City of Plantation Podcast

Episode 20 - Child Safety Seats, what you need to know.

July 17, 2020 City of Plantation Episode 20
City of Plantation Podcast
Episode 20 - Child Safety Seats, what you need to know.
Show Notes Transcript

Thank you for listening to the City fo Plantation podcast. In this episode, we speak with Lieutenant Beth Martins, one of the Fire Department's certified car seat inspectors. Beth helps us navigate through the laws as well as best practices regarding installing car seats and child safety. This Podcast is aimed at keeping the residents of Plantation informed of events and important information happening throughout our city. Please subscribe to this podcast, as we will be producing new episodes weekly.

Guests: Lieutenant Beth Martins
Hosts: BC Blanchard and DC Lubow
Producer: Ezra Lubow
Music: Oakwood Station
Graphics: The City of Plantation

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the city of plantations podcast. I am Carrie Blanchard, battalion chief of public affairs for the plantation fire department. Thank you for tuning in our podcast is designed to keep you up to date on all the latest happenings and activities in about and around the city of plantation. On our episodes. We talk directly with the leaders decision makers and the movers and shakers who make plantation the great city that it is

Speaker 2:

On today's episode of the city of plantation podcast. We're going to be talking about car seats and child passenger safety caring are joined today by Beth Martins. Who's a certified car seat inspector, and she's going to help us kind of sift through some of the different facts and figures when it comes to the various types of child restraints and seats and , uh , things of that nature. So thanks for joining us today, Beth. Nice to be here. And , uh , so first question, let's talk about , uh , front facing and rear facing. What are we looking at , uh , between the two of those as far as child age weights, things of that nature?

Speaker 1:

Well, first of all, you need to have a Florida state law States that you have to have your child needs to be 20 pounds and one year old before they can be forward facing. However, that's not the best recommendation, that's what the law says, but a safe kids is trying to get legislation through. So that makes it two years old. Okay. That just gives more time for the neck muscles to strengthen, strengthen and develop if you are in a motor vehicle accident.

Speaker 2:

Right. Cause that's the big thing we're concerned about, right. If there's an impact, whether it's a rear impact or a frontal impact that the child will be developed enough so that the weight of the head doesn't cause any type of spinal injury. Right. And the surgical spine. Correct. Right. Okay.

Speaker 1:

I know they're changing it to two years or trying to, is there going to be a weight restriction at that point? I don't believe said a 20 pounds probably. Yes. I mean, we're going back a little bit when I originally heard the , uh , information that they were trying to push through, but they definitely wanted it to be two years and then the weight would adjust as that, with that. Uh, you'll see, weight, weight has a lot to do with the safety seat, but it also has to do with height. Okay . And where the seat belt , uh, strikes your child. So if you take off the seat and let's , let's say we've got a five or six year old and you're like, okay, let's see if they can just sit in the seat. No you can't because of where the seat belt rides. Okay. Coming across and , and how many of y'all have had the seatbelt slide across and want to hit your neck? Right . You know, and most busty women like myself have that issue where the seatbelt slides up and tries to cut you off at the neck.

Speaker 2:

So that's where that adjustment, I mean, for adults that adjustment's usually on the column of the car and you can adjust it up or down and that assist with getting the appropriate angle. Right. Correct.

Speaker 1:

But even for me, I'm five foot four. I'm still not tall enough that it did that . It strikes the right place. Even when the seatbelts lowered,

Speaker 2:

How do we, how do we make sure that we make the proper adjustments for the children's safety seeds to ensure that when they're in a belt type of system, that it's, I mean, what, I'm a parent, what angle am I looking for? How am I looking for that adjustment to look

Speaker 1:

Well, the seatbelt when forward facing is going to come up from above the shoulder and across the body. Okay. But you want to make sure that it's going to come in , uh, far enough that it's going to hold the shoulder and not creep up across the neck.

Speaker 2:

Okay. Okay. And are most, most of the newer car seats? They have a little notch, right. Cut out in a car seat. So you can direct the seatbelt through that. Is that correct? And it provides the proper angle. Yes. So the , so it, it kinda self gods , as long as you're setting up to seat, the way that you're supposed to follow the instructions, it's going to guide that seatbelt for the most part. Correct. Okay. Okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . The bigger thing is, is we really want that child in a booster seat. Okay. That gives them enough lift up from the bottom and to help with , to assist with the placement of the seatbelt, but will also help protect them.

