Frontier 90 Advisory

Hi everyone,

Frontiers were first sold here in December 2013. They were dated October 2013 and it seems models dated from this time to mid 2014 may see a poor fitting seat belt when used in booster mode. Changes have been made to the later model Frontier seats, as they have re-sculpted the armrests/belt guide at the hips.
We’re not sure when the new models will be sold here, or if they already are, but I know that most of us have the affected model, and the seat does not come with the clip mentioned below.

 

Don’t panic!

There is a solution for this, please contact Britax USA with your car seat model name, and serial number – asking for a Secure Guard Clip – part number S922000.

Ours came directly from the US, at no cost to us. We tried to contact Britax NZ for this, however were only communicated with once, and they tried to sell us the clip:

“The Secure Guard is in our next container from Britax USA due late March early April the cost is $19.99NZD each includes GST.” 

Description

Part No.

UPC

Cost

Secure Guard Clip

S832200

6 52182 06272 9

$19.99

Britax USA stated:

“The consumer would need to contact us directly. We would only be sending out Secure Guard, because that will resolve their issue if they happen to have a fit issue.

Thank you

Customer Service”

Needless to say, our clip from the US came before the date stated above, and not a cent was exchanged.

Use this link: http://www.britaxusa.com/support/contact-us
And have your car seat details handy, you need your serial number, DOM and seat details as well as giving them your address.

The clip helps to keep the lap portion low down on the bony hip part of the pelvis and prevents the belt from creeping up toward the soft abdomen. It sits in the buckle slot of the seat when used in booster mode and comes with fitting instructions.

Car Seat Blog states “For many kids, there was no issue at all.  For some, especially smaller kids in certain vehicles, the booster fit was not as good as it could be.”

The image below shows the lap belt sitting too high [affected models] – the secure guard keeps the lap belt down low, over the upper thigh, rather than over the lower abdomen.

You may also like to view these pages: [added 19 Feb. 2015]

http://carseatblog.com/30336/britax-combination-seats-booster-lap-belt-guide-changes/

http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=261369 

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/more-booster-seats-grab-top-ratings

 

Welcome to the Market

A new contestant has entered the scene.
It’s a great seat for families in New Zealand.

So let’s list some of its great features.

I rear face to 18 kg. I forward face to 29kg.

We heard you say you wanted a seat that’s easy to use and install, so we combined what we thought you’d like the most. No need to re-thread my harness, can adjust the height to 1 of 10 positions using just one hand, and no need to uninstall the seat when you do. I also feature easy to identify belt paths with wide openings for easy installation with seat belt or isofix. My instruction manual is colour coded to match these belt paths also so there’s no mixing them up. Green for rear facing, blue for forward facing.
My base offers 4 adjustment levels in total, allowing the best fit at all times in your car and I allow 2 angles to be used when rear facing depending on your child’s weight.
I’ve been endorsed by Indy Car champion Scott Dixon, my interior is lined with super safe features like G-Cell foam and to keep little heads protected I offer side impact support with
air protection technology. My deep sides cradle and encapsulate your child to keep them cosy and safe.

An added bonus for the older users is an integrated cup holder, and lots of leg room for use rear or forward facing.

You’ll see me popping up around the country in various stores within in the next 2 weeks and you can be my owner for $499. I’ll serve your child’s needs from birth to 6/7yrs and I have a lifespan of 8 years.

Check me out! Once we’ve heard from you, we’ll share my name.

NZ Child Restraints would love to help you own a seat as great as me, so drop them a line to find out more.

 

Boosters, law change and myths.

November 1st, 2013 will see a law change that will require children aged 5-7yrs to ride in a booster seat (or child restraint with harness where they still fit correctly). Under current law children aged over 5 years old do not need a car seat or booster seat, only those aged 5-7 years “where a seat is available”, which will now extend to children until 8 years of age (NZTA, 2013).

Why the law change?
“Around five children are killed or injured every week on New Zealand’s roads and in the event of a crash, young school age passengers are at a higher risk if they are only restrained by an adult seat belt.” (ONE News, 2013) 

However the law change may be somewhat short-sighted in terms of the age/height/weight combination of things, as huge differences can be seen between two 7 year old children, one may stand at 130 cm tall, the other 115 cm tall, both of whom are too short to sit correctly in an adult seat belt, without a booster seat. A better move would be to see an age and height teamed up together, such as 10 years old or 140 cm tall. This would then see some children reaching the height requirement at 8.5 years old and others at 13 years old (obviously forfeiting the need at 10 years of age, unless the parents choose to continue past this time, which is perfectly safe where the child still fits within the requirements, height and weight, of the child restraint they’re using at the time).

