Child Passenger Safety and Feeding On The Go- Answers From a CPST

by Jessica Martin-Weber with Allana Pinkerton, CPSI
This post made possible by the generous support of Diono.

September is child safety month and we’re taking a look at safety and what we talk about most around here at TLB: feeding our kiddos. Many of us find ourselves needing to feed on the go, from a snack in the car to an entire meal between one activity and the next. 

Allana Pinkerton, a child injury prevention specialist, CPST/CPSI, and mom of two answered our questions on The Leaky Boob Facebook page Live Stream on what we can do to minimize risk when it comes to feeding our children on the go. A huge thanks to Diono in making this conversation with Allana possible.

Whether your child is 3 months old or 3 years old or 13 years old, it is very likely there will come a time when meal or snack time happens on the road. It probably goes without saying that the safest option is to not eat in a moving vehicle. But we all live in the real world and can’t just stay in a bubble so sometimes that’s just not possible so we’re looking at what we can do to make the mobile mealtime as safe as possible. Below are the questions we asked Allana and the Leakies.

When it comes to feeding our children on the go, when we’re in a moving vehicle perhaps on a road trip or having to grab something quick between scheduling commitments, what is important to keep in mind?

*Please note: for safety and to reduce distractions, the driver should never eat and drive.

  • A seat that is more inclined is not a safe option to have a child eat food. Solids shouldn’t be fed in a laying down position.
  • Nothing too hot.
  • When possible, have someone keep an eye on a very young child when they are eating in a moving vehicle. Determine if a mirror is a safe or distracting option for you.
  • Pick foods that are easy to swallow.
  • Avoid choking hazards- for babies and toddlers, nothing hard or like grapes and popcorn.
  • Foods that dissolve easily will reduce choking hazards (i.e. puffs and yogurt melts, etc.)
  • Contained foods that aren’t as likely to spill and get car seat straps wet.
  • Keep in mind, if you’re always eating in the car it may be time to reevaluate how much we’re doing.

Is there anything in particular we should avoid when it comes to feeding our children on the go?

  • Hard candies, even lollipops (a sudden stop could result in injury and/or choking).
  • Foods you know will be messy.
  • Foods that may damaging to your child’s car seat (sticky drinks, dairy, etc.).

What do we need to keep in mind when it comes to installing children’s seats? How can parents find a local CPST to help them?

  • Read the manual. If you’re unclear about something, call the manufacturer. 
  • Have your seat checked by a CPST and be sure they watch you install it and check your install as well, not just have them install it for you. Find one here.
  • Do not use after market products with your seat that are not made by or approved by your seat’s manufacturer (i.e. strap pads) as they could compromise the safety of your seat.

Breastfeeding in the car seat moving vehicle child passenger safety

Are there any safety concerns related to these breastfeeding or bottle-feeding a child in their car seat in a moving vehicle?

  • Propping a bottle for a child not yet able to hold their own is dangerous in that the child may be overwhelmed with the contents of the bottle and has a higher risk of aspirating. Have someone give the baby their bottle and be able to pay attention to them as they feed.
  • Keep in mind a bottle would become a projectile in the case of an accident. Use as small a bottle as possible.
  • Breastfeeding a child in a seat, even if the breastfeeding parent isn’t leaning over the seat, is a significant hazard in the case of a car accident as it places something in front of the child’s face. Physics tell us that in a crash objects (including a breast) will weigh their weight times the force of gravity of the crash. For example, a 30mph crash is around 20-25 G’s (force of gravity). Let’s say the breastfeeding parent weighs 140 pounds. Multiplied by 23 G’s (right in the middle) means 3,220 pounds. That’s the total weight of their body with the momentum of the crash. Their chest alone will weigh at least 1,000 pounds, if not more. Being positioned in front of or possibly over the baby to breastfeed, that’s a minimum of 1,000 pounds being dropped or slammed into the baby. Potentially crushing the child and injuring the parent. This all would be true even with a seat belt on the breastfeeding parent as the parent would not be positioned properly with a chest belt to restrain them from hitting their child in the case of a collision or sudden stop. (See more on this here.)

Feeding on the go means seats will likely get soiled, what do we need to know about cleaning our seats?

  • Never hose a car seat down, that can compromise not just the cover and straps but also the frame and internal materials.
  • Follow your manual’s instructions. 
  • Replace straps if webbing becomes soaked.
  • See these cleaning tips.

