Friday, December 17, 2010

GM Recalling 2011 Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX Crossovers

Today, GM announced it was recalling over 100,000 2011 Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX crossover SUVs because the front seatbelts could come loose in a crash.

While the seatbelts won't fail on a first impact, GM spokesman Alan Adler said, they could fail during a secondary impact. Car crashes frequently involve more than one impact.

GM will begin mailing letters to owners of the vehicles in mid-January. Owners will be asked to bring the vehicles to a GM dealer to have the seatbelt buckles modified.
Link:  http://money.cnn.com/2010/12/17/autos/gm_suv_seatbelt_recall/

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FF Toddler Suffers Internal Decapitation

When toddlers in forward-facing car seats are involved in vehicle accidents, their heads can be thrown forward so forcefully that they suffer internal decapitation. Their skulls literally separate from their spines.  That's what happened to 2-year old Micah Andrews, of Phoenix AZ:

http://abcnews.go.com/m/screen?id=12035541#

Older children and adults are at less risk for internal decapitation because their necks and spinal cords are stronger and more developed.  Also, toddlers' heads still represent a significant proportion of their overall height and body weight:


Please consider rear-facing your babies and toddlers to the rear-facing limits of their car seats. It's not convenient or easy, but it could save their lives or spare them from serious injury like this.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Need it by Christmas? Order by 12/17!

If you need your Car Seat Poncho before Christmas, order it by midnight, Friday, 12/17. 

Delivery times (from New Jersey, USA via USPS Priority Mail) have generally been running as follows:
  • To NJ, NYC and NY Metro Area: 1-2 days
  • To New England and other Mid Atlantic States: 3-4 days
  • To Ohio and Western PA around to DC/Baltimore: 4-5 days
  • All Other Continental US: 5-6 days
  • Canada: 7-10 days
Note that all delivery ranges are approximate, and based on previous deliveries.  Increases in holiday mail volume may affect arrival times.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Erin, you didn't leave your email address!

I received an email at 8:44 PM Eastern Time from Erin, who didn't leave her email address in the contact box.  In answer to your questions, Erin:

1.) I do have some reserve inventory in the color/style you want;
2.) Yes, you can have it shipped to your cousin and it will get there in plenty of time;
3.) Yes, you can place your order over the phone.

If you'd still like to place an order, please send me an email (donna@hbarryboollc.com) and leave me your contact information.  I will call you asap. 

Thanks,
Donna

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Britax Sale til 12/5/10


Magic Beans: a Boston-based baby equipment retailer
 Magic Beans is having a clearance sale on many of its Britax products (not including Chaperone).  Sale ends Sunday, 12/5/10.

Free shipping on orders over $50 (a non-issue with any Britax car/booster seats!).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Who is Kyle and What Are Kyle's Ponchos?

When Kyle Miller was 3 years old, his family's minivan was broadsided at 45 miles per hour.  They rolled several times before coming to a stop.  At some point during those awful few seconds, the safety belt holding Kyle's booster seat failed, and Kyle was ejected from the car. He was killed instantly.

To honor the memory of their son, the Miller family founded the Kyle David Miller Foundation. KDMF promotes car seat safety awareness and provides safe car seats to families who could not otherwise afford them. 

To help KDMF in their mission, H Barry Boo donates $3 from every sale of selected styles directly to the Kyle David Miller Foundation. If you choose any of the styles designated as Kyle's Ponchos, you will be helping an important cause and honoring the short life a sweet little boy who who was taken much too soon.

Click here to see Kyle's Ponchos.
Click here to read the KDMF Blog.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Our 5% Apology: SAVE5

Our server has been glitching for the past few days, catching many of you in an endless loop of timed-outs and error messages.  Darn it, I hate when technology bites me in the... foot. 

The store is back up and running, but in a shameless plea to not lose your sale, enter SAVE5 at checkout and take 5% off your total purchase. 

