Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Car Seats!

Why this is such a controversial thing is beyond me. Why is it such a bad thing to do your best to keep your kids safe? I don't understand it...but...to each their own I suppose.

the article above is about the "new" recommendations for rearfacing and boostering (though, really, the new recommendations were released over a year ago, but apparently some sources are just now picking up on it for some reason).

If you are unsure whether you are using your seat properly, or you have questions you should contact a Child Passenger Safety Technician.  If a person does NOT have this certification they are NOT qualified to inspect your seat...being a police officer, EMT, fireman, or the like does NOT make them qualified, only going to a special class and having been certified makes them qualified. Please make certain if you have someone inspect your seat they are on this list:

Legally, all children should ride rearfacing until a minimum of 20lbs AND 1 year old--not OR--AND...that means they must be BOTH 20lbs AND 1 year old to forward face...all states have proper use clauses and all forward facing seats for use in the USA state that children must be both 20lbs AND 1 year old to use them...therefore even if you THINK your state doesn't specify this, they really do. Not only is it required to this point, but the new recommendation of age 2 or whenever they outgrow their convertible (not infant) seat is based on data that says it's 500% safer for toddlers/preschoolers to ride rearfacing than forward facing. Rearfacing puts your child's head at the furthest point from impact both in a frontal and rear impact situation, it keeps the head contained within the shell of the seat better which provides better side impact protection, it cradles the head and spine during crashes which helps prevent whiplash and internal decapitation (yes it can and does happen) Babies and toddlers heads are a greater percentage of their overall body and their spines are not fully formed until they are over the age 2, these two things in combination can allow the head to separate from the neck internally in an accident causing death or life-long disability.

My B rearfacing in her Evenflo Symphony 65 (1 year, 22lbs, 30ish inches)

My P rearfacing in her Graco MyRide 65 (22months, 35in, 24lbs)


Is rearfacing when rear ended still safer? Yes it is!

For one thing, only 4% of accidents are rear or rear-offset, two, the head is still further from any point of impact and three, most rear end accidents happen at much lower speeds.
(the above link is one of my favorites for doubters and those who think getting rear ended is a huge risk to rearfacing children)

and here's some interesting reading on positioning your car seat in the vehicle

 A, in a booster (10.5, 4'10, 95lbs), and P in her MyRide forward facing (2.5, 29lbs, 38in)

As for boostering, the bare minimum is 4 years old and 40lbs (this is the law--they must be BOTH in Louisiana) but most aren't ready until 6-7 years old...many people also want to move into this milestone too quickly...why? Well, again, I'm not sure. Most I've met say it's "easier" to not have to buckle their harness. I, for one, don't find this to be true at all. With a harnessed seat you have to buckle it, or at least check that your child buckled it correctly--correctly being that the harness is tight enough (you shouldn't be able to pinch any slack in the straps at the shoulders or the hips), that it's not twisted anywhere, that all the buckles are tightly latched and don't come undone by pulling on them (you should check your installation each time too, and I will admit that I'm guilty of not always doing that)...with a booster you may have to help your child buckle it because they can't reach the buckle or can't press tightly enough to properly latch it, then you have to make sure it's pulled tight at the thigh/hip, you need to make sure it's sitting properly on the shoulder (not under the arm, not behind the back, not riding up on the neck--all these things are dangerous and could be deadly), and if you have a squirmy child who is reluctant to sit upright properly then you may need to go a step further and pull the belt all the way out and force it to "lock" so that they can't lean too far and get out of position....how is all that easier than the harness?

Here is some info on why to keep your child harnessed longer:
In order for a booster to be used safely, the child must sit properly at all times. The shoulder belt must remain on the shoulder to keep the child's upper body contained, and the lap belt needs to stay low on the child's lap in order to prevent abdominal and spinal injuries. If a child cannot maintain proper position in a booster, the adult may find herself constantly reminding the child to sit still. This is frustrating for both the child and the parent. Putting a wiggly or impulsive child in a booster means you're taking safety out of the parents' hands and placing it in the hands of a child who's too immature to handle such responsibility.

A 5 point harness spreads crash forces over larger areas and provides more points of restraint than a 3 point lap/shoulder belt (a 2 point lap only belt should never be used for anything other than harnessed restraint installation). Because of this a harness is more likely to keep a child contained in and protected by the seat in a side impact or rollover.

A 5 point harness is also better for children who sleep in the car as it provides greater support and maintains the child in proper position.