 

Allana Pinkerton is the Global Safety Advocate for Diono. She began her career in Child Passenger Safety as a National Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in 2001 and advanced into the position of a National Instructor in 2002. In 2004, she founded a non-profit organization, Sit Tight, which provided education and free car seats to underserve communities.
As the Global Safety Advocate, she facilitates educating the staff, consumers and the media about car seats. Allana works closely with the marketing team, educating at consumer and industry trade shows, as well as writing blogs on CPS issues. She is called upon to work with engineering and product development team on current and new products. As Diono expands across the globe, Allana continues to expand her role assisting the Diono European and China teams.
Allana has two children, Max (12) and Andrew (20) who is ironically a race car driver. She has been married to Paul for 22 years and he still cannot install a car seat.
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Free to be SAFE!- #TLBsafeKids with Clek

#TLBsafeKids

Hey Leakies,

It’s time to talk about practicing safe…ty.

We’re not here to feed into any anxiety or to cause any stress about your family’s safety.

Be honest, you probably do that just fine on your own.

Since so many of us parents have no problem worrying about our families we wanted to start something to actually help reduce that worry.

I know, right? How are we going to do that without alcohol?

Community. Better than fine wine.

Through the month of September and even far beyond we’re building community to share information, tell our stories, confess our fears, admit our mistakes, and help each other work out the right safety decisions for our families. Free of judgment, #TLBsafeKids respects the individual responsibility of parents for their family and trust them to make the best informed safety decisions according to their individual resources, circumstances, and access to information.

Respecting each other, ourselves, and our children, #TLBsafeKids brings together parents concerned about safety around information, ideas, and sharing our stories. And we believe it can be fun. Though there are aspects of safety conversations and education that can be scary, when we approach it with respect and a sense of fun it can become a part of parenting that isn’t dominated by fear and instead builds confidence in ourselves, our communities, and most importantly, our children. Together we are journeying toward health, safety, confidence, and awareness. Not as isolated individuals, but as a family, a community. With each other and with our kids, we’re taking steps to be confidently and freely safe. It may mean getting your car seat installation checked, reassessing your home for safety hazards, changing how you talk to your children, adjusting your sleep arrangements, fixing something broken in your home, you name it, you define what #TLBsafeKids looks like for you.

It all began in August 2014 with the first ever #TLBmoves and it took off. We cheered on some working on (and succeeding) quitting smoking, others had step goals to hit, there were those that started yoga or crossfit or pilates every day, and others started having salads every day. Getting moving together brought us closer together and we discovered that thanks to the global village of the internet, we could cheer each other on and have fun in the process. When we found ourselves stuck, we could be honest about the challenges we were facing and there would be no judgment, just support and encouragement. It was inspiring and we all wanted to keep moving. Nobody was judged and everyone was supported.

Not long after that we began dreaming about other ways we could support each other and other areas that can be difficult to address alone or where we fear judgment. Safety quickly emerged as an area that where many of needed judgment-free support and information sharing. And to safely admit our missteps along the way.

So #TLBsafeKids was born.

From sleep to babywearing, from car seats to home safety, from relationships to skin care, from health to cleaning products and so much more, we’re talking about it all with #TLBsafeKids and daring to honestly share the journey with each other without judgment. Ultimately, we believe this is the only way we can actually succeed.

#TLBsafeKids isn’t about wrapping our children in bubble wrap and keeping them from experiencing the world around them. Respectful of ourselves and our children, #TLBsafeKids aims to help each of us, parents and children alike, to tap into our own power to make confident decisions assessing risk, utilizing products, and employing strategies that allow us to live life to the fullest while being safe.

We hope you’ll join us.

It’s time for #TLBsafeKids!

Whatever area concerns you the most, our #TLBsafeKids community is here to support you. We may not have all the answers but you have our support in finding them.

Whatever your goal, you can join us for #TLBsafeKids!  This is all about embracing an intentional lifestyle that isn’t encumbered by safe practices but enhanced by them. No matter where you’re starting from and we’re here to support each other completely free of judgment each step of the way.

We have a team to help provide some inspiration, not with dictating how you decide to keep you family safe, #TLBsafeKids isn’t about acquiring a certain set of safety rules, but honest and respectful sharing of the journey we’re all on to keep our children safe. Kids in tow and personal goals put out there, our team isn’t to glamorize the journey, simply to share together one step at a time.

#TeamTLBsafeKids! Meet the five mamas who will be sharing their #TLBsafeKids journeys during the month of September:

Jessica: Founder, owner, and author of The Leaky Boob Facebook group and website; mother of six girls, ages 3, 5, 7, 12, 14, and 16.

