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.
This guest article for Safe Ride News was contributed by Lorrie Walker, Training and Technical Advisor of Safe Kids Worldwide.
Safe Kids Worldwide convened a Blue Ribbon Panel that met in April 2018 to highlight the need to address the safety of child occupants in autonomous vehicles (AVs). For this discussion, the panel defined “child” as one who is under age 13. Read More from “Consider Children in Autonomous Vehicles”
Documentation is a must when checking CRs, but paper checkup forms use resources, take up storage space, and don’t lend themselves well to data aggregation and analysis. Since many CPSTs now have access to a smartphone, laptop, and/or tablet, the time may be right to consider a digital alternative.
Safe Ride News Publications is pleased to bring you this brand new website, as of August 2018. The address remains the same—www.saferidenews.com—but the look, layout, and some functionality have been revised. We hope that the CPS community will like our refreshed look and find it easier to access information.
Most exciting is the addition of e-commerce capability! Read More from “SRN Website Now Offers Online Ordering!”
On September 24, 2018, a historical marker was erected during a ceremony in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of that state’s child occupant protection (COP) law, the first such law in the world. The marker honors the late Dr. Robert Sanders, a pediatrician well known as Dr. Seat Belt, for his role as a driving force prompting the wave of COP laws that spread across the country. The ceremony was attended by his widow, Patricia Sanders, who is also named on the marker for her involvement in successfully advocating for the Tennessee law.
That very first law required CR use until a child’s third birthday, and it took the Sanders four more years to eliminate a “babes in arms” exception that had been slipped in before passage. The Sanders’ tireless efforts to protect children continue to serve as an inspiration for efforts to strengthen COP laws.
In August, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a revised version of its policy statement titled “Child Passenger Safety.” The changes primarily affect the wording of recommendations for how long a child should ride rear facing. While the former version, issued in 2011, indicated that a child should stay rear facing until at least age 2 or older, the revised policy simply recommends that children stay rear facing as long as possible, until the height or weight limit of their RF CR is met (without making age 2 the rear-facing goal).
This guest article continues SRN’s “Ask an Engineer” series with Dave Sander, CPST-I and engineer (formerly with Evenflo). This series gives an insider view of how CR engineers develop and design CRs, as well as new insights into CR functionality.
Load legs (aka stability legs, foot props) are not a new invention. They’ve been a common feature of CRs for many years in other parts of the world, especially Europe. But in the U.S., load legs continue to be a bit of a novelty and are found only on a handful of (mostly high-end) RF-only CRs. The feature employs an adjustable metal bar that extends vertically from the CR base to the floor of a vehicle to help manage crash force (see photo, left).
In August, the governor of New Jersey signed a law that will require new school buses of any size in that state to be equipped with lap-shoulder belts in all seating positions. The law goes into effect 180 days after enactment, giving transportation departments in that state time to adjust to the new requirements.
On August 10, a full-size, 2010 GMC Savana van carrying school-aged children on a field trip in New Hampshire left the highway and struck a tree head on. Although the crash was serious, only one of the 13 passengers was seriously injured. “It appears seat belts saved a lot of lives today,” one state trooper told the a regional news affiliate while on-site at the crash. “These children—most or all—were wearing seat belts.”