Question Techs & Instructors, What do you do when...

catfeet

New member
I have a big question about appropriate use. I appologize for not putting this into the technical forum, but I've registered but never been able to gain access...I just can't get in. So, here goes.


A little background first. I'm the admin for the state of Vermont's car seat program. I work directly with our lead instructor and we supply all of the state's fitting stations and some hospitals with seats. This comes to around 40-50 different locations at any given time, with approximatley 15 of those being hospitals.

Recently, we've had a number of nurses calling in with the same problem. Very small babies that don't fit in either the seat their parents own or the program seat, which is currently the Nania Baby One, which has a Birth - 22lb weight limit. These children tend to be either preemies going home from the NICU or simply very small full term infants. They also tend to be light weight, in the 3-4 lb range, which necessitates using the program seat, due to the birth weight limit. Sometimes, they will fit into their parent's seat for height, but not weight.

When I say they don't fit into the program seat, I mean that the straps are above their shoulders and sometimes, in extreme cases, (we had one yesterday) the leg straps are on the stomach and rib cage rather than where they should be, even when padded with receiving blankets and wash clothes.

These children have all either passed the car seat challenge or have not had any respiratory issues, not necessitating a prescriptive car bed. They also tend to be born to parents who cannot afford to buy a car seat that would fit them appropriately and, being that it's Vermont, we've limited access to stores beyond Walmart...some places don't even have those, it can be up to a 1.5 hour drive to the nearest shopping center, and for income limited folks, that's just not realistic.

So, here is the question(s)...We have to let the parents choose to misuse, with lots of documentation. Best use says the babies need to fit for height and weight but given the avalible seats, that is not happening in the real world. So, in which direction should we advise them to misuse? Height or weight? What do you do and why?

And, does anyone know if there are any institutional seats beyond the Nania seats and the Graco Assura (which has been discontinued) that will fit tiny infants? I know that the Dorel Onboard is planned to come out with an institutional model, but that's not happened yet and it will need to be in the $30-35 range for it to be a feasible option for our program.

Any thoughts in a direction to go on either issue?

Thanks,
Ann
 
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Gypsy

Senior Community Member
When talking about under the weight limit, I'd lean far towards fitting in the harness over being heavy enough for the seat.

A baby who fits by weight but has too much wiggle room in the harness isn't going to be safe.

A baby who fits securely in the harness is still going to be safely secured even though they are a pound or two too small.
 

Maedze

New member
:yeahthat:

Harness fit is key here. Weight limit is less crucial. The harness/seat are not going to fail because the baby weighs LESS, see? Overall heights is also unimportant. The baby should be in whichever seat overall FITS him better.

As an aside, with most infant seats, the hip straps will lie on the abdomen even in large, term newborns.
 

Judi

CPST/Firefighter
I really didn't like the nania. We made the decision the not do infant seats as our program seat, but Sceneras instead.
 

catfeet

New member
So what do you do when the harness doesn't fit well and there's no other option? We're running into this fairly frequently. All we are doing is education and documentation in these instances. Is there something else we _can_ do?

Ann, playing devil's advocate in order to find out what other folks do
 

firemomof3

New member
I know that here in NH your not allowed to leave the hospital unless you have a car seat that fits your baby. My girlfriend's dh had to go and buy an Evenflo Discovery infant seat because her 4lb. baby wouldn't fit in their Graco Safeseat.
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
*nods* I'm in the height before weight camp. There's only so much you can do for a family. If you can't provide an appropriate seat, they need to.
 

Qarin

New member
(not a tech, probably shouldn't be chiming in)

Surely the priority in misfitting would be height-fit before weight-fit, but if you don't get either one, then my understanding has been that, while it's not ideal, having the harness straps too high is not so awful, because the baby ramping up in the seat will still be stopped by the harness (assuming here that the straps aren't too wide apart- possibly a very big assumption) before the baby's head can clear the top of the seat and strike something in the car. I would expect that the most-right thing to do is to pad the crotch area and roll towels on either side of the baby to keep him centered, and hope for the best.
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
Yes, but there's the problem of getting a tight fit. If you can't tighten the straps enough, the seat shouldn't be used, period, and many seats won't tighten enough for a baby that small.

