WTH! I can't believe my eyes

selinajean

New member
Folks, I'm told the author has been invited to view this thread. Can't do much or say much now that I'm leaving work and on my way home. Will post more later.

Please stick to helpful facts and refer back to the original article as much as possible. Thanks.


He has viewed it. If everyone could post their very specific points as to what was incorrect, misleading, etc in the column that would be great. He feels that there is just a lot of :thumbsdown: here but no specifics. So let's be specific!


He has also just informed me that this installation service consists of techs who are trained to do installs. After the install is done a TC official comes and inspects it. Can someone please confirm that this is correct/incorecct? I can not dream that TC, a government agency, would put their name and therefore their liability on the installation of any car seat. I am also not aware of a training program which will train a person to professionally install car seats. To my knowledge, training programs in Canada will train us to check seat installs, answer questions, problem solve and educate the parents on how to keep their child safe.
 
ADS

Admin

Admin - Webmaster
Maybe we should write a general letter and have a representative of the board email them?

Anyone is welcome to send a letter to the editor or author on their own behalf. Please do not do so on behalf of Car-Seat.Org. Other organizations may be interested in responding to such articles, like this form from Safety Belt Safe USA. You are also welcome to invite members of the media to a discussion on our forums, but consider that an onslaught of comments finding the content of the article to be shocking or incorrect will not do much to sway an author without solid support from published studies and recommendations from major organizations or governmental authorities.

While everyone is free to share their own opinions about the article, if you contact the author, you may wish to consider what in the article you dislike and don't respond to it in the same manner. A response loaded with well-referenced facts that contradict the article in a point-by-point manner is much more likely to be accepted than one with sensational language and hand-waving comments. The latter types of responses are likely to be simply dismissed and will also appear no more or less credible than any errors you claim are in the original article.

Also, unless you know that this article is in the public domain or have permission from the author or publisher, I ask that you edit your posts such that they do not include a majority of the text from the original article. You may certainly include a few quotes to which you want to repsond, but do not include more than a small portion of the entire article if it is copyrighted and being re-posted as "fair use". Otherwise, such reproduction will be deleted entirely in the very near future.

Thank you!
 

keri1292

Well-known member
How about some practical real life situations?

Your car breaks down on a trip. You have no idea how to install the child restraint in the rental car. What do you do?

Grandma goes for a ride with you and keeps her favorite grandbaby company in the back seat. When she reaches over to unbuckle her seatbelt she inadvertently unbuckles the child restraint. What do you do?

Car is in the shop. Mechanic needs to remove the car seat. What do you do?

Darling child vomits all over the seat. It seeps down into cracks, buckles and onto your vehicle seat. What do you do?

Learning how to install your child's car seat is just part of being a parent. There are a few tricky installs, but 95% of installs should be easily achievable by parents. Read the manual, read your vehicle manual, install according to directions. Go to Garry and redo the install for him. A good, responsible tech knows that an installation service does not benefit the child. If the parent has to attempt the install due to one of the above scenarios and the family is in a crash on the way to see Garry, what good is that installation service?

There are very rarely parents who can't install due to medical reasons, but your average parent can install their child's car seat. There are even installation videos available online just by googling car seat installation videos.

I think your next article should be tackling the car seat challenge and letting Garry teach YOU how to install the child restraint as he should have long ago. ;)
 

hipmaman

Moderator - CPST Instructor
He has viewed it. If everyone could post their very specific points as to what was incorrect, misleading, etc in the column that would be great. He feels that there is just a lot of :thumbsdown: here but no specifics. So let's be specific!

Good to know but I'll be honest to say that I started this thread as a 'vent' rather than an rebuttal or info-gathering sort of post to be useful to him or anyone. I didn't pre-face the thread by saying to stick to the article and provide useful facts. That's my error :(

My intention was to send a formulated response with what I would hope to influence both the author and Littlefield's views on a few things that have improved, changed, updated, etc.


He has also just informed me that this installation service consists of techs who are trained to do installs. After the install is done a TC official comes and inspects it. Can someone please confirm that this is correct/incorecct? I can not dream that TC, a government agency, would put their name and therefore their liability on the installation of any car seat. I am also not aware of a training program which will train a person to professionally install car seats. To my knowledge, training programs in Canada will train us to check seat installs, answer questions, problem solve and educate the parents on how to keep their child safe.

That might be the case in Kingston where there might be a unit with a volunteer who works for TC or it could be an isolated time where there was actually a visiting TC official. I don't know any particulars. But I know that it is not a requirement to have a TC official presented at a clinic to sign off any installation or inspection.

