NHTSA Clarifies 15-Passenger Van Regulations

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.”

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Tips for Reading Vehicle Manuals

Certain aspects of vehicle manuals differentiate them from CR manuals. For instance, vehicle manuals must cover topics ranging far beyond CPS, and CPS-related topics appear in multiple sections of a vehicle manual. Therefore, when reading vehicle manuals—or instructing others to read them—it helps to understand the following: Read More from “Tips for Reading Vehicle Manuals”

Ask an Engineer: Can CRs Be Made in a Variety of Colors?

Sure! You can have any color car seat you want, as long as it’s black!

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.

Boosters in bright colors have been on the market for a while, but have you ever wondered why CRs with harnesses don’t come in a variety of colors? I’m talking about the plastic shells, not the pads. As you might have noticed, that plastic is nearly always black, white, or a shade of gray, sort of like what Henry Ford famously said about his Model Ts, paraphrased above.  And there’s a reason for that!

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Ask an Engineer: Are Differences Among Webbing Types Important?

The following guest article was inspired by an enlightening conversation between SRN editor Denise Donaldson and Dave Sander, CPST-I and engineer (formerly with Evenflo, but employed elsewhere at the time this article was written).

Have you ever given close attention to the webbing used for car seat harnesses, LATCH straps, or vehicle seat belts? If so, you may have noticed that some are wider or feel thicker, smoother, or rougher than others. You may have also noticed that some have stripes (actually called panels), and that those panels vary in appearance and number.

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Avoid the Unintended Consequences of CR Cleanliness

In 2014, the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom) studied how germ types and levels in cars compared to those in people’s homes.  While they found plenty of germs in people’s vehicles, it was in car seats that the results really stood out. Researchers found that, on average, every square centimeter of a car seat contained at least 100 bacteria and fungi—twice as many as on a toilet seat.

Naturally, this report was widely circulated in the media that year, and people were understandably grossed out.  It is certainly a reminder for CPSTs to stock their tool kit with hand sanitizer and use it routinely while working in cars.

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Updated Study on RF vs. FF Effectiveness

Published: SRN November/December, 2017. Updates will be posted here as they become available.

Update: August 31, 2018. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has revised their policy on child passenger safety.

As anticipated, the journal Injury Prevention in November published a new study by University of Virginia and other researchers titled “Rear-facing versus forward-facing child restraints: an updated assessment.”  This reexamination of field data was spurred by recent concerns about the accuracy of an earlier study by Henary, et al. (See SRN’s July/August and Sept/Oct 2017 issues.) That 2007 study strongly favored the safety benefits of riding rear facing (and supported subsequent policy updates by the AAP and NHTSA). The new study could not confirm the earlier study’s findings, nor did it result in new, statistically significant outcomes.
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Car Seat Orientation and Safety

Update on Latest Developments As of mid-November 2017

Articles in the last issue of SRN (July/August 2017) covered the major CPS news story that a key, real-life study on the benefits of riding rear facing up to age 2 had been discredited and the status of updated research that will potentially replace it.   Since the journal Injury Prevention issued an Expression of Concern about the 2007 Henary, et al, study—essentially voiding its validity—the CPS community has eagerly awaited a valid study that will replace it in order to guide future policy.

At press time, at least two studies have been completed to reanalyze this data. Neither, however, has completed the peer-review and publication process that is necessary before any scientific research can be relied upon.  Therefore, this is an ongoing and evolving situation; this article aims to summarize new developments since the last SRN issue went to press in late August.

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Start Brainstorming: Ideas to Improve Tether Use in Your Community

Every community could do more to promote the use of tethers.  The following observations are offered as suggestions to help CPSTs get the brainstorming started.

Light BulbConsistently include tethering when describing the transition from rear to forward facing.  I appreciated the National Transportation Safety Board’s CPS Week blog post, which said “When children outgrow a rear-facing car seat, they should use a forward-facing car seat with an internal harness and tether.” This promotes the tether as part of the transition process and keeps it from being linked only to the LATCH system.  On the word “tether,” the NTSB even provided a hot link to the SKBU tether report.

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Bridgespan Report: CPS Movement Recognized Among Standout Initiatives of the Past Century

In the September/October issue of Harvard Business Review, car seats were recognized among 15 movements of the past century that made significant improvements to society.  The article, “Audacious Philanthropy: Lessons from 15 World-Changing Initiatives,” highlighted these top initiatives to help philanthropists identify common behaviors and characteristics that form the framework of movements that successfully create real social change.   CPSTs working to update state laws might also find this article to be helpful in promoting bills.

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