Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Car Seats for Grandparents

Gratuitous picture of my grandma holding
Caboodle 2. She was 83 in this picture, 88 now.
She never transported my kids in a vehicle
(and no longer drives), but Grampie in the
background has.
I have some great customers. Many of them are grandparents, given my situation right next to the Hospice Society thrift store. There are some awesome and dedicated grandmas (and grandpas) in our community actively caring for grandkids, foster kids, and even surrogate grandkids. I've found most to be very safety conscious - they don't want to be the one responsible for "breaking" the grandkids.

I did a seat check today that really opened my eyes to some of the terrible seat installations that are out there. I didn't take pictures - I was too busy being shocked. Grandma is a sweet, sweet lady and very receptive, thankfully. I went out to check the seat. At first I saw the top tether strap routed around rather than on top of the head rest. No biggie - relatively common mistake. Then I saw it. There was no harness in this seat. The baby (not with Grandma today) is 18 months old. No. No no no no no. Grandma was using the vehicle seat belt to hold the child in the seat, and it wasn't even a seat that was meant to convert to a booster. It gets worse. There was a strange set up of a different seat belt somehow attached to the UAS strap, which was not attached to the seat except for being threaded through the belt path. It was a hot mess.

Grandma, if you see this review - you're awesome for what you do with this little girl and thank you for being so receptive to the advice.

Bless her heart, Grandma immediately sought to rectify the situation when I told her that there was no safe way to use her seat. That baby would be at serious, legitimate risk for death or serious injury in even a minor car accident. I managed to round up a free temporary seat for her (not ideal, but 500% better than what she was using) and installed it this evening.

Again, Grandma - thank you thank you thank you for being so receptive to the advice. 

If your child's grandparents or other older relatives ever transport your children, please PLEASE ensure they are secured safely in the vehicle and Grandma and Grandpa know how to install the seat again should they ever need to. Here are some reasonably priced seats currently available:

  • Cosco/Safety 1st Scenera (currently $72.63 at Walmart), sometimes sells for even less). It only harnesses to 40 lbs, but the price point makes it very accessible for those on a fixed income or those reluctant to shell out the cash for a seat. Rear faces to 40lbs also if you are able to convince the grandparents on extended rear-facing.

  • Evenflo Titan Sport (currently $91.44 at Walmart). Harnesses to 47lbs so will get you further than the Scenera. Only rear faces to 35lbs.

  • Safety 1st Guide 65 (currently $134.67 at Walmart). Harnesses to 40lbs rear facing, 65lbs forward facing with high top harness position.

  • Evenflo Maestro (currently $119.99 at Toys R Us). Harness to 47lbs forward facing, boosters to 100lbs.

There are other cheap seats in the $100-150 range, but they only harness to 40lbs so if you're going for something cheap that will only get you that far, you may as well get the even cheaper Scenera. It's not a safety concern. They are ALL safe and have ALL passed Canadian crash test standards. The safest seat is the one that fits your child, fits your vehicle, fits your budget, and you can use correctly every time.

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