In 3-across situations a harnessed seat is generally easier to buckle than a booster

Here are some links about why you should continue to harness children instead of moving them to a booster:

And moving out of a booster? This too gets me. Seatbelts are NOT made for children, they are made to safely secure a 5'10, 180lb male, as are airbags (and Louisiana state law says they must be BOTH 6 years of age AND 60lbs to ride with no booster seat). Children's hips don't form the illiac crest until they are over 6 years of age, this crest is the part of the hip that should hold your seatbelt low and under the belly, over the legs so that your belt can protect you, without this then the belt rides up on the belly....some children are also so thin that even at 6 they don't have enough bulk in the legs to make the belt ride properly. And, since most children aren't tall enough until they are at least 8, many not until closer to 12 years of age, for the seatbelt to ride across the chest/shoulder, many things have to be considered.

Here's a 5-step test to see if your child is ready to ride without a booster seat:

And YES, car seats do expire.  Why? Well, plastic degrades over time. If you think about plastic toys, when they are exposed to sunlight, heat, cold, moisture, etc, they get brittle and crack easily. Plastic stresses and warps. Straps and fabrics fray and rip. Instruction manuals get lost or destroyed. Important instructional labels fade, tear or fall off completelyAlso, the expiration date is the latest time the company will stand by their product to issue recalls, test safety, etc. Your manufacturer may no longer stock replacement manuals and parts. Maybe the company has gone out of business entirely  There are also changing standards and tests they might not pass now as safety standards get more rigorous. Car seat technology is always evolving, as are vehicles' ability to secure seats properly and consistently. Before 2002, Lower Anchor & Tethers for Children (LATCH) did not exist. Now it's a common system by which car seats are installed.

Most seats expire approximately 6 years after manufacture.  There is a date on most seats stamped into the seat, and this information should also be available in your manual or by contacting the manufacturer of your seat.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Natchez Day Trip

So, I grew up in south Louisiana, Slidell to be exact.  I now live in north Louisiana and my BFF lives in Baton Rouge...we don't see each other nearly as often as we would like.  So, Good Friday we both took a day trip.  She drove up from BR to Natchez and we drove down to Natchez (it's about the middle of the trip--works out nicely for all involved).  

Now, let me say that this is not necessarily easy for either of us.  Gas prices are going up, and we both have kids...5 of them between the two of us.  BFF has 6.5 year old boy/girl twins.  I have 3 girls, ages 10.5, 2.5, and 1...this where things got interesting on this trip, at least for us.

P, age 2.5, has been wearing nothing but panties during the day, since Christmas.  This was fine, until last week.  Not really sure what prompted this, but every time she got in her car seat or put into her bed at nap time she peed....this is gross...I have to clean it, take the seat apart or put a new mattress pad and sheet on the bed, and did I mention that cleaning up pee is gross and stinky?!

Well, we've been building up for months that someone (thinking it would be P) was getting a new car seat (until now P has been rearfacing in her Graco MyRide 65 convertible seat--the AAP and all research indicates that rearfacing as long as possible is safest for toddlers).  Well, things did NOT go as planned this day.  The plan was to get P a new Evenflo Symphony 65 all-in-one seat (I don't like the current harness to booster seats for small children, they push their heads forward when they fall asleep and are not all that comfortable which is why I was opting for the convertible/all-in-one seat), it has a high rearfacing weight limit, fairly tall shell rearfacing, has a tall shell/headrest for forward facing with decent recline and higher weight limit and can be used for a little while as a booster...well...in the 15 minutes it takes to get from our home to Burlington Coat Factory, guess who peed in their seat!  You got it! Paige did! 
I was NOT a happy mama.
So, using a hand towel and some paper towels I sopped up the nasty mess as best I could, put a plastic bag down in the seat (I had just washed the cover this same morning, so I was really not happy), changed her clothes and told P that B would be getting a new seat, not her.  She had to keep riding in her seat since she kept peeing in it.  P was not happy, she sobbed and fussed and whined, but when it was all said and done she was ok because her seat got turned to face forward (although, if she doesn't shut up, I'm going to figure out how to make her rearfacing in the rear row of our van work because she is a bad backseat driver!). So B got the Symphony and is rearfacing in it until at least 2.
After buying the seat we had to unbox it, read at least the rearfacing part of the manual, install it in the car and then begin our journey to Natchez.

