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Ontario Residents Develop Innovative Child Passenger Safety Seat

Patented seat is installed in demo SUV; GoFundMe campaign started for national safety campaign travels.

ONTARIO, CA – Feb. 26, 2018 – Lenard and Barb Ascher, longtime residents of Ontario, California, have made big strides in the world of child passenger safety technology. The past five years have been dedicated to developing their patented adjustable seat concept that aims to save the lives of children. The statistics are staggering – 1 in 3 child seats are not installed correctly. Over 75% of child passenger injuries are preventable.

The Aschers, who are semi-retired and help raise four grandchildren, have dedicated their efforts to seeing this child saving technology become a reality. Lenard Ascher is also a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. The seat technology is currently designed to be made available through new vehicles. The seat has multiple moving and adjustable parts so that children will no longer need a car seat once they outgrow the infant carrier. Equipped with smart technology software, the seat moves itself into position to assist adults in properly securing children for transport.

The latest demo version of this seat is installed in the Ascher’s late model Ford Explorer. Their goal is to travel to two very important national safety conferences taking place this year. The Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety in San Antonio, Texas in late April and the Kidz in Motion Conference in Broomfield, Colorado in late August.  Through their five-year investment into this concept, a GoFundMe Campaign has recently been created in hopes of gaining support for their travels to both conferences. This opportunity will allow the Aschers to provide in-person demonstrations of the adjustable seat technology to prominent safety executives and advocates in the industry.

Two videos have been released. To view the videos: Full Length (2:40) click here, Short Length (1:53) click here.

GoFundMe Campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/FOUR-EVER-IN-MOTION

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New Video Demonstrates Adjustable Seat Technology

Simply, there was no better way to demonstrate the need for an adjustable seat concept like ours than to install a real-life prototype into a vehicle. Over the course of a year, we diligently created this fully functioning seat to be installed in a Ford Explorer. Taking concept to reality, seeing is believing.

We were able to remove just one seat and replace it with our technology-equipped seat without impeding on the space of adjacent seats. This is an important facet of this seat. With designing to fit in standard OEM seat widths, we can show the possibility of placing more than one seat side-by-side. Additionally, we wanted to match the OEM interior to show a factory look with amazing capabilities.

How did we program the seat to move? For the demonstration seat, we have connected to it, an independent touch screen with software that requests the height and weight input for the child. After the input is entered, the seat will automatically adjust itself to the optimal configuration. For new vehicle integration, this user interface and software would be installed in the vehicle’s infotainment system, allowing easy access by the driver or front passenger.

While we put the focus on child passenger, we also want to touch on this seat’s capability for special needs children and adults. For all circumstances where the traditional seat belt system needs more features, our seat technology provides this and more. We hope you’ll take the time to watch our new video and to see this seat in action.

Through keeping a conversation open with safety advocates, first responders, and parents – we hope that this sparks questions and curiosity. When the statistics indicate that one in three car seats are installed incorrectly and over 75% of child passenger injuries are preventable, we must introduce a solution. In our seat – we believe we have the innovation that will curb the statistics.

We now challenge car makers and seat manufacturers to take the next step in ensuring that our vision to curb the statistics keeps moving forward.

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Check Out Your Latest State Seatbelt Safety Laws

Safety belt laws

There are mandatory safety belt laws in all states except New Hampshire. In some states, these laws cover front-seat occupants only, but belt laws in 29 states and the District of Columbia cover all rear-seat occupants, too.

Belt use laws in only 34 states and the District of Columbia are primary, meaning police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations. In other jurisdictions, police must have some other reason to stop a vehicle before citing an occupant for failing to buckle up.

Safety belt use can have implications in civil suits — 16 states allow the “safety belt defense,” which can reduce damages collected by someone in a crash if the person failed to buckle up. The reduction is permitted only for injuries that would have been prevented by a belt. In some states, the reduction may not exceed a fixed percentage of the damages.

