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Old 05-11-2011, 06:07 AM   #1
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Transport vehicle ISSUE!!! :(

x-posting from the carseat forum because I have to leave really soon if I need to get the kids myself...

Okay, I am 36 weeks pregnant, so I am sitting here sobbing. Please tell me this isn't as bad as I think.

My two foster babies just got picked up to go to their DSS visit together (usually they go separately and I don't even leave the house). Today, I offered to help get the two infant seats installed. The vehicle is an old minivan, and the seatbelts don't lock. I freaked out and asked her if it's always like this, and she said yes. She had two forward-facing seats installed in the back row with seatbelts too, and they weren't lockable either.

What do I do? What could I have done? She was in a big hurry and said it was fine and she would have it "looked at". I didn't want her to drive away, but there was nothing I could do. Should I go down there and transport the kids home?

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Old 05-11-2011, 07:30 AM   #2
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Re: Transport vehicle ISSUE!!! :(

this happened to us the one time we had fdd taken to a visit. I was worried sick about it and took her myself every time after that. It really sucked because the visit was an hour away but all the transport vehicles I have seen are like this. She was only 14lbs and they had her in a ff seat that appeared to be 20 years old and the seat belts were how you described When she came home she had ashes all over her because the driver was smoking in the car and it was all blowing back on her. I would say call your caseworker and see what she says. Then call dhs or whoever supervisies the visits. I would be shocked if they do anything though. Maybe you can send their car seats with them next time but that wont help with the seatbelt issue. Sorry I know first hand how stressful that can be!
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:28 AM   #3
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Re: Transport vehicle ISSUE!!! :(

Ugh! I can't believe that! Especially after our foster PRIDE binder included like 4 different sheets in carseat safety. I would probably pick them up and report it to a supervisor. sorry you are having a rough day sometimes this system baffles me.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:30 AM   #4
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Re: Transport vehicle ISSUE!!! :(

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Originally Posted by macmemo View Post
this happened to us the one time we had fdd taken to a visit. I was worried sick about it and took her myself every time after that. It really sucked because the visit was an hour away but all the transport vehicles I have seen are like this. She was only 14lbs and they had her in a ff seat that appeared to be 20 years old and the seat belts were how you described When she came home she had ashes all over her because the driver was smoking in the car and it was all blowing back on her. I would say call your caseworker and see what she says. Then call dhs or whoever supervisies the visits. I would be shocked if they do anything though. Maybe you can send their car seats with them next time but that wont help with the seatbelt issue. Sorry I know first hand how stressful that can be!
THAT is terrible and would never happen here!!! I'm disgusted! I am someone who transports kids if necessary and no one seems to be looking at what you use, but everyone is required to go through a car seat safety class.

OP, I have no advice. Can you call someplace and get a bunch of locking clips? That would make them safe.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:31 AM   #5
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Re: Transport vehicle ISSUE!!! :(

Our foster agency had all the social workers and transport people take a class on car seat installing and safety after there were some complaints about seats not being fastened in right and forward facing too soon.
Complain to the agency or county whoever you foster through.
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:48 PM   #6
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Re: Transport vehicle ISSUE!!! :(

I'm not sure if it was an issue or not. but it may not have been as bad as it seemed.

My vehicle does not have locking seat belts like when you pull belt all the way out and the lock back. It is older minivan. I was freaked out at first and used locking clips. But then I read my vehicle manual and carseat manual and looked online, I found that I didn't need them in my vehicle. The seatbelt clip side with metal actual has what is basically a locking clip so belt doesn't slide freely and belts lock when you hit breaks.

All my car seats are installed rock solid no wiggling and we check often they don't loosen up.

So this is my ... it may not have been as bad as it seemed. If you got them in tight and the buckles have a locking slide it may have been a okay install.

But I have seen CW and visitation supervisors transport children in very unsafe seats and installs. I had this one visitation supervisor never even buckle in the infant seat. When I'd meet her to do the exchange it would be sitting sideways in the car with baby strapped in. I reported her so many times to CW that she finally lost her job.
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:56 PM   #7
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Re: Transport vehicle ISSUE!!! :(

I agree with above poster - our older minivan's seatbelts didn't lock when you pulled them all the way out like the newer ones do. But they locked if you hit the breaks. I think I would still get some locking clips though and complain to an agency.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:02 PM   #8
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Re: Transport vehicle ISSUE!!! :(

this has been a horrible day. I cried for 2 hours!! My poor babies!! After O I posted, I started calling every number I had- and NOT ONE SW would answer their phone. I drove down there (25 min drive) and got the babies myself. I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if something happened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macmemo View Post
this happened to us the one time we had fdd taken to a visit. I was worried sick about it and took her myself every time after that. It really sucked because the visit was an hour away but all the transport vehicles I have seen are like this. She was only 14lbs and they had her in a ff seat that appeared to be 20 years old and the seat belts were how you described When she came home she had ashes all over her because the driver was smoking in the car and it was all blowing back on her. I would say call your caseworker and see what she says. Then call dhs or whoever supervisies the visits. I would be shocked if they do anything though. Maybe you can send their car seats with them next time but that wont help with the seatbelt issue. Sorry I know first hand how stressful that can be!
I had an 8 week old foster baby that was bought home to me Forward Facing, IN her infant seat. how did the transporter even manage that??? I reported that, too. Then they changed my transporter. ha.