Speaker 2:

Let's talk about that for a second. And Carrie jump in any time , but let's talk about that for a second. So , uh, in my mind, when I hear car safety seat, I'm thinking about something different than a booster with a booster. I'm thinking a car seat that utilizes as a restraint, the seat belt , primarily , uh , in a sit in a child safety seat, I'm thinking about a child seat that's secured to the car that has its own strapping system. And am I correct in that thinking or

Speaker 1:

There is yes, there is a , that's called the latch system. It's lower anchors and tethers. And it actually hooks into, especially as especially rear facing seats, they hook into the kind of like these U bolts down in between the back of the seat and the base of the seat. And they have , um , manufactured the car manufacturers put in these little buttons that just kind of signify. If you just follow them right down and finger through the, in between the two seat cushions, you'll find that you bolt very easy to secure. That's the best system, but you do need to read your car seat or your , excuse me, your car manual to make sure of the weight limit on those bolts compared to what the child safety seats, as you have to see that those two coincide

Speaker 2:

Has to match up. Right. So if I were chronologically, if I were taking us from the beginning to the end, we would be looking at a , a rear car seat seemingly until the child is let let's just say, we go to the proposed legislation. So let's say we go to two years, 20 pounds, we would be in a rear facing,

Speaker 1:

I would say probably two , two years. Yes. And I would go up up to about 40 ,

Speaker 2:

Up to about four. Okay. So two years, 40 pounds, we're in a rear facing. Now we turn our child around. We're still in a child safety seat at this point. Right. So we're still using the lot system and the seats own a restraint system. Yes .

Speaker 1:

But you're also going to use a tether. Okay. The tether, the tether comes out of the top of the seat about shoulder level. And it goes across the back of the cushion in the car and hooks into another type of you bold or securing system. And then you want that taught. You don't want that seat to move an inch at all, yank on it back and forth forward, you know, back and it should not move at all. And then that latch system is not integrated into the cars. The car manufacturers are making the cars with these latches since about 2002 or so.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So most of the newer cars have it. So now we're, we're at that phase. And now my child, how long does my child stay in that type of seat till about 50 or 60 pounds, 50 or 60 pounds. And then we're looking at transitioning to a booster seat, correct. Now, are they all created the same? Are there certain things to look for? Because we've seen booster seats that are like a full seat, and then we've seen booster seats that are just like the , the bottom portion without the back rest portion. Are they, is there differences

Speaker 1:

The most part they're about the same, it's kind of, that comes down to personal preference at that point, what your child is willing to tolerate, because it's very difficult to get a child that's seven or eight year , nine years old to sit in a booster seat because they're already starting to get into that age of, I don't need that. I'm a big boy or I'm a big girl and getting them to understand, no, no, no, you still need that extra assistance. Okay. And then when they're, you know, onto nine or 10, they may even still just to pay, it depends on their height and weight as to whether or not they're going to need that assistance.

Speaker 2:

One of the questions that I get asked and I , uh, you know, usually have to refer to Google Fu for an answer is , um, a lot of parents want to know if it is safer to put their child in the middle rear seat or in one of the sides rear seat. Is there an official recommendation on that?

Speaker 1:

Yes and no. The is the answer , uh, when we're installing seats or were , or were , what we prefer to do is check the seat. We want you as the parent to be able to uninstalled and install that seat in just a minutes time, you go take your car to be cleaned. You want to take that seed out, get it , you know, make sure your car is clean and be able to install reinstall your seat fairly quickly. Okay. So you need the practice, right ? Not us, you know, and to make an appointment to see us. And we haven't been able to do car seats here.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Right.

