap belt with an ELR retractor. However, few CPSTs have used one outside of certification training because, of course, vehicles with belts that require this device are now old—and, even back in the 1980s and ‘90s, such belt systems were not particularly common.
Still, it is good for CPSTs to know how to identify situations that require a belt-shortening clip and how to help a parent use one, if needed. The situation might be rare, but if a CPST encounters a child who is riding in a vehicle so old as to need a BSC, then the vehicle is also lacking other modern safety features. In such a vehicle, tight installation is even more critical.