Looking at the American Paediatrics (2013) growth charts (NZ Ministry of Health charts we found only went to 5 years of age), we plotted the age in which the average child would reach 148 cm, we found girls reached 148 cm around 11.5 years of age and boys closely behind at 11 years, 9 months. In contrast to this the lowest 5% of girls reached 148 cm at 13.5 years old and boys at nearly 14 years old. The tallest 5% of girls reached this height around 9 years, 9 months, and boys much the same.

The UK, in 2006, passed a law requiring children remain in booster seats until their 12th birthday, or 135 cm tall, whichever came first. While slightly lower than our intended goal of 148 cm tall but keeping the majority of children in boosters until they’re tall enough to pass the 5 Step Test to no longer require a booster seat.

According to Elizabeth Segedin of Starship Children’s’ Hospital in Auckland (NZCR, 2006), children required boosters until around 10-12 years of age, a few more years on top of the impending law change, and many more years on top of the current child restraint law.

Segedin found;

  • All 4 and 5 year olds required a car seat or booster seat
  • 90% of  6, 7, and 8 year olds required booster seats
  • 50% of  9 and 10 year olds
  • 10% of 11 and 12 year olds still required booster seats

In 2008 Sydney’s Child published the following statement;

“The rear seat of the average family car is too deep for almost half of adult women to sit upright and comfortably bend their knees over the edge of the seat, and the seat belt in the rear seat is unsafe for any person less than 145 cm tall. Children do not reach this height until around 11 years old, on average. There are two main concerns with being too small for an adult belt: the lap portion rides across the tummy, not the bony hips, causing abdominal injury in a crash, and the sash portion rides across the neck rather than the chest, causing injury to the neck and throat. Long seat cushions exacerbate these concerns by causing the child or small adult to slump so that their knees can bend at the edge of the seat, causing both parts of the seat belt to ‘ride up’.”

So while there are a few numbers being tossed about and wanted to be placed alongside the law change, from 135 – 148 cm, the latter being easiest to relate to everyday life, as it’s said to be the height of a New Zealand Police Highway patrol car. Although one issue some have addressed in regards to this figure (148 cm) is that people happen to know of adults who are around this height, so would they too need a booster seat? Well the answer to that is no, the reasons include, the law typically sees an age alongside the changes, and adults have been through puberty, which sees physical changes to their hips, pelvic region and upper chest, changes that allow the body to withstand greater forces in the unlikely event of a car crash than a child who has not yet been through puberty.

So what’s the purpose of a booster seat?
A booster seat is used primarily to assist with correctly placing an adult seat belt (full lap/sash seat belt) over a child’s body. The seat elevates them to sit high enough so the lap portion of the belt rests low down over their upper thigh, rather than over the lower abdomen. Thus then upper portion of the seat belt then sits away from the child’s neck, over their clavicle (collarbone). Some boosters come with a top tether to help secure the top portion of the seat, others do not require this, but each seat must be used correctly, this meaning that the seat belt passes though the shoulder belt guide, and then passing under the arm rests on each side where it’s then buckled into the car. The shoulder belt guide will be either under the head rest, to the side of the headrest or a small strap with a clip attached to the end, the clip sits on top of the child’s shoulder to help keep the seat belt as close to the shoulder as possible, without slipping off.

Without a booster a child is at risk of an ill-fitting seat belt. Children become uncomfortable or tired and are more likely to slip the sash portion of the seat belt behind their back, under their arms or some even resort to placing it around their knees, thus then the issue of the lap belt where children slouch to bend their knees over the edge of the vehicle seat, draw their knees up to their chest to rest their feet on the seat edge, such actions could then see the child sliding out from under the lap part of the seat belt (submarining), causing injury to their lower organs. Where the seat belt is behind their back the belt becomes a lap only belt and internal decapitation likely. Where the seat belt is placed under their arm the belt can cause severe injuries to the ribs and lower internal organs. There have even been cases where children who have got bored in the car have placed the seat belt sash around their neck, add that to a sudden stop or accident and your child may not fare well at all.