This coupon is good until SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31.  Thank you for your patience!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Match the Poncho to the Car Seat

The new line of Car Seat Ponchos had your car seats and your car interiors in mind.  In addition to fashion, fun, convenience and cuteness, the Car Seat Poncho can add a grace note of coordination between your kid, the car seat and your car.  The match game above is just for fun, so choose the poncho that matches your seat, then visit the store to see the full selection.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Y'All Ready for This?

video

Feel that chill in the air? It's poncho time! Let's kick off the fall with a good ole' pep rally. Stadium lights on, cue the marching band....  Now, y'all ready to shop?  Take a look at all sizes and colors.

Rare Car Seat Poncho on EBay!

A few years ago, we did a blue/green plaid reversible Car Seat Poncho, and it was a huge hit.  In addition to being safe, warm and hassle free (as all Car Seat Ponchos are), this one had the added versatility of plaid on one side (interesting, but not too busy or babyish), and solid blue on the other (yet still have some of the fun plaid showing on the hem and the hood.  We decided that would be our last plaid, though, because using plaid in production requires a lot more fabric (to ensure that the lines match), which drives up costs.

So if you're looking for a boy's M/L Car Seat Poncho -- either a bargain or a collector's item, bid on it HERE.

Bidding start at $10, and ends Thursday, 10/7/10.  Good luck to all bidders!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Making or Buying a Car Seat Poncho


Making one could require more time and effort than you think.  There are not only the cost of materials and the time involved, but basic decisions involving design and construction.  Take a look at this video:

video

Those moms who weren't satisfied with their results?  I probably muttered their exact thoughts when I was working on my first Car Seat Poncho for my own son, back in 2004.  The genuine Car Seat Ponchos available today are the fruit of many unsuccessful attempts and many different prototypes, resulting in a product that keeps your child warm, is easy to use, fun to wear -- and gets tons of compliments and admiring glances everywhere you go!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Low Speed Crashes Can Still Cause Serious Injury

Especially if occupants are unrestrained.  A vehicle crash at 19mph (30 kmh) has the same impact on its occupants as a fall from a 3rd story balcony.  (Click link for video.)

This video footage may be dated, but the basic laws of physics have not changed.  Force still equals mass times acceleration.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Behind the Scenes at Video Shoot

I thought you might enjoy an inside peek at the making of the high-tech, high budget Car Seat Poncho video, "A Coat Makes a Big Difference."

That's my dining room, those are my feet, and that's my handbag.  Oscar ballots go out on New Year's Day.  Hee!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I FINISHED MY ULTIMATE VIDEO!!!

I've always meant to make a video demonstrating the risk of a puffy coat in a car seat.  I have been madly shooting and editing so that I could release the video just before the Kids in Motion conference at the end of this week -- and it's finally done!

video

I hope this is helpful to CPSTs, Instructors and everyone out there who tries to persuade parents, grandparents and caregivers NOT to harness children over their winter coats. Please share it as necessary, and let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Awwww, Man! Bouncy Houses Pose Lead Risk

So bummed to read in today's New York Times that the vinyl used in bouncy houses contains unsafe levels of lead.  Suggestion is to have children wash their hands and faces after playing!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

AUGUST Coupon Code: 25% Off (but only for first 8 customers)

It's hot as the dickens now, but make sure you're ready to keep your baby safe and warm -- without a hassle.

Be one of the FIRST 8 to enter coupon code AUGUST and save 25% off your ponchos and accessories!

DETAILS:
1. Offer valid on total purchases of any Car Seat Poncho merchandise. Limit one user per customer per mailing address. Can not be included with any other promotion or coupon. Shipping and handling charges apply. For non-US purchases, custom fees and duties may apply.
2.  For questions, please email donna@hbarryboollc.com

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Boosters: Put Your Hands on Your Hips

A lot of parents think that once their child is in a booster seat, all they have to do is put it in the car, buckle up the kid and hit the road.  NOT SO FAST!  Make sure the booster is doing a good job of positioning the seat belt!