Speaker 1:

So we really want the parents to learn how to do it. There are a lot of great videos out there on installing each of the seats , um, car that the car seat manufacturers have made, you know, had videos made a proper installation, right . But we want them to, you know , be able to install and we'll be more than happy to check it and give you any , uh , any pointers. What we find is that the seat, when the car seat manufacturers and the car manufacturers got together and talked, they chose the two outer seats. There's only a few car manufacturers that have a third seat capability capability in the middle. Now a lot of people try to borrow. So they want to use one , uh, one anchor from one side and one anchor from the other. But the problem is, is that there's only supposed to be 11 inches in between the two anchors so that, you know , precludes you being able to use, you know, borrowing one or the other. So what we typically tell them is, think about it this way. For convenience sake. Most people want to put it, put the car seat behind the passenger because then the driver, when you're in a car by yourself, could in theory at a stoplight because we wouldn't want to do it any other time while we're driving turn around and be able to console baby. Right . Okay. Reposition a pacifier, you know, something along those lines. The problem is, is that they want for safety factor. The driver's going, the driver just instinctively protects themselves. So if you are trying to make a turn, we always check the left hand side because that's where we are in the car. We check that one, two or three times and may most of the time not see that oncoming car on the passenger side. So instinctively, we tell them, you know, look, these are the choices and allow the parent to say where they would prefer to have their child.

Speaker 2:

Right. Right. Yeah. The conversation comes up when we talk about impacts and lateral impacts versus frontal and rear impacts. And you know, the bottom line nowadays is that these vehicles are , you know, some vehicles upwards of 20 airbags interiorly. So a lot more protection than there used to be. And just like you said, most of the cars aren't manufactured with a middle rear seat, right. There only two seats. Right . And I think where we see it, the most is in trucks, right? Like small pickup trucks and SUVs and things of that nature. So as long as we're adhering to safely anchoring the seat in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations, then position is less important, right. It boils down to

Speaker 1:

Correct within with a pickup truck. The biggest thing is, is make sure if you , if that child is going to be in the front, that you turn off that passenger seat seat airbag .

Speaker 2:

Right. So I was getting to that and now it's a good point. Cause I was like my last face . So now they're in a booster seat. A what point can we responsibly allow them to ride in the front seat with a seatbelt?

Speaker 1:

My grandson who was turned just turned 12, we'll allow him to start writing in the front seat more because he's , he's taller. Right. Still doesn't weigh a whole lot, but he's definitely taller. He's almost taller than I am.

Speaker 2:

Right. So we look at height is the really big factors there,

Speaker 1:

Height and weight because , um , especially going to regular seatbelt, because that's going to be where the seat, the seatbelt crosses your body and, and does it

Speaker 2:

It's job positioning. So that it's hard to make a standard for that. Right. Because it's just dependent on the child. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Okay. I know that you had mentioned that your , you know, your grandson sits up front. At what point, even in the back seat , can you take a child out of a booster seat or a car seat? Like, so they could just use the seatbelt alone. Do you have any idea? Well, with CD recommend CDC recommendations, they recommend they be about four feet, nine inches tall. And which probably puts them about age nine to 12. So you've got a pretty big gap.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. That's the guideline. Well, cause there are some kids who are huge. They're tall, you know, playing football already. Yeah. Okay. All right . What else do we want to talk about? As far as child safety seat kids in cars,

Speaker 1:

I wanted to throw some statistics that I know I love statistics. I think it paints a picture that most people don't see. Um, I have 2017 numbers, but in 2017, 675 children, 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes. And 116,000 were injured. And of the ones that died 35% were not buckled up when you consider the fact that our children are required to be, I mean, it's a law in the state of Florida and it has been for years that people are not restraining their children and buckling them up, I think is scary statistic. It's the law. So I think that at that, you know, we need to hopefully get it out there that kids need to be restrained. They are dying of this and the Arabic being injured because of this.

Speaker 2:

Right, right. Yeah. I mean, I think we all see it. Right. And we've all been driving down the road and we see kids that are way too young bouncing around in the back seat or the one that absolutely drives me nuts is when I see parents driving and their kid is, and small child is in between the two front seats talking to them . Yeah . I can in your ear. And I'm thinking not only is that a distraction, but if there is an accident, God forbid it's going to be catastrophic. Right. I mean, we're talking about an unrestrained child in a significant impact. That's going to be an ejection from that view .