Age, height or weight?
Ideally, your child should remain in their car seat until they reach the upper height and/or weight limit for that seat, the same goes for booster seats. There are seats on the market that will restrain in a harness up to 36 kg and boosters that will restrain your child to 54 kg. There is no magic age, height or weight where your child needs to come out of their seat. If you check the manual, or stickers on the side of your child’s seat you will find reference to the maximum height and weight, as long as your child does not exceed these and their eyes/ears do not pass the top sides of the seat shell, they can remain in their seat.

5 Step Test
For seat belt use without a booster seat there is a quick reference tool that you can use, this is called the “5 Step Test”, with these 5 steps you can see if your child is able to ride without a booster seat.

You must be able to answer “yes” to all of the 5 following questions:

1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

Answered “no” to any of the 5 questions above? Then your child needs a booster seat to make both the shoulder belt and the lap belt fit right for the best crash protection. Your child will be more comfortable, too! Click here for printable copy (PDF)

Types of booster seats
There’s many different types of booster seats on the market, the primary purpose of these are to correctly place the seat belt over the child’s body to promote the correct fit over a smaller body.

Combined booster seat - A car seat with 5 point safety harness that later on becomes a booster seat, the harness is removed or stowed away under the cover, a shoulder belt guide located on the side of the seat, under the headrest or as an attachment to the back of the car seat. Armrests present a place for the lap portion of the seat belt to pass under (both sides).

Full back booster seat - A seat shell without a harness, may have an adjustable head rest, or be of fixed height. The seat will have armrests for the lap portion of the seat belt, and a guide for the shoulder portion of the seat belt. The seat may later on detach into two pieces allowing you to use the lower half as a half booster (see below).

Half booster seat - A half booster is the bottom portion of a booster seat, it has no back to rest against the vehicle seat. The child sits on top of the booster, the belt then passes under the arm rests, with the shoulder portion sitting against the child’s upper body, there may or may not be a shoulder belt guide attached to a webbing strap. If there is the strap hook must sit above the child’s shoulder. If there is no shoulder strap, and the belt cuts across the child’s neck, consider swapping to using a full back booster (as above) later returning to the half booster if required.

Generally these types of booster seats all have “belt guides” for the lap portion of the seat belt and the shoulder portion of the seat belt. The belt must always be correctly placed through these paths and your child sits correctly within the seat belt and car seat/booster shell. Where your child does not sit correctly in the shell, pulling seat belt, undoing the seat buckle etc., it’s worth considering your child’s mental maturity and placing them back into a harnessed car seat until they’re ready to use the booster seat responsibly.

Concerns raised by parents over the law change

Premature graduation

Premature graduation from boosters on the child’s 7th birthday, the issue here is that some parents will allow their children to go without a booster seat simply because they’ve just turned 7 years old. The truth is that many of these children will still benefit greatly from remaining in their booster seat for all car rides for some time yet. There is nothing magical about the number 7. If your child does not pass the 5 Step Test outlined above, keep them in their booster seat. Be in no hurry to graduate to a seat belt, as in this case the graduation is actually a step back in their safety.

Move them from a booster seat only when:

  • They exceed the stated weight limit for that seat, Or
  • They exceed the height for that seat shell, eyes/ears level with the top of the seat shell
  • They pass the 5 Step Test, on all points listed.

The cost of a booster seat, the confusion of a booster seat

A booster seat comes in 3 different varieties as listed above.
You can use a combined booster with the internal harness for your child as long as they do not exceed the weight limit for the harness (range is from 18-36 kg depending on your seat), if they still fit, it’s just as safe to keep them in the seat. If not, you need to change the seat over for booster mode, this means removing or stowing the harness, and setting the headrest at the correct height for your child (if fitted).

A half booster can be picked up for as little as $29, a full backed booster for around $299 and a combined booster for up to $499.

Consider your child’s/future children’s needs when buying a seat, if your child is already 5 years old and you want no more, or they’re your last, a full backed booster will meet your needs, if you want to have more, or your child is only 4 months old you’re best investment would be a convertible car seat that also offers booster mode, then you only need to buy one seat for your child and they can use it all the way through until they no longer need a car seat/booster.

Half Boosters – No longer legal?

A half booster is acceptable, though best left for the older children once they have outgrown a full-backed booster seat.
There are some people saying that half boosters are no longer being made, or that they no longer meet standards. Let’s correct this statement, they are still legal and they are still being made. The change is that Australia no longer accepts them under the revised 2010 AS/NZS standard. If they are made prior to this time, around 2011 or prior they can still be used as per the manufacturers specifications (in this case 14-26 kg) until they reach 10 years old. As Australia only accept their own standard you won’t see them coming out under brands like Safe-n-Sound, or Infa anymore but you will still find them legally available here under UK standard, and NZ standard (not the combined Australian & New Zealand standard though).