How to tell?  To start, "put your hands on your hips."  THAT'S where the seat belt must cross -- on an adult OR a child, in order to properly restrain the body in a crash. 

Whether in a frontal, rear or side impact collision, the body can be thrown in many directions. The seat belt retracts when the vehicle stops suddenly, and is designed to hold the body AT THE PELVIS (hard, bony, strong) and help the body "ride down" the crash forces. 

If the belt crosses over the belly or the belly button, it is much too high.  In a crash, the belt could crush soft vital organs like the liver, intestines, and kidneys as it restrains the body.  A lacerations on the liver or tears in the bowel are serious, life threatening injuries.  They can also change or impair the body forever, e.g., colostomy.  There is also the risk of spinal injury, if the belt impacts the spine (after it's gone through all the soft-tissue organs mentioned above).

The shoulder belt should cross at the middle of the child's shoulder -- not on the shoulder joint and obviously not across the neck.  Again, across the skeleton, not soft tissue.

So what's the best booster seat? Just as with car seats, the BEST booster seat is one that fits your child, fits your vehicle, and can be used correctly 100% of the time.  Each child has his or her proportions -- long torso, wide shoulders, petite, etc., and back seats have many variations:  bench, captain's chair, etc.  Try out several at a big-box store (some will even let you test them in your car) and see which one(s) fit your child best.  And whether you want to play "Simon Says" with your child or teach him the Time Warp, make sure to put your hands on your hips as a reminder!

Here's a terrific explanation of proper booster use, selection and fit, from CarseatBlog (official blog of the wonderful CarSeat.Org.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Drowning Doesn't Look (or Sound) Like You'd Expect

Most people who succumb to drowning do not flail their arms or shout for help.  They usually go under silently.  This excellent article on gCaptain (by and for maritime professionals such as but not including lifeguards) reminds us to keep our eyes AND our ears alert for each other this summer.  Unlike what you'd expect, LACK of noise is the real red flag that someone is in trouble:

"There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC)."

I became aware of this article on one of my local mommies' e-loops.  It has apparently been shooting around on Facebook, but I'd never read it before.  I guess I'm "injecting" it into my social media neighborhood.  Of course, I hope none of us has these close calls this summer or ever, but I'm glad now to be aware and to share it with all of you and your loved ones.

Monday, June 21, 2010

CBS, NHTSA: Babies Should Have Own Seats on Airplanes

As we head into the summer travel season, NHTSA issued an advisory for parents to buy their babies their own seats on planes.  There several sobering moments in this story that aired recently on CBS' Early Show, but I gasped when a mother recounted losing hold of her 2 year old during a turbulent flight, and watched his body slam into the overhead cargo compartment.  Thankfully the child did not suffer any permanent injuries.

Earlier this year, I compared holding a baby on your lap in an airplane to holding a baby in your lap on a roller coaster.  Airplanes travel faster and higher than roller coasters, so what's crazy at 700 feet shouldn't even be allowed at 3,000 feet.  And if babies are required to be in approved restraints when riding on the ground, shouldn't they be even more protected in the air?

For parents who do choose to buy seats for their children under the age of 2 (individual seats are required for anyone older), but want to lighten their loads:  infant seats can be installed without their bases, and children 22-44 pounds can use the CARES Kids Fly Safe Travel Harness, which costs less than $75 and can fit in a tote bag.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Babies Forgotten in Cars: Continued

My post last week about a new invention prompted several comments here and on Car-Seat.org.  The invention is intended to prevent parents from forgetting their children in their cars, which is potentially fatal in hot weather.  Since it is a hot topic (forgive me; I could not resist the pun), I would like to continue the discussion this week:

In one post on the threat at CarSeat.org, umbrage was taken at my choice of term "offloading responsibility."  I guess in that phrase I was imagining a type of person (who may or may not exist) who gets The Gizmo and takes the attitude "Now I don't have to think about forgetting my child, because if I did, my Giz would start beeping!" Satisfied at removing one more thing off his/her checklist, he or she could then go merrily on with his/her way.  I meant it as an exaggeration, and hope/pray that this exact type of person does not actually exist.

