Tech Update – November 2010


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.


Advanced air bag (AAB) technologies are complex, and CPS technicians need to keep up with changes to this type of restraint system. This article will address one aspect of child restraint (CR) use that could have an effect on the way some AABs function. The issue sprang from a question raised by a CPST at the Lifesavers conference in 2009; she wondered why there would be a statement in a Honda Odyssey 2006 vehicle owner’s manual (VOM) warning to avoid putting pressure on the back of the front passenger seat.

AABs were first introduced in MY 2003 and have been required for the front passenger seat of cars, minivans, light trucks, and SUVs since MY 2006. AAB technology was developed to make sure that children in the front seat or short adults are not struck by a deploying air bag (AB) and that the AB does not inflate unnecessarily when there is no occupant in the passenger seat. One common type of AAB turns off deployment whenever the front seat is unoccupied or occupied by a light-weight passenger or even a bag of groceries. Another type can sense conditions that call for a limited, low-risk deployment to provide some of the benefits of the AB, but without its full force. Many vehicle models have AAB sensors located within the lower cushion or the seat track of the front passenger seat that are sensitive to pressure on only one or both sides of the front passenger seat.

Some VOMs for vehicles with AABs, such as the Honda Odyssey (2006) and CR-V (2006-2010), and Toyota Prius (2007-2010), warn that there should be no pressure against the back of the passenger seat or under the seat. The concern is that any pressure exerted on the back of the front passenger seat could lead to a false reading, which might turn off the AAB when it should be on, or vice versa. Pressure is only one of a number of factors that could affect the AAB sensor reading, so the VOM must always be consulted. Pressure on the back of the seat could be caused by:

  • a rear-facing CR in the rear seat on the passenger side, pressing against the front seatback.
  • a rear-facing CR located in the center-rear seat, wedged between the two front seats.
  • a child in a forward-facing CR, who is pushing against the back of the seat with his or her feet.
  • bulky items or toys wedged beneath the front seat.
  • a heavy object hung on the back of the vehicle seat.
  • the tether of a rear-facing CR tightly attached under the front passenger seat (i.e., the angle or tightness of the tether may place pressure on the lower seat cushion or seat track).

How much pressure is too much? One vehicle manufacturer representative described “light contact” as permissible for a rear-facing CR in a small, rear seat compartment. He defined light contact as that which would allow a sheet of paper to be easily pulled out from between the CR and the seatback.

Could a tether strap going over the back of the front seat from a CR in the front seat, in a two-passenger vehicle for instance, also affect the sensors? This would depend on the AAB design of the specific model, so the owner’s manual should be consulted, as always. Related points to know:

  • Not all AABs work the same way, so be sure to use the VOM as a guide. Check both the air bag and child restraint sections of the VOM. If no VOM is available for a vehicle made since MY 2003, remind the caregiver to avoid putting pressure on the back of the front passenger seat.
  • The driver’s seat typically does not have the same types of AAB pressure sensors, so the concern is usually only with the front passenger seat.
  • A few CR manufacturers warn against having a rear-facing CR press against the back of the seat ahead. This may be for reasons independent of the AAB, but the warning should be followed nevertheless.

Source: Safe Ride News Jan/Feb 2010


The Summer 2010 Update and quiz can be found at CPS Board website at You may also read the Spring 2010 Update found on the same website. Download and read two tech updates; take the related quizzes available at the website, and earn 1 CEU for reading two tech updates.


Safe Riders and the Texas Department of Transportation are pleased to announce a new re-certification assistance program for CPS technicians and instructors in Texas. The goal of the program is to retain more quality CPS technicians and instructors.

Technicians and instructors are eligible to receive a full reimbursement of re-certification fees ($50 for technicians, $60 for instructors). The assistance is limited to an individual who pays his/her re-certification fee; we will not be able to reimburse organizations that pay for their employee’s re-certification fee. In return, over the course of the technician’s or instructor’s new 2-year re-certification cycle, he/she should notify Safe Riders of his/her participation in two state-recognized checkups or inspection stations. A description of state-recognized checkups or inspection stations that will fulfill this requirement is listed toward the end of this announcement.

