Car Seat Safety: The Mistakes I Made So You Don’t Have To

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Dear Leakies,

I’m not even going to tell you all the things I did wrong with my older kids when it comes to car seat safety but suffice it to say it was bad. Really bad. There was much I didn’t know considering I thought all that was involved in keeping kids safe in a vehicle was getting a car seat (might have used one purchased at a thrift store- ack!), buckling it in a car (this was before LATCH), and strapping them in.

Now, I could argue that my parents weren’t even in car seats and they turned out fine but I know that statistically the whole reason car seats were introduced by my generation was because they absolutely do save lives. My parents turned out fine but many other children of their generation died in car accidents. And my generation also turned out fine with seats that wouldn’t even come close to passing today’s safety standards but again, I understand that those standards are in place now because statistically they make a difference. Maybe not for me, but for some they have. Maybe those different standards have made a difference for my very own children.

Selecting, installing, and properly using a car seat can be a huge pain, literally and figuratively. I have a scar on my shin from installing one of our car seats a few years ago. I’d gladly take another one, that was the car seat my now 7 year old was in when we were in a hit and run when she was a toddler. She was the only one in the car that day that didn’t require medical care.

I’ve learned a lot even since then and I had learned a lot with her 3 sisters before her. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Clek for #TLBsafeKids, to help us all learn together. Sharing information, personal stories, and asking questions, Clek is helping us through #TLBsafeKids to keep our little ones safe. All through the year Clek is sharing information and support for families through our Ask the CPST feature on theleakyboob.com and on their Facebook page and Instagram.

Few topics are as explosive as child passenger safety on parenting social media sites, it can be right up there with breastfeeding in public, formula feeding, and circumcision. There are a lot of feelings tied to how we keep our kids safe and passion can easily turn information sharing into a bludgeon. Even though I sometimes disagree with what I may see on social media and in real life when it comes to child passenger safety there are a few points I have seen come from even the most heated debates.

  1. Parents love their children and want to keep them safe.
  2. Attacking people isn’t a teaching tool.
  3. Information can be overwhelming.
  4. Sometimes the minimum is the best someone can do.
  5. Judging doesn’t help anyone but the judger and even then only with a false sense of superiority.

Learning happens in stages, even as adults. Finding out there is something to learn, figuring out where to get the information and who to trust (Your mom? Your friend? Do you have to go to car seat school?), and fitting all that in with your life reality is a process. We need to be gentle with ourselves and with others through that.

So what do we really need to know when it comes to car seats?

There’s more than can be contained in a newsletter or a single article, in fact, there is car seat school. People can go to car seat school (not really called that) and become Child Passenger Safety Technicians. That’s just how much information there is.

You can find a CPST to help you install your seats (they have lots of bruises and scars from doing this so often) and that’s probably a good idea. It takes some time but often you can find places that offer that service for free and that time buys you peace of mind.

The rules from one seat may not apply to another. Manufacturers are the experts on their seats and your #1 resource for support. Have a question about your seat? Check your manual and if you still aren’t sure, call a manufacturer.

Be open to learning as you go. Get as much information as you can, but standards and even laws are changing all the time so being open to learning as you go can make a difference in how you’re keeping your child safe.

We’re here for you, sharing the journey and it’s ok if you don’t know something, we won’t judge. And there’s no way it could be as bad as what I did with my older girls- I’m just grateful they have lived to tell about it. We won’t judge but we will point out if we see something dangerous because of stories like this heartbreaking one of loss due to unknown car seat misuse.

Join us this Thursday, September 17th at 9 EST/8 Central/7 Mountain/6 PST for a live chat on The Leaky Boob Facebook page with Diono and Allana Pinkerton, CPST (she went to car seat school). We’ll have a giveaway and lots of information to share responding to your questions about car seat safety. Hope to see you there!

If you’d like to read more exclusive tips and articles on real life parenting, up-to-date carseat safety research and wholesome recipes with your health in mind, visit our latest newsletter HERE.

Happy Child Passenger Safety Week!

Jessica Martin-Weber

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Diono Radian RXT Carseat Giveaway and FB Chat

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“Since our company started Diono has worked to solve the real everyday worries and hassles parents face. Our first product idea was born from a family discussion on a documentary demonstrating the consequences of improperly secured car seats in collisions. Within the year family members had created a prototype (…)” – from the Diono website

We are thrilled that Diono, a company with a history of valuing people, family, safety, and innovation, is a part of The Leaky Boob community. With their commitment “to providing car seat safety to families everywhere with innovative and advanced travel solutions” their presence here is a great fit. One of their CPSTs, Allana, is providing her expert advice on carseat safety in a Diono-sponsored Facebook Chat, September 17, 2015, 6:00 PM PST.