Speaker 1:

But I have a question for you. How many times have you looked over to see as the driver seat belted in? Yeah, absolutely. Nine times out of 10 when that child is unrestrained. So as the adult. Yup . And it starts with them, it starts with the adult getting in and being responsible because kids see what we do. And if it's important for them, they'll do it otherwise. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

My daughter is eight years old and I am , uh , as you know, all of us because of what we do. Um, I don't get in a vehicle without a seatbelt. Like I get in and I built in, but there are times when my wife is driving and I'm a passenger and I have a little delay and my daughter will, as soon as my wife puts the car in drive, if I don't have my seatbelt on my daughter's like, daddy, put your seatbelt on like she's out. Cause she knows. Cause we've always ingrained that in them. Children have done that too. And they're 30

Speaker 1:

And they still do it because we, that was one thing we taught when they were, when they were younger. Yeah. Seatbelts are not an option.

Speaker 2:

And we get arguments. I mean, I hear arguments all the time. Right? Well, I read a study where a seatbelt can actually cause injury. Yes, no. One's denying that in a major collision, a seatbelt can injure you. What we have in our favor though, is statistically without a seatbelt, the numbers aren't even close to the very minor amounts of injuries that we see from individuals who are restrained. And the worst part about all this is when you talk to individuals who say, why have an airbag ? I don't need my seat belt . And that's where you see even more catastrophic injury, not utilizing the seatbelt and just having the airbag is going to result in massive chest trauma, which could result in damage to the heart. It can result in horrific cervical collar injuries and spinal injuries, which can end with paralysis and things of that nature. And I think it's important for people to know that an airbag and a seatbelt are meant to work together, not to be individual. And we see that. So yeah, you get those arguments though, you know, like I don't wear a seatbelt because you could cause terrible injuries. Yeah. But statistically, you're more likely to have significant injury or death by not wearing it.

Speaker 1:

Right . Yeah. We've seen many accidents where it didn't appear to be that major, but people got ejected, things like that. If they would have been restrained, it would have been, they would have walked out of it. Right . I think

Speaker 2:

The one thing that should be absolutely mandatory in every single high school, mandatory, not like a thing that they do if they have the opportunity is FHP should go to every single high school as part of their, when they're 16 years old, whatever kind of at a loss of what grade that is. But 10th, 11th grade and put them in the 20 mile an hour crash simulator. Because if you ever ride in that simulator, it boggles your mind. How much force occurs at only 20 miles an hour. And now think that the majority of speed limits in major roads, there's 45 highways , 55, 65 70, depending on the roadway. And you don't double the amount of force, right? That's not how crash mathematics works . It's exponential. So at 40 miles an hour, you have significant kinetic energy being, or at least at 60, it's not 20% or 20 more, you know, the math doesn't work out that way. It's a lot worse and people don't realize that. So

Speaker 1:

I would look at it this way. It's better to gamble with a seatbelt and have an injury versus not have a seatbelt and have a desk.

Speaker 2:

Correct. Yeah . All right . Well, unless anyone's got anything to add, I think we covered all the major points that we wanted to cover. The one thing that I did want to circle back on and emphasize that you mentioned Beth, is that , uh, the fire department, we , we currently, aren't doing our car seat inspections only because of the current situation with depen. DEMEC when we do start up again, though, we , we want the public to utilize this service that we offer, but we want the public to also understand that this is a service where we're going to coach and educate. So we want you to do it yourself so you understand how to do it. So it's not a hundred percent come in and we'll do everything for you. And then you'll leave not understanding and knowing how to do it yourself. You're going to be coached and shown. And , uh , hopefully that provides you with the tools that you need to be able to put it in, take it out. Like Beth mentioned a lot easier. So

Speaker 1:

Inspect you install we'll inspect, and then we'll give you pointers. That gives us more time to give you other information.

Speaker 2:

Right. Right. All right . Well, thanks for joining us, Beth. Appreciate your expertise. Thank you. And uh , everybody out there be safe and we'll talk to you soon.

Speaker 1:

You've been listening to the city of plantation podcast. We strive to bring you accurate and timely information. Please continue to tune in to our podcast episodes and also catch up with us on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and next door. If you have questions, send them to ask cityHall@plantation.org and we will answer your questions directly. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our podcasts and stay safe, everyone.