Grace Period and older kids

Parents have asked how long they have to get a seat sorted for their older children, like any law change a grace period is often given; this is now, July through to November. Yes you may right now have a 6 year old not using a booster, but they do need to be in one come November if they’ve not yet had their 7th birthday. We expect the Police to be out checking around schools and educating parents on the requirement, they are within their legal rights to ticket a fine if your child is not restrained in an approved child restraint, though initially they’re likely to give a warning.

This change is not about inconveniencing parents and families by having you place your child back into a booster seat, it’s about protecting those 260 children from injury or death each year on our roads, and matter of factually the majority of accidents happen only a few short km’s from a person’s home. So popping out to school, the mall, the sports field is when these accidents are most often going to occur.

Boosters with height markers (Australian standard) may differ greatly between brands, take a tape measure along with you to get one with high makers, so your child can remain in it for as long as possible. Some combined models have very small gaps between markers, so again, check these, or get a standalone booster seat so your child has greater opportunity to use the seat long term.

Seat shell heights, weight limits, shoulder markers.

There’s no requirement for car seat shells to be made to a set height, or weight limit, so when buying a child restraint for your child it’s important to factor in the height of the seat shell, shoulder slots/shoulder markers and the weight limit applied to that seat. Often enough the cheaper (non-half boosters) are shorter and won’t last as long, which may mean you need to purchase another seat not long after you’ve last bought.

In contrast however, you also need to be sure that your child’s car seat/booster is not going to obscure your own vision when driving and some of the newer seats on the market are good at this.

Passenger Safety

If your car does not have isofix you will want to have the seat tethered to the car at all times so it does not become a projectile in an impact, or if your car seat/booster does not tether or attach with isofix you will want to buckle the seat when not in use.

Why not just have belt adjusters in the rear of the car?

While some parents think this would solve the issue, the reality is that it won’t. A seat belt adjuster will only see the height at lower so the shoulder portion sits lower, it won’t address the lap portion of the seat belt, nor will it shorten the leg area of your vehicle seat. Without which would see children slouching to fit the belt correctly, and the lap portion sitting incorrectly over their body.

Sources:

NZ Transport Authority.
http://nzta.govt.nz/resources/factsheets/07/docs/07-child-restraints.pdf
http://nzta.govt.nz/about/media/releases/2669/news.html 

American Paediatrics.
http://pediatrics.about.com/library/growth_charts/ngirlstwo.htm
http://pediatrics.about.com/library/growth_charts/nboystwo.htm

New Zealand Child Restraints.
http://childrestraints.co.nz/boosterseats.php

ONE News.
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/govt-increases-mandatory-car-seat-age-seven-5479573

UK Booster Law.
http://www.childcarseats.org.uk/law/
https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules/overview
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4781511.stm

SafetyBeltSafe USA.
http://www.carseat.org/

Sydney’s Child.
http://www.webchild.com.au/sydneyschild/your-community

 

 

Safety 1st Complete Air 70 Car Seat – Decatur

This post entails a review done by New Zealand Child Restraints on the Safety 1st Complete Air 70 convertible car seat, dated March 2013. To see a larger image, click on the photo.

Safety 1st Complete Air 70

Safety 1st Complete Air 70

Basic seat facts:
Rear facing 2.2 – 18kg (48 – 101 cm)
Forward facing 9.9 – 32 kg (86 – 132 cm)
Maximum height – 132 cm
Standard – NZ “S” 1754 (New Zealand)
Lifespan – 8 yrs

The Seat:
5 – height slots – 22, 28, 32, 38, 42 cm (8.75, 11, 12.5, 15, 16.5 in) +2 cm without padding & compression extra
3 – buckle slots – 10, 13, 16 cm (4, 5, 6.25 in) From back of seat
Seat width – 45 cm (17.5 in) Across leg area
Shoulder width – 32 cm (12.5 in) Measured under headrest
Leg width – 34 cm (13.5 in)
Crotch buckle length -15 cm (6 in) Including buckle head

Internal:
Bum to top  - 69 cm (headrest to max. setting) (27 in)
Bum to legs – 30 cm (12 in)

External:
Shell height – 76 cm (30 in)
Back width – 27 – 42 cm (10.75 – 16.5 in)
Base width – 27 – 45 cm (10.5 – 17.75 in)
Base depth –  44 cm (17.25 in)

Includes/excludes
Chest clip
locking clip
Cup Holder x1
Push in lever to adjust harness.
Padded cover
Single engaging buckle tongues
Latch and top tether attachments

About the Complete Air 70

A convertible car seat for use from birth to 32 kg, or 131 cm tall. This seat has an easy adjust harness with no re-threading required. High rear facing weight limit. Light weight shell.

