Tech Update – October 2013

Passenger Safety, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
in cooperation with Texas Department of Transportation

Want to Know More about CPS on School Buses?

Introducing the 2nd edition of the The School Bus Safety Handbook, a comprehensive and up-to-date resource for safely transporting preschoolers and children with special needs on school buses. Includes details on installation and use of child safety restraint systems and wheelchairs. Find sample pages and ordering information at

Chrysler Group Adds Truck Tether Anchors to Their List of Vehicles with Higher Tether Weight Limits

Last year, Chrysler Group announced that tether weight limits had increased for most of its 2013 model year vehicles. Instead of limiting the use of the tether anchor to 48 pounds (child weight), the new guideline states that the tether anchor can be used with a seatbelt to install a child restraint up to the recommended weight limit of the child restraint. A list of affected vehicles was provided on the Lifesavers website following this announcement.

Chrysler Group is pleased to announce that an assessment of the tether anchors in Standard and Mega Cab Ram pickup trucks has shown that these vehicles can be added to the list. Like other vehicle families, this change is being made retroactively to the start of production of the current tether design. Specifically, the following model year vehicles have been added to the updated list of affected vehicles.

  • 2009+ Ram 1500 Pickup Trucks – Regular Cab
  • 2010+ Ram 2500/3500 Pickup Trucks – Regular Cab & Mega Cab
  • 2011+ Ram 3500/4500/5500 Chassis Cab Trucks – Regular Cab

CPS Techs should note that the increased tether weight limit supersedes the information printed in the 2013-2014 model year owners’ manuals. The owners’ manuals for these vehicles were printed before this announcement.

Do I Need Liability Protection As a CPST/CPSTI?

The Certification Training Program does not provide liability insurance for individual technicians or instructors. Most child passenger safety activities, including car seat checkup events, are covered by an employer or by the agency sponsoring the event. Wherever the event, keep these tips in mind:

  • Always discuss liability concerns with your employer. You may be covered under a general liability policy.
  • Always use a checklist whenever you check a car seat. The form will guide you through the process, so it is important that it is fully and accurately filled out. This serves as your key documentation of how the child arrived and left your checkup. Be sure the parent or caregiver signs your checklist before you begin to work with them.
  • Teach correct installation and use of child restraints and seat belts based on best practices, including active participation by the caregiver. Do not go beyond your scope of practice as a health educator.
  • Use appropriate resources such as child restraint instructions, vehicle owner’s manuals, and up-to-date recall lists. At every checkup event, have a copy of the latest LATCH manual and the child restraint manufacturers’ instructions CD.
  • After you have completed the checkup, review the form to be sure all items are completed accurately. Document your findings, particularly if a caregiver chooses not to follow best practices or to correct identified misuse.
  • Have a clear written policy about replacement seats and how to dispose of old unsafe seats.
  • When possible, have a fellow technician review the installation, checklist form, and caregiver education.
  • Safety is a priority for everyone at an event.

Important to Read Instructions

One example is how the harness straps to the splitter plate. Even though I am a long-time CPST Instructor, I still review owner’s manuals. And that’s a very good thing! I would like to share two examples that prove the importance of checking those instruction manuals.

Manufacturers have specific ways in which we are to adjust the straps when there are two loop options on the harness. On the Graco SnugRide models that adjust from the front, the instructions state “the ends of the straps must hang in front of the metal junction plate” (aka splitter plate). Graco even uses the sign to mark the incorrect method.

However, the Evenflo SureRide Titan 65 shows the opposite is necessary for correct use. This is just one more example that confirms how necessary it is to read the instructions to understand even the most “basic” details of car seat use and adjustment. The field changes all the time!

Fact or Fiction Section

Children in Sweden Ride Rear-Facing until Age 4.

FACT: Children have been riding rear-facing for decades in Sweden and have extremely low death and injury rates for children in MV crashes. Most Swedish children transition directly from rear-facing CSS to booster seats. Their rear-facing car seats may be used for children up until 4–6 years of age and in any seat of the vehicle.

