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  1. #1
    CPS Technician
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    Oct 2006
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    Question Question for techs...CPST course too basic?

    Does anyone else feel like the CPST course is too basic? In my class of 14 students, I was the only one who knew anything about CPS (beyond "children should use them") before taking the course. Many of the others in my class took a long time getting the basic concepts down and I know that several missed many questions on the final test (got enough right to pass, but obviously still were confused about some points) and I caught a couple new techs giving out wrong info at our check up event at the end of the course. I felt pretty comfortable at the end of the week, but the more I read this board, the more I realize I don't know! I am spending hours a day reading and researching and learning things I didn't learn in the course. I knew quite a bit about CPS before I took the course so I am wondering about those that took the course because their employer said they had to and came into it knowing nothing and won't actively seek to learn more now that the course is over.

    I keep reading stories of "a tech told me this" and it's wrong information. A friend asked me a few days ago to help her figure out how to use the RF tether on her Britax seat. She asked another tech that she knows and the tech told her that she had never heard of Britax and never heard of tethering RF.

    What are your thoughts on this?
    Alicia, Mom & CPST
    Taylor, 7yo, 49lbs, Graco TB
    Sidney, 5yo, 47lbs, Graco TB
    : Stella, 2yo, 28lbs, RF Britax MA
    Lucy, 2-2-10, Chicco Keyfit 30

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician TXDani's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
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    I thought my class just scraped the surface of what CPST's need to know. My instructors were ignorant to many things that I knew from this board and definitely did not support extended rf'ing! They only mentioned it because I brought it up and only said "yes rf'ing is safer but most parents won't be interested in it and it is their choice" WTH?!?! They also made no mention of keeping kids in 5 pt harness over the 4yr/40lb limit. For instance when we did an activity where we were given the age and weight of a child and had to pick the correct seat for them I choose to put my 4 year, 48 lb child in a Britax Marathon and they said I was correct but a booster might have been a more appropriate choice. Again WTH?!?!

  4. #3
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    RF tethering was not mentioned until I said something & then it was shot down with unsupported, emotionally-based assumptions. When discussing options for lap only belt vehicles, I mentioned the EZOn KidY/86Y & was shot down because "Parents think they're straight jackets" Even if some do, some does not equal ALL + it is an option that exists which costs much less than retrofitting a shoulder belt.... However, after a while I discussed the matter with the state coordinator who took it into account for the instructors review meeting.

  5. #4
    CPS Fanatic mominabigtruck's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    West Central OH
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    Well I'm not a tech but I like to think I'm pretty well informed and when I took my seats to the carseat check at walmart to get them inspected after I just bought two new britaxs, a boulevard and husky. I was told that he had never seen seats like that before and he thought that my 4.5 yo was a little old to still be in a carseat. Can you believe that????

  6. #5
    TraceyS/FL
    Guest
    My class was very well taught - even to the people in it that didn't know a lot to start with, learned it. But I credit my instructor "team" for that - i could not have had a better one.

    LOL but not everyone has Stephanie Tombrello and Cheryl Kim of Safety Belt Safe teaching, which was a great honor!

    Sob.... i want to be a tech again.... (I blew my ACL out when i needed to renew and couldn't do a check).

  7. #6
    CPS Technician
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    NEB
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    I think my course (3+ years ago) did a good job of teaching many concepts (crash dynamics, various seat belt systems, basic principles, and overall knowledge about CPS). There's a TON of material and in a limited amount of time decisions have to be made as to what it the priority info.

    Techs come with a wide range of intellilect,academic skills, and background knowledge and that also presents a teaching challenge - have to attempt to get EVERYONE to the same level of knowledge. When I took the "Safe Travel for All Children" course, one of my instructors (and a state Safe Kids coordinator - very knowledgable) was in that class. She had virtually no knowledge of special education/disabilities/syndromes and it was a challenge to quickly teach her THAT field so she had some framework to which to attach the "special needs" issues.

    At the same time, 32 hours is not enough to learn/remember/use everything there is to know AND much has changed in the past 3 years (LATCH, extended RF, extended harness and increased age/weight for required CR use laws in many states).

    I think this is one reason they have shifted to the CEU's - to attempt to keep techs up to date and current. This is a difficult challenge as the products, laws, and "best practices" are constantly changing and vary from state to state and country to country. Remember too, that while we discuss extended harnessing on this board, it hasn't made it to NHSTA or into the Safe Kids curriculum.

    I've stated before, I'd rather spend my energy/investment making sure that all kids have a minimum of safety rather than a few having the best possible. That may be the mind set of instructors as well. They are looking at "Joe Public" and recognizing that they must work within the 'confines' of what is available readily/locally. Most people are NOT going to do extensive research and are not prepared to buy a product that costs 2-3 x's what a "similar" item costs at the local big box store.

