Tech Update – April 2011

New AAP Guidelines on Seat Selection: Safe Kids and NHTSA Concur

Safe Kids USA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) support the newest child passenger safety recommendations developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Two new documents will appear in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics (Volume 127, Number 4): the actual policy statement – Child Passenger Safety, and a technical report also titled Child Passenger Safety. The technical report supports the policy statement. Both documents are must reading for certified child passenger safety technicians.

The AAP policy statement is clear and concise as it encourages slowing the transition from one child restraint type to the next. It does this with five best-practice recommendations:

  • All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat (CSS) until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their CSS.
  • All children 2 years or older, or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their CSS, should use a forward-facing CSS with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their CSS.
  • All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their CSS should use a belt-positioning-booster until the vehicle lap-and-shoulder seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
  • When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap-and-shoulder seat belts for optimal protection.
  • All children younger than 13 years of age should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.

A large number of child restraints with high weight harnesses and taller seat backs have been available for some time in the U.S. market. Parents may have already purchased a high weight harness seat without realizing the true benefit of it.

NHTSA revised its child restraint guidelines to be categorized by age, rather than by type of child seat, to keep pace with this latest scientific and medical research and the development of new child restraint technologies. To download the new NHTSA factsheets, go to:

National Campaign – Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car

Last year, 49 children died from heat stroke when they were left unattended in a vehicle. Data show that between 1998–2010, 494 children have died this way. That is an average of 38 deaths per year. Kids were alone in cars in one of three ways:

  • they were unintentionally “forgotten” when a distracted driver arrived at their destination and left the vehicle with a child inside;
  • they left their car doors unlocked, and unsupervised kids gained access; or
  • they intentionally left the child alone while they ran an errand.

Safe Kids Buckle Up (SKBU) has launched a national initiative to increase awareness to caregivers and deputize the public to act on behalf of any child they may see unattended in vehicles. Bystanders are encouraged to call 911 immediately. A child could face grave dangers in a very short period of time.

A meeting to strategize the issue was held in Arlington, Texas, in January; a national launch was held in Austin, Texas, in March. Texas leads the nation in the number of deaths by hyperthermia or heat stroke to children.

Join us as we promote the NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE IN A CAR initiative. Go to or for more information.

New On-line CEU Opportunity

  • Provided by: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety Project
    • The Texas A&MAgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety Project is offering three new on-line tech update courses that will provide 2 CEUs each. It is the on-line version of the Tech Update Workshop offered by Passenger Safety on February 2, 2011, in Bryan and across the state via video conferencing. The course, titled Tech Update 2011, Parts 1-3, is available at: Note that the maximum CEUs allowed in the on-line education category is five.

Other On-line CEU Opportunities

2010 Certification Program Report Highlights

Technicians and instructors across the country (and some out of the country!) were busy in 2010, passing courses, recertifying, offering courses, and passing their CEU audits. Here are few highlights:

  • Recertification: 2010 ended with a phenomenal recertification rate of 50.3 percent. Although a slight decrease from 2009, more than one out of every two technicians chose to recertify.
  • 14.5 percent of techs who recertified were audited for CEUs.
  • 82 percent passed. The rest were incomplete (in progress).
  • 1125 audits were completed in 2010, many selected in 2009.
  • New Technicians: There were 8,433 new certifications, down from 8,921 in 2009 and 9,534 in 2008. Of these, nine became instructors, and one is an instructor candidate.
  • 8733 people took either a Certification or Certification Renewal course.

New! Dynamic Locking Latch Plates: Coming Soon to an Event Near You!

Some 2011 model year GM vehicles are equipped with dynamic locking latch plates in the front driver and passenger seats. These are different from the more familiar cinching latch plates that are used for child restraint installation, as the dynamic locking latch plates are designed to lock under dynamic crash loading but may not stay locked under normal driving conditions.

Child restraints MUST be installed by locking the switchable retractor, even when there is a dynamic locking latch plate in the front passenger seat. The vehicle owner’s manual instructs that the retractor must be locked for child restraint installation in the front passenger seat, along with detailed instructions on how to lock the retractor.

Resources for Techs

2011 Latch Manual Now Available

The 2011 edition is now available from Safe Ride News. This latest edition has over 400 pages, including:

  • a new chapter on rear-facing tethering.
  • a new appendix covering child safety restraints used on school buses.
  • 10 additional pages in the CR manufacturer appendix, including coverage of three new CR manufacturers.
  • 47 more pages in the vehicle model appendix, due to expanded topics in the general bullets for each brand and two new brands.
  • also new—by users’ request—is much more detail on domestic trucks and vans.

To order, go to

Updated Child Safety Seat Instruction CD Available

SafetyBeltSafe USA has the newest edition of their CD with child safety seat instructions from 2000 to 2010. The CD includes PDF versions of all the instructions listed by the manufacturer’s name. In addition, there is a ‘Cliff Notes’ section for each instruction manual, highlighting information that techs should know for each seat. To order a CD, go to

Re-Certification Reminder

You may re-certify up to four months before your certification expiration date. Avoid problems – don’t delay!

Basic re-certification requirements and deadlines:

  • Five seat checks approved by a certified instructor (you may use the technician proxy option). You can do the checks at any time during your certification cycle as long as they are entered on-line and a certified instructor approves them before your re-certification date.
  • Community education (choose one):
    1. Participation in at least one two-hour checkup event with at least one other CPS technician using any standardized checklist to provide documentation, if needed.
    2. Provide at least four hours of community education. Examples include making presentations to parents, educators, kids, organizations (such as PTAs or law enforcement), or other stakeholders who are not technicians.
  • A minimum of six hours of CPS technical continuing education units earned and reported during a current two-year certification cycle.
    • You cannot carry over CEUs from one period to the next, even if you have accumulated more CEUs than are required.
    • You can record CEUs any time during your certification cycle, but they must fit into one of the five approved categories and meet content requirements.
  • Register and pay the re-certification fee before your certification expiration date.

To get to the payment screen, you must have:

  1. Completed all five seat checks (entered and CPSTI approved).
  2. Entered at least six CEUs.
  3. Entered your community event information.

Once all three are done, you will see a “Click Here to Continue” button that will take you to the payment screens.

Once your registration is complete, your re-certification will be processed in two to four days.

Remember to Update Your On-line Profile at the Safe Kids Website

Safe Kids Certification Website –

Techs can log in to update their profile and enter re-certification information. Please remember to change your bookmark to reflect this new address.

Sources: CPS Express January–April 2011

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Last updated: 22 November, 2013

Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status.