Child safety seat laws

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have child safety seat laws. Child safety seat laws require children to travel in approved child restraints or booster seats and some permit or require older children to use adult safety belts. The age at which belts can be used instead of child safety seats differs among the states. Young children usually are covered by child safety seat laws, while safety belt laws cover older children and adults.

Because enforcement and fines differ under belt use and child safety seat laws, it’s important to know which law is being violated when a child isn’t restrained. Most child seat safety laws are primary, meaning police may stop vehicles solely for child safety seat violations. Nebraska and Ohio leave some children under a secondary enforcement law, meaning that police must have an additional reason to make a stop. Nebraska’s law is secondary only for those children who may be in safety belts and primary for those who must be in a child safety seat. Ohio’s law is secondary for children ages 4 through 14 years.

Ideally, all infants and children in all vehicles should be covered by enforceable safety belt laws or child safety seat laws or both. But differences in the way the laws in various states are worded result in many occupants, especially children, being covered by neither law. Lawmakers have eliminated most of these gaps by amending their child safety seat and safety belt laws; still, 15-year-olds riding in the rear seat in Arkansas, Alabama and Ohio, and children age 9 or older who are not taller than 4 feet 9 inches riding in the rear seat in Oklahoma are covered by neither law. All children younger than 16 in the other 46 states and the District of Columbia are covered by one, or both laws.

In April 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement recommending that children ride in rear-facing child safety seats until at least age 2. Previously, the recommendation was rear-facing until at least age 1 and 20 pounds. Since the AAP’s change, nine states (California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Oregon) have updated their child restraint laws accordingly.

See the most recent published table on safety belt and child car seat laws pertaining to each state by clicking here.

* This information is provided by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).

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Safe Ride News Article: Re-evaluating Car Seat Orientation and Safety

While we continue to work on our own adjustable seat innovation, we strive to also be a conduit for current child passenger safety news. This piece was published on Safe Ride News and we feel that this article on rear-facing vs forward-facing continues to need clarification for every day parents. The latest update was in September. Below is an excerpt, please read the full article and all supporting information on the Safe Ride News site by clicking here.

Over the past year, certain developments have caused some CPS advocates to be concerned and/or confused about the relative safety of children riding rear facing versus forward facing.  Testimony in a recent lawsuit that questioned the benefits of extended RF, changes to RF and FF requirements in CR instructions, and updated state laws have all contributed to the confusion.  Most recently, an expression of concern published by Injury Prevention and an online statement  posted by the CR manufacturer Dorel have understandably raised many questions among CPSTs.  The following describes these developments and gives additional context to help CPSTs make sense of recent news.

The Evolution to Extended RF

As recently as the early 1990s, in the U.S. and Canada babies as young as 6 months old were routinely turned to face forward, due partly to lack of awareness of the benefits of riding rear facing and also the scarcity of CRs designed to be safely used longer in the rear-facing mode. Today, this situation has changed dramatically. Over the years, organizations like NHTSA, CR manufacturers, and industry research groups have conducted extensive lab testing that has shown the safety benefits of placing babies and small children rear facing in the car, and real-life experience in Sweden, where riding RF past age 2 is the norm, consistently supports this, as well.  CPSTs have done a tremendous job educating the public on this subject, and CR manufacturers have filled the market with models allowing extended RF capacity.  Babies under age 1 are now far less frequently placed forward facing, and many parents heed the AAP’s best-practice advice to keep children rear facing until at least age 2.

AAP and NHTSA Guide U.S. CPS Policy 

These behavioral and product changes were supported and prompted by CPS best-practice policy. In 1996, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first recommended children ride facing the rear until they weighed at least 20 pounds and reached 1 year of age, in order to reduce the risk of cervical spine injury in a crash. It encouraged parents of children who weighed 20 pounds prior to their first birthday to seek a CR with a higher RF usage weight (though, at the time, such CRs were rare).  By the early 2000s, there was far greater availability of CRs designed to fit and safely transport most infants up to and even over age 1.  Therefore, in 2002, when the AAP updated its policy, it added that children should remain rear facing as long as possible—even beyond age 1— if the CR’s usage limits were still met. (Current Canadian policy aligns with these recommendations.)

