Safety Season: Features for Parents

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The Holiday Season at The Kicker is Safety Season. Every Monday we’ll post about safety and include helpful information and tips to keep you and you’re family as safe as possible on the roads. If you’d like to find helpful links to all this information and more please check out our Safety Tab on thekickerblog.com (Drive Safe, Buying a Safe Car, After Accident Action Steps).

Your kids represent your most important cargo. Here’s the top tips for finding a car that will help you protect them.

 

If you’re trading in your sports car for a new family car you should look for more than just a trunk that can fit a stroller or a back seat you can get a car seat in and out of. Those things are important considerations too, but lets talk safety features.

We assume modern cars have the latest safety features but not all features top the list for new parents. So here’s the short list.

 

Automatic Emergency Braking System

Featured vehicles: 2019 Ford Fusion and 2019 Subaru Outback

Automatic emergency braking systems, or AEBs, are quickly becoming one of the most sought-after features in new cars. These systems can sense when a forward-facing potential collision is about to occur and take preventative measures to avoid a crash, even if a driver doesn’t have enough time to react on their own. For new parents, this feature can be life-saving.

 

Lane Departure Warning System

Featured vehicles: 2019 Honda Accord and 2019 Toyota RAV4

These systems will alert you when you start drifting from the lane that you are in, without using a turn signal. While the lane departure systems will not take over the car for you to prevent a potential crash, they will give you a warning so you can regain control of your vehicle. This system is invaluable for parents who are traveling with children in the car.

 

Backup Camera

Featured vehicles: 2019 Hyundai Elantra and 2019 Mazda CX-5

Although this feature comes standard on most new cars today, it’s one that cannot be overlooked. Rearview cameras give drivers peace of mind when they are backing up, ensuring them that there is nothing in the way. When you live in a congested neighborhood  or are so tired you forget to check your blind spots, the backup camera can help prevent an accident.

 

 

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Safety Season: DUI & DWI

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The Holiday Season at The Kicker is Safety Season. Every Monday we’ll post about safety and include helpful information and tips to keep you and you’re family as safe as possible on the roads. If you’d like to find helpful links to all this information and more please check out our Safety Tab on thekickerblog.com (Drive Safe, Buying a Safe Car, After Accident Action Steps).

DUI & DWI

Driving after drinking too much alcohol is known as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Alcohol slows your reflexes, temporarily lowers your mental acuity and can thus compromise your ability to control a vehicle and drive it safely. And yes, even “buzzed driving” is still drunk driving and can be just as dangerous.

A DUI arrest can lead to expensive consequences, including spending time in jail, a suspended driver’s license and fines. If you hit and/or kill someone while you are driving impaired, the consequences are even worse.

It’s also illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your car. If you’re transporting alcoholic beverages, they should be sealed and in the trunk.

All 50 states have now set .08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for Driving Under the Influence, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). For commercial drivers, it’s .04%. And if you’re under 21, it’s zero tolerance – any amount of alcohol is grounds for a DUI arrest.bodyworn-794099_1920.jpg

In some cities, law enforcement officials set up sobriety checkpoints along the road to identify and deter impaired drivers. These are typically set up during holiday weekends or on dates when there might be more drinking and driving.

If you’re stopped at a checkpoint, you’ll be asked several questions and might be asked to perform a sobriety test (like saying the ABC’s backwards, performing some physical movements or breathing into an alcohol sensor). If these tests show that you have high alcohol levels, the police may arrest you.

Safety Season: Bad Weather Driving

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The Holiday Season at The Kicker is Safety Season. Every Monday we’ll post about safety and include helpful information and tips to keep you and you’re family as safe as possible on the roads. If you’d like to find helpful links to all this information and more please check out our Safety Tab on thekickerblog.com (Drive Safe, Buying a Safe Car, After Accident Action Steps).

