Children in RVs

“We are planning a big cross-country tour this summer and figure it would make sense to rent an RV for this adventure . . .”

Often, even parents who normally are careful to use a CR for their children for every ride imagine that the interior of a recreational vehicle (RV, or motor home) is somehow a magical zone where the laws of physics do not apply.  Caregivers need to know that an RV may not be safe for children.

Children still need to be buckled up appropriately any time they are riding in a vehicle, and this can be a real challenge in an RV.  RVs come in a range of style classes (A, B, C, C+, etc.) and, although these do vary in appropriateness for families, none is ideal.

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Children in Taxis

“We are visiting a large city, so we will be using taxis rather than a rental car . . .”

A 2006 study using 2004 data found that, in New York City alone, there were 25 taxi/livery crashes every day that caused injury. That study also found that when taxis were involved in a crash, the taxi passengers were nearly 2.5 times more likely to be seriously injured or killed than the passengers in the other vehicle in the crash.

So, best practice in taxis (and, in some states, the law) is to use a CR.  Dr. Alisa Baer, pediatrician and cofounder of The Car Seat Lady, posts excellent advice on this subject at

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UberFamily Adds CR Option

Visiting NYC? Check out this safety option for kids

In May, options for traveling safely with kids in New York City improved dramatically.  Uber, a tech company that creates mobile apps to connect passengers with drivers of for-hire vehicles, added a new option, uberFAMILY.  For an upcharge of $10 per ride, customers selecting uberFAMILY from the Uber app will be sent a car that has a forward-facing CR with a five-point harness preinstalled by a trained driver.  The service is offered for children over age 1 (and at least 22 pounds/31 inches) and up to 48 pounds or 52 inches.  (Children smaller and larger than that are urged to use the appropriate RF-only CR or booster, respectively.)

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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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Good News for Hospitals: Guidelines for CPS-Related Discharge Policies Available

Hospitals can now access free, expert guidance for developing discharge policies related to CPS.  In March, the Hospital CPS Discharge Policy Planning Group, an expert working group convened by NHTSA, released a report titled “Hospital Discharge Recommendations for Safe Transportation of Children.”  The purpose of this project, which came about after years of collaboration by multiple organizations and contributors, is to encourage hospitals to address CPS in their discharge policies. It defines “child patient” as any from birth to age 19, including but not limited to those with special healthcare needs.

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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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New Requirements for RF-Only CRs, Other Hand-Held Carriers

Did you know that NHTSA is not the only government agency that oversees CRs?  That’s because RF-only CRs with handles are also considered carriers.  To enhance the safety of carriers, a new Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) standard goes into effect on June 6, 2014.   It applies to RF-only CRs as well as any other rigid- or semi-rigid-sided, hand-held carrier (i.e.: portable cradles and Moses baskets). Watch for this new label to appear soon on the padding around the head area of all RF CRs.  It can be used to introduce caregivers to the topic of appropriate use of CRs, both in and out of the vehicle.

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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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Resources to Prepare, Protect Teen Drivers

In the past few years, a great amount of research and program energy has turned to the subject of teen driver safety, so there is more support than ever for people who are looking for information and resources to help them protect teens in their community.  This article, which focuses on the significant offerings of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, and Safe Kids U.S.A., is not meant to be all-inclusive, but it provides a look at three excellent go-to resources.

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The Mental Acrobatics Needed to Apply LATCH Weight Limits

As most readers have probably noticed, we are going through a particularly complex period with respect to determining LATCH weight limits.  Most CPSTs have heard about upcoming changes in FMVSS 213 regarding lower anchor weight limits.  NHTSA has ruled that, by next February or sooner, CRs must have instructions and labels limiting use of the lower attachment system to a child weight specific to each CR model.  This weight limit is to be calculated based on the formula “65 pounds minus the CR weight.”  Keeping things interesting, this final rule is under further review, and NHTSA may or may not announce a modification to it in coming weeks.  Though this ruling pertains to CRs only, many vehicle manufacturers indicate in the 2013 LATCH Manual* that they have adopted this same formula to express lower anchor limits (and tether anchor limits, too, in some cases).  So this limit now applies to about half of all vehicle brands.

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