Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Purple? You Weren't Kidding!

About six months ago, we asked our blog and Facebook followers for advice on adding a purple poncho to our collection, and what color trim we should pair with it.  The response was unanimous:  purple and lavender!

Well, fast forward to today and it's official:  Purple/Lavender has actually become the new #1 favorite poncho for girls this season.  Even more than Leopard/Hot Pink Reversible, which had been the queen of the group almost since the beginning.

I have to say, I am really impressed!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Perfect Foot Rest for FF Kids

This box makes a perfect FF foot rest!
 When extended rear-facing (ERF) kids finally turn around forward-facing, a lot of them are actually LESS comfortable because they're not used to having their legs dangling.  It makes perfect sense.  After all, isn't it more comfortable to put your feet up on the coffee table than to keep them flat on the floor?

I found the perfect foot rest for my DS, who rides in a Monterey, in the centerseat/second row of an 8-passenger Sienna.  A 12"x12"x8" US Postal Service shipping box!  Available for FREE at your local post office!

It fits perfectly in front of his seat, and can easily be pushed halfway under the front row console.  It's lightweight and, anchored under the console, is unlikely to become a projectile.  I have it taped shut on the foot rest side (I use the bottom of the box because it's plain white), but on the side that goes on the floor, I just pushed the flaps into the box so that it stays open.  This also makes it a handy hiding place for when we want to leave things in the car, like a digital camera or an mp3 player.  Some day I might spray paint it a cool color, but it's mostly plain white and perfectly acceptable to me that way.

Your local post office has these (and other size) boxes for FREE, and if you don't see them, just ask at the desk or visit this page at  And did I mention they're FREE?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top 5 Responses to "When I Was A Kid, There Were No Car Seats."

When you hear someone chuckle the above, remain calm.  Then take a deep breath and say, "Well, back then..."

5.  "... THERE WERE FEWER CARS ON THE ROAD."  In 1960 there were 74 million cars on the roads.  Not every household had a car.  And almost none had more than one.  And many women did not drive (well, many did not have jobs outside the home anyway, so what was the point?).  In 2004 there were 240 million motor vehicles on American roads.  By now, it might be just under 280 million.  And most women drive.  More cars means more traffic, more red lights being run, and significantly, more potentially distracted drivers.  The more cars there on the road, the more risk to each passenger.  We're only as strong as the weakest link.

4.  "... MOST CARS WERE ABOUT THE SAME SIZE."  We're talking passenger cars, that regular people could buy.  Minivans and SUVs hadn't been invented yet.  And, for those of you who remember those big boat-sized cars, there had huge crumple zones in front and back (until the Volkswagon Beetle and other compact cars came out).  Now you have Escalades and Suburbans on the same roads as Corollas and Fiestas.  With such dramatic differences in weight and size, the potential for serious injury is much greater.

3.  "... CARS DIDN'T TRAVEL AS FAST."  At least not as easily.  Today's cars are engineered more efficiently and designed so aerodynamically that you can hit 75 mph without hearing a rattle or a hum.  Can't say that about a Dodge Dart (from the late 70s).  So, local traffic running these days at 30 mph? Very rarely.  If you're not going at least 40 mph you're slowing everybody down.

2.  "... KIDS DID NOT SPEND NEARLY AS MUCH TIME IN THE CAR."  The average American child spends more time in a vehicle now than ever -- about an hour a day.  For younger children, the figure is likely higher, as they accompany their older siblings to and from school and activities, or their parents on everyday errands.  In "their" day, neighborhoods had town centers, where you could walk to get a carton of milk.  Now, most suburban families have to get into the car to do the simplest errands: pick up the dry cleaning, get the groceries, fill a prescription, etc.  I read a great quote on this at a popular parenting board: "Riding in a car is the most dangerous thing my kids do.  And they do it every day."

And the #1 reponse to "When I was a kid, we didn't have car seats, and I turned out ok" is:

1.  "WE'LL NEVER HEAR FROM THE KIDS WHO DIDN'T."  Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of fatal injury for children.  If we have the tools and the knowledge to protect our children from injury or death, shouldn't we use them?

We all have anecdotes about how our childhoods were simpler. Some may argue that the old days were better, and in many ways, they were. But there is no question that advancements in technology and communications have also enhanced (and prolonged) our lives. So resist the temptation to disregard today’s safety advice. Make sure your kids stay safe whenever they are in a car, so that in years to come (when their world is unrecognizable to us!), they, too, will be talking about "back in the day."

To read my 2009 post on the topic (with more sources and statistics links), click here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Partly A Miracle, But Mostly ERF


Recently, a member of was involved in a serious multi-vehicle pile-up outside of Houston TX.

An 18-wheel truck struck the rear of her Toyota mini-van with a family including three small children from Louisiana in the rear. The force crushed the rear of the van and pushed it into a new motor home that was stopped for traffic. The three children, ages 1, 2 and 3, were in child safety seats in the rear of the van. The van basically crushed around them.

But no one in her vehicle was seriously injured. No one. Not even the children.

Was this a miracle? Maybe a little bit. But this mother increased her kids' chances of surviving by rear-facing their car seats. When that truck slammed into the back of their van (within inches of her 2 year old's head), the force of impact pushed their bodies into the shells of the seats, cradling them and distributing crash forces safely. If they had been facing forward, the outcomes would have been significantly different.

Miracles do happen. But decisions we make beforehand help them happen when we need them.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Men, Women & Car Crashes: Guess What This Means for Your Kids

Today's New York Times Science section reports that, according to a review of over 45,000 crash victims, women driving cars are 47%  more likely to suffer serious injuries in a crash, even when both groups wear seat belts.

Investigators from the University of Virginia, who reviewed NHTSA data from the last 11 years, said women are more susceptible to injury for a variety of reasons, primarily differences in neck strength and musculature, positioning of head restraints, and seating posture.

They also report that "car safety devices have been designed largely for men, and women may need safety features that take into account [adjust to] their differences...  For now, female drivers can ensure that their safety systems perform optimally [by] maintaining good belt fit and correct seating posture."

Doesn't this sound familiar -- belt fit and seating posture?  These are the dual purposes of high back booster seats: to ensure that lap belts fit across the hip bones (not the soft abdomen) and shoulder bones (not the neck); to ensure upright posture when seated, even while sleeping.

Please consider that if 1.) seat belts are designed to fit men; and 2.) even adult women are at risk for serious injury because of poor fit and positioning, 3.) the risk to a child is potentially catastrophic. 

Catastropic. For your child.  Please prevail over your child's complaints and other people's comments to keep your family safe.

Thank you for reading, and please share this information with friends, family and anyone else concerned with passenger safety.