By Staff

If you don’t have experience driving in inclement weather its a good idea to avoid it entirely, but if you must go places try to take someone with you who does have experience and get some practice someplace where you’re not likely to hit anything.

Here are a few tips for driving in bad weather.

Snow/Ice

Step number one is not being in a rush. Just plan on taking twice as much time to get there and you won’t be tempted to push your luck, take short cuts or speed.

  •  Test out your brakes.  Ever car is different and the only way to be sure is to test your equipment at low speed to get an idea what you might be facing.
  •  Take corners slowly.  Slow before corners not during. Think–take on one problem at a time. First change speed, then direction.
  •  Accelerate gradually.  It’s not just slowing down that takes extra care. Tires without traction spin out. Don’t be a rabbit off the line when the light turns green and don’t slam on your brakes at a yellow light.
  •  Beware of black ice!  Black ice is difficult to spot. You’ll simply have to be aware that its below freezing so anything that looks wet is probably frozen. Bridges, over passes, and places that are shaded will be more icy even when the day warms up.

Fog

Believe it or not dense fog is statistically known to cause more accidents than ice. Think about it, black ice aside, you know when the roads are likely to be slick from cold weather conditions. Fog can come out of nowhere and drop visibility to a few feet. If you’re driving at freeway speeds sudden blindness is a problem. Keep following in mind:

  •  Do NOT use your high-beam headlights!  Doing so will reflect light off the fog ahead of you, making it even harder to see. Instead, turn on your regular headlights, or, your fog lights, if you have them.
  •  Use the white line on the right side of the road.  This will help guide you and keep you in your lane. It will also prevent your vision from being impaired by the headlights of oncoming traffic.
  •  Maintain a longer following distance.  When the car in front of you passes an object count out at least 5 one-thousands before letting yourself pass it. Stay roughly 10 MPH below the speed limit–its better to get rear-ended than to run over a pedestrian.
  •  Use your turn signals early.  Give cars behind you plenty of notice that you’ll be slowing down to make a turn.

Rain

Replace your windshield wipers every fall. They are your first line of defense.

  • Maintain a longer following distance.  It takes longer to stop when driving in wet weather and the roads can be slick. Having to slam on your brakes results in skidding.
  •  Turn on your headlights.  They’ll not only help you see, but will make sure you’re visible to other drivers.
  •  Drive in the middle lanes.  Water is more likely to pool on the outer edges of the road.
  •  Try and avoid puddles.  Driving over puddles of water can cause your car to hydroplane out of control. It’s helpful to drive in the tracks of the car in front of you. And keep your speed below 45MPH if you see standing water on the road.

For more resources on safe and defensive driving, check out idrivesafely.com.

Safety Season: Winter Driving

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The Holiday Season at The Kicker is Safety Season. Every Monday we’ll post about safety and include helpful information and tips to keep you and you’re family as safe as possible on the roads. If you’d like to find helpful links to all this information and more please check out our Safety Tab on thekickerblog.com (Drive Safe, Buying a Safe Car, After Accident Action Steps).

Here are some quick tips for staying safe this winter.

Winter driving tips

Winter brings all sorts of driving headaches: snow, freezing rain and slush, which all make the roads more hazardous. To handle the hassle of winter driving:

  1. First of all, buckle up. Basic car safety encourages the use of seat belts and car seats at all times. They’re one of your best defenses in a crash. And it’s the law.
  2. Use extra caution in areas that ice up quickly, especially intersections, shaded areas, bridges and overpasses.
  3. Get in the habit of regularly checking weather reports on TV or online so you can prepare for bad weather. On severe weather days, schools and workplaces might close or delay opening. Consider staying at home if you don’t need to be on the road.
  4. Keep an emergency kit in the trunk of your car – including blankets, a first aid kit and jumper cables. Check out our full list of items for your emergency car kit.
  5. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that your car always has a full tank of gas.

Behind the Wheel

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By Paul Wimsett (UK Desk: So read it with an accent.)