Headrest has air bags for side impact reduction, expelling air from the side of the child’s head as they strike the head rest, reducing crash forces to the child’s head.

Pros:

- Easy to adjust head rest & harness
- High shoulder slots will last children to booster age easily
- Light weight
- Toddler insert padding
- Latch and tether attachment slots to store away when not in use

Cons:
- Cannot remove headrest cover
Continuous loop harness
- To remove the toddler padding you need to remove the buckle, the slot is not wide enough to push it though.
- Headrest pushes head forward slightly (though may not be an issue once installed* we have not yet trialed this seat for fit).
- Similar fit rear facing as Diono RXT/R100, needs a lot of space – dual indicator may reduce issue this in come cars with older toddlers.

Expected retail price of this seat $399

================================================================

http://www.babycity.co.nz/safety-1st-complete-air-65-carseat-decatur.html

This is the latest model to hit the shelves, it’s identifiable by the 32 kg weight limit (normally 29 kg) and dual angle recline lines on both sides of the seat. This has currently been found at Baby City stores (in store only), currently on sale till June 24th for $299.

The seat comes with the typical features like top tether (forward facing use only), LATCH anchors, chest clip, toddler inserts and locking clip.

On the rear of the seat you see 5 levels of harness adjustment, the seat comes out of the box on setting 2 of 5 (2nd from the bottom). The seat states that you can use it from 5-70 lb (2.25 kg to 32 kg) and up to 52″ (132.1 cm) tall.
On the rear of the seat you will also find the locking clip, expiry date and top tether strap. LATCH hooks connect to D rings found on the side of the seat cover.

While we have not yet taken measurements from the seat, it looks like you will get 6 years  for a heavy/tall child, and up to 7-8 years use for children at the lower ends of the growth curves.

The seat has life span of 8 years (2013 – 2021), the manufacture clock and expiry, do not use after date, are embossed into the seat shell, so no hard to locate clocks, missing stickers or missing manuals to worry about. Speaking of which, the manual stows away in its own housing on the adjustable boot used for rear/forward facing conversion.

Seat fabric – It’s a nice mixture of fabrics, the insert is plush, the main seat fabric is a jacquard type that is similar to upholstery style fabrics. The top sides of the seat has a mesh like covering, as found on many of the S1 “air” seats, this may be to allow any air expelled from the headrest to escape quickly.

The images below will help you experience the seat as if you are in the store right now.
The final image is an example of use found online. It is not part of our review.

Expressions expressed in this Blog are that of our own and not influenced by a third party or sponsoring company. Images used on this page are our own, stock photos, or images used with parents permission. Please do not use without permission. admin@childrestraints.co.nz

What about my 3-in-1 seat?

In response to our recently posted entry: UK Standard 3-1 boosters, are they safe?

We had a number of parents wondering about their 3-in-1 seat, with detachable back/bottom and the risk their seat may have of detaching in a similar manor to that shown in the video on the link above.

The answer is complicated but we will do our best to explain it to you and allow you to make your mind up about your car seat.

These seats DO meet standard, under UK ECE 44.03 or 44.04.

In the UK there are multiple “Testing Houses”, where you find a crash test sled, electronic equipment and engineers with crash analysis skills. These houses have various companies submitting their seats for testing, some will use the same company for many years.

When a seat is placed on the sled in rear or forward facing orientation they have to pass a “minimum” threshold for a range of different things, including G-force, the distance a seat moves from the sled during an impact, head excursion and so forth.
The minimum however is enough to basically say “the child remained within the seat during the test. The speed at which the test is done is quite low, and cannot reflect what would be the outcome in an open road car-hit-dear type impact.

While the shells are blow moulded, they are designed to take some of the force from the child, some of these seats meet only the minimum standard requirements reflected in the  materials used, the lifespan applied (most of which do not state a duration, but realistically would not exceed 5-6 years). and largely the price applied at the checkout.

