Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tips & Tricks - How to Prevent Someone from "accidentally" unbuckling your child's car seat

You know the sound - the double "click" - the first click is the "oops", and the second click is the person unbuckling their own seat belt.  Oops - I accidentally unbuckled Ella's car seat...

When two seat belts buckle right next to each other, it is very easy to accidentally unbuckle the wrong one first.  Here are a few easy solutions to try and prevent the "oops".

If your vehicle has the lower anchors (LATCH) in the seating position where your child is riding (remember, the center of MOST vehicles does NOT have the lower anchors) AND your child is not too heavy for the lower anchors (most have weight limits - which vary by vehicle & child restraint - but typically 40-48 pounds) - THEN install the car seat using LATCH and no one can accidentally unbuckle the child's car seat.

If you are using the vehicle's seat belt:

If your seat belt and buckle will allow for this (some won't), rotate the buckle (the female end) half a turn before buckling the seat belt.  This way the red release button will be facing in towards the child's car seat instead of tantalizingly sticking out near the other seat belt buckles.

Can't flip the buckle around?  Don't despair.  Here are a few other tricks:

If your child's infant or toddler car seat came with shoulder strap covers that velcro on/off, you may have already noticed that the shoulder strap covers were too long to allow you to keep the chest clip in the proper place - and most annoyingly of all, the shoulder strap covers tend to make the harness straps twist.  Here is a great way to REPURPOSE a seemingly useless item (as having them on actually makes things more UNcomfortable for the child as now there is more sticking into the side of their neck).  Once you are done installing the car seat, slip one shoulder strap cover behind the vehicle's seat buckle, and the other in front of the seat belt buckle - velcro them together and now you have "hidden" the red release button.
The RED button showing is the seat belt buckle for the person sitting NEXT TO the child's car seat.

Perhaps the person sitting next to the child's car seat is a 6 year old in a booster who just has really sticky fingers and the shoulder strap cover trick just isn't enough of a deterrent.  The solution is a disposable plastic or paper cup - or even a plastic yogurt container (6-8oz size).  Make a vertical slit in the cup going all the way from the top to the bottom.  Next, cut out the bottom of the cup.  Now your cup is like a tube with a slit - place the cup around the vehicle's seat belt buckle and secure the cup closed with a piece of tape.  Do NOT put tape on the vehicle's seat belt or the buckle itself.  Now Mr. Sticky Fingers can't push the wrong button (well, at least not the seat belt release button - I'm sure he's good at pushing other buttons...)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bubble Bum - the most innovative backless booster you've ever seen

The Bubble Bum is an incredibly innovative new booster seat that will arrive in the US April 2011 - it is already wildly popular in Europe.  The Car Seat Lady is super excited about it as I think it will eliminate many of the barriers to booster seat use - in a way that no other booster seat does.

What makes it so GREAT?
    • Weighs just 1 pound!
    • Great for playdates, travel, taxis & rental cars - anytime you need to take a booster
    • INFLATES in seconds to its regular size, but quickly deflates to fit in a child's tiny backpack
    • Unlike other boosters which are bulky pieces of plastic (even if they weigh only 5 pounds), this one is compact enough that you have no excuse to not bring the booster with your child for EVERY trip (even just a short taxi ride from the airport...)
    • Until now, the Nania High Ride was the narrowest booster on the US market at 14.5 inches - but the Bubble Bum is just 12.5 inches wide!
    • With smaller, more fuel efficient cars becoming the primary family vehicle, the need for a narrow booster has never been greater.
    • Without "arm rests" like other booster seats, it will fit in smaller spaces where other boosters won't (think trying to fit 3 kids across the back seat)
    • Many kids find it hard to buckle themselves into traditional boosters as the arm rests block their view of the seat belt buckle - this booster will give them more independence
    • Note: the "arm rests" on other boosters are to prevent the lap belt from sliding up into the child's abdomen - the Bubble Bum uses innovative belt guides on the side of the booster to accomplish this same goal, but without bulky arm rests
  • FUN
    • A large focus group of school kids picked the fun purple color scheme
    • Since it doesn't look like other boosters, your child may not fight as much about riding in it
    • At $30, you can afford to have one for playdates, one for grandma's car, another for the babysitter's car...

Who can use it: It is appropriate for kids age 4 and up who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds.

The fine print:
The Car Seat Lady received this Bubble Bum booster for free - but is in no way affiliated with Bubble Bum and is not paid in anyway for this blog post. 
Why the glowing review?  We simply think this may be the best thing since sliced bread (well, for boosters at least).  There are many barriers to booster seat use - convenience, cost, portability, lack of space in the vehicle to name a few - and this booster addresses them all in a way no other seat does.  Therefore, we think this booster has the chance to keep many kids safer as we think kids will be more likely to have this booster with them when they need it (the ride to the airport, the taxi in NYC, the last minute playdate, etc).