Is steering more complicated than it should be? It’s all right for complicated turns and for parking but it’s hard for a learner driver to keep on the straight and narrow using a steering wheel. It should be noted that what allows you to steer isn’t just the steering wheel but also the steering column, the axels and the front wheels of a car (and in the case of 4 by 4 cars in difficult terrain, the back wheels).

What exactly is the steering column? Well it attaches the wheel to the rest of the mechanism. It also provides the mounting for various functions such as the transmission gear selector. To help with safety this column can collapse in an emergency.

The piece that causes this to happen is known as the “tolerance ring.” This part is designed to become unmoored from its housing. There are several federal regulations which must be applied to any steering column in the US. In China the regulations are more strict and requires an additional anti-theft mechanism in the column.

steering-wheel-801994_1920.jpgSteering depends on getting the series of linkages absolutely right and although a driver behind a wheel seems blind to the rest to the car it is better to see the whole machine as guiding you to where you want to go. The axel part is divided into the pinion, which appears like a cog, a steer arm and a fusee. To be even more precise there is also the Worm and roller gearbox and the Pitman arm. Too much jargon can be annoying though, so it might be best to leave things there.

Why might a car become hard to steer?

Well, the one most drivers seem to refer to first is icy terrain or something like rainy conditions. But setting aside environmental factors, things like lack of air pressure in your tires, your fluid level and a faulty pulley on your power safety unit may also make a difference as can un-lubricated axles. Maybe it’s just the steering wheel itself which is sticking, but even this can cause accidents.

If you find that the steering is harder than usual, it is definitely a good idea to take the car in for a service, as there might be more than one thing wrong. Should you be gearing up for a long journey it is recommended that you find out if there any potential steering problems.

Here’s a fact about holding a steering wheel which might just save your life, or at the very least save you from excess pain. A warning though it is rather distasteful. It seems that the old way of holding the wheel – in a ten to two position is incompatible with cars with air bags. To save your arms it is recommended that you hold the wheel in a quarter to three position, in order to be on the safe side.

 

The First Car Buying–Sage Advice Part 1

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Op-Ed by Paul Wimsett and A.R. Bunch

Let us talk directly to some of you on those of you late teens for this blog, with the voice of a couple car experts instead of your over-protective parent…which I’m sure have already weighed in.

There comes a point in your life as a teenager where you have “come of age” and require your own mode of transport. Though you may be tempted to look for a sports car, or even something like an SUV these aren’t recommended. Just like your “rents” have been preaching, the best type of car is a simple, late model, mid-size passenger cars. Here’s why…

This is about more than just trying to break away from being ferried around by our parents. It’s bigger and more symbolic than that; it’s a machine which can take you (within reason) wherever YOU want to go. Instead of, stand here at this time and I’ll get you, it’s be home by a certain time. The subtle difference is huge because now you are responsible for everything it takes to hit the mark and all the free time that responsibility creates. Therefore, the fastest way to more freedom with your car is to impress your parents with your car buying decision.

Making a good choice in purchase:

What you might not immediately consider are airbags but if you are learning to drive, they are definitely a good idea. Go for side air-bags as well. You might also look for an anti-lock braking system, just to be on the safe side. When you voluntarily pick a safe car, it signals your parents to worry less about you.

The first car might be one that we stick with quite a few years. After all, how long will it take before we can afford a new one? That being the case you can’t just buy the cheapest car you see, chances are that it will only break down. No, it needs to be relatively inexpensive, but operable.

You can avoid a lot of haggling with pros (car dealerships) by shopping private sales online. To avoid scammers, robbers, and worse kinds of creeps, mention that you’re going to have the car inspected by a mobile service like Tire Kickers. Be ready to pay in cash to make the purchase a simple transaction and bring someone with you who has some life experience. (Aunt Sally the x-marine will do nicely).