Jasmine: is a stay at home mom of 4, 2 in heaven and 2 boys ages 4.5 years old and 7 months. Her eldest has Autism and they are currently implementing some new safety strategies according to his needs. Jasmine is a babywearing group leader in the Pacific Northwest.

Kileah: Member of TLB’s editorial team; mother of four children, ages 7, 5, 3 and 22 months. Kileah loves canning, cooking, and being with her family.

Brianne: work from home mom of 3 children, ages 11, 6, and 3 years old. Brianne is married to a fitness enthusiast but has struggled to find time for herself to do the same.

Meet our partners:

#TLBsafeKids is a big undertaking and we are so thrilled to be working with brands we believe in to bring you this event. Our partners really want to see families discovering the best safety practices for them! With information, education, and support, our partner brands is going out of their way to support YOU. Culminating with a giveaway featuring the best of all our partnering brands for #TLBsafeKids. We’ll be sharing photos of #TeamTLBsafeKids using gear from the following brands:

 

#TLBsafekids clek sponsor

Clek. Elemental safety is the Clek approach — the Clek way of thinking is about the performance of each of their products and the lives they are protecting. Essential elements and our methodology enable them to develop systems that work together to protect our kids. Manufactured in North America with a commitment to innovation without compromise and sustainability which is evident in their recycling program. Clek is striving to keep our kids safe today and tomorrow.

 

#TLBsafekids with California baby, skin deep safetyCalifornia Baby. With a mission to only create the safest natural products to soothe, nourish and smooth out life’s rough patches the natural way: one baby, one kid, one family at a time; California Baby makes it a priority to keep our kids safe from head to toe. They’re obsessed with purity and sustainability in every part of the process, from ingredient selection to manufacturing to packaging and beyond. With California Baby moms and dads who can rest easier knowing that they haven’t brought another unsustainable, toxic product into the house.

Newton Logo

 

Newton. A breathable crib mattress unlike any other. No matter where your baby sleeps, in their own room in a crib, in a crib side-car with your bed, in a crib in your room, or on a Montessori style bed on the floor, a breathable sleeping surface for you little one will let you breath easier too. Newton knows that your baby’s safety comes first and they also know how much you want to give them the right start in life. As experts in the area of sleep, they know just how important good sleep is for both of you. This is why they have devoted our time and expertise to creating a crib mattress that is not only safer, but also more comfortable.

#TLBsafeKids Health safety sponsor Crane

 

Crane. Since 2005, Crane USA has taken the lead in putting the “fun” into cool mist humidifiers, air purifiers, and space heating with a commitment to design for better living. Knowing just how much the air we breath impacts our health and safety, Crane products are functional and efficient at fulfilling your home health needs while communicating an appreciation for elegant design. With a unique sense of design and unwavering commitment to quality Crane continues to create their own distinctive interpretation of humidity, air quality, and heating solutions while remaining a step ahead of the crowd.

catbirdbaby_logo

 

CatBird Baby. Designed by a mom who needed help carrying everything with her baby, CatBird Baby Carriers are designed to be practical, stylish, comfortable, and easy to use. With a variety of products to support babywearing and make the babywearing experience even more enjoyable, CatBird Carriers are designed by a mom for moms and dads. Offering hybrid carriers along with standard designs, CatBird Carriers listens to parents and what they are looking for in a babycarrier.

Rhoost #TLBsafeKids partnering brand

Rhoost. Rhoost’s goal is to create products that allow parents to spend more time having fun with their kids, and less time worrying about them.  They are committed to creating innovative solutions that are safe for babies, safe for the environment, and easy to use. And they’ve succeeded. From baby grooming to cord winders, from finger guards to outlet covers and cabinet closures, Rhoost supports parents in safe, easy living.

When?
#TLBsafeKids runs run from September 1st-30st, 2015, but we hope you’ll keep growing, learning, and sharing long after the end of the month! (We may have something up our sleeves to that end, too!)

How?
Participation is up to you. How do you want to be involved? Want to share your story? Have some specific safety concerns you want to address in your own home? Are you passionate about certain aspects of safety and want to support others in learning about it? Is sharing the process and seeing how others are putting safe practices into place in their home helpful for you? Whatever it is, there are options for finding the way to participate that works best for you and your goals.

Where?
Anyone, anywhere can participate! We’ll be announcing some fun prizes from our brand partners this month, and those are limited to the United States at this time, but the world is your oyster if you want to get active with us!