Here are what the roles and responsibilities of a CRST.
- to conduct/supervise specialized programs such as carseat clinics, recycle/loaner programs, selective Traffic Enforcement Program, where applicable
- to be a resource to his/her community
- to be able to: select and secure CRS correctly, organize and co-ordinate clinics, train volunteers to work at clinics, train people to work an info line, utilize the resources to review relevant info
- to stay up to date by being involved in clinics, visiting retail outlet to review new CRS models, to aware and able to check for recalls, visiting car dealerships to view new vehicle models and assessing how new features may affect the use of CRS, staying in touch with coalition (or CRS forums, groups) to receive updates, etc.

So yeah, it's more than just to install carseats. But there definitely are cases where installation would have to be done for the parent(s) like when a very pregnant mom shows up with kids in tow or when it actually would take the strength of 2 techs and all their tricks to get the seat installed safely for the ride home, etc. It depends on the unit and its policy but in general, we do encourage parents to be involved and be educated so he/she can make informed decisions and be able to help themselves. We don't turn anyone away be it check or install, kwim?
 

selinajean

New member
We don't turn anyone away be it check or install, kwim?

Of course. It was just made to sound as if the techs there were not trained as CRSTs, but rather as professional Car Seat Installation Technicians. While there are cases when the install needs to be done by the CRST (as you gave examples of above) this is not the normal situation and I don't think that it should be relied on as an intallation service as is being promoted.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Yikes! I'm not even a parent but I make medical decisions (small ones but still, am I going to call the doc every time a kid gets a scrape?) and install car seats for kids in my care! I'm not a medical expert or a car seat expert but I can learn to manage both well enough for day to day functioning!

a scrape is hardly comparable to a child's safety in a car!

I know of a few families where the install is a Dad job, because the Mom says that she is not strong enough to install the car seat. BS! You gave birth, you can install a car seat. I think that for most people they just haven't been taught how to do it properly, so they get frustrated and pass the job to someone else.

Wow, sounds like your husband is great help! Again, comparing apples and oranges!! What is wrong with you people; giving birth to installing car seat...hmm.

When I saw the name Jan, I thought it would be a female author too. Now that I know that the author is male, I unfortunately am less shocked by the fact that he has never installed a car seat. I know that it is a stereotype, but I feel that this is one of the things that the mom takes care of in most families.....at least where I live.
I am now curious if Jan is married. If so, is his wife in the same position of not knowing how to install a car seat on her own? Does she rely on her husband who then relies on a stranger? Or does she secretly go out and re-install the seats herself after he comes home from the clinic? ;)

Yes, Jan is married. I am his wife. I think all of you are WAY too in to this whole car seat thing in general..wow. We've had 3 car seats installed at these clinics. What is wrong with making sure it's done right and learning from the experts? There are several experts on site, including people from Transport Canada. We both learned how to install them, but I let Jan deal with the car seats since I do so much more for our daughter!
And so many of you talk about this "misinformation" but what exactly are you all referring to? Jan is not an expert, Gary is who is quoted! Also note that HIS contact info is a the bottom of the COLUMN not article (please look up difference). Why don't you go to the source of this "misinformation."
 
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Twinklefae

New member
My main quibbles with the article are the fact that it advocates parents never learning to install their own car seat and pushes 3 in 1's which, while safe and great seats for many children, are not the be-all and end-all. They can also be a tricky install for parents, which leads back to my first point.

On Easter Sunday, my DS vomited up all his chocolate eggs just as we were pulling into my sister's house. I can't imagine what we would have done if we didn't know how to install our own car seat. And, actually, never mind install - knowing how to take the cover off and how to care for the straps was fairly important too.

CRST's are definitely instrumental in many car seat installations. I like to think that we do the hard part for many parents - finding out which combination of seating position, attachment device (seatbelt or UAS?) and other props (pool noodle? 3?) are needed. Once that is figured out, the parent only needs to copy what we did, which isn't usually that hard.

What it basically comes down to is the fact that there aren't enough CRST's in the country to install every single car seat out there. So, part of a CRST's job is to teach parents to do it themselves. And Garry Littlefield is not fulfilling that part of his job.
 

mommycat

Well-known member
Thanks for the reminder on not including the original work. I edited my post above to reduce content of original article. Please let me know if I need to edit further.