Obviously, never digitally hand over a deposit for a car you haven’t seen, just because the guy says he’s had a lot of interest—there’re actually a lot of decent cars out there so don’t worry.

Here are two pieces of advice that will serve you well in life–Don’t show your fear & haggle a little. There seller probable has more experience buying/selling cars that you do, but they don’t know that for sure until you open your mouth. Just nod and agree with what they say, and if the amount’s too high and they won’t haggle, the best thing to do is move on. Always haggle a little, because it actually reduces the remorse after the fact—wondering if you over paid. Just because they’re asking more than the car is worth doesn’t mean they need to come down in price, they might fail to sell it to several more people before coming to that conclusion. Sales fall through for dumb reasons all the time. Don’t let it get you down, just move on to the next car.

You’re probably noticing a theme to this section—don’t fall in love with the car before you buy it. That’s literally the job of a car salesman at a car lot—get you to fall in love with it before you talk money. So think logically about your car until you own it, then fall in love with it.

Is color important to a car? NO! go back and re-read the last paragraph! Holy cow, did you already forget the lesson. If you’re excited about the color you are not buying right. Look at the engine, the interior, the acceleration, the fuel economy, how suitable a car is for your needs. Then you can work out if it is the right color or not. (One exception: you can turn a car down if the color is too awful.)

What your Parents Aren’t Thinking:

Most teens assume that their Mom or Dad is primarily concerned with price. They don’t want you to overpay, but they don’t want you to drive an ancient gas guzzler either. Sometimes you might have to adjust your ambitions. Don’t worry about your parents; it’s probably you who will have to keep up with payments.

I know we just said to pay cash for the car, why are we talking about payments?

There is a way to finance a car and pay cash if you can pull it off. Some of the smartest teens we’ve interviewed were able to make an arrangement with their parents. They worked and saved up most of the down payment for their vehicle purchase. Then they looked around for the general type of vehicle they wanted and went to their parents with an offer. Match the down payment and co-sign a personal loan. This sort of loan isn’t tied to the vehicle. If you stop paying your parents will have to make the payments. Many banks won’t consider an unsecured loan because they want the title to the car as collateral, but with your parent’s signature and a sizable down payment some of them will. This allows you to take the amount of money you need out of the loan to buy the car in cash.

Paying cash gets you the best price on a car, usually, and by owning the title you can potentially reduce the cost of your insurance.

The key here is picking a car that your parents are impressed that you chose and try and keep to any agreed budget.

Good luck in buying your new car and here’s to safe driving out there.

PS if your parents don’t agree to help you buy a car you have only two recourses. 1) find ways to get better grades, a promotion at your job, and act more responsibly. 2) use your down payment money to buy a motorcycle…your parents will change there mind about the car…

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Hands free while driving?

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A massive 80% of the American public believe that hands free technology is safer than a normal cell phone and this is simply not true.

Using a cell phone, even a hands free one, is thought to be more distracting than listening to the radio or CD. A study in Queensland, Australia found that the reaction time was 40% longer if they were using hands free mobile, compared to just listening to the radio, the equivalent of 11 meters travelled before reaction, which could be difference between life and death.

The study negated the obvious distractions like holding your phone or looking at pictures, and measured actual conversation while not holding a phone against conversation with people in the car. The findings were shocking, leading to the conclusion that the “cognitive load” or the pressure of the brain having to focus on a conversation elsewhere is enough to cause a distraction. Conversing with people in your car is not so distracting to most people, as people in the car are aware that distracting a driver is equally dangerous to themselves.

A number of rear-end crashes seem to be linked to having a cell phone conversation. It’s possible that having a conversation with someone who’s not actually present activates the imagination more. It all comes down to whether or not you are using the mind to contemplate what is going on in front of you.