JOIN OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP (Please note: this is a co-ed community where you’ll find support as we get active and learn about safety together. Judgement free! Come as you are, this group is your #TLBsafeKids tribe!)

Who?
You, your friends, your kids, your partner, your boss, your mom, your dad… anyone!  Though The Leaky Boob is focused on encouraging families primarily through breastfeeding, we support breastfeeding moms and everyone that supports them.  Breastfeeding isn’t a requirement to participate with TLB and #TLBsafeKids.

We’ll have more updates soon – in the meantime, please follow TLB on Instagram to keep up with #TLBsafeKids. Use the hashtag #TLBsafeKids on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share your pics. We want to see what you’re doing to keep respectfully keep your family safe and share the journey with you!

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Ask the CPST with clek- Keeping Your Newborn Safe

This post features questions from readers for a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) focusing on car seats and is made possible by the generous sponsorship of clek who have made their staff CPSTs available to The Leaky Boob community in order to answer your questions and help you keep your children safe. For more questions related to infants in car seats, see questions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 from our live chat on TLB Facebook wall. 

clek infant thingy

Dear Trudy,

I think we have everything just about in place for our new babe due in about 6 weeks but I’m completely overwhelmed and have anxiety about that drive home from the hospital with our new baby. Is there anything special we need to keep in mind with a newborn in a seat? Older babies seem less concerning as they can support their own heads better and have more muscle tone. I know we’ll have to get comfortable driving with our baby but those first few trips are particularly stressing me. I asked about car seat checks at our hospital tour and they said they’ll send a nurse out with us to be sure we have a proper seat but they aren’t responsible for ensuring we are using it properly. What can we do? What do we need to keep in mind with buckling a newborn? 

Thank you for your help!

Worried in Wisconsin.

 

Dear Worried in Wisconsin,

Having a baby is such an exciting time in life! Having new concerns and worries pop up as you near the big day is perfectly understandable.

You’re right that a newborn baby has a weaker neck and needs help in supporting its head. Installing your car seat so that it’s reclined properly will make sure that your new babe’s head is supported and doesn’t tip forward. Your rear-facing car seat will come with instructions for adjusting the recline and installing it in the vehicle.

Before baby arrives I’d recommend reviewing the information in your car seat manual about securing babe in their car seat. Using a teddy bear or other stuffed animal can help give you some familiarity about how to use and tighten the harness.

When you put baby in the first time, you’ll want to check how they fit in the seat. Depending on the seat you choose, you may need to make some minor adjustments to either the harness height and/or the crotch buckle before leaving the hospital. Your car seat manual will have those instructions in it. Most manufacturers recommend that the harness be positioned so that the straps are at the closest height either even or below the baby’s shoulders.

Once you’ve checked that your seat is adjusted properly for your new babe, make sure that their bum is snug to the back of the seat so that they’re not slouching, and then adjust the harness so that it’s snug over their body. A snug harness has no visible slack, but doesn’t push their body out of position.

I’d also recommend getting in touch with a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). A CPST has training in helping families install and use their seats properly, and might give you that last bit of peace of mind. You can check for a tech near you by visiting the Safe Kids website and searching by your city and state.

Best wishes as you finish the final preparations for your new baby.

Trudy

 

Dear Trudy

It has been 9 years since I had my last child and now I’m expecting again. The world of car seats seems to have changed a lot and I’ve learned I made a lot of mistakes with my 9 year old, which has caused me to question what I thought I knew. With my son, I used one of those newborn head support inserts that didn’t come with his seat. I have been given a cute little newborn head support insert for this baby but I’ve heard that these aren’t safe yet I noticed many of the seats we have considered for this new baby come with them. Can I not switch out the one in the seat for the cute one we were given? 

Sincerely,

Confused and Concerned

 

Dear Confused and Concerned,

Congratulations on your upcoming new arrival! You’re right – car seats certainly have changed a lot in the last 9 years!

Car seat manufacturers test their seats using the specific covers and accessories that come with the car seat, and carefully select each piece to make sure that the car seat will keep your baby as safe as possible. You’re right that the extra head support inserts that are available in stores shouldn’t be added to your car seat. Most car seat manuals include instructions to only use products provided and approved by the car seat manufacturer for use with the seat, so in most cases you wouldn’t be able to switch out the one that came in the car seat.

The extra head supports available in stores definitely are cute. It’s possible you may be able to use it in your stroller instead and then you can still enjoy the cute factor.

