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  1. #1
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    is shelf liner totally out now??

    I've been noticing references in a couple of recent threads that shelf liner under seats is no longer recommended.

    e.g. from scaterbabscpst, in a post on 1/28:

    "Shelf liner is no longer recommended at all."

    and someone else said it was no longer recommended by "SK"... I assume this means SafeKids?

    Can anyone elaborate, or link to another thread where this was already discussed? I tried a few search terms, including the obvious "shelf liner" , but nothing definitive came up....

    We don't have shelf liner under any of our seats currently, but I'm curious as to if/why there's been a policy change. I've read some of the previous criticisms that the stuff may make an unacceptable installation appear tighter than it is -- is that the reason? And does 'not recommended' mean that shelf liner is completely gone from the installation inventory, or will it still be used by techs in some circumstances?

    Katrin

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  3. #2
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    Shelf liner can do a couple things- it can give some protection to the vehicle seats and it can add some friction to keep the bottom of a carseat from sliding around on the vehicle seat.

    Those things aren't necessarily bad. The problem is when that extra friction is enough to make it seem like a seat is installed tightly and doesn't move around very much when, in fact, it would otherwise be looser than the "one inch" guideline that is recommended. The friction from the shelf liner is not going to hold the carseat at all in a crash, so it definitely can be a false sense of security.

    I think that the people making up the curriculum for technicians finally caught up to reality and removed the recommendation promoting shelf liner, one or two revisions ago. I am not aware that it is currently prohibited, but this could be a newer recommendation. Shelf liner or other thin layers of a towel or a rubber mat could technically be used without any risk, but you really have to make sure that the carseat can be installed tightly without it, first. Using shelf liner should not be an issue with a booster, since the booster isn't installed like a harnessed child restraint. It might help keep the booster from slipping around while in use.

    I note that the current tech manual still includes these as part of an inspection station's materials, "Foam swim ‘noodles,’ thin towels, slip guard (i.e. rubber shelf liner)"

  4. #3
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    I only took the class last Ocotober and my instructor noted that shelf liner was no longer recommended.

    I don't think it's necessarily bad or dangerous in and of itself, just that it was being used inappropriately.

  5. #4
    Moderator - CPST Instructor
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    While in Canada we don't have guideline as such to discourage using shelf liner, but another tech had said that they started noticing the shelf liner 'melted' onto the leather seats and leaving marks. Therefore, I personally now start not to use shelf liner for this reason, unless I cannot get a tight installation w/o it, but then I do have to tell mom/dad of the possibility.
    Tam
    Certified Canadian CRS Technician-Instructor

    DD#1, Aug 1999
    DS, May 2001
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  6. #5
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    Quote Originally Posted by CPSDarren View Post
    Shelf liner can do a couple things- it can give some protection to the vehicle seats and it can add some friction to keep the bottom of a carseat from sliding around on the vehicle seat.

    Those things aren't necessarily bad. The problem is when that extra friction is enough to make it seem like a seat is installed tightly and doesn't move around very much when, in fact, it would otherwise be looser than the "one inch" guideline that is recommended. The friction from the shelf liner is not going to hold the carseat at all in a crash, so it definitely can be a false sense of security.
    I did a quick look-see through my instructor's manual and didn't see anything addressing shelf liner. Just because it's missing (I may have missed it in my run-through) doesn't mean it's no longer recommended. I wouldn't consider it a misuse if it's used properly.

    I don't use it any more because I haven't run into a situation where I need it. I've learned enough techniques to get around the need to use it. The problem that I've seen IRL with it is that techs were grabbing it every time they had a leather vehicle seat--it was automatic. We had to work hard to retrain that thought process in our own techs.

    I live in a very hot climate during the summer and I haven't heard of any problems with it melting into a nasty mess. In fact, I've removed some shelf liner from under seats that had clearly been there for several years with no problems. Maybe it's a combination of humidity (which we don't have) and the heat that creates the yuck?

  7. #6
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    In one of the sessions at Lifesavers last year (sorry, I don't recall which one) the speaker said that shelf liner is no longer recommended because it gives a falsely secure installation and can melt into some seats.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  8. #7
    CPST Instructor azgirl71's Avatar
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    Quote Originally Posted by skaterbabscpst View Post
    In one of the sessions at Lifesavers last year (sorry, I don't recall which one) the speaker said that shelf liner is no longer recommended because it gives a falsely secure installation and can melt into some seats.
    I am guessing it was probebly Kerry Chausmer who said this since she works on the cirriculum. I just emailed her to see what she says.
    Hi Kerry,
    My instructors have told me in the past you are a great SK contact. I figure you would have the answer.

    It used to be acceptable to use shelfline when installing a CRS. I have since learned it is not. I was told this was told to techs last year at Lifesavers. Can you elaborate more on this. Several techs are wondering.

    Thanks
    Lisa
    I will post waht I find out.
    Lisa - CPSTI
    Mom to Tucker, 5 years old, 29.2 lbs, 39.25 inches tall who has a variety of different carseats to ride in.
    My new grandson is my signature photo

  9. #8
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    There is also this I found on a Google search, upon which anything you hear from the Curriculum committee is probably based:

    http://www.ctsafekids.com/technicianreports/jan2004.pdf

  10. #9
    CPST Instructor azgirl71's Avatar
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    Quote Originally Posted by CPSDarren View Post
    There is also this I found on a Google search, upon which anything you hear from the Curriculum committee is probably based:

    http://www.ctsafekids.com/technicianreports/jan2004.pdf
    Great link, Darren!
    Lisa - CPSTI
    Mom to Tucker, 5 years old, 29.2 lbs, 39.25 inches tall who has a variety of different carseats to ride in.
    My new grandson is my signature photo

  11. #10
    CPS Technician crunchierthanthou's Avatar
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    My understanding is the same as everyone else's. If the parent feels there must be something under the seat (like a towel or shelf liner), be sure it can be properly installed first and that you're not just masking a bad install.

    FWIW, shelf liner is no longer directly addressed in the curriculum, but it's still in the appendix on the list of items needed at a fitting station.

  12. #11
    CPST Instructor azgirl71's Avatar
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    Quote Originally Posted by crunchierthanthou View Post
    My understanding is the same as everyone else's. If the parent feels there must be something under the seat (like a towel or shelf liner), be sure it can be properly installed first and that you're not just masking a bad install.

    FWIW, shelf liner is no longer directly addressed in the curriculum, but it's still in the appendix on the list of items needed at a fitting station.
    Even if you were able to get a good install before using the shelf liner once you put it under the car seat it changes the way it will grip during the install. Giving the false sence of a good install as mentioned in Darren's link.

    I think the new manuals was already been printed when they told the Lifesaver's attendees this. LS was in March and the new manuals were updated for April 2007.

    My instructor do mention it was no longer an acceptable method even though it was on the list. I know they talk to Kerry a lot, so I want to see what she will say. They said a towel was fine.

    I actually had only known about shelf liner from other techs online. It was not until I mentioned something in a post that I learned what was told to the LS attendees.
    Lisa - CPSTI
    Mom to Tucker, 5 years old, 29.2 lbs, 39.25 inches tall who has a variety of different carseats to ride in.
    My new grandson is my signature photo

  13. #12
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    Re: is shelf liner totally out now??

    this is why i love towels. they are not grippy and at least on my car, a towel doesn't affect the quality of my install with or without it. besides, crumbs and liquids fall right through the holes in shelf liner. why on earth would anyone want to protect their seats with something full of holes?
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

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