Other people stated that, in the cases where the inthinkable has actually happened, the parent or caregiver was not in his/her usual routine (e.g., covering for the person who usually drives the child one place or the other) and it turned into a tragic mistake.  There is usually no doubt in the minds of the authorities or family that the adult would ever have intentionally left the child in the car, but was this day he or she was out of sorts, not in the usual routine, or distracted, in an atypical, unexpected situation.

My concern is this:  if these types of things usually happen in non-normal, unanticipated situations, who is this product for?  To me, it seems like a Catch-22:  Would a parent who thinks ahead enough to buy the Gizmo ever be the type to forget their child?  Or, would a parent who is in such a distracted state remember to use the Gizmo?

On Car-Seat.org, safeinthecar liked the idea of "matching" bracelets that beeped or blared if child and parent were ever more than a certain distance apart.  I like it, too.  These would be useful in all kinds of situations (in public places, in crowds, as well as cars and parking lots).  But again, when do you know WHEN to wear them?  Some people get in and out of our cars all day with our kids -- does that mean we wear them ALL the time?  How likely is it that we'll say, "I'm going to be forgetful today.  Must remember the bracelets"?

I look forward to hearing your comments.  I'm also going to send this thread to William Edwards, one of the NASA engineers who developed the keychain invention.  Maybe he will chime in or find our thoughts of use!

Background Reading:
My Original Post 
Comment thread on Car-seat org

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Babies forgotten in the car: a solution?

According to the New York Times, a team of NASA employees have developed a keychain alarm that sounds if a child is left in the car. Other companies are considering options like body-temperature monitors. Personally, I have concerns about the use of technology and gizmos to off-load plain old parental/caretaker responsibility. Thoughts?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

This is Camo, and this is Loden


... and together, they are Loden Camo Reversible. 

It's a beautiful combination, and it's gotten short shrift thus far.  I do confess, my fault: the product thumbnail at the web store does not do it justice.  I am in the process of updating the photos on the website, so look for these and more new pictures at the end of the summer!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Save $10 (First 3 Customers Only)

Quick post to tell you that the first 3 customers who enter coupon code FIRST3 during checkout will save $10!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stressful but Vital: Picking a Nursing Home

I know this is off-topic for me and this blog, but having recently gone through this process, I thought this New York Times feature provided a very good overview.  Choosing long term care for an elderly family member can be so stressful and emotionally painful, and as the article says, a decision that often has to be made quickly. 

I wouldn't expect anyone to start making visits just for the "fun" of it (shudder), but it might help to keep your ears open if friends, family or colleagues mention they have relatives in long term care.  Just ask where their family member is, if they have ever been there, what it's like, etc.  Make a mental (or a real) note of the name.  Then, if you find yourself in a blur of confusion or a crisis situation, you'd at least have somewhere to start.  Every little bit of anchoring helps.

Also, the Medicare "Nursing Home Compare" tool was a terrific resource.  There is no substitute for an actual visit, but at least this tool can help you narrow down your list of facilities to tour.  My heart goes out to any of you who are facing these decisions.  Hope this helps.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Check out these old old car seats!

I was poking around the Cafe Mom car seat board and found this cool pictorial archive of car seats and boosters

Established in 1980,  SafetyBeltSafe is a national non-profit organization solely dedicated to child passenger safety.  This archive was created to help CPSTs identify old, expired and recalled seats that they may encounter during installation events.  Their terrific website has a wealth of information for parents, caregivers and CPSTs.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March Coupon: First 5 Orders Get $8 Off

From now through the end of March, the first 5 customers who use coupon code MARCH will save $8 off their total order.  This offer applies to all merchandise in the Car Seat Poncho store, including clearance items (prices start at $28.99). 