Safe Travels,

Trudy

 

Dear Trudy,

Some of the materials I’ve read say that a baby isn’t safe to be left in a car seat due to possible breathing concerns and now I’m worried about my baby’s breathing even when we’re in the car. If it isn’t safe for a baby to be left in a bucket seat while they nap in the house, how can it be safe in the car? Are there some seats that are less of a risk than others for breathing issues?  

Peace,

Ready to breathe easy.

 

Dear Ready to breathe easy,

There are a few reasons that experts recommend limiting the amount of continuous time an infant spends in a car seat, but the most substantial one is related to possible breathing concerns as you’ve discovered.

Using a car seat in the car is different than using it in the house for a few reasons. Car seats generally sit at a different angle when they’re properly installed in the car vs. when they’re sitting on a surface outside of the car. This increased recline in the car ensures that their head stays in position and doesn’t tip forward. If a car seat sits more upright in the stroller or on the floor, it may lead to positional breathing problems. Infants also typically spend less time in their car seat on an average car ride, than they would if they were napping or sleeping or playing in their car seat outside the car.

In most cases, positional breathing problems happen after a baby has been buckled in to a car seat for an extended period of time. If you have any long car trips coming up while your baby is less than 6 weeks old, I would recommend talking to your baby’s doctor to see if they have any recommendations on how often you should stop for a short break to remove baby from the car seat. In the absence of special medical needs, I generally recommend planned stops at least every 1.5 hours.

Rear-facing only seats are designed to provide protection to your precious cargo at their smallest size, and all rear-facing only seats have a recommended recline angle for when the seat is installed in the car. There can be some variation in the manufacturer’s preferred recline between different models, but provided the seat is installed according to directions, your baby fits the seat properly, and baby’s head doesn’t tip forward chin-to-chest during trips, then you can breathe easy knowing that your baby will breathe fine during car trips.

Safe travels,

Trudy

 

Dear Trudy,

Our infant car seat from my two older children has expired and we need to get a new one for the baby on the way. I’m trying to figure out if there is any reason to get two different seats or if it is more practical to get a convertible that will go down to newborn weight ranges. Is there anything we need to consider when looking at convertible car seats with the intention of using it from the beginning? Are these truly safe options? How does it work to cover such a wide range of sizes? Would it actually be better to just get two different seats?

Thanks for helping us keep our babies safe!

With gratitude,

Two and One on the Way

 

Dear Two and One on the Way,

The decision about whether to start with a convertible car seat or a rear-facing only car seat is one that a lot of families debate. The answer about which style of seat is better is going to be different for each family, but there are some factors you can consider that should help make the decision easier for you.

Convertible seats come in a wide range of sizes and designs. Most of them start at 5lbs, but some of them do a better job of fitting a newborn than others. Depending on how big your baby is at birth, and the model of convertible seat selected, sometimes a newborn doesn’t fit properly in to a convertible seat. Some convertibles, such as Clek’s Foonf and Fllo when used with the infant-thingy, have inserts available that allow newborns to be properly positioned and fit the seat well.

Rear-facing only seats are designed to fit newborns, so if you’re expecting a smaller baby, then they are generally the preferred choice. A rear-facing only seat also has the benefit of being easily portable. This can be helpful if you live in either a very hot climate or a very cold climate since it lets you buckle baby in in the comfort of your house and then carry him or her to your car. It also gives a lot of convenience if you frequently have short trips with a lot of stops along the way.

Provided you’re fairly certain baby will be full-term and of average size, the convenience factor is often the easiest way to decide which option will work best for you. If you plan to babywear, or not use the car seat outside of the car, then choosing a convertible seat may be a practical plan for you. If you think you will appreciate having the carrier option, then that may mean that purchasing two seats is the best choice for your family.

If you decide to go with a convertible seat, I’d recommend researching different models to find a model that fits in your vehicle at a newborn recline, and is also known for fitting small babies well. Google images or visiting a company’s facebook page where customers often share their pictures can be very helpful in giving you a feeling for how a newborn looks in the bigger seat.

Congratulations on the upcoming addition to your family!

Safe travels,

Trudy

 ________________________

Not only does clek want to help us all get comfortable with getting our little ones secure in our vehicles, they’re going to physically help one Leaky do just that! 

Clek is giving away a Foonf Convertible Car Seat in Flamingo or Tank to a Lucky Leaky.