They are mass produced, they skim through testing, and when a problem occurs there is no one place to pin point, the seats have no single batch identifier and no original place of manufacture. They are made somewhere in China, and pass through a testing house somewhere in the UK.

If you have your doubts you’re probably right. We cannot (without building our own testing house, and testing each batch of seats as they come in, like they do with seats under NZ S 1754)  test each of these 3 in 1 seats to see what the outcome is. The fact is that as the back is NOT attached to the bottom, rather pressure mounted, with the belt oddly threaded through the seat back, the seat belt retractor above off to one side of the seat, there is a likelihood that the seat back can detach under force.

Unfortunately aside from the video recording, we cannot tell you that your seat is or is not safe, rather that it comes under a parental decision until the likes of NZ Transport Agency pick up on it and investigate it further … we have initiated this process.

–As a addition to this, I do recall seeing a car seat off to the side after an accident (fatal) where a child had one of these seats, the seat was in 2 pieces on the ground next to the car. Though I cannot say for sure if they took it out like this, or if it was viewed by investigators and as part of this detached during their procedure. It was also not clear if the harness was still in the seat or if it was used as booster, the child was of age that a harness was still required.

UK Standard 3-1 boosters, are they safe?

Many parents opt to by a 3-in-1 booster seat primarily because of the price, they’re cheap.

But are parents being misled into buying cheap potential death traps?
Sure they pass standards, but in some cases there is a huge difference between “passing” and “exceeding”. For example, these 3-in-1 boosters, vs. the Diono RXT, one of which “passes”, the other which clearly “exceeds” beyond the minimum.

These are sold in many baby stores, online stores as well as the likes of TradeMe. They’re often under $120, at times creeping down to as low as $69.

They harness to 18kg, and then become a booster seat to be used with a full adult lap/sash seat belt. When used in harness mode the seat belt “weaves” into the rear of the seat from the front, across the back and out the opposite side. They cannot be used with a locking clip as often the seat belt needs to feed over the arm rests, and there is no top tether attached to these seats.

To cut to the chase this is some recently recorded footage of a typical 3-in-1 booster seat sold here in NZ, under multiple brand name, makes and models. This is why we’re not pointing to any one brand in particular.

In the clip below you can see the base and back of the seat detach while the child is in the seat. These seats only “slot” together. When the seat belt locks at the pillar, the seat is pulled up hard to that same side, at enough of a force and angle that it disconnects the seat from itself.

Should these continue to be sold here, and is it time that seats imported from the UK are submitted to Bureau Veritas for certification under New Zealand’s NZS 1754 standard, the same as seats bought over from the United States of America?

Sneak-a-peek! Evenflo’s newest family member

A new member of the Evenflo family is due to arrive in October November 2012.

This seat is a forward facing only, combined booster seat allowing children to use it from 10-29kg in the harness and from 18-45kg as a booster seat.

With an adjustable headrest is can be installed in the car using either, lap only belt, lap & sash seat belt or Isofix attachments.

It is light weight, easy to install and offers littlies dual cup holders that don’t need extra space as they are placed on the top of the seat, not on the sides like normal.

Who wants to see it?

Crushed!

In the era of the 21st century the world saw the internet take over (well not literally, but you know what I mean), not only could people communicate to one another in a few minutes, share files and network to each other but people could also book, receive and purchase goods over the internet. Fantastic the world is within our hands now.

Fast forward to 2012 a small independent company, us, starts  building up to the many requests and hints of its clients who have primarily been in contact using the electronic service of email to query why do you and why don’t you questions. Stock starts to come in as quickly as it is going out, a feeling of success starts flooding in. The service extends to proving seats to clients to have a car seat trialled for fit before making a purchase, often leading to the purchase of a good quality, New Zealand certified child restraint and accessories that are right for the family, the car and the child. Service that extends above and beyond that typically offered by large chain stores.

I leave there seeing a happy customer with a huge beaming smile on their face as they know they have done the right thing for their child’s safety, while receiving the best customer care an individual could offer. There is no judgement here on income, car, dress or other, rather a service who does the one thing all professionals should, looking after their customers.