Sweden has been the forerunner in most issues involving highway safety. Swedish car manufacturer, Volvo, was the first to introduce such innovations as laminated glass, 3-point safety belts in 1959, the first rear-facing car seat in 1964, the first booster seat in 1978, side air bags, and SIPS, etc. To the Swedes, automotive safety is a way of life and is integrated within their culture. The Swedes have been using rear-facing seats for so long with unbelievable success that they can’t imagine doing anything otherwise.

In the U.S., motor vehicle crashes are still one of the leading causes of death and injuries for infants and children. The AAP’s latest policy to keep U.S. children up to 2 years of age rear-facing when traveling in motor vehicles should reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries. Hopefully, one day the U.S. will follow the lead of Sweden.

Most Drivers Are Not Aware of the Dangers that Loose Objects in a Vehicle Pose to Them and Their Passengers.

FACT: In an ongoing U.S. study of children involved in crashes, researchers found that of 12,513 children injured by something inside the vehicle, more than 3,000 collided with loose objects, other passengers, or both. Even though some drivers are aware that loose objects in the vehicle may pose a danger to them, most find that it is more convenient to stow things in the cabin instead of the trunk. Loose objects can become lethal not only in a collision but even in emergency braking. During a collision, impact from a loose object will have a relative force equal to the object’s weight multiplied by the speed in which it travels. Placing loose objects in the passenger or rear seat locations for easy access was cited as a key reason for placing it inside the cabin, followed by the desire to enter and leave the car quickly.

It is always important to point out potential missiles to families so that these items may be placed in the trunk, or securing backpacks or brief cases with a locked seat belt. Read more about the dangers of projectiles.

Submitted by Kim Herrmann, Safe Kids Worldwide (Ft. Myers, FL)

One of the Factors that the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Measures in Determining How a Vehicle Rates in Frontal Tests Is Restraint/Dummy Movement.

FACT: IIHS conducts two different frontal crash tests: a moderate overlap test (formerly known as the frontal offset test) and a small overlap test. Even if injury measures are low, it’s important to consider the dummy’s movement during the crash since not all drivers are the same size as the dummy or seated exactly the same way. A close call for the dummy could be an actual injury for a person.

Before each crash test, technicians put grease paint on the dummy’s head, knees, and lower legs. After the test, the paint shows what parts of the vehicle came into contact with those parts of the dummy. The paint, combined with high-speed film footage of the crash, allows engineers to evaluate the dummy’s movement.

Earning CEUs Online – New Online CEU Opportunity

Provided by: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety Project

Many technicians cannot afford to be away from their job to attend in-person CEU sessions. Earning CEUs online is one way to meet the requirements from the comfort of your own home with no added expense. If you have an Internet connection, you can complete the courses at your own pace when you have time. Up to five CEUs earned online can be used towards the six CEU re-certification requirement.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety Project is offering five online tech update courses that will provide 1 or 2 CEUs each. It is the online version of the Tech Update Workshop offered by Passenger Safety on April 9, 2013, in Bryan and across the state via video conferencing. The course, titled Tech Update 2013, Parts 1–5, is available at: Simply register and get started earning your five online CEUs and staying current in the field at no charge.

The sections include:

  • Part 1: “Myth Busters” and “What’s New in Child Safety Seats”
  • Part 2: “New CRSs and Unique Features”
  • Part 3: “LATCH, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”
  • Part 4: “New Trends in Vehicle Technology”
  • Part 5: “Case Study: Growing Up Healthy, Wealthy and Wise”

Other online CEU opportunities can be accessed by logging into your technician profile at Once logged in, scroll down under your ACTION ITEMS and select ONLINE CEUs.

Still need to earn one more CEU to make your six required CEUs? Just read two Tech Updates and take the associated quizzes. They are available at You can also earn 1 CEU by reading three peer-reviewed journal articles. More links and options are available online.

Re-Certification Reminder

NEW!! The Safe Kids website now has a special FAQ section dedicated to seat checks (for recertification). Go to

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 online and a certified instructor approves them before your re-certification date.
  • Community education (choose one):
    • 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.
    • 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 Online 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 July–October 2013

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Last updated: 31 January, 2014

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.