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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Table Talk: Why did Kat become a Car Seat Technican?

An Interview with Kathy Gutierrez, The Carseat Nanny

By Alice Shaffer

1. Why did you become interested in becoming a car seat technican?
I went online to a carseat forum with a question. All the info I started reading there made me realize my charges could be in safer seats. Given the high percentage of carseat misuse, I wanted to be better able to spread carseat safety information. Parents are more willing to listen when you have a title behind your name.

2. Do you feel it has given you an added benefit to being a professional nanny? Yes. Any additional education a nanny can get is helpful to her career. Nannies are often on the go with their charges. What parent wouldn't want to know their nanny knows the best way to keep their busy child safe.

3. What inspired you to continue rear facing your charges after the age of one? Education. Once I learned the dangers of forward facing, there was no option. A child's spine is not fully fused until 4-6 years old. Until the neck bones are fully fused, there is a greater chance of spinal injuries. The head of a forward facing child is so heavy, in a crash it is thrown forward with great force. A rear facing child is cradled by the carseat, protecting the neck and spine. At the beginning of this year, 35 pounds was the maximum weight for rear facing in America. Now there are carseats that can rear face to 40 and 45 pounds. In Sweden, carseats can hold up to 55 pounds rear facing (usually 4-5 years old by height) and they have an average of 1 child die per year from a car crash.

4. How did you learn about becoming car seat tech certified?
Someone in one of my Mom's groups recommend a woman that installs carseats. Before my daughter was born, I went to see her. After talking with her about my charge's new seats, she told me what to do to become certified.

5. With your own child, what made you decide on the rear facing?

Education. I want what is safest for my child. I couldn't imagine a day without her, and having her forward facing too soon is literally risking her life.

6. What are your favorite 3 car seats?
Infant seats- Graco Snug Ride 35 or Chicco Key Fit 30
Convertible seats (rear facing and forward facing- Graco My Ride, First Years True Fit, Sunshine Kids Radian
Combination seats (forward facing harnessed, and converts to booster)- Graco Nautilus, Britax Frontier, Evenflo Generations 65
However, new carseats are often coming to the market. As new seats come out, my favorites may change.

7. What is your favorite booster seat for an older child
The Recaro Vivo is my favorite. It offers great side impact protection, positions the seatbelt well, and is affordable.

Kathy Gutierrez has been a professional nanny since 2000, and a mother since 2006. In effort to keep her children and charges safe, she became a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) in 2008. For nearly a year Kathy worked side by side with a CPST Instructor, to learn from her 25 years experience.

Kathy will also be the featured speaker at ADCAN'S monthly meeting on November 22, so if you are in the DC come join us!

Check in next Monday, November 16th on Monday Moxie for a post on how to become a Carseat Technican!


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