So to the point my post today is to inform you that one of our most decent suppliers has decided to pull the plug on what was our admittingly small business build up, the reason it seems is that they want to NOT supply to non-physical bricks and mortar stores, even though it seems they have eaten their own words. When probing other companies who stock the same range of goods I ask if I can come to their showroom, this is when business “X” replies (via email),

“Thanks for your email requesting to visit our store. We are an “on-line” company and do not have any retail outlets for viewing of goods – by limiting the overheads it allows us to pass the cost savings on to you while still offering an extensive range of products.  There are images and comprehensive specifications listed for each product”

Bingo, I think to myself, I have confirmation that there is someone else getting the same goods that is not a “physical store”, they supply to them though right? Let the probing continue another company we’ll call them “Y”, replies,

“We don’t have everything on display like we used too – it’s more of a show room”. 

So they might not even have the goods there in that “showroom” and given this company have an online store one would have to assume they take orders this way then pick, pack and post.
Not to mention another company lets call them store “Z” who primarily run out of individuals home garages, sure they do have the odd physical store, but the point is that they are still selling goods to people who they were coining “Mohammad up the road” a group of individuals it seems they do not want to be supplying to as well. Poor Mohammad!

There you have it, they can’t and they won’t, but it seems that they do and they turn down a customer offering a mobile service unique to any of the large department stores, with the same ability for customers to “try before they buy”, and have the shop come to them, at a time and location that works for them.

If you are a strong supporter of our venture, including our skills, and experience we want to hear from you, please make contact with us and share your view so we can collect these up and submit them back to this supplier to re-consider our plight.

admin@childrestraints.co.nz

Oh and the whole point of the opening statement is to highlight the fact that many stores now are selling online, many smaller companies are doing just as well as bigger companies working from home in small converted bedroom offices and stocking stock in spare rooms, garages and running trips out to stock up on courier and post bags.

I feel it’s a two way thing though, you supply, I buy, I sell, we both make money. The world keeps on turning and more companies, like wild flowers, grow from the ground up.

Online or instore does it really matter?

Here are some of the comments from those who like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NZChildRestraints)

Angela says “I love the fact your available to talk to via this site and the online site- you helped me install my radian when there wasnt a single epersonin rootrua certifed and knew what they were doing ( witht he help of photos etc)…Also would like to add without your webpage i had no idea about the rear facing debate and saftey issues around keeping your child rearfacing.”

Kellie says “All I gota say is ur mobile I haven’t dealt with you but i’d rather get someone out to me to help me rather then drag my kids or if I were heavly pregnant and most baby stores dont know what they doing and i’ve even had bad experences with Plunket in the past I went to baby onthe move in Hamilton to have my radians installed as plunket said they wouldn’t.” 

Bianca sums it up nicely, “This is crazy. There is so many variables in carseats, cars & children. One untrained person in an apartment store is no where near knowledgeable and experianced for different situations. A carseat is not just an object, it is an essential life saving device. You need specialised places for people who don’t fit the square to get expert advice & the correct seats from.”

Natasha who has used this mobile service says “I find it really sad that yet again it is about profit over safety. How many parents buy seats from stores but they are not installed correctly?! I see it all the time! The kids may as well not be in a seat for all the good it will do them in an impact. It really gets to me that a supplier of something as important as a car seat would not care about promoting safe installation of seats. They should be supporting & helping to promote NZCR so that more people had their seats correctly installed.”

Caroline leaves food for thought, “Another case of someone has to die before they realise the importance of these services, department store sale people are not qualified they are there to sell car seats, this service is essential to save lives.” 

We would like to add here that some department stores have trained technicians available, but there is no guarantee that they’ll be there when you visit.

Lisa of Australia says, “I’m in Australia so haven’t used your services, but I find this very disappointing. It appears the almighty dollar is more important again than child passenger safety. I’m assuming the larger dept store is worth more money to the supplier? Why can they not supply both of you? Ridiculous. I really hope NZCR can survive and overcome this.”

Our biggest fan Kezia says “Having received appaling advice from two different large baby goods retailers ( it is lucky we didnt have an accident) I really appreciate NZCR as this is where I learnt about proper usage, I had absoulutely no idea beforehand, I would most definately like to buy a seat from a technician who can help install it and be available for fitting advice .”

Tania sums it up nicely, “Well…..that confirms it – the world HAS gone mad. Why can’t we, the customer, not have choice any more. I would be quite happy to go to the big department store if their staff gave two hoots about my kids safety and actually understood the difference between law and what is recommended etc. A technician to fit car seats is paramount in ensuring we all use car seats correctly. I’m gutted for you as you provide an amazing service to all young families regardless of whether we buy our car seats from you or not. Best wishes.”