There are plenty of cold days left this season.  If you hurry, your kids can spend them safe and warm -- without a hassle!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Excited -- Just Signed Up For KIM (Kidz In Motion)!

I can't wait to go to the annual Kidz In Motion conference in August.  This conference is held each year in memory of Police Officer Kimberly Hassell-Bazoge, who passed away suddenly in June of 1999. 

There will be panel discussions, workshop sessions and manufacturers' exhibits -- all focused on child passenger safety.  Looking forward to meeting all the CPST's I've been working with all over the country, putting faces to familiar names, and seeing all the new seats from Chicco (conference sponsor), Britax, Graco and more. 

I've attended other safety conferences (LifeSavers, etc.), but always as an exhibitor -- which is hard on the feet, and does not allow access to the panels or workshops.  This time I'll be a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician -- seated and soaking up knowledge!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Knox and Vivienne Jolie-Pitt FF at 15 months

OK, I admit it, I will drop everything if there is news about Brangelina and/or Jennifer Aniston, so I clicked on this link promising photos of their youngest children.  When I saw this picture of the happy(?) couple loading their 15 month old twins into forward-facing car seats, I was disappointed.  Tsk, tsk.  They travel the world for human rights -- I wish they knew about the benefits of rear-facing.
 
For the record, I am on Team Aniston, but I don't know if she harnesses her dogs when she travels with them.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Check out the 2011 Toyota Sienna

Here is the photo gallery of the next model Toyota Sienna.  For me, personally, I don't know... aesthetically I'm not feeling it.

Relatedly, how do you guys feel about driving your Toyotas now? Our model year Sienna has not been on the recall list, but I am definitely not uneasy (i.e., not uneasy, but not easy either).

Click here for TOYOTA RECALL LIST (Not including new Prius recall)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

KDMF Silent Auction: One of a Kind Poncho

I'm so proud to donate this one-of-a-kind Leopard & Black poncho to the Kyle David Miller Foundation Silent Auction.  It was created as a production sample -- which basically means I had several fabrics and colors and I wanted to see how they worked together in various combinations, so I had one of each combo sewn, and from these chose a "collection."  (How I love using Project Runway lingo!)  I loved this combo so much I ultimately decided to create it as a reversible, which makes this the original inspiration for one of our most popular styles. 

The winning bidder on this beauty will not only be safe, warm and chic, she will have the coveted position as the ONLY GIRL IN THE WORLD to wear this style.  No running into an accidental twin at Mommy & Me or the grocery store!

Take a look at all the great items also on display here.  All proceeds benefit KDMF in their missions to educate the public car seat safety – especially extended harnessing, and provide safe 5-point harness car seats to families who otherwise could not afford them.  The auction will be running for the month of February. In order to make a bid, please email the name of the item you are bidding on, your name, address and the amount you wish to bid to bombedier@hotmail.com.

Good luck to all.  Remember, bid early and often to help out a great cause!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is Your Toyota On the Recall List?

In October, I blogged about Toyota's recall of selected models because accelerator pedals were getting stuck under floor mats, causing uncontrollable acceleration.  Yesterday, Toyota recalled and suspended the sale of the models after reports of sticking gas pedals that were causing unexpected acceleration. The company plans to suspend the sale of these vehicles, including the best-selling car in America, the Camry, to fix the sticking gas pedals.

Toyota's suspended models:
  • 2009-2010 RAV4
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2010 Highlander
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia
Consumers who own one of these Toyota models or have questions can call the Toyota Customer Experience Center at (800) 331-4331 (AP).  Please check this list, and forward this information to anyone you know who might have any of the models in question.  Be safe!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Pictures of Cute Kids in Ponchos!


We took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to take some new pictures.

My tried and true recipe for a good shoot with kids is to bring lots of little, unusual toys and a quick trigger finger. Because every millisecond counts, I turn off the digital display and the flash -- this way there is very little lag time between shots, and shoot constantly. This way you know you will at least get something, and with the miracle gift of Photoshop, minor imperfections can be dabbed away.