Foonf is Clek’s no-compromise convertible child seat – introducing revolutionary safety technology, extended rear-facing to 50 lb, innovative convenience features, and it’s recyclable.

Total Retail Value: $449.99 USD ($549.99 in Canada)

Visit www.clekinc.com for more information

______________________

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to enter. A big thanks to Clek for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank Clek on their Facebook page  for their show of support! You can also follow Clek on Twitter and Instagram: username @Clekinc

a Rafflecopter giveaway

________________________

Trudy SlaghtTrudy Slaght, Clek CPST, CRST-IT As Clek’s Child Passenger Safety Advocate, a previous board member of the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada, and a CRST Instructor from Edmonton, Alberta, Trudy Slaght pretty much breathes, eats, and lives child passenger safety. With her brain crammed full of valuable tips and advice, Trudy attends and speaks at various industry conferences across North America and provides everything from simple helpful guidance to advanced technical support for parents, caregivers, and even fellow technicians.
A mom of three, Trudy has been involved in the field for over 7 years, spending lots of time thinking about, practicing, and preaching the best methods to keep our little ones safe for the ride. And, even with all this on her plate, Trudy still somehow has the passion and energy to be a contributing author to Canada’s National Child Passenger Technician Training curriculum.
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Ask the CPST- summer travel, air travel, and heatstroke in cars

This post features questions from readers for a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) focusing on car seats and is made possible by the generous sponsorship of clek who have made their staff CPSTs available to The Leaky Boob community in order to answer your questions and help you keep your children safe. 

Dear CPST,

With warm weather just around the corner it seems like every year there are horrifying news reports about children being left in the car and forgotten in the heat. That scares me more than I can say and I know it can happen to anyone. I work outside of the home and we have a schedule that is different nearly every day with grandparents, my husband, and myself taking turns doing the pick up and drop off for childcare. Everything I’ve read says that changes in the routine can contribute greatly to this tragic accident occurring. How can I help all of us who drive my daughter be sure not to make this mistake? It hasn’t happened yet but I don’t want to be overly confident that it won’t.

Thank you so much.

Sincerely,

Sweating It

 

Dear Sweating It,

Heatstroke for children in cars is sadly more common than many people realize. It is also not just a concern during the summer months, though that is typically when we see the majority of cases. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise 20 degrees in a matter of 10 minutes, so on a 70 degree day you can have deadly temperatures within your parked vehicle in a short period of time.

There are several things that can be done to prevent a child from being left in a vehicle accidentally.

  • Have a system in place with everyone that is involved in the care of your child.
    • Make an arrangement with your childcare provider where they will call you and anyone on your child’s emergency list should your child not arrive by a certain time.
    • Have the person that is responsible for the child’s transportation send Mom/Dad/Grandparents a text message or make a phone call every time the child has been dropped off/picked up/arrived at their destination safely.
  • Place an item that you will need at your final destination in the back seat next to the child restraint. This could be a backpack, purse, briefcase, shoes, wallet, etc. This will ensure that you open the door to the back seat of the vehicle once you have reached your final destination for the day.
  • Encourage everyone that is at any point in time responsible for your child’s care to institute a “look before you lock” policy. Every time they reach a destination they will open their back door and visually check the back seat.
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times when they are not in use, whether they are parked in the driveway or the garage. This will prevent children from entering the vehicle when no one is watching and trapping themselves inside.

These suggestions are just a few things you can do to prevent a child being forgotten in a vehicle and suffering heat stroke. For more information I encourage you to visit http://www.safekids.org/heatstroke.

Sincerely,

Julie At Clek

clek CPST heat stroke prevention tips

 

Dear CPST,

Our family is taking a long road trip this summer for vacation. We have 3 older children and by the time we hit the road we will have a 3 month old. In the past I have breastfed my children on such trips while they were buckled in their rear facing infant seats without any problem but I saw on The Leaky Boob FB page that doing that is dangerous. Is there really a risk to be concerned about? I have large breasts and am able to keep my seat belt on, lean slightly toward the seat (not leaning on it), and my baby can latch on and eat. I was planning on doing this again but now am worried I’ve been hurting my children this way or putting them in danger. It is a little overwhelming to think we would have to fully stop for every feed, 12 week old babies nurse frequently and it would take us forever to reach our destination with so many stops. Of course, we’re willing to, I just am wondering if there really is any kind of real risk to this and any evidence that supports that concern.

Any insight you can shed on this would be much appreciated!

