I was very excited to attend my first Kidz In Motion Conference in Denver, Colorado. This was also my first conference representing Car Seats for the Littles since I joined the team in 2016 so it was extra exciting to get a chance to meet some of the people I have worked with on a daily basis for over two years.
School Bus Training
My conference started by attending the Child Passenger Safety Restraint Systems on School Buses National Training. The course was taught by Denise Donaldson (Safe Ride News), Charlie Vits (SafeGuard/IMMI), Beth Warren, and Danielle Morris (Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center). This course was especially interesting for me as a Canadian CPST-I, because a lot of the harnesses used on school buses in the United States aren’t readily available in Canada except as a custom restraint, so this was my first time having my hands on these child safety restraint systems.
The day was long and we were presented with a ton of information. We shared the class with students from all over — including three students from Guam!– who have very diverse backgrounds and training.
Completing the SafeKids (or in my case, CPSAC) CPST training beforehand is not a requirement of this training, so we shared the classroom with Safety Coordinators, bus drivers, and other students who were there to contribute their experiences and knowledge about transporting children in school buses. This group of students shared their dilemmas and solutions with the class and our instructors, and having them in the course was invaluable. I was lucky to be able to take the training with three of my CSFTL teammates, and we are very excited to bring our knowledge back to our team and be able to help even more parents and caregivers.
The course ended at 5 p.m. after a full day of learning, and we finished it off by picking up our other teammates at the airport.
On to the Conference: Day One
Changes to Rear Facing Recommendations
The first full day of the conference began with a Best Practice Update that included an announcement that at 12:01 a.m. the American Academy of Pediatrics had updated their recommendation on rear facing to remove the 2 year old milestone altogether, and changed the wording of their recommendation to advise parents and caregivers to keep their children rear facing until they reach the height or weight limits of their convertible or multimode car seat.
Since most convertible and multimode car seats on the market can now accommodate 3 and 4 year olds rear facing, this decision was met with a lot of excitement from the CPS community.
After lunch, we were welcomed by Chief Matthew Packard of the Colorado State Patrol. He filled us in on some shocking statistics about motor vehicle collisions in this state. The lack of seatbelt usage was kind of astounding to us — in the past year in the state of Colorado over half of the people who died in a crash were not wearing their vehicle seat belts. Chief Packard made sure to stress that he believed education would be the most effective tool in reducing these unnecessary deaths. The quote that resonated with me the most was when he said “we are not going to ticket our way to zero fatal crashes.”
We absolutely agree with this and continue to make every effort to educate anyone who can see our message around child passenger safety.
More Exciting News!
We quickly moved to the first Manufacturer’s Panel which included Chicco, Dorel, Huggable Images, Safe Ride New Publications, Safe Traffic System, Inc., Tot Squad, and Toyota Motor North America. We learned two pretty exciting pieces of information at this panel! First, Dorel announced that all of their child restraint systems — both current and retroactively — will now follow NHTSA recommendations for replacement after a crash. All the CPSTs and caregivers in attendance were VERY excited to hear this news, even though our web team probably winced at all the reviews that will now require updating on our website (Sorry/not sorry, team!).
Even More Exciting News!
The second piece of news was that Safe Ride News Publications has not only produced a new School Bus Manual (released that day), but they had also updated their website. If you haven’t already, check out Safe Ride News Publications’ new, very user friendly updated website, which includes ONLINE ORDERING!!!
Our team split up to attend some workshops after the panel. We regrouped to attend Manufacturers’ Panel 2. This session featured Diono, Goodbaby/Evenflo, Happy Kidz/Doona, KidsEmbrace, mifold, Nuna, SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., and Volkswagen.
KidsEmbrace was excited to show off their new bright orange tether and lower anchor straps, and are hoping (as are we) that this will improve tether usage among parents and caregivers with their forward facing only combination car seats. Cybex gave us some information about their new multimode car seat the Eternis S, which features lockoffs in both directions and magnetic harness modes that we can’t wait to take a closer look at when the seat is released.
Thursday evening featured a CPST Appreciation Reception, which was crashed by two T-rexes. We managed to get some photos and videos before they vanished into extinction, but it was definitely an evening not many of us will forget any time soon!
Friday kicked off with Manufacturers’ Panel 3, featuring Britax, Clek, EZ-ON Products, Inspired by Drive, National CPS Board, Thomashilfen North America, UnBuckleMe, and UPPAbaby.
Clek confirmed that they are working on a rear facing only car seat (and told us we will love the name, but that they are not ready to announce it yet), and UPPAbaby announced that the Mesa is now allowed to touch the front vehicle seat when the following conditions are met:
- The vehicle manual permits the car seat to touch the vehicle seat back
- The Mesa touching the vehicle seat does not interfere with the car seat’s installation
- The Mesa’s base must remain in contact with the entire vehicle seat
Friday afternoon consisted of workshops where again the group split up and attended the sessions that appealed to us. Workshops included “Hospital-Based CPS: Where do I Start?”, “Advanced Safety Features: How We Make Car Seats Safer – Updated”, and “Under the Radar: Research Findings to Shape Practice”.
Friday wrapped up with a Child Passenger Safety Digital Check Form Dinner Plenary, which was hosted by AAA. Any CPST who is interested in this form can visit https://carseatcheckform.org to learn more.
Final Day: Remembering Jennifer Penick
The Kidz in Motion conference concluded on Saturday with more workshops in the morning, and the Hero Presentation and Prize Drawings until noon.
We were heartbroken to learn that our teammate and friend Jennifer Penick had been awarded one of the CPS Hero awards posthumously. Our team did not have a dry eye when her picture was displayed on the screen, and we continue to be honoured by having had the opportunity and privilege to work alongside her and call her our friend.
This concluded the 2018 Kidz in Motion conference, and we are excited to see what the 2019 conference in Orlando, Florida will bring.