FWIW, I was not particularly upset by the article but it was disappointing to see some of the information (including the TWO ringing endorsements of 3in1s, which just aren't what they are hyped up to be, and lacking any explanation of other options) and frustrating to think that a lot of parents would read it and decide that they are clearly right to throw up their hands and never even open the box or so much as flip through the manual to try to understand their seat because if this published, public figure of a columnist can't do it, then how can they possibly do so? :( Clearly there was also a lot of great information included. I really don't think that the fact of it being a column and not a news story is not a perfect excuse. A lot of people follow columns and put a lot of faith in them because, as already mentioned, they are in a NEWSpaper, and may even retain a lot more of the information because a column in casual language is often a lot more accessible, easier to follow and digest, and "catchier" with its message.
 

sparkyd

Active member
He has also just informed me that this installation service consists of techs who are trained to do installs. After the install is done a TC official comes and inspects it. Can someone please confirm that this is correct/incorecct? I can not dream that TC, a government agency, would put their name and therefore their liability on the installation of any car seat. I am also not aware of a training program which will train a person to professionally install car seats. To my knowledge, training programs in Canada will train us to check seat installs, answer questions, problem solve and educate the parents on how to keep their child safe.

I think we're getting into some semantics here, and Mr. Littlefield may have made some off-the-cuff comments about TC involvement without really thinking about what he was saying. I don't have any first-hand knowledge about what goes on in Kingston, but I can comment based on what goes on here in Ottawa, which is very close (geographically) to Kingston. Given that TC is based here (Ottawa), there are TC employees that are techs and and instructors/instructor-trainers, but most are not. The way we do clinics here is that a "regular" tech works on the install with the parent(s), and the final installation is checked by an instructor or instructor-trainer. It is this latter person that "signs-off" on the install. We fill out paperwork, a copy of which is ultimately sent to TC for statistical purposes. Given the involvement of TC employees in our organization, one might mistakenly conclude that TC is directly involved. I can say that in Ottawa no TC employee is ever acting in the capacity of a TC employee at a clinic. I am also relatively confident that doing so would be a big "no-no". It may be that a TC employee does the "sign-offs" of installs in Kingston, but I doubt that that person is there AS a TC employee. They would be there as a senior tech or instructor or whatever.

Likewise, TC does not offer a training program. Techs here are trained with the St. John Ambulance curriculum, same as everywhere else.

As for the references to an "installation service", I think that is probably the terminology of the author, since that is how he uses the service. We have repeat visitors to our clinics here that treat us as an installation service, which we most certainly are not. We have to ban people from coming to clinics after awhile so that they get the message that they have to pay attention and do it themselves. If they are faced with something really tricky we would still help, obviously, but generally we expect people to learn how to do it and look after themselves from then on.
 

mommycat

Well-known member
I have to be honest and admit that I used the local checks here in a similar manner, partly because the checks tended to be rushed and the "let the parent install last" model didn't usually get applied. Parents who wanted to learn, listened and learned, while those who wanted to tune out and chat with the health nurse or chase their kids, didn't. I would read my manual, install my seat, and go to have it checked because I had no confidence in myself. I ended up at 3-4 checks, with more than one vehicle each. And after the first check where I mostly learned the basics, I was doing it right but still didn't believe in myself. (Even though I was so much of a geek that I was telling the techs that the manual said so and so and they should read it because I wanted to make sure it was right... :eek: ) After hearing enough times that I should be there installing seats and not getting them checked, I signed up for the course. One of my goals as a tech is to give people the knowledge and the confidence to do it themselves, so that they don't have to feel as anxious as I did or have to become "serial seat check junkies". You don't need a degree. You don't need to be particularly strong. Some parents need the help and validation of a seat check, of seeing it done and having someone talk them trough it while they try, but it is my firm belief that if they really want to learn, they will walk away with the ability to do a good job again and again. And hopefully pass that knowledge on.
 

selinajean

New member
Thanks! That's what I was trying to figure out. Does this "installation service" really exist? Is it really backed by TC? I think that maybe something was lost in translation between the clinic and the author, but who knows. Maybe not? Stranger things have happened.

<Removed email body>

Jan, if you are reading YES! By all means, the clinics are wonderful and should be used. BUT, they should be used to teach parents how to do the install themselves. The parent should leave the clinic confident in their ability to secure their child in a motor vehicle. If you leave the clinic as void of knowledge as when you arrived, then it has not served its purpose.
 