Our journey to Natchez was uneventful thankfully, we stopped and got burgers at Wendy's on the way and met my BFF and her family at Duncan Park to play.  We played softball/baseball, collected bugs, leaves, moss, played with the swings and a small dinosaur they could ride on too.  My BFF brought me several bags of clothes ranging in sizes from 12month to girls size 6 for my little girls (thank you very much, J).  After the park we went to Cock of the Walk for a dinner of catfish, onion rings, fried pickles, french fries, skillet corn bread, coleslaw and pickled onions! (too bad I didn't take a picture of all the food)

 After dinner we walked along the river for a few minutes to chat and relax before driving to our homes.  We caught a beautiful sunset in the process.

Now, my BFF, her path out to home does NOT include going by DQ, but ours did, so to DQ we went.  I LOVE DQ, however the nearest one to us is almost 2 hours away (sucks really).  I got a kids cup of ice cream for P, a small double fudge blizzsard for A, hubby got a strawberry malt and I got a caramel malt (they don't have butterscotch anymore--bummer).  Well, we didn't get B anything, she doesn't like ice cream, she doesn't like cold, so I didn't think she'd eat anything...we stopped at the Walmart in Vidalia on the way home (after DQ) to get some Benadryl since I had forgotten mine and B's eyes were watering, while I was waiting for A and P to go to the bathroom I sat in the car and nursed B...she kept sitting up and saying "that, that" and pointing at hubby's cup....so I gave her a sip...she drank like a third of his malt before she went back to nursing!  It was actually quite funny because she made a face every time she took a drink because it was cold, but she always started yelling "that, that" every time he took the cup away!  So I guess since she doesn't like milk all that much, maybe I could get her to drink strawberry flavored milk and wean her off the syrup eventually.

Amara's Camera

Ok, so we got Amara (10.5 years old) a camera for Easter.  She has been begging for a better camera, one that zooms, has a few macro-type features, etc, so I got her a little Fuji Z30 that was on clearance for $35 and a cheap card for $6 for it.  She has always loved cameras and taking pictures, so, since we are going to Disney, I figured this was a good time for her to get the camera and start learning how it works...she has a problem with holding still long enough to actually let the camera take the picture.

So, here's some stuff she shot over the weekend (a few I shot because she had her hands full).


New fuzz balls--2 weeks old (can I let you in on a secret: they don't like it when Baily tries to get in the box with them!)

Not really sure where she took these pictures, my guess would be that she took them at the neighbors house after we took our Easter pictures.

Nieces JoJo (blonde hair) and Jaycee (brown hair) waiting for us to finish hiding the Easter eggs.

 Mamaw Betty is all about the kids getting what they want (within reason) they asked to be able to decorate cupcakes again (they had done so at Baily's first birthday party) and of course she happily obliged.

 Baily's new carseat--we'll have a post just about the trip we took the day we got this...lots of good stuff about children learning to behave, carseats in general and family fun on our day trip!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Introductions and Easter fun!

Let me start by saying that I'm totally new to this blog thing, I have no idea what I'm doing, but I do totally intend to enjoy myself while I do it!

Easter is a great celebration, the celebration of the life, death and resurrection of our Christ!  A celebration of new life through Him, of promises kept, and hope everlasting.

So, here are some pictures of our family celebrating this great day! We started with dying eggs.

Warning! Do not dye eggs at 9pm when you have a 1 year old who needed to be asleep over an hour beforehand.  To say the least, it was a grumpy time and she fell asleep in her high chair.

Sunday morning of course brought gifts and eggs from the Easter Bunny!  The kids loved this time, and I treasure their sweet faces lighting up when they get gifts of any sort.

They each got a basket, it had their eggs they dyed, plastic eggs filled with candy, an Easter dress and sandals.

Baily got a Minnie Mouse dress and ears that is pink with white dots.

Paige got a Minnie Mouse dress that is light pink with dark pink dots and purple trim.

Amara got a bracelet that was little frogs made from shell pieces and a new camera to take to Disney this spring.

And miraculously no one fell off the couch!

No Easter Sunday is complete without a church service.  I mean, after all, this is the Lord's Day, and it is Ressurection Sunday!  Bro. Jeff did a wonderful job delivering the Good News and we left feeling humbled, at peace, and in wonder of the gift Jesus gave us all, He conquered death and He holds the keys to Hades, we do not have to fear death because of Him!

So, since our yard isn't very pretty, we walked down to our neighbors and borrowed their trees and flowers for some shots of the girls in their Easter outfits!

We had a wonderful lunch with Mark's parents and then big girls got to decorate cupcakes (Baily got to eat chocolate)