NHTSA Child Passenger Safety Technical Conference June 24 – 26, 2014

The faces behind Super Car Seat Geek!
The faces behind Super Car Seat Geek!

Abbie and Erica attended a technical safety conference hosted by NHTSA and the regional advocates and representatives from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico as well as many of the major car seat manufacturers.The conference was host to many classes and hands on training for those in the child passenger safety fields.

To say that we were excited is an understatement!  We drove out to State College, PA ready to learn and network.  We met many people and put faces to names.  We also are now closer to becoming trained in the transportation of children with special needs.  (Look for more information about our training coming this August 2014!)  Most importantly we learned more about implementing car seat safety and the changes in the vehicle and car seat manufacturer industries.

We took to Manufacturer updates including sessions with:

  • Bubble Bum
  • Chicco
  • Diono
  • Evenflo
  • Nuna
  • Recaro
  • Summer Infant
  • Baby Trend
  • Cybex
  • Graco
  • SafeGuard
  • Orbit Baby
  • Ride Safer
  • Uppa Baby

Each manufacture provided us with tech updates, new and upcoming developments and products, compatibility issues with specific vehicles (such as the new inflatable seat belts made by Ford and Lexus) and information about non-regulated or aftermarket product use with their specific seats.  It was great to hear all the unique features of each car seat and we were able to play with each seat, hands-on!  (That’s a CPST’s dream right there!)

Our first day was full of classes and networking (and Abbie’s Birthday!)  There were so many classes to choose from and we chose to focus on classes that would expand our curbside and class education with the parents we interact with at seat checks.

Sample of Side Impact Protection Logo

The first class we took was a Side Impact update class taught by Diono’s CPST, Allana Pinkerton.  We see lots of signs and ads for the new side impact protection and different logos but no one know’s exactly what they mean. Right now, there are no NHTSA standards for side impact, however the new regulations will finally level the playing field by ensuring each manufacturer follows the same testing criteria and that each dummy used maintains the same HIC (head injury criteria) scores. We did learn about the upcoming regulations being written, that NHTSA has regulations open for public comment so that we, the people, can comment on the language of the regulation and the engineering behind their studies to develop the regulations and the specific criteria used during testing.

The second class was Curbside Application of the New Curriculum.  While we already did an updated course on the overhaul of the original class taken to become certified,  this class provided many tips and tricks on the “curbside” education of parents.  We learned acronyms such as BBLTT (extra bacon and tomato in that one!) — which stands for Buckle, Belt Path, Lock, Tighten and Tether.  We also learned Snug to Hug – when you are holding your child and danger is approaching, you turn then away from the danger and hug them tight.  The same applies in car seats, turn your child (rear facing) away from danger and hug them tight (keep that harness tight!)

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We ended the day learning about the support materials in our home state of Pennsylvania and about the various safety materials and brochures that we can pass on to the families we interact with.  We spoke briefly about the Penn Dot’s “Yellow Dot” program and learned about some of horse and buggy road regulations in the Amish parts of the state.

The next morning was another early one, we started our morning with Crash Dynamics learning about the effects of crashes on car seats, seat belts and the subtle ways an extensive car crash can damage a harness or seat belt through “loading marks.”  We also explored how a CPST can help law enforcement in determining if car seats or seat belts were in use.  We ended the conference with Transporting Children with Special Needs with two New Jersey certified special need instructors, Jackie Leach and Tara Mohamed.  We learned how to use traditional car seats for children with special needs and how to facilitate wheel chair transport and some basics on special need seats.  We are hoping to take the class with Ms. Leach in the next few weeks.

For more information or for detailed review of what we learned this week, sign up for our upcoming class:

Super Car Seat Geek Crash Course in Safety

Or contact us to schedule a seat check today!



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