Ever since I became a Child Passenger Safety Technician in 2011, I have wanted to attend the Kidz in Motion conference. It’s a 3 day long conference which is solely focused on different aspects of child passenger safety. At long last, I am here! As though it weren’t exciting enough on its own to be here, this year is extra special because two of my incredibly hard-working associates were given the honor of presenting at the pre-conference!
CSFTL team members Laurel Frock and Jacky Eggleston presented alongside Sarah Haverstick of Goodbaby International this afternoon on a topic very near & dear to our hearts here at Car Seats for the Littles: Social Media’s Role in CPS Advocacy.
Now, I may be a bit biased since these ladies are not only my co-workers, but have also become my friends, but they really knocked it out of the park!
Laurel did a phenomenal job of breaking down the vast realm of social media by discussing the most common and popular platforms (ie: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). Utilizing screen shots and other pictures, she gave everyone a crash course in the advantages and disadvantages of each as well as the who, what, where, when, how and whys of each platform so that attendees who are contemplating branching out to social media and who, perhaps weren’t familiar with each of these, now has a basic understanding of each.
Additionally, she gathered some data on why it’s so important to mobilize these platforms as a tool to assist parents. For example, did you know that 95% of moms have a smartphone? Did you know that most women utilize their smartphones more after they become moms?
Jacky discussed the importance of using a platform specific to your business/brand/cause rather than using your personal account. This is necessary for many reasons beyond staying safe online, including the ability to allow more easily for growth and evolution.
Given the audience, this presentation was clearly focusing on topics specific to our professions as CPSTs and she reminded everyone of the importance of staying up to date on all information which is being passed on to others. It can be difficult at times, but it’s also important to be able to distinguish the different challenges of “online seat checks” vs an in-person seat check with a caregiver. While both can be invaluable to caregivers, online assistance will always have limitations and she stressed the importance of letting our online caregivers know that we are not necessarily a replacement for meeting in person with a CPST. She cautioned our colleagues about some of the other challenges of providing online assistance such as remembering our manners, avoiding drama, staying accountable and communicating privately with caregivers when that is more appropriate than communicating in an open forum.
Lastly, Sarah spoke about utilizing new technology to better assist parents (and even other technicians). Video technology has come a long way and is still becoming more diversified and of a higher quality. To name a few, today many caregivers can access FaceTime, Skype, YouTube, and other video streaming services. Videos can be invaluable to caregivers, especially ones who may otherwise be unable to meet with a CPST in person, perhaps due to their geographical location, work schedule, health challenges, etc. The ability for them to interact with a technician one-on-one, live can be the next best thing to meeting in person.
Sarah pointed out some challenges which will still be present (ie: lighting, not being able to physically demonstrate with the parent or be able to physically touch their seat, internet connectivity issues, etc.) and encouraged CPSTs to plan to use this option to treat it as similarly to an in-person seat check as possible by using a seat check form, referencing both the vehicle owner’s manual, the car seat manual and when necessary, the LATCH Manual.
Much like the field of Child Passenger Safety, technology is constantly changing and evolving. It’s exciting to see what’s new, to learn new information and gain new skills by branching out. Opportunities like attending KIM where technicians can meet with manufacturer representatives, other CPSTs and CPST Instructors and attend informative seminars is something which I feel very privileged to experience.
All of us at Car Seats for the Littles feel honored and humbled by the opportunity to send presenters to this year’s KIM conference and thank the hard-working organizers of this one-of-a-kind experience.