In 2007, researchers analyzing injuries to children up to age 2 in both fatal and nonfatal police-reported crashes published an important study about this real-life data.  It stated that, among children  in the study group ages 12 to 24 months,  those that were seated rear facing were significantly safer than forward-facing children—as much as five times safer (Henary, et al, 2007). When the AAP next revised its policy on CR selection guidelines in 2011, the committee strengthened its encouragement to keep infants and toddlers riding rear facing as long as possible, adding that best practice should be to keep infants up to age 2 rear facing unless they’d reached the highest weight or height allowed for the CR by the manufacturer.

NHTSA simultaneously updated its own guidelines in 2011, agreeing that children should ride rear facing as long as possible.  Although NHTSA didn’t opt to specify age 2 as a rear-facing goal, its online guidance suggests that children should remain rear facing until at least age 1 and up to as old as age 3, depending on circumstances like the CR use limits and the child’s size. (One such instance is found in NHTSA’s “Car Seat by Child’s Age and Size” chart at Parents Central on the safercar.gov website.)

Today, the 2011 recommendations from the AAP and NHTSA still guide CPS policy.  Besides advising pediatrictians and caregivers, these policies have been used to develop CPS curricula, influence some enhanced state laws, and prompt instructions from CR manufacturers.

A Tragedy Spurs Re-evaluation of Evidence About Rear-Facing Benefits

Although the way children ride and the protectiveness of the CRs and vehicles they use has changed dramatically since the 2007 Henary study (the only published study to date that compares the effectiveness of RF and FF CRs using actual U.S. crash data), it took a tragedy to spur an updated study.

In 2013, a 20-month-old boy riding forward facing in a Cosco Summit combination CR was severely injured in a crash.  Because the boy was four months shy of age 2, this event prompted a lawsuit against Cosco’s parent company, Dorel.  The prosecution argued that the manufacturer’s instructions unsafely allowed the child to ride in the forward-facing-only CR after age 1, despite the fact that established best practice is for children to ride rear facing until at least age 2.  (See SRN July/August 2016.)

In preparing a defense for the 2016 trial, Dorel hired a statistical research group, JP Research, Inc., owned by statistician Jeya Padmanaban.  By that time, the data used in the 2007 Henary study was over 10 years old (spanning 1998 through 2003), so Dorel asked JP Research to replicate the study and also update it to include more recent data (2004–2014).

The results were a surprise. Using exactly the same sample set as the 2007 study, JP Research was not able to replicate the Henary results using any standard statistical methodology.  In fact, its findings, presented as expert testimony in the court case, were that children over age 1 were actually safer riding forward facing than rear facing. (It is important to note that this study has yet to be peer-reviewed for accuracy; see next section.) As expert testiomony, the contradictory study did not sway the jury, however, and Dorel lost the court case.  A source at Dorel has told SRN that the company does not intend to appeal the decision, and its follow-up efforts to investigate these study findings are not motivated by litigation.

JP Research Findings, Post-Trial

The significance of JP Research’s findings clearly extends beyond one trial.   JP Research is a credible firm, but the value of its study would be vastly increased by publication, which would confirm it had been thoroughly peer-reviewed for accuracy.  The study has, however, been accepted for presentation in November at the Stapp Car Crash Conference, which will involve some form of peer review. Even prior to peer review, NHTSA has been apprised of the JP Research analysis of the Henary study.  On January 31, 2017, JP Research staff met with NHTSA and other key industry stakeholders in Washington, D.C., to present the findings, including speculation of potential flaws in the earlier research methodology.  So it is certain that this situation is known to policymakers. The research has also prompted changes at Dorel.  In an online statement, Dorel has explained that it is the JP Research study that influenced the company to discontinue phasing in instructions that would have required children to be age 2 before riding forward facing in its Safety 1st, Cosco, Eddie Bauer, or Maxi-Cosi convertible or all-in-one CRs. However, despite already having some influence on the industry, the fact that, to date, the study has not been peer-reviewed or made available to read in full severely curtails its usefulness for future decision-making.  Although Dorel has already cited some of the study’s findings publicly, the scientific community does not consider it appropriate to do so until a work has been properly vetted.  Therefore, SRN will report more fully on findings of the JP Research study when and if it is peer-reviewed for acceptance by the scientific community.

