Roozle loves asparagus. Tonight she had two servings. She was home from school today with Mama while her Montessori school has a few days off to prepare for the summer session. Roozle ate her way through the house all day, went for a big walk, wore underwear this afternoon and is now playing in the bath. Life rules.
There are two things I can’t go near and not look at: bikes and car seats. I really love bikes, so I just always have to look. And with car seats, it seems to be rare that I see a car seat properly used. Out of all the car seat issues I see, here are the most common I’ve found while lurking in parking lots.
1. Chest Clip Mistakes
The most common mistake I see, mostly through pictures posted by parents of their kids online on blogs or facebook, is the chest clip in the wrong spot. The chest clip should always be at armpit level. Most children I see have the chest clip at tummy level. This isn’t safe for a few reasons: First, the chest clip is designed to keep the straps in the proper position. Without it at armpit level, the straps can easily come off the child’s shoulders allowing the child to be ejected from the seat in a crash. Second, the hard plastic of the chest clip needs to be positioned over the hard chest bone to work properly rather than over the child’s soft tummy posing a risk of injury.
2. LATCH Mistakes
Lately I’ve started noticing that a lot of car seats are installed with both LATCH and the seat belt. Car seats should be installed with either a seat belt or LATCH, not both. When you use both, you subject the seat to the double impact of two restraints which can cause the seat to fail. Using both the belt and LATCH also denies the strap the ability to stretch a bit during impact which then transfers more force to the child. LATCH is only approved up to 48 pounds, after that, a seat belt should always be used. I find that in different cars with different seats, I can get a better install sometimes with the seat belt only and other times with LATCH. Roozle is just over 30 pounds, so we are still allowed to safely use LATCH although with the weight of her seat, we come close to the limit, so I’ve been using the belt lately when I can get a tighter fit.
3. Location Problems
When Roozle was first born we were convinced that the middle seat was the best place for her car seat to be. We had to use a seat belt to be there because our Mazda only has LATCH for the outer back seats. We eventually moved her for some reason and found that we were able to get a MUCH tighter fit in the back passenger side. The middle seat is a good spot for a car seat only IF you can get the best install there. A poorly installed middle seat is not as safe as a well installed outboard seat. Statistically, the middle seat isn’t much safer anyway.
4. Straps Issues
We very often see the straps twisted and too loose. If you can pinch the strap, it’s too loose. And if the straps are twisted, they can’t be tightened properly and don’t allow the force of impact to be evenly distributed as flat seat straps are designed to do. We had a lot of trouble with our Graco seat straps, they twisted all the time and were a pain to fix. We haven’t had that trouble with the Radian or Britax. It may have just been our particular seat though. The straps should be at or below the child’s shoulders for rear facing and at or above for forward facing.
5. Top Tether
For a forward facing seat, the seat has to be tethered. But finding the tethering anchor can be tricky. When we brought Roozle’s seat to our local police station for an installation review, we found out we had the top tether attached to the cargo anchor in our hatchback, not the car seat anchor. Most cargo anchors are only rated to 11 pounds or so, which is certainly not enough to tether a car seat. Check your manual for the right spot. Some cars have a little picture of a car seat on the anchor making it much easier to figure it out. The anchor should be on the seat, not on the floor.
If you aren’t sure you have a good fit with your car seat, take it to a police station and have them show you how to install it properly.
Great thanks to my good friend Estelle, car seat guru, who helped me with this post.
If you’ve ever walked around JP, you’re probably familiar with this picture. An enormous and awesome orange and white cat sleeping in the window of Ivy Insurance on South Street. After years of visiting with this cat through the window, I decided today was the day I was going to find out more about our JP window friend.
I called Ivy Insurance this afternoon. The owner happily told me that my window friend’s name is Ivy. He is a happy 10 year old 25 pound male cat who lives full time at the insurance office. He also told me that Ivy loves visitors, but we already knew that.
Stop by and say hello to Ivy next time you’re walking to Harvest or Polka Dog Bakery. There’s a good chance Roozle will be visiting Ivy with you.
Peace is Every Stepby Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace is every step.
The shining red sun is my heart.
Each flower smiles with me.
How green, how fresh all that grows.
How cool the wind blows.
Peace is every step.
It turns the endless path to joy.
Yay! It’s a Nummy giveaway!
With our original Nummy safe at home, thanks again to the great work by the MBTA just two weeks ago, MiYim has graciously sent us two Nummys! One for Roozle as a backup (she has named her Baby New Nummy) and one to give away here on the blog!
Nummy is really known as Victoria, the organic cotton bunny. The design has changed a bit, her eyes are much happier now, according to Roozle, and “she’s so pinker!” But New Nummy hasn’t been through the wash as much as regular Nummy has.
To enter this contest, just subscribe to lifewithroozle.com.
The subscription box is on the main page of lifewithroozle.com and alongside this post on the top of the right sidebar. Just enter your email address there. You will be entered for the contest and received emails each time a new post is published. You can unsubscribe at any time, of course. If you have any problems, you can email me at lifewithroozle at gmail.com to email me an entry. This isn’t one of those crazy contests with strict, complicated rules.
The contest begins today, Friday June 22 at 6:30 and will run until Monday June 25 at 5:00 pm. Roozle will pick a random winner to be announced at 8pm Monday night. The winner will be notified by email and I will mail Nummy to her new home.
Nummy is so excited for her new home! Good luck!
EDIT: The giveaway winner is JM (and little Ellie too)! Congratulations!
Likes on facebook are not a requirement for this contest, nor do they provide additional entries, but are greatly appreciated!