Although it will not be required via a formal commitment, it is best practice that a technician participate in monthly, or at least quarterly, checkups to keep CPS skills sharp and stay aware of current products and issues.

The steps needed for you to receive the assistance are listed as follows:

  1. You may complete re-certification requirements (see added note below) and pay the fee up to four months before your certification period ends.
  2. Go on-line to the Safe Riders website (, and click on the “CPS Information & Technicians” button. Then, click on the link to the “re-certification reimbursement request form.” After completing and submitting the form on-line, please follow-up by sending Safe Riders proof of your payment for the fee. This proof could be either a receipt or a printed acknowledgement of payment received from the Safe Kids website. It should be sent via e-mail to, or fax to Safe Riders at 512-458-7555.
  3. Safe Riders will then submit payment to you through the Texas Department of State Health Services (allow up to 60 days).
  4. Over the course of your new, 2-year re-certification cycle, you should notify Safe Riders of your participation in two state-recognized checkups or inspection stations. After you participate in such an event, please report to Safe Riders by filling out a “Checkups/ Inspection Stations Report Form.” You can find the link to this form on the CPS Information & Technicians page on the Safe Riders’ website (noted above).

Re-certification Requirements for Reimbursement:

Prior to paying your re-certification fee, you must complete the following items:

  1. Verified seat check activity (5 types)
  2. Community event (one checkup or community workshop)
  3. Continuing education (6 hours)

State-recognized checkups and inspection stations include events sponsored by the following agencies:

  • Greater Dallas Injury Prevention Center
  • Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center – KidSafe Program
  • Injury Prevention Coalition of South Plains
  • Rio Grande Valley C.A.R. Coalition
  • Safe Kids Coalitions
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Passenger Safety Program
  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Texas Department of State Health Services Safe Riders
  • Texas Department of Transportation
  • Texas Municipal Police Officers Association

Please don’t allow your certification to expire! Let the re-certification fee reimbursement program help you continue the important work of child passenger safety.


“Improving Occupant Protection for Non-Critical Pediatric Patients in Ambulances: A Training Curriculum for EMS Personnel” was designed to teach EMS personnel about selection and installation of ambulance-specific restraints and some types of conventional child restraints on the ambulance cot. General occupant protection principles and policy and protocol development are also addressed in the four-hour training, which combines lecture with hands-on exercises.

Course instructors are required to be certified child passenger safety technicians with current experience in the field of emergency medical services. A disk containing all of the course materials is available for $25, which includes shipping and handling.

An instructor application and the course disk can be obtained by contacting Jody Yoder, Automotive Safety Program at Riley Hospital for Children, 1-800-KID-N-CAR,


The Certification course teaches that a child restraint needs to be pre-crash locked in a vehicle so it does not move more than 1 inch side-to-side or front-to-back when tested at the belt path. This pre-crash locking can be at the latchplate, retractor, or by using a locking clip or lock-off. Locking clips and a built-in lock-off both provide pre-crash positioning devices, performing the same function of locking the lap and shoulder belts together.

Why offer lock-offs? Built-in lock-offs are provided to make installation more convenient. By using the lock-off, the caregiver does not need to identify what type of latch plate or retractor is in their vehicle. While we were taught to apply a locking clip to an ELR with a sliding latch plate, child restraints that include built-in locks typically do not specify use only in this situation. CR instructions provide this information so that the caregiver does not need to know what type of latch plate or retractor their vehicle seat belt system includes.

There are several models of child seats that are including built-in lock-offs in the current market. Each manufacturer, and even different models from the same manufacturer, can have a different style and instruction for use of the built-in lock-offs. The seat belt webbing slides into some lock-offs and is clamped by other lock-offs. Some child seats direct you to use one lock-off, and others to use two.