To add a little extra fun for this Facebook Chat, you have a chance at winning the Diono Radian RXT:

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Diono RadianRXT:

The Radian®RXT Car Seats are designed with your child’s security and safety as top priorities. Premium materials and thoughtful safety features like a steel alloy frame, aluminum reinforced side walls, energy absorbing EPS foam, and a five-point harness put your mind at ease as your little one stays safe and sound. The reinforced adjustable head support provides additional side impact protection.

Key Features

Full steel frame and aluminum reinforced sides for unmatched safety

Comfortably seats rear-facing children from 5-45 lbs, forward-facing children from 20 – 80 lbs in a 5-point harness, then converts to a booster for children up to 120 lbs.

Unique SuperLATCH system that makes installation easy

It also fits 3 across in most mid-size vehicles, folds flat for travel and is FAA certified

Booster mode from 50 – 120 lbs (40 to 57 inches)

NCAP crash tested, the industry benchmark for verifying child seat performance in severe accident conditions

Retail Value: $359.99

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to enter. The giveaway is open from September 17, 2015 through September 20, 2015. A big thanks to Diono for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women. This giveaway is open to participants in the USA and Canada. 

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Family, Safety, and Innovation – Carseats with Great Values

“Since our company started Diono has worked to solve the real everyday worries and hassles parents face. Our first product idea was born from a family discussion on a documentary demonstrating the consequences of improperly secured car seats in collisions. Within the year family members had created a prototype (…)” – from the Diono website

We are thrilled that Diono, a company with a history of valuing people, family, safety, and innovation, has joined The Leaky Boob community. With their commitment “to providing car seat safety to families everywhere with innovative and advanced travel solutions” their presence here is a great fit. One of their CPSTs, Allana, has answered a few questions we had about Diono, car safety, and breastfeeding of course. Don’t miss your chance to win the brand new Diono Radian RXT carseat in Heather Grey below the interview in their first exclusive TLB giveaway!

Allana Pinkerton Headshot 2015

TLB: What would you like our readers to know about Diono? 

Allana: Diono is a company comprised of parents and grandparents and everyday people but with extraordinary talents! All the employees really care about their jobs and keeping kids safe. It’s a fun company to work for as things are always changing!

TLB: What kinds of values go into the creation of Diono products? 

Allana: Safety is our number one priority when it comes to developing products. Along with that, quality is very important to us. We know our consumers want high quality, long-lasting, sensible, and stylish products.

TLB: As a CPST, what is the one most useful piece of information that you share with parents about car seats and child safety? 

Allana: There are so many, it’s hard to name just one. I say it all the time, it is so important to read the manual…slowly, carefully so you get an understanding of how to use and install the product properly. At the very least you’ll know what questions to ask when you meet with a CPST for have hands-on learning and they “teach” you how to install the car seat.

TLB: What sets the Diono Rainier Convertible (or RXT) apart from other carseats on the market today? 

Allana: Hands down, the integrated full steel frame with a high rear-facing weight and forward-facing weight capacities. Plus, it could possibly be the only car seat you have to buy for your child because our convertible+boosters have a 10-12 year product life!

TLB: What is your favorite breastfeeding tip? 

Allana: Regarding safety, never take baby out to breastfeed while riding in a vehicle. We never know when a crash is going to occur, so it’s best to stop somewhere safe and take care of baby while the car is not moving.

On a personal note, don’t give up so easily. Breastfeeding can be a lonely activity when you’re a new mommy. It’s not so glamorous at the start, either. It takes a while to get your groove, especially if you didn’t grow up with it being the “norm.”

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Diono is giving away one Radian RXT carseat in Heather Grey to one lucky Leaky!
Retail Value: $359.99

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Here are some quick facts about the Radian RXT:

  • The only convertible+booster with a full steel frame and aluminum reinforced sides for unmatched safety
  • Fits 3 across is most vehicles
  • Extended rear-facing up to 45 lbs, forward-facing with 5-pt harness up to 85 lbs. and booster up to 120 lbs
  • Folds for easy storage and travel – FAA approved!
  • 10 year product life with 1 year limited warranty

Visit us.diono.com for more information about the Radian RXT carseat.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from May 22, 2015 through May 29, 2015.  A big thanks to Diono and Allana for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank Diono on their Facebook page for their show of support! You can also follow Diono on Twitter and Instagram: username @DionoUSA

This giveaway is open to participants in the USA and Canada.

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