WTH! I can't believe my eyes


Well-known member
Yes, Jan is married. I am his wife.

Thanks for taking the time to come here. :)

I think all of you are WAY too in to this whole car seat thing in general..wow.

We all have things we're passionate about. Those of us gathered on this board frequently are passionate about trying to save kids lives by having them properly harnessed. And many are equally passionate on some other subjects, too. Since over 80% of seats are installed/used incorrectly, and cars are the #1 killer of ages 0-18, its something worth IMO being passionate about. Its not *exactly* car seats we're all into. Its keeping kids safe. :)

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?

Absolutely nothing is wrong with getting a seat checked at a clinic, and its great that you guys went! Since lots of parents just figure "Meh - its good enough." when its really not. The problem is that your dear husband seems to be saying that you and he haven't learned anything, and don't intend to. That the only purpose of the clinics is to install the seats so you don't have to. That doesn't help you out at all when a situation arises that for some reason (some examples have already been listed in this thread, so I won't list any) you need to uninstall the seat, and you're stuck, b/c you don't know how to put it in again.

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."

Very good point - I think Gary should be contacted, if not by someone here, then certainly by TC, who would likely have a problem with some of the advice he's supposedly given. One about rear facing at 20lbs, which isn't something that should be recommended. My son hit 20lbs at 5 months! Another is about the 3-in-1s, and actually, it is rather a misinformation thing to say 'why should a parent install a car seat' b/c, well, its just part of the whole shebang.

Looks like while I was writing out my novel in response :p that CelticLabyrinth hit some of the misinformation points better that I did.

Lastly, while I myself see the value in consulting experts - I never just blindly take their info as golden. If I did, there'd be lots of problems I'd run into from not checking up on their advice. Experts are not infallible. The 'experts' use to tell us breastfeeding was bad, b/c it isn't pasteurized. The 'experts' used to tell us smoking was ok. Things change. It pays to check up on your experts sometimes, and, to learn what you can on your own, too.


New member
Wow! Garry seems to be a tremendous and knowledgeable guy....:whistle: Learning to install a car seat is of course a great idea. Having someone else knowledgeable take a look at the installation is also a great idea.

People on this board are "really into" car seats since it saves many lives. Traffic accidents is for example the number one cause of death of children in US.

Making the tile of the article "Everything you could ever want to know about car seats" is misleading since some of the information is incorrect and misleading. Rear facing, just to name one thing, is 500% safer than forward facing which has been proven by many studies. Perhaps more importantly, it has also been proven in real life in Sweden where most parents keep kids rear facing until age 4 or longer. Child fatalities in ages 0-6 years is therefore close to zero each year. While some would say it's silly, stupid or lame to use rear facing car seats that long we find it rewarding to keep children alive and without injuries.

Anyone even having a beginners level knowledge of car seats and crash dynamics would never say a thing like:

He also says that as long as you follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer, it is no safer or less safe to have a child rear-facing versus forward facing.

It's false, misleading and has been proven wrong since 1960's

In my opinion one should be careful pretending to be an expert on car seats when knowledge clearly is nowhere near even basic level.:twocents:


Admin - CPS Technician
Before I was a car seat technician I worked in journalism and PR. I wrote opinion items/columns and news articles. I know the difference and understood that this was not a news article. (News articles typically aren't written in the first person.) It really doesn't matter, though, because information can be incorrect in either case. Personal columns might even carry more weight with the general public because the writer is allowed to express a bias.

I know that if I were contacted by knowledgeable people about one of my articles/columns regarding information that wasn't correct--information I stated myself or had gathered from another source--I would respond in a professional way. Ultimately I might not agree that the information was wrong, but I'd certainly keep my mind open to the possibility.

I would also be mortified if my spouse responded on my behalf, especially in a condescending way. But maybe that's just me.

