February 26, 2015
Below is a partial transcript from the urbanMamas Podcast Episode 7 where we welcome Leanne Goolsby, a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician who helps fill us in on safety seat laws and recommendations in the state of Oregon. At the end of the transcript are resources to ensure your child is riding safely. And please take a moment to rate this podcast and leave a review on iTunes!
(we totally spaced the icebreaker hat)
K: I know I've been doing things wrong probably the whole time my children have been in car seats.
L: Don't worry, you're in really good company. Most people are making mistakes that they're not even aware that they're making and I think that's probably one of the biggest things I've noticed as a CPST and as I've learned more and more over the years about child passenger safety is that people aren't necessarily intending to do things wrong. Nobody wants to put their child in danger on purpose, and if you do, then we've got other problems to talk about. People just don't necessarily know, it's not like you get pregnant and all of a sudden your head is filled with all of this knowledge about laws and recommendations and how to properly install a car seat. It doesn't just magically come to you.
R: It should.
K: The problem is that things keep changing. And that's kinda what prompted this whole thing today. So my kids are now 9 and 6 and really fastly - fastly? - approaching their birthdays, and so we're a bit removed from the infant seat stuff, but then when I was re-visiting how long do I keep my daughter in her booster seat, and I looked at it and went "oh man, I totally did that wrong with my son."
R: So let's just jump straight in. What are the requirements for restraining these children passengers?
L: First of all I do want to point out that there is a big difference between laws and best practice, as far as safety goes. And that is kind of universal. Laws for Oregon, and that's what I'll focus on today is strictly for Oregon. I'm going to read directly from the Oregon Impact website so I don't misquote this: "Oregon child occupant protection law states that child passengers must be restrained in an approved child safety seat until they weigh 40 lbs."
So that's talking about a harness, a 5 point harness, the straps that go over both shoulders. You have a chest clip, and then the straps that come over both hips, and the latch that connects all of those straps together at the crotch. So that's saying that your child, who is under 40 lbs needs to be restrained in a 5 point harness.
R: And there's no age associated with that? It's just the weight?
L: Yes. And again, we are talking about the laws here, and them I'm going to get into what you really should be doing to keep your child as safe as possible. Our law also states that infants must ride rear-facing until they reach both 1 year AND 20 lbs. So, if you're 6 month old is 20 lbs. they haven't reached the point of turning forward facing, according to our laws. If you're 2 year old is only 17 lbs. they also have not reached that limit. It's one year AND 20 lbs. Which I think trips people up sometimes because they think it's either/or.