Britax launched new convertibles (Roundabout 55, Marathon 70, Boulevard 70, Boulevard 70 CS, and Advocate 70 CS) in late July, instructing that both lock-offs be used during rear- and forward-facing installations.

Since the launch of the products, feedback has identified an incompatibility with the convenience button on some vehicle seat belts, interfering with the closing of the lock-off on the retractor side. The convenience button on a vehicle seat belt keeps the latch plate from sliding down into the bight of the vehicle seat. In response to this feedback, Britax has made minor changes to the products, including printed material, which requires lock-off use on the buckle side only for either rear- or forward-facing installations.

The change was implemented on October 5, 2010. A kit can be requested free of charge for seats manufactured that instructed use of both lock-offs. Consumers should contact Consumer Services at 1-888-427-4829 with their serial number and manufacture date to acquire a kit, if necessary.

A NEW CEU opportunity will be available from Britax on or before November 18th that will include video clip on the use of the two lock-offs versus the use of one lock-off.

It is critical that you refer to the instructions for each child restraint model by manufacturer for how to correctly use the lock-off/lock-offs with that particular CR. If you have any questions, contact Sarah Tilton at


The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety Project now has a new on-line tech update course that will provide 5 CEUs – the maximum allowed in the on-line education category. This is the on-line version of the Tech Update Workshop offered on February 25, 2010, in Bryan and across the state via video conferencing. The course, titled Child Passenger Safety Technician Update Workshop, is available at:

Provided by: Safe Kids Worldwide and NHTSA
Total available: 6 CEUs (more coming soon!)
Currently available: Vehicle Safety Part 1: Federal Regulations; Vehicle Safety Part 2: Consumer Testing; School Buses; A Tech’s Guide to Recalls; and Transporting Children in Vehicles Other Than Cars.

Technicians will register, log in, finish the webinar, and print a certificate of completion. This webinar requires participants to gather information from other sites (links provided) to have a quality learning experience.

** Each webinar is available for download (pdf) for local technical update sessions.

Provided by: UNC Highway Safety Research Center and NC CPS Conference
Total available: 4.5 CEUs

For CEUs, you must create an account on Techs will only be able to take the quiz and earn CEU credits if they have created an account, are signed in, and have watched the entire video.

NOTE: Non-CEU presentations are also available.

Provided by: National Child Passenger Safety Board
Total available: 4 CEUs
Four presentations – one about new child restraints; another combined about boosters and airbags; one on LATCH and tethers; and one called Fact or Fiction. Each presentation is available for download. Details and instructions are available on the website.


SITUATION: A nine-year-old correctly fits in the adult belt in the front passenger seat in a 2-seater. He sits correctly and comfortably with the seat pushed all the way back. Should the airbag be disabled? The vehicle owner’s manual is not available.

This is an interesting situation since the child could benefit from a passenger airbag in a crash. The answer might surprise you: The airbag should be disabled. However, NHTSA will allow some consumers to install an on/off switch to disconnect a driver or passenger air bag, but only if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Those who have a medical condition that places them at specific risk.
  • Those who cannot adjust their driver’s position to keep at least 10 inches from the steering wheel.
  • Those who cannot avoid situations that require a child 12 or under to ride in the front seat.

Please note that after September 1, 2012, vehicles are no longer allowed to be manufactured with a manual cut-off device.

FMVSS 208, S4.5.4 reads as follows: Passenger air bag manual cut-off device. Passenger cars, trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles manufactured before September 1, 2012, may be equipped with a device that deactivates the air bag installed at the right front outboard seating position in the vehicle, if all the conditions in S4.5.4.1 through S4.5.4.4 are satisfied.


  • Deaths of children left in hot cars in 2009: 32
  • Deaths of children left in hot cars in 2010: 41 (January – August)
  • Details available at


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.


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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.