Barbara Baines

CPST Instructor
OK - the Kingston group was instructed in the SJA course by an Instructor-Trainer who happens to work for Transport Canada. They were instructed in the importance of the educational portion of the course like everyone else. Gary Littlefield has been involved in car seats for many, many years, but has never taken the SJA course and therefore is not a certified tech. He is well-meaning although not necessisarily correct in his information. I do know that there are no Transport Canada personnel that attend the Kingston clinics - not as TC employees or as volunteers. There is one Instructor in the area, who, again is not a TC employee. Kingston has become recently involved with the SJA course - before they received training form the now non-existant Eastern Ontarip Car Seat Coalition training - so they have been involved for a long time. As we all know, there are areas within Canada that only do installs and possibly not educate. As there is no "check" system in place, there is no monitoring. I will pass this along to Gary and to the Instructor and see what they say. I will say though - at the one clinic that I was at, there was a very strong educational component happening - but that may have changed (it's been a while).


Moderator - CPST Instructor
Because, in Canada, there's a National program and then there are some legacy provincial programs. British Columbia still has an active provincial program. I believe the Ontario program is or is close to defunct. One of the Ontario techs would probably have more history on this.



Well-known member
SJA was the only place I could find in Ontario when I was living out there and wanted to become a tech. I know of no other program in Ontario that would certify people. How ever this being said I haven't lived there in 2 years.

Hopefully one of the Ontario Techs can chime in.


New member
To the author's wife -- um, yeah, we are into carseats here. Its a carseat forum! Many of us who post here ARE techs, unlike Mr. Littlefield. If Mr. Littlefield is not a tech, he has no business talking to the media about installation matters. Period. If someone is writing an article on car seat safety, why on earth would they not do their research and interview an actual TECH?

I have no idea how clinics run in Ontario, but here in BC we don't install seats, we show parents how to do it themselves.


New member
Gary Littlefield has been involved in car seats for many, many years, but has never taken the SJA course and therefore is not a certified tech.

Bolding mine.

Thanks for that. It explains a lot. If only the columnist had thought to include that relevant info in his write-up.


Ambassador - CPS Technician
Just to defend the author... it seems from what's expressed in the article, and how Mr. Littlefield talks, the author has the impression that Mr. Littlefield *is* a tech. And if he runs their check program, I don't think that's a ridiculous assumption.

Honestly -- if you show up at a car seat program to get help with installing your carseats, I think it's a safe and reasonable assumption that those doing the installing are qualified in some way. Should parents ask, probably, but I don't think it's crazy or neglectful to assume those working a check are qualified to be working a check.

I can (and do, for aquantainces who would never go see a tech) install seats and educate parents, but I am NOT a tech and would never represent myself as such. Installing seats in mom's van for the child I nanny for, as a friend, is one thing, but working a check that parents come to for education from "experts" is a totally different ballgame.

This assumes that Mr. Littlefield didn't get trained under an earlier program, in which there doesn't seem to have been a tech certification given. Even at that, though, that indicates he hasn't kept up on his training (as is evident with the column,) and I would think that if he intends to be heavily involved in CPS it would be a good plan to get certified by the current governing body.

Anyways, I'm just saying that it's not fair to blame the author/columnist if they were led to believe that the person they spoke to is a tech -- or somehow certified in car seat installation. We know that if in doubt to ask for a tech #, but how many of the GP know that? It's a detail I don't blame them for not knowing.

ETA: Jan & wife, I think that the direct rebuttals have been handled pretty well. Forward -facing is never "as safe as" rearfacing, though the current school of thought is that the benefit is minimal around the age of 3-4 years. Children should be kept rearfacing to at least age two, and that statement will hopefully be reflected by the American Acadamy of Pediatrics by the end of the year. (Though I know you're in Canada, so that doesn't mean quite as much.) The fact that the 3-in-1 seat is NOT the be all and end all is not border specific, though; it's fine for RF, adaqute in some cases for FF, and terrible in almost all cases as a booster. It's rarely, if ever, recommended on the board here for that reason.