Peace,

Road Trip Mom

 

Dear Road Trip Mom,

Road trips are such fun, but can also be quite taxing when you have little ones in tow that need frequent feedings and diaper changes. Having three kids myself and having taken many road trips with them I can certainly attest to that!

What you have read on the Leaky [email protected]@b Facebook page is true. Leaning over to nurse your baby while the vehicle is in motion puts both you and your baby’s safety at risk in the event you were involved in a collision during the feeding. Leaning over towards your baby place’s the vehicle seat belt in a position where it can not properly secure you in the event something were to happen. It also places part of your body in the direct path of your baby should a collision occur. While it might not seem like your breast could cause your child any harm in the event of a collision, keep in mind this simple rule of physics: Weight x Speed = Force. In using this formula we come up with: 2lbs breast x 65mph = 130lbs of force directed at your baby’s head. That amount of force can cause serious damage to your baby in the event of a collision. It is best to just pull over and park somewhere for all feedings. Sure, it will make the trip take longer, but it will mean that everyone reaches the destination as safely as possible.

Happy Road Tripping!

Julie At Clek

 

Dear CPST,

I am going to be traveling by air soon with my 18 month old son who breastfeeds frequently. I am planning to purchase a seat for him and install his car seat but I’m not sure how I’m going to keep him in it. Breastfeeding is such a great tool and such a comfort to him I imagine he’s going to want to breastfeed for take off and landing which would greatly help his ears and probably the ears of everyone on the flight with us. I want to keep him safe of course, but breastfeeding is a big part of him feeling safe. Is it ok if I take him out to breastfeed on the flight? Is it worth buying the seat, he even going to end up being in his seat?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Taking Flight

 

 

Dear Taking Flight,

It is strongly encouraged that children two years old and under have their own seat on an airplane and are secured in an appropriate child restraint. This practice ensures that your child is safely restrained in the event of any turbulence, or any unexpected emergency maneuvers, required by the flight crew during take off, landing, or in flight. Lap children are at serious risk of injury in the event of something happening during the flight because they have nothing securing them. A lap child can easily be ripped from a caregiver’s arms in the event of unexpected turbulence, which not only can cause serious injury to them, but also potentially injures others aboard the aircraft.

It is wonderful to hear that you are planning on purchasing a seat for your son! It will be worth it for you in terms of his safety and both of your comfort. It is also something familiar to him and a device that he is used to sitting in while riding in your vehicle. He will likely think that he is just getting into his seat for another car ride, but this time with the added perks of sitting next to Mom!

At 18 months old I would suggest utilizing a favorite toy or snack for your son to chew on during take off and landing to help with the change in air pressure on his ears. If he uses a cup, pacifier, or bottle, those would be options as well. Pack games, videos on an electronic device, and a favorite stuffed animal or blanket to keep him occupied and content during the duration of the flight. While in the air and the seat belt sign is turned off, it is at your discretion that you may take him out of his seat for feedings. Should you decide to remove him from his child restraint for a feeding, it is important to return him back and have him buckled in as soon as the feeding is over, as unexpected turbulence can happen at any time. I hope that you and your son have an enjoyable and quiet flight to wherever it is you’re headed!

Safe and Happy Travels!

Julie At Clek

 


Have a question for one of our experts? to ask the expert child passenger safety technician, pediatrician, sleep consultant, infant and early childhood development specialist, fitness coach/personal trainer, IBCLC,  or infant feeding counselor, use this form.

 

 

Julie_LR copyJulie McCuen, Clek CPST Since becoming a Child Passenger Safety Technician in 2012, Clek CPST Julie McCuen has willingly sacrificed her digits and limbs all in the name of keeping kids safe. After feeling inexplicably drawn to learning about weight limits, velocity factors, and Rigid LATCH connectors, Julie enthusiastically entered the wonderful world of child passenger safety to help families install and use their car seats properly every single time.
Despite a few bruises and broken nails, Julie’s fervent curiosity and commitment to safety hasn’t waned one bit. She’s now working towards becoming a CPST Instructor so she can pass along her valuable knowledge and insights to others who are equally eager to learn. When not working with Clek, Julie spends her time raising her three beautifully unruly children who are 9, 6, and 4 with her husband of 10 years.
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Ask the CPST with clek – winter coats, car toys, and LATCH

 

 

This post features questions from readers for a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) focusing on car seats and is made possible by the generous sponsorship of clek who have made their staff CPSTs available to The Leaky Boob community in order to answer your questions and help you keep your children safe. 