The problem is that many phones and devices have created hands-free modes. There is a hands-free Android for example. They have tried to get round this by reducing the “noise” or distraction caused having such conversations. Unfortunately it is still not safe enough. The difference in reaction times is somewhat comparable with alcohol.

road-44407_1280There have been efforts over recent years to create a “Do Not Disturb” period when driving. The difficulty is that the office (or gig work, or the family, or whatever) does tend to impose on quiet times. One idea is to program Siri to answer the phone for you and you simple create a verbal response to the content of the call. But since Siri isn’t a person physically present it’s not likely to be less distracting.

Maybe some research needs to be done in this area? After all both require the driving coming up with questions to phrase and then listening to a response. The plus point is that a Siri will tend to stay focused, rather than a colleague/friend/ relative who has no idea what is happening in the car. Can Alexa be trained in the same way? It’s certainly possible.

The first rule for cell phone use was in 2012 called the MAP-21 Act which prevented the general use of cell phones while driving. As time of writing, there is a growing effort to make rules more effective. This comes in part from the widespread use of rideshare. Drivers have little use other than to use their phones while driving—it’s the method of dispatching them to the next rider they need to pick up. And anyone who’s been a driver for Uber or Lyft can tell you that your rider will text you continuously to ask where you are. Is there a single federal law in the US? Not yet.

New York State law forbids talking on a hands-free completely. (It had already banned such activities as texting and sending an e-mail). Other states may still allow hands free so it is best to check when traveling between states on the laws of distracted driving.

The rule seems to be at the moment when in doubt, don’t answer the cell phone; wait until there’s a safe time to do so. Safety may seem boring but…okay, it is. And it’s useful.

Can We Live Without Vehicle Insights?

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Op-Ed by Paul Wimsett

First what are Insights?

Your car’s computer gathers and transmits information about how your car performs under various conditions—like when you’re stomping on the gas.

According to IBM

“IBM® IoT Connected Vehicle Insights extends the power of cognitive computing to connected cars, acquiring data from sensors and systems to improve the in-car experience. Today’s cars are moving data centers with onboard sensors and computers that can capture information about the vehicle and access it in near real time. IBM IoT Connected Vehicle Insights is an IBM Cloud service that you can use to retrieve, manage and analyze big data from connected vehicles.”

It’s all designed to improve your business, or so says SAP.com.

It’s about optimizing your fleet. Instead of drivers checking in via CB radio, dispatchers know everything about where you are, what speed and direction you’re traveling. They know when you’ll need to refuel.

Does it sound a little invasive? Yes! But it also allows logistics companies to optimize everything they do.

It is meant to go hand-in-hand with monitoring inventory and warehousing. For example, Walmart is pretty famous for their distribution model. While the specifics are a proprietary secret, in general it involves using the content of trucks as part of their warehouse system.

In an old logistics scenario, trucks would pick up an entire order from a factory when it’s completed and taking it to a distribution center to be stored until loads are dispatched to stores. Now trucks pick up smaller batches of product daily as they are produced. These trucks can swing by several factories or warehouses in a day so their load contains a mix of products. Then when a store orders a case of inventory the nearest truck can drop it off on the fly.

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When it comes to day-to-day operations, the number one cost for logistics business would be fuel costs, hands down.

A logistic business is one which organizes movement of materials.

The key with vehicle insights is that all the information is fed live to the company.

It produces graphs which might mean nothing to you unless you have a degree in statistics, but it all amounts to time and motion–saving time and reducing the amount of motion (that is movement of traffic) involved. It’s about knowing where all your vehicles are at any one time, and what’s on them, so that you can reroute them on at a moment’s notice.

It is hard to think of cars or trucks as “moving data centers” but this is how IBM puts it. Nor is it easy to imagine what they call “big data” coming from such a business, but that’s another way of saying that there is a huge output of data available to analyse.

What about unsafe practices:

How do you know that a specific driver is keeping to the best rules of the road?

