Hello, Metro Detroit Mommy readers! My name is Dana Lange, I’m a CPST and mom of two. I’ve been passionate about car seat safety since shortly after my first child was born in 2008 and officially became certified as a tech in 2014 when my youngest was 2. Since then I’ve become trained in special needs seats. I offer private seat checks by appointment as well as through Modern Natural Baby in Ferndale. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Metro Detroit Mommy writers!
So why am I here? Well, we’ve all seen the articles posted on our Facebook and Twitter feeds warning us of the dangers our children face every day. From hidden cameras to cyber bullies, this generation of parents deal with things our ancestors never could have dreamed of, let alone have been prepared for. Lucky for us, we also happen to be the generation with the most profound amount of information at our fingertips: The Google.
The Google knows all. The Google doesn’t lie (I think I read that on the internet…). The Google has the answers.
Why, then, are 4 out of 5 car seats used or installed incorrectly?
Why are car crashes the number 1 killer of children in our country?
I know that when I have a question about parenting I turn to my most trusted sources: my friends and my computer. What’s so lovely about the latter is that it does not judge me. I can ask anything (and I have) without the worry of potential backlash.
(All of the above?)
My hope is that by writing articles for MDM that you will learn something and share that information with your friends. And you know what? I promise I’m not judging you. I don’t own a high horse or a soapbox; I just want all kids to be safe. I am educator, and I want you to make an educated decision. That’s it.
Back in 2007 as a newly pregnant child of the internet-era, when it was time for me to research baby products you can guess the first thing I did. I read online reviews for cribs, bouncers, swings, breast pumps, bottles, monitors, sleep sacks, toenail clippers, cloth diapers… you name it, I had the info. Except for one thing: car seats. I chose my daughter’s car seat on the fabric alone. There was nobody for me to even ask about car seats and hey, they’re all the same, right?
The wonderful, wonderful internet introduced me to the world of car seat safety and I have been hooked ever since. You could say I LATCHed on to it. Ha. Haha! Get it?
Anyway! All of this to say that I’m perplexed by the amount of information regarding car seats that gets scrolled past. Why do we, the Children of the Internet, the Takers of the Good Usernames, absorb all sorts of useless chatter on Buzzfeed (check out the quiz to determine which part of trail mix you most resemble) and ignore useful dialog regarding the safety of ourselves and our children? We turn to the internet and research what floor mat works best in our cars but not potentially life-saving devices. Did you know that some car seats are incompatible with some vehicles, meaning it will not protect your child in a crash? And did you know that not all infant seats will fit your child from birth, even if it is advertised as such? I certainly didn’t, as evidenced by the fact that I chose my daughter’s seat because pink and brown was the color scheme du jour.
(Oh hey, aftermarket harness strap covers. We’ll discuss that another day.)
Parents and caregivers, I implore you to take a few minutes and read up on your car seats. You don’t have to become an expert – in fact, I don’t believe that’s even possible for anyone – but you can read your manual and learn a lot. You can also make an appointment with a CPST to have them check your installation and give pointers if necessary. And if all else fails, there’s the Google:
Dana is the lucky mother to two incredible kids (aged 10 & 6) and the happy wife of Nate. She stumbled around in her adult life for a while before finally realizing that she could get paid to pursue her passion: keeping kids safe. In 2013 she started working at Modern Natural Baby in Ferndale where she eventually became a Child Passenger Safety Technician with additional Special Needs training. Dana also runs the child passenger safety-focused Facebook page Buckle Up Detroit and works with the amazing lady bosses at Metro Detroit Doula Services offering car seat classes, consultations, and more!