I'll be interested to see whether the Coccoro fits 3 lb. babies tightly when it's released with the lower weight limit next year.
 

mylittlet

Senior Community Member
We only give scerenas/titans. We give seats out at the fit station, so moms are still prego. So, I don't know how all our baby's are fitting. We are running out of money. We ask for $20 for a combo/convertible and less for boosters. Parents are coming in with no money even after we have told them about the donation. What do we do? We lost thousands of $ in grants this year.

We have one tech at one of the hospitals. We had a mom call our carseat phone asking for an infant seat. She wasn't happy with the convertible our tech gave her at the hospital. But we just can't afford to give parents 2 carseats during a child's first year of life.
 

Judi

CPST/Firefighter
Well, sorry, but an infant seat is a luxury item. New moms will be upset, but tough luck. We are offering a safe seat, that will last years. Oh, and we charge $30. They pay prior to coming to the appoinment. We get our money.
 

bella_1818

New member
(not a tech, and slightly off the fit topic :))

I work as a fieldtrip coordinator for a private school. Most of the parents are very affluent and already own car seats. I’ve been able to beg our car seat inspection technicians to come to the school and put on a short presentation and then check the parent’s seats. During the presentation, the presenter let the parents know that a $30 donation would provide a seat for a needy child, and a lot of parents do make donations. Just a thought.
 

crunchierthanthou

New member
I appologize for not putting this into the technical forum, but I've registered but never been able to gain access...I just can't get in.

Did you request access? It looks like you have the appropriate info in your profile. Now you just need to send a PM to Admin. You can also add car-seat.org to your affiliations in your Safe Kids profile.

Here's the thread regarding technician access - http://car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=26521

once you are able to view the technical professionals area, you can select that title. Go to the group membership area of your user cp to do that.

:)

Well, sorry, but an infant seat is a luxury item. New moms will be upset, but tough luck. We are offering a safe seat, that will last years.

nodding. It's funny how often they come up with the money to get one on their own when we tell them we don't give out infant seats.
 

catfeet

New member
Yes, I've requested access and posted in the "please help me" forum, but to no avail. I've just updated my SK's affiliation; it was updated before though that update seems to have gone the way of the dodo...I've done it again. I'll PM the admin again that I've done this.

Thanks for the help!
 

Admin

Admin - Webmaster
Yes, I've requested access and posted in the "please help me" forum, but to no avail. I've just updated my SK's affiliation; it was updated before though that update seems to have gone the way of the dodo...I've done it again. I'll PM the admin again that I've done this.

Thanks for the help!

I do not recall having seen a request submitted for technical professional access. It's possible it was accidentally denied or submitted before a forum glitch or some other issue that caused it to be deleted. If you follow the steps in the post linked above and submit a new join request in your User CP as outlined, we will be sure to approve your access within a day or two! Apologies for any inconvenience.
 

catfeet

New member
This was probably a year ago that I originally tried to make it work. I've tried a couple of times since and have just PM'd you again this morning. I know it'll happen eventually! ;)
 

Admin

Admin - Webmaster
Please also follow the steps in the link Crunchierthanthou provided. Then, once you submit a join request, one of the instructors will verify the information at Safe Kids and you should have access within 24-48 hours. Sending a PM is mostly a reminder in case you've followed the other steps and had no response within a few days, and since there was no request pending in the system, there was nothing for me to approve. Usually, we do try to contact a member in regards to missing information before denying a request. If you sent a request by PM or in a post in the past, that might also be why it was overlooked before. Apologies again for any hassle, but we want to keep the process identical for everyone as it makes it fair and also easier for us as well. Thank you!
 

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