  8. #7
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    I thought it was very basic. I didn't know some of the stats, I didn't know a lot about NHTSA and TREAD and the Haddon Matrix, all that stuff. But when it came to carseats, how they work, what they do, where they're good, placement, correct for child, I had it. My instructors mentioned the AAP's recommendations, and then one of them simply came out and said that you should turn a child when they start talking. Stupid woman. The instructor I asked about high headrests behind the Apex 65 had no idea what I was talking about and said it was a high back booster, you don't need headrests. I learned far more here about individual carseats and placement and such than I ever would have learned in that short class. However, I did learn a lot about hands on things that this board couldn't teach me. You could all explain to me a dozen times how a belt shortener works, but I couldn't do it without a seatbelt in front of me. Same thing with a locking clip. Plus I'd only installed Britaxes and the Radian before this. So the playing with different seats helped a lot. But otherwise, it was cake. I did the test in 25 minutes and got a 96. Others were still stressing out all the way to the end. They were the ones who were there because they had to be and knew nothing about carseats before, during, or after the class.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 61", 99#, seatbelt
    laine 9/16/09, 46", 54#, Diono Monterey, Chicco KidFit Zip Air
    in a 2015 BMW M235i, and my 2011 Mercedes E350 wagon


  9. #8
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipper68 View Post
    "Joe Public" and recognizing that they must work within the 'confines' of what is available readily/locally. Most people are NOT going to do extensive research and are not prepared to buy a product that costs 2-3 x's what a "similar" item costs at the local big box store.
    Very true, but too often this appears to sway in the direction of dissuading those parents who actually do want to research seats beyond the confines of locality from doing so - I've seen & heard of some techs (I'm guessing those without much experience & those who were merely required to be in the course without having developed a desire for it) tell families that FF at the minimum age is safest, that emergency egress is more important than precautionary safety measures or that a locking clip must always be used with a RF seat installed with ALR belt ... things which do have a certain degree of validity, but are poorly stated & lack the most basic concept of all: check the manuals. Even if we're not to recommend a specific seat for a particular vehicle, giving interested families information on current options avaliable within and/or outside of locale is not too much to ask; unrealistic during mass events yet highly possible in private appointments.

    That being said, I did learn valuable things in my course & would certainly not have passed with as high a score as I did without the course - I would not know that installing a top tether anchor can help with seatbelts that are forward of the seat bite, for instance. The great thing is that every person comes from their own individual experiences & hopefully more diversity will exist within the passionate CPSafety world to create more fits of personality between instructors & students / technicians & families to better support the spread of knowlege & proper use

  10. #9
    CPS Technician stayinhomewithmy6's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
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    I had a friend of mine recently ask me why they don't promote extended rear facing at our local car seat checks (once a month) put on by the fire dept. I told her I honestly don't know, but I think they should start! I (wrongly I guess) assumed that it would be a topic in CPS classes and that all techs would know the benefits of extended RF, so I'm finding this thread particularly interesting now!
    SAHM to my silly six: X (12, seatbelt), R (11, seatbelt), E (9, Evenflo Amp),
    Z (6, Frontier 85 in booster mode), G (4, FF TFP) and M (2, RF Pavilion)

  11. #10
    CPS Technician
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    Dec 2005
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    Nebraska
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    There is a lot to know in such a short time. I had a hard time getting that week worked out w/ daycare etc, I can't imagine making it longer. Those who are doing it for work though, it wouldn't bother them. I tend tot hink those of us who don't do it for work, often have a better grasp of everything b/c we enjoy doing it and often have kids this age etc. A lot of people in my class didn't have any kids or their kids were too old to use carseats/boosters.

    I've had the priviledge of having several parents turn their kids back rfing (over 1 and 20#) after I've talked to them about it. I do know some techs who it's never even mentioned that they can go back though, they just assume they want them ffing and don't mention it. I ALWAYS do and I'm lucky to be able to use my kids as an example since Evan is still rfing at 23 mos and AJ was almost 3 before he HAD to turn.

    I too was one of the lucky ones w/ a GREAT teching team, I couldn't have asked for a better team. We had all (w/ the exception of 1 person) pediatric nurses and cops, so they've seen the worst of the worst as far as car crashes go and were so up to date w/ everything. They did say rfing till 18 mos, but obviously that's another bare min and most can go longer than that. They too were a little thrown when I mentioned the Apex needing a headrest, but it kind of got glossed over. I wish the idea of READING THE MANUAL was pushed more though w/ a seat you don't know. I hadn't had to do this till recently and I was glad I did and dind't just install it w/out knowing. I've had to help several techs w/ installs and rfing tethers b/c they didn't bother to read the manual on how to install the seat. Ugh! Anyways, I'm sure we could all go on and on.

    The last check I did, I got to work w/ a lady that had just graduated (it was the check you have to do to graduate fully) and I think it really helped her. She said it did anyways. lol I think it would be great if we could have 1 on 1 like that at all the graduating tech checks so they can learn from people who have been doing this for a while, but it'd be near impossible to get 25 old techs to pair together. That's sad, b/c obviously there are that many techs here, there were 27 in my class alone and I know there were more before me. lol
    Jennifer, Special Needs CPST, peds nurse, and CSFTL Admin mom to:
    AJ-13 (five steps), Evan-11 (nbb),
    Ilana-9 (nbb) ,
    Olivia-7 (hbb), and
    Unity-3 (rf and ff)

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