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Originally Posted by Msheidiann View Post
Ugh! I can't believe that! Especially after our foster PRIDE binder included like 4 different sheets in carseat safety. I would probably pick them up and report it to a supervisor. sorry you are having a rough day sometimes this system baffles me.
Seriously!! These people have one job- protect kids! You would think they would know carseat laws backwards and forwards, so that they could enforce them with their bio families... guess not. I finally got ahold my social worker, but she kind of blew it off, saying that crappy cars were all they could afford. I was too drained to deal with her at that point. I asked who I could speak with about educating the transporters, and she said "not sure". UGH.

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Originally Posted by WynneBabies View Post
THAT is terrible and would never happen here!!! I'm disgusted! I am someone who transports kids if necessary and no one seems to be looking at what you use, but everyone is required to go through a car seat safety class.

OP, I have no advice. Can you call someplace and get a bunch of locking clips? That would make them safe.
i am so jealous that you can confidently say that it wouldn't happen in your county. I have seen some nasty carseats, expired and OLd, and I have seen a baby with straps sooo loose I could pull her out without unbuckling her. I did a bunch of research today on locking clips, and tried to figure out what the deal is with this van- I am guessing it's a 2007 dodge caravan. (might be older). Something I read said that the belt can be locked at the latch plate, but I didn't get a chance to inspect the car well enough to know if that was an option. I knew NOTHING about using a locking clip until today,otherwise I would have pulled them off the seats and done it right. Never needed to worry about an alternative- and I am ashamed that I didn't know how to use them.

So my question is, would having a locking clip on each belt work for any carseat? What I read said that it has to be adjusted for the particular seat you are using, and our transporters change out seats all the time... it would never be consistent and I bet five bucks they wouldn't take the time to adjust the locking clip to fit each time.

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Our foster agency had all the social workers and transport people take a class on car seat installing and safety after there were some complaints about seats not being fastened in right and forward facing too soon.
Complain to the agency or county whoever you foster through.
I'm working on a giant complaint letter RIGHT now. I am going to offer to teach a class, or find someone certified to teach it. It is disgusting that they don't know basics like "what age to rearface" and "straps should be tight" and SEATBELT HAS TO LOCK!!!
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:11 PM   #9
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Re: Transport vehicle ISSUE!!! :(

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Originally Posted by dalynn1997 View Post
I'm not sure if it was an issue or not. but it may not have been as bad as it seemed.

My vehicle does not have locking seat belts like when you pull belt all the way out and the lock back. It is older minivan. I was freaked out at first and used locking clips. But then I read my vehicle manual and carseat manual and looked online, I found that I didn't need them in my vehicle. The seatbelt clip side with metal actual has what is basically a locking clip so belt doesn't slide freely and belts lock when you hit breaks.

All my car seats are installed rock solid no wiggling and we check often they don't loosen up.

So this is my ... it may not have been as bad as it seemed. If you got them in tight and the buckles have a locking slide it may have been a okay install.

But I have seen CW and visitation supervisors transport children in very unsafe seats and installs. I had this one visitation supervisor never even buckle in the infant seat. When I'd meet her to do the exchange it would be sitting sideways in the car with baby strapped in. I reported her so many times to CW that she finally lost her job.
To the bolded, No. Just no. OMG. As for the locking slide, I REALLY wish I had known to look for that. I am half-tempted to call and see if I can look at the van again tomorrow! The carseats were still wiggling around like crazy this morning but maybe I didn't know how to get it to tighten up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleta View Post
I agree with above poster - our older minivan's seatbelts didn't lock when you pulled them all the way out like the newer ones do. But they locked if you hit the breaks. I think I would still get some locking clips though and complain to an agency.
I can go out there and install the seats each week, and put on the locking clips (once I teach myself how!) but I can't see her doing that with any other child. That's what makes me even angrier. I do use my own seats, and send my babies out the door already buckled, but if the seat is sloshing around in the car, it doesn't matter!!!

***Thanks for all your responses. I do feel calmer now, but i honestly am not sure what will happen next wednesday. Visits start at 8:30am. the drive is a half hour, and I have a toddler to get to preschool, plus I am about to give birth and won't be allowed to drive for a few weeks. That doesn't leave me a lot of flexibility to transport- an hour of driving and two hours worth of visitation.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:48 PM   #10
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Re: Transport vehicle ISSUE!!! :(

When I worked in child welfare I pitched such a fit that my supervisor got us new seats but they were worse/crummy tsheild ones (she tried and I give her credit for that) than the ones that we had so I took one, washed it to keep in my car. They now have training but honestly I don't think the workers put that much time or energy into it which is ironic given what they are doing for a living.

Personally, I have told foster parents (and parents) to call me and refuse to allow kids to go with improper car seat use but I was always very anal to the point, I'd take groups of people (foster & biological families) to the inspection site and we'd all learn together (which was far less threatening for some reason). I was constantly reinstalling seats in our agency cars, bringing the covers home to wash, etc. What I've also told people is NOT to use the agency seats and if you can install yours better, tell them that the child needs to ride in their seat and will be more comfortable and insist on yours. I'd always use a families seat over an agency as kids are more comfortable in their seat and I trusted it far more than any agency seat. I'd call the supervisors/department heads as they may not even know this is an issue too!

And, I probably would never let my child ride in a car with 80% of the workers... you are far better off transporting.
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