Out takes, though, are the cost of doing business. This one is my favorite. Look at that pumpkin head!

Keep an eye out for the new pictures on the main website. Should be ready by the end of next week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What's Coming Up At Car Seat Poncho?


Another sample sale --  several one-of-a-kind or last-of-its-color-ever ponchos that have never been seen outside of H Barry Boo LLC corporate offices.

And possibly (if time allows) hot pink hats with leopard or paisley trim.  Those might be coupon code specials, or gifts with purchase.

Who says the season is over?  There's plenty of cold weather ahead!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ride a roller coaster with your baby on your lap?


Just imagine:  you're plunging downward with incredible speed, swerving in one direction, then another.  Some people love that feeling on a roller coaster, and get a happy rush of adrenaline -- but if you're on a plane, it's the last thing you want. 

The tallest, fastest roller coaster in the world is Kingda Ka, located at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, USA. Its top speed is 128 miles per hour (206 km/h) and it drops from a peak of of 456 feet (139 meters).  Even your average, run of the mill roller coaster travels between 70-100 mph.  To ensure the safety of its riders, hydraulically-powered steel harnesses brace over the shoulders and around the hips.  Eyeglasses and other loose objects must be removed before the ride begins, so that they do not injure their owners or other passengers should they come loose.


So, would you ride a roller coaster with a baby on your lap? Of course not.  You wouldn't even have a choice: If you tried to ride a roller coaster with an infant, you'd probably be arrested.

Now let's talk about airplanes.  The average commercial airplane travels between 160-180 mph at takeoff, and between 400 and 550 mph at cruising altitude, which is usually 30,000 feet. 

Take a moment to compare:
  1. The fastest roller coaster in the world goes 128 mph, while the average commercial airplane travels faster than that on takeoff, and about triple that speed once it's in the air.
  2. Riders of the tallest roller coaster in the world fall from a height of 456 feet.  Passengers in a commercial airplane are 30,000 feet above the ground.
So it's obvious that airplanes travel higher and faster than roller coasters, and that riding a roller coaster with a baby in your lap is an unwise and probably unlawful idea.

And yet, when planning a trip, parents wonder, "Is it safe to hold my baby on my lap during a flight? Do I have to buy a seat for him? She's so little, can't I hold her on my lap?" How sure are you that you could keep hold of your baby in heavy turbulence or a crash landing, at 300 miles per hour?  Heck, if I trip while walking down the street, whatever I have in my hands goes flying.  Crash tests conducted at slow-poke speeds of 30 mph have metal crumpling and bodies flying through windshields.

Airlines don't require that children under 2 years have their own seats, but remember that crazy, illegal notion of holding your baby on a roller coaster? 128 mph vs 170 mph.  Five hundred feet vs thirty thousand feet.  Even if it were allowed, I wouldn't do it.

Millions of people fly every single day.  Statistics indicate that air travel is the safest form of transportation, so maybe it's just one plane a year that has to ditch in the Hudson River, skids off the runway, has serious, head-knocking-on-the-overhead-bin-cancel-the-beverage-service turbulence, or inhales a flock of Canadian geese into its engines.  What are the chances that YOUR plane is going to be THAT plane?  Who can tell?

Cost is obviously an issue (especially for families with two or more children) but if at all possible, please purchase a seat for your baby and use an FAA approved child restraint.  Your baby is one in a million, but you don't want her to be THAT one.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Kicking off 2010 with love & cold

The first message of the decade is from Tamar in Indiana:

"Thank you for your excellent customer service.  We used the poncho today and I loved it!  It is everything I could want: warm, quick, easy and cute!"

And with this cold snap gripping the country, there is still plenty of winter left (especially for you folks in the Midwest and New England).  Is your town feeling extra cold this year?  How many times will you have to wrestle a kid, a coat and a car seat?  A Car Seat Poncho purchased in January would get at least 100 days of use between now and the first crocus!