A few years ago, SRN reported on an emerging phenomenon: CRs with features that looked and acted like lock-offs but weren’t.
Since then, these features have become more common. Nowadays, CPSTs who see anything that looks like a lock-off ask, “Is that a true lock-off?” While a mechanism that functions as a lock-off must be a “true,” authentic lock-off, “true lock-off” has become part of the CPST vernacular when wondering whether a CR part that appears to be a lock-off actually is one.
It’s important for CPSTs to understand what is (and isn’t) a lock-off
Until 1996, CR installation with a lap-shoulder belt nearly always required using a locking clip to hold the belt tight. This was often difficult (or altogether overlooked), so it was a relief when other solutions came along.
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.
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?”
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.”