Car insights are used to monitor driving performance and decision-making. Only a few years ago this was accomplished via putting the company phone number on it’s trucks so virtuous members of the public could report bad the behaviour of drivers. Many companies also employed a “governor” which limited the maximum speed of it’s fleet vehicle.

But times have changed. Nowadays the driving patterns can be investigated at a distance. The idea is that drivers will take fewer risks if they know someone is watching. Whether that’s true or not, hasn’t been statistically proven. Clearly it’s not a popular feature for drivers who don’t enjoy being micromanaged. Most drivers who are forced to be conscious of how they are driving are more stressed and perform more poorly than drivers that are simply paying attention to the road and not to how they’re driving.

Weather and Traffic—the real benefit:

Perhaps the biggest blessing to drivers themselves is aiding them with unfamiliar weather conditions and constantly changing traffic. When one vehicle hits a traffic slow down it will notify other vehicles to try an alternate route. It will also let a destination know that their shipment is delayed.

In summary, car insights allow companies to see problems for themselves and do more with the information, which can translate to money. However, this could also mean less and less freedom for drivers in such enterprises. Safety and money is one thing, but what is the real toll on the health of drivers who feel like they’re under a microscope all day at work?

How Hot Was It?

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While the pictures tell the tale of just how hot it’s been, there is a serious side to this. Animals and children who get locked in a car are at serious risk of permanent brain damage or even death.

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picture found Fun Cage

According to AVMA.org when the outside temperature is 90 the air inside your car can climb to 119 degrees in as little as 20 minutes. If it’s 95 it could climb to 140 degrees after an hour. Please make sure your children and animals are not left unattended in this summer heat wave we’re having.

Signs-Its-Too-Hot-Outside-009.jpgThis message is brought to you by Tire Kickers. Make sure the car you buy has working power locks.

 

How Tricky Are Car Seats?

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(Special Note: you can get a free Slurpee today at most 7/11 stores!!!)

When it comes to safety features there are three standards or different ways to think about it:

  • The basic steps to avoid danger.
  • What the law requires or bans.
  • The best practices.

In the end, most of us use a mishmash of all three depending on the specific situation and based highly on our perception of what’s dangerous.

When it comes to car seats, most of us would agree that a best practice standard is in order, but what’s available for sale, state by state, is based instead on local law. Most of us don’t take the time to vet our state laws, instead assuming that if you can buy it in a reputable store it’s probably, “safe.” However, you’d be surprised by how many states have laws that fall far short of a best-practice standard, while others actually wastefully exceed it.

South Dakota is an example of falling short of best practice by not even having a booster seat law at all. But not to pick on them too much, Missouri, Connecticut, and New York don’t have laws requiring “proper use.” This means that if an adult puts a child in a seat not designed for their weight or height the adult can’t be held responsible.

But to be fair, sometimes draconian laws can be counterproductive. The absolute best practice can be expensive, and impractical to a point that officers are handing out tickets to loving parents who find it too burdensome to fully comply. It’s actually impossible to make a car safe at all times for all occupants and therefor some laws are impractical.

A good example of this is a Kentucky law that passed in 2015, that’s so poorly written it makes it technically illegal for a child over 40 inches tall to use a five-point harness. The issue, as you’ll notice when you read on, is that 40 inches is an average height for a four-year-old who should be transitioning into a booster, but most boosters start when a child is 43 inches tall. This creates a potential year gap when your child can’t legally use either device. As a stop gap, Kentucky has circulated a pamphlet explaining that they won’t be enforcing the broken parts of the law.

Best Practices:

The following advice stems from the best practice recommended by experts at the NHTSA and at The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP). It starts even before the baby is born. A pregnant woman should have her lap top belt under her baby bump. Some ingenious folks have invented a devise called a tummy shield which may prevent a woman from injuring herself using the seatbelt. (https://youtu.be/p0oUoQo-JTU)

Between birth and about age four a child must be in a rear-facing carrier which attaches to the seat belt. This is based upon the age at which a child’s neck bones will be strong enough to handle a crash the way an adult’s neck can. Now this is where we need to get practical. A child of average height for age four doesn’t fit backwards in most vehicles. A law requiring this would ban parents from buying almost every vehicle currently made. So a common sense compromise is made in most states requiring backward facing car seats from birth to age two.