Ask the CPST - Jan Meme

Dear Trudy,

I’ve heard that coats aren’t safe in car seats but I live quite far north where the temperatures are subzero and quite dangerous to be out in for even brief periods without proper protection. While I understand that puffy coats can compress, is that something that really happens in an accident? Though I’ve heard a lot of warnings about it in a hypothetical sense, I don’t think I’ve heard an actual scenario. And what are the safe alternatives? I worry that if we were to be in an accident in the winter, my child may be safely restrained in her seat but in the case of a severe accident, be exposed to dangerous temperatures without proper protection. I want to keep them safe from both an accident and inclement weather conditions and since staying home for 7 months isn’t really an option, I’m looking for something that will meet both needs.

Thank you!

Bundled Up Mama

 

 

Dear Bundled Up Mama,

Staying warm in the winter can certainly be a challenge at times when living in a colder climate. I’m in a cold climate myself, so I understand how difficult it is to find a balance between keeping your little one warm AND safe.

What you’ve heard about bulky winter clothing is correct, the excess slack that can appear when bulky clothing is used can cause injury in a crash. There is a lot of force in a crash and all the warm fluffy air that keeps our child warm can also lead to them being hurt. A lot of time heavy coats and snow suits also change the position of a child in a seat. This can range from leading to the straps not sitting fully on a child’s shoulders, to making them seem taller in the seat than they actually are.

Fleece suits are a safe option in the car. Fall/spring weight jackets also work well with having a bit of a shell to break the wind while still providing warmth. Once kiddo is safely buckled in, extra blankets on top of them will help keep them nice and toasty. There are other products out there like car seat ponchos or specially designed coats that unzip to move out of the way of the harness that are also safe options.

Warm Regards,

Trudy

*Editors note: this post from The Car Seat Lady goes into great detail on ways to keep your child warm and safe in the car with customizable options depending on the specifics circumstances you may be dealing with.

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Dear Trudy,

My mother-in-law bought some toys for our son to have in the car, a sort of bar that clips to the sides of the infant seat and arches over the top holding hard and soft toys. I’ve read about potential projectiles in the case of a crash, is something like this safe? I don’t want to offend my mother-in-law, she really is trying, but I also want to keep my family safe.

I appreciate your help!

Sincerely,

A Little Rattled

 

Dear Rattled,

Keeping our little ones amused in the car can sometimes be a challenge, and finding a safe way to do it can be tricky. Generally speaking, if a toy is hard enough that it would hurt if you were to hit yourself with it, it is too hard to have near your baby in the car.

Some toy bars have removable toys – if that’s the case with yours, then you may be able to keep the soft toys and remove the harder ones. This might be a nice compromise to use the toy that was thoughtfully bought, while keeping your little one safe. If your little one is in a rear-facing only seat still, also check that the handle position is in an approved position while traveling. Some seats allow handles to be left up while traveling, while others instruct to put the handle down.

Safe Travels,

Trudy

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Dear Trudy,

We have the option of LATCH for installing our rear facing car seat but it doesn’t seem quite as secure as the belt install. There isn’t a CPST local to me to have check our install, does it matter if we use the belt install instead of the LATCH?

Peace,

Confused Mommy

 

 

Dear Confused Mommy,

The choice between LATCH and the vehicle belt raises a lot of questions so I’ll do my best to help make it a bit easier to figure out.

When installing a car seat, it’s important to have a tight installation. This means having less than 1” of movement side-to-side and front-to-back at the place where the belt goes through the car seat – commonly known as the belt path. The safest installation is the one that gives you a secure fit. It sounds like the vehicle belt gives you a better fit in your car, so that would be the best method of installation for your car seat in your vehicle.

Safe Travels,

Trudy

 

 

 

Trudy Slaght

Trudy Slaght, Clek CPST, CRST-IT As Clek’s Child Passenger Safety Advocate, a previous board member of the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada, and a CRST Instructor from Edmonton, Alberta, Trudy Slaght pretty much breathes, eats, and lives child passenger safety. With her brain crammed full of valuable tips and advice, Trudy attends and speaks at various industry conferences across North America and provides everything from simple helpful guidance to advanced technical support for parents, caregivers, and even fellow technicians.
A mom of three, Trudy has been involved in the field for over 7 years, spending lots of time thinking about, practicing, and preaching the best methods to keep our little ones safe for the ride. And, even with all this on her plate, Trudy still somehow has the passion and energy to be a contributing author to Canada’s National Child Passenger Technician Training curriculum.
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