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mommycat

Well-known member
:yeahthat:

You won't find us arguing here that parents don't ever need techs. Many of us are even more soundly disappointed in the view some areas have embraced which denouonce checks as superfluous and have actively dicontinued such services in favour of a "population based approach" (or some such label). It was the conviction with which you stated that you never intended to install a seat yourself and that it was always better left to the "professionals" that had most of us on edge...
 

sparkyd

Active member
You won't find us arguing here that parents don't ever need techs.

Exactly. Or else why would I be one? ;) Having a service available to help parents with their seats in invaluable. I actually find it infuriating that the City of Ottawa has no resources whatsoever to help parents with their car seats other than linking to the local volunteer tech organization on their website. They basically say that it's really important that you do it correctly and most most people don't... but they won't help you. They've left that to a group of volunteers that has no resources and is way too small to serve the need that exists in the community. :mad:

That is why the people that do get our help need to learn to do the install themselves, so they don't take spots away from other people that need help.
 

selinajean

New member
Wow, sounds like your husband is great help! Again, comparing apples and oranges!! What is wrong with you people; giving birth to installing car seat...hmm.

I never mentioned my husband. Not sure why you are bringing him into this. I was speaking in general terms about families in this area.
The reference to birth was after I mentioned that many women say that they are not strong enough to install a car seat. I did not say that installing a car seat is like giving birth for goodness sakes. I was saying that if a woman is strong enough to go through the daily tasks of being a woman and a mom, I'm sure she can install a car seat.


Yes, Jan is married. I am his wife. I think all of you are WAY too in to this whole car seat thing in general..wow. We've had 3 car seats installed at these clinics. What is wrong with making sure it's done right and learning from the experts? There are several experts on site, including people from Transport Canada. We both learned how to install them, but I let Jan deal with the car seats since I do so much more for our daughter!
And so many of you talk about this "misinformation" but what exactly are you all referring to? Jan is not an expert, Gary is who is quoted! Also note that HIS contact info is a the bottom of the COLUMN not article (please look up difference). Why don't you go to the source of this "misinformation."

Yeah, we're kind of into car seats here. It is a car seat safety board full of techs after all. It would be scary if we were all bored with the subject. :thumbsup:

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with checking the seats and learning. That is what we are saying. Unfortunately the article states that your husband has never installed a car seat and never will. I have learned now that is not the case but the initial thought by other new parents is going to be that they don't need to learn either because they can just get Garry to do it for them.
 

An Aurora

Senior Community Member
The whole argument against using a seat check as an installation service is the whole "give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime" concept :)
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
Exactly. Or else why would I be one? ;) Having a service available to help parents with their seats in invaluable. I actually find it infuriating that the City of Ottawa has no resources whatsoever to help parents with their car seats other than linking to the local volunteer tech organization on their website. They basically say that it's really important that you do it correctly and most most people don't... but they won't help you. They've left that to a group of volunteers that has no resources and is way too small to serve the need that exists in the community. :mad:

That is why the people that do get our help need to learn to do the install themselves, so they don't take spots away from other people that need help.

This last point is key. Resources are very thin, many programs have been cancelled, many don't approve overtime, some restrict to residents, etc.

On the other hand, while it's ideal for parents to learn to install a seat themselves, having a tech do it is certainly a lot better than leaving the child potentially unsafe. I wouldn't want to discourage a parent from visiting a tech for any reason.

We know it's good for parents to have some knowledge for those times when a tech is unavailable and a child releases a seat or it has to be moved to another vehicle or something. Still, many parents are not confident or believe they don't have the ability to do it correctly at all. After all, it's no surprise where they'd get the idea that they can't do it alone! Not everyone is handy with computers, with home repairs or homeproofing or whatever. Some are too busy with everything else that happens daily and having someone else to do it is the only way it gets done.

Eventually, if the services are overwhelmed, it will only be done for a fee like so many other services. Hopefully that won't happen and techs will continue to be available for anyone who needs their help for any reason!
 

TechnoGranola

Forum Ambassador
Also note that HIS contact info is a the bottom of the COLUMN not article (please look up difference). Why don't you go to the source of this "misinformation."
Not that the average person who wasn't involved in newspapers/magazines etc. would know the difference between a column and an article, but can you please tell me where the web site said this was a column? The url clearly says ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2518903 and at the bottom of the "column" says "Commenting on this article is now closed." So, even if I knew there was a difference between an article and a column (which I didn't know as I am just a newspaper reader and everything in the newspaper is in column format so it's not evident what distinguishes the two types), those bits imply it's an article.
 

hipmaman

Moderator - CPST Instructor
Yes, Jan is married. I am his wife. I think all of you are WAY too in to this whole car seat thing in general..wow. We've had 3 car seats installed at these clinics. What is wrong with making sure it's done right and learning from the experts? There are several experts on site, including people from Transport Canada. We both learned how to install them, but I let Jan deal with the car seats since I do so much more for our daughter!
And so many of you talk about this "misinformation" but what exactly are you all referring to? Jan is not an expert, Gary is who is quoted! Also note that HIS contact info is a the bottom of the COLUMN not article (please look up difference). Why don't you go to the source of this "misinformation."