Clearly the only answer to the rear facing issue is to leave your child rear facing as long as you can after age two.

The front facing seat begins with a harness which attaches at 5 points. The harness is best until they reach 50 lbs. However, in the most recent recommendations (Aug. 2018) AAP gives a lot of credence to the car seat manufacturers, since they are required to test the performance of their seats. We’ve found a bit of variety from one manufacturer to another. For example, if your child is born early, it can be difficult to find a car seat that rates itself for under 5 pounds.

When a child outgrows a 5-point restraint seat, a booster seat is recommended. Children should remain in a booster until 4’ 9” and 8 to 12 years of age.

5steptest-280x460Is it ridiculous to put your 12 year old in a booster? Well, yes! Here’s the actual reasoning behind it. If the seat belt restraint doesn’t land on a passenger’s body where it was designed to it can cause damage. It’s important that it doesn’t land across a child’s neck for obvious reasons. Isn’t there a better option than a booster seat? Sure, but it depends on your definition of the word, ‘better.’ A company called RideSafer makes a vest that a child wears, not unlike a life jacket, which positions the seat-belt correctly. There are other belt-positioning devises—none of which are really well known, and therefore largely ignored by agencies which write safety laws and recommendations.

The image to the left shows a “test” you can perform to graduate your child from a booster devise.

Installation

Of course it’s all out the window (bad pun intended) if you don’t correctly install a car seat. Many towns have classes on correctly installing a car seat, often put on by the fire department. These happened when NHSA published data about the number of injuries that occurred when a seat wasn’t installed properly.

Here’s a video by the Virginia MDV showing how to install a front facing child car seat.

Flying with Children

For those traveling in rented cars, items such as boosters and carriers can also be rented, which saves you the trouble of carrying them through airports. If you do need to fly with a car seat they now make car seat bags that make it much safer and easier to carry them. They’re easier because they have shoulder straps and safer because corralling all those straps and hooks inside a bag keep them from snagging on other passengers or worse, the escalator.

Although there is nothing wrong in buying a used car seat, most of the industry seems to be against it, maybe for obvious reasons!

The reality is that plastic degrades and after as little as six months many child seats are no longer considered by the manufacturer to be in the condition that safety tested. Most manufacturers consider the seats safe for up to two years, but that doesn’t stop them from lobbying state governments to outlaw buying/selling used car seats on the grounds that they might be expired. If you get a used car seat from say, your cousin, Craig, just be sure to check the expiration date which should be stamped somewhere in the plastic.

Buying a Car Seat

The biggest key to choosing a seat is actually if fits in your car. Another is if it’s easy to transfer from car to car, because you’re going to be doing that more often than you think. Some car seats even come with indicators which tell you if they are fitted incorrectly. Others come with additional padding to provide further peace of mind while a baby is newly born, which is removed as a child grows. Graco makes a 4 in 1 car seat which transitions from rear facing to front facing to booster. This one is a car seat that snaps onto a stroller so you don’t have to wake your baby up to transition out of a car. If you have ever had to sit in a running car because you don’t want to wake your baby up this could be a handy feature BUT by far the most important feature in seat is that it fits in your car.

Additional parts of the infant car seat include the canopy which is designed to protect the baby further as well as allowing them to sleep. How do you navigate the world of car seats? In the end, you do what you do with ever other aspect of raising a child—you ask people you trust. If you don’t know any other parents read reviews on line. Google at leisure and shop with ease, skip google in haste and regret at leisure or something like that.

I hope that you find the right car seat for you and that you don’t find it too much of a problem to install. As you can see it’s a complex subject.