I hope you'll both stick around; if you're interested, feel free to start a thread with the ages & weights of your child(ren) and I'm sure the techs here would be thrilled to do a virtual 'check' and see if there's anything to be done to let them leave safer than they've arrived, so to speak. Hopefully despite his apparent lack of certification, Mr Littlefield & co have done well leading you in the use of your seats, and therefore your children are quite safe and it's a moot point, though. :)

I can assure you my 'obsession' with car seats stems entirely from the fact that for so many years, I was the most knowledgeable and diligent person I knew about seats. As a nanny, I frequently transport other peoples' children, so it is crucially important to me to do it as safely as possible. Then a link elsewhere read me to this board, and I learned all that I didn't know... Every one of my kids was turned FF at one, and boostered at 40lbs, so although I kept them boostered until 8 and made sure they were buckled in a restraint at all time, they could have been so very much safer. I see those around me on a daily basis opt for less than those minimums, and I want to learn as much as I can to help other kids be safe, too. And a big part of that is staying current, which I think is the cardinal sin (IMO) that Mr. Littlefield has chosen not to do. We've seen enormous advances in just the past year -- since I've been here -- particularly in the higher RF limit seats. It's awesome, and had I read once and left, I would have been left far behind.


New member
I just want to state (I've tried to stay out of a lot of this other from sharing my agreement in disapproval of the content of the column, as I'm from the US) that I think it is kid of ironic... in one breath the author's wife stated that carseat safety is far more serious and important than a scrape or something (when it had been compared to taking a child to the doctor), but then also says she thinks we take it all way too seriously.

Hello, we take it seriously because it is so important.

We are talking about the #1 killer of children... it has to be taken seriously... which means assuring that parents are being educated (and that the people educating them are, too) correctly and with the best info available.

One of the reasons I have already decided that when I graduate from my school in about 7 months that I want to work in pediatrics (I'm going to school for medical assisting) is because I do still want to get certified as a tech... and can then help parents who are coming into their ped's office wanting advice on seats... even before I get certified, I can make sure my physician's office has pamphlets and info for safekids and good techs...

It is something that matters to me.... keeping kids safe from the biggest threat out there.

Granted, pediatrics in general is important for a few other reasons to me (my first was premature and if, down the line, I can get more schooling, I'd love to some day be an RN and work in a NICU)... but still, you get what I'm saying... this is definitely something serious and with it being more important than a scrape, there is a lot of reason to be taking it all VERY seriously.


New member
I think people are far more concerned with the misinformation being put out by Mr. Littlefield, than the author of the opinion column. From my perspective as a previously paid column writer, the tone was blustery (nothing wrong with that), but the author did not double check his facts (big no-no) and his spouse is posting combatively to CPS professionals on behalf of her husband (hugely embarassing to him and his credibility and I hope for his sake he has addressed it with her.)


Forum Ambassador
Anyways, I'm just saying that it's not fair to blame the author/columnist if they were led to believe that the person they spoke to is a tech -- or somehow certified in car seat installation. We know that if in doubt to ask for a tech #, but how many of the GP know that? It's a detail I don't blame them for not knowing.
Isn't fact checking a pretty important and necessary part of journalism though?

but the author did not double check his facts (big no-no)
Exactly what I thought.


New member
I am not a car seat tech, and do not have any special qualifications. I got "way too into car seats" because of my good friend canadiangie.:thanx!: She helps so many parents and children remain safe. In saying this, I am saddened to see that Jan's wife was frustrated by all of your comments. I hope that she will eventually see the motivation of this forum--- to keep children safe. I know that none of you fault parents for the misinformation that is out there, rather you try to inform them of the correct information. So I want to thank all of you, techs or not, for caring about the safety of my children and many others. :thumbsup:Being critical of articles/columns, questioning authorities, and discussing what is right and wrong is part of what our society is all about. I am thankful that I have been given good information, but more importantly, I am thankful that I have been SHOWN where to go to get the good information. I hope that Mr. Littlefield, Jan, and his wife now have good information that they will use to ensure the safety of more children. :eek:

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