Welcome to c-s.org :) Yes, we do take CRS matters seriously.

There is nothing wrong with use the service offered, especially to learn and to be informed. But I'll admit that the first thought popped into my head when I read this...

If you're anything like me, you find following the instructions in a booklet about as fun as a root canal. It's about as easy as long division too.

We're on our third car seat and I have yet to install one myself. Nor do I have any intention to install one.

So the general understanding thus far is that there has been no learning or the intent to learn, kwim? We do advocate parents being involved in the process and self-reliance. So the tone of the column struck a wrong note with us here.

Btw, even as a column, your husband is in a position to give positive or negative opinions on certain subject matters. In this case, the column's intention was perhaps to make parents aware of the rare and great service Mr. Littlefield's organisation is offereing, to give his organisation the kuddos for being their to help, etc. However, I feel that the messages given Mr. Littlefield either old-schooled, not up to date, misleading, etc. and your husband seemed to give his perspective along that same line. Had he done a bit more research, he would have stumbled onto some contradictory information and should be able to at least raise the question to the same sources or get, the other side of the story'. I know, I know, he is not a CRS expert but he is writing a colunm/article to the public who would take him at his words.

On the same note, I'll admit that I didn't know it was a column (which is an article of opinions and perspectives) and not a news report (which is an article reporting the news). There was nothing on the site to indicate it was a column or otherwise. All I knew was that it was written in a newspaper. But does it really matter what it is other than the fact that it was probably read by many Kingston residents and more over the internet now.

And I'll eventually get to the misinformation/misleading information when I'm not working :)
 

Evolily

New member
Column or article, some of the key information is just misleading. I don't think this is as much the authors fault as the technician's and the program's.

Rear facing car seats have been shown to be much safer for children under 2 in at least one American study (Canada and the US use *about* the same car seats, sometimes with minor design changes or weight limit differences). A journal in the UK recommended that children ride rear facing until the age of 4- in Sweden they usually practice rear facing until some time between the 4th and 6th birthdays. In the US the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rear facing to the limits of the seat, and has done so for most of the last decade. The physics of rear facing, the fact the crash forces in the most severe crashes are spread across the entire shell of the seat rather than the harness, make it inherently safer. That said, a child in a properly used forward facing seat is safe, just not necessarily as safe as they could be- especially for children under 2.

As stated above, at a check a car seat technician should demonstrate how to install the seat and then help the parent install it. This is partly to avoid liability and partly because all people transporting the child need to know how to install the seat. Seats get unbuckled, cars break down, children have to stay with relatives, etc- there are many situations where not knowing how to install your child's safety seat could be dangerous. Of course, going to a technician is great. Ideally you would go to a technician after trying to install the seat to the best of your ability and after reading the car seat manual as well as the relevant sections of your owners manual. And although in general used car seats are unsafe, if you are getting your seat from a trusted source with a known history and it is not expired you can have a reasonable expectation of safety.

And lastly, 3 in 1 car seats generally make fantastic harness seats while the child fits. On the newer seats many children can make it to an acceptable booster age (at minimum, 4 years and 40 lbs). Some seats then can make acceptable or good boosters. Others, however, do not seem to do the job a booster is suppose to do. Ideally boosters position the adult seat belt on a child's torso- this means the lap belt should be resting on the upper thighs and the shoulder belt should rest "just right" on the shoulder (not so high as to be on the neck, not so low as to be coming off of the shoulder). Some 3 in 1's, especially those made by Dorel under the names "Alpha Omega" and "3 in 1" and the brands Safety 1st, Cosco, Eddie Bauer, and others have a record of not positioning the belt properly (these take up the bulk of the market share of "3 in 1" car seats). In addition, the 6-8 year lifespan of a seat means the seat may be expired before the child passes the 5 step test http://www.carseat.org/Boosters/630.htm which typically happens between the 9th and 12th birthdays.
 

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