Other Research Efforts

While any updated research will carry more weight once it’s been peer-reviewed and published—as none at press time has—this situation is nonetheless firmly on the radar of all policymakers.  A couple of other notable efforts to investigate the situation have been carried out by the University of Virginia and Dorel.

Read this entire article on Safe Ride News.

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Flying with Children and Car Seats

The airlines have been in the media quite a bit lately, and it’s usually not positive. When traveling with children, especially those who should be in a car seat, parents have felt frustrations when attempting to bring their car seat on board.

From The Car Seat Lady is a great post about knowing your rights as a parent or guardian when it comes to car seats and taking commercial air flights. To read the full post, click here.

Here are a few points included in their post:

  • Bill of Rights – Per the FAA guidelines, The Car Seat Lady outlines which conditions must be met – and if they are, then you have the right to use your car seat in flight.
  • The Car Seat Lady directly sources the information from the FAA here.
  • You may use your car seat rear-facing or forward-facing, depending on your child’s age, height and weight and depending on the car seat’s height and weight limits.
  • A car seat may be placed in any airplane seat provided that it does not interfere with passengers evacuating the aircraft in an emergency.

 

Knowledge is power and knowing the rules and more importantly, understanding the rules will greatly help you in your next flight with children and car seats. Be sure to read the entire post by The Car Seat Lady as it directly cites the rules and guidelines put forth.

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FOUR-EVER IN MOTION’s Adjustable Seat Technology Founder Achieves National Child Passenger Safety Technician Certification

The company’s co-founder, Lenard Ascher, recently completed his National Child Passenger Safety Technician certification.  As the premise of the FOUR-EVER IN MOTION seat technology, Lenard and Barb, also co-owner, are dedicated to doing their part in preventing child passenger safety injuries.

Lenard became a national certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technician through completing and passing the certification course. He now joins a prestigious team of over 39,000 nationally CPS technicians. “After the initial development of our seat technology, I wanted to continue to be a part of a team that continues to reach out to the public and parents in order to help educate them on ways to keep their children as safe as possible, especially during transport,” said Lenard. “The certification course was demanding and presented such in-depth information. I am extremely proud to be a certified technician.”

To read the full press release of Lenard’s certification, click here.

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You May Need a Car Seat Check Up – Even If You Think You Don’t

Safe Kids Worldwide is the leading educator, organizer and certification organization for child passenger safety technicians. Safety technicians get certified because they are passionate about keeping kids safe during vehicle transportation. The statistics are still much too high on preventable child injuries and deaths in vehicle accidents. Why you ask?

One big reason is that the majority of parents and guardians are likely to think that they are properly securing their children. However, with so many car seats available on the market – the same way you use one brand’s car seat isn’t necessarily the same way that you’ll use another brand’s car seat.

What if you’ve been securing your child wrong this entire time? Well, child passenger safety technicians are readily available through car seat check up events to let you know if your child is properly secured. Remember, knowledge is going to keep your children safe.

Nationally, and throughout the year, Safe Kids Worldwide has car seat check up events. Even if you think you’re securing your child correctly, we encourage you to double check at one of their events – and the check up is FREE! After all, the check up can save a life.

For the latest car seat check up events, click here to head over to the Safe Kids Worldwide Events page.

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Staying Up to Date: 2016 Motor Vehicle Fact Sheet

Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the number one cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 19 according to CDC. It’s our goal, with our adjustable seat technology, to help reduce vehicle related child injuries and deaths. Take a look at the most recent data released on motor vehicle safety.

  • Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the number one cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 195.*
  • 2,912 children ages 19 and under died in MVCs in 2014 as occupants or drivers. The number and rate of deaths was 2 percent higher in 2014 than the previous year. Since 2000, however, there has been a 40 percent decrease in the annual number of fatalities and a 56 percent decrease in the death rate.**
  • Teenagers ages 15-19 years made up 73 percent (2,138) of motor vehicle occupant/driverfatalities among children in 2014. The teen fatality rate was ten times higher than the rates for younger children (10.2 per 100,000 population for teenagers versus 1.2 to 1.3 for children under 15 years). The teenage motor vehicle fatality rate increased 2 percent from 2013 to 2014.**
  • Of the 451 children ages 8 and under who died in MVCs in 2014, 116 (26 percent) were not restrained by an age-appropriate device such as infant car seat, booster seat or seat belt. This age group was responsible for 15 percent of childhood MV fatalities.**

 

Safe Kids Worldwide has compiled research based upon numerous studies and research that have brings to light the statistics that we must aim to reduce.

See the full report.

 

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Website. Leading causes of death, children ages 19 and under. Accessed February 23, 2016. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/leading_causes_death.html.

**National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NCSA Data Resource Website. Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia. Accessed February 23, 2016.

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IIHS Awards Highest Safety Rating to 2017 Kia Sedona

Just released, Kia is awarded top honors for its 2017 Kia Sedona’s safety. Read up on the newly released announcement.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded its best rating possible, Top Safety Pick+, to the 2017 Kia Sedona minivan. Already distinguished by its elegant design, exceptional comfort and utility, the 2017 Sedona is offered with available Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), a system that helps to avoid forward collisions by warning the driver of an impending forward collision and then applying the brakes if no action is taken. The addition of AEB qualified the 2017 Sedona for the elevated 2016 IIHS TSP+ rating.

“Buyers often place safety at the top of their list when shopping for a new minivan,” saidOrth Hedrick, vice president, product planning KMA. “The IIHS is a highly respected safety authority and we see the 2017 Sedona’s TSP+ rating as validation of Kia’s dedication to its customers and to the continuous efforts to build better and safer vehicles.”

The top rating is even more impressive in light of the new testing standards implemented by IIHS this year. In order to achieve the TSP+ rating, vehicles are required to earn “good” ratings in five crashworthiness tests-small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side impact, roof strength and head restraints-and an “advanced” or “superior” rating for front crash prevention. The addition of AEB boosts the Sedona’s front crash prevention rating from “basic” to “superior.”

The TSP+ rating improves the Sedona’s previous rating as a Top Safety Pick and complements the minivan’s 5-star crash rating awarded by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in 2015. 

About the new 2017 Sedona

 The 2017 Sedona offers some key enhancements over the 2016 model year, including:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is added to a rich mix of available Advanced Driver Assisted System (ADAS) features: Blind-Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Departure Warning (LDWS), and Smart Cruise Control (SCC).
  • UVO3 e-Services system (with the added smart-phone connectivity of Apple®CarPlay™ and Android Auto™) and Navigation system with larger 7-inch display screen. Navigation with 8-inch screen is also available.
  • Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) technology is combined with an upgraded High-Intensity-Discharge headlight system for even greater nighttime visibility.
  • The enhanced Essentials Premium Package now includes Front & Rear Park-Assist, Smart Key, UVO with rear camera, and leather trim.
  • A new available Acoustic Windshield provides a supremely quiet driving experience.

Also new for the 2017 model year is a front passenger’s seat power adjustment switch for the added convenience of easily operating the passenger seat from the driver’s side of the vehicle and new premium stainless steel second-row door steps are standard on SXL models.

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October 2016 – State Child Passenger Safety Laws

It’s always a good idea to make sure that your state’s child passenger safety laws haven’t changed. For many parents, especially new parents, properly restraining your child can be a daunting task. Even if you think you know the laws, it’s always a good idea to double check.

Here’s a link to the October 2016 list of child passenger safety laws. CLICK HERE

 

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