29 July 2009

Random Stuff Open Thread

I am taking a week or two off (I really mean it this time).

Here are a few parting thoughts:

1. Car seats. Why doesn't Goodwill take car seats, strollers, pack-n-plays? Turns out all car seats have an expiration date 6 years from manufacture. My take is that it is a way to increase seat sales and stuff landfills. I have some seats that are like new, yet apparently they must be thrown in the garbage. There are organized groups that are fighting to make sure old car seats are not re-used. I suppose I can still sell it on Craigslist or leave it on the stoop with a sign saying "free".

2. "Travel narrows the mind" An interesting and somewhat contrary thought that I generally agree with, especially after re-acquainting myself with some of my world-weary old classmates. I learned a lot through some travels I have made, but real learning and real knowledge of "place" comes from a long term study of your home. There is enough learning to last a lifetime in one neighborhood.

3. I am amazed sometimes to what degree people are unaware of their surroundings. when I meet people who don't even realize what political jurisdiciton they live in much less what some native plant species are.

4. Similar thing with people, usually city-born AA's, who are afraid of nature, especially dogs. Yesterday, a life guard at the pool was afraid of a butterfly!?!

5. Any observations?


Mark Miller said...

The car seat thing isn't so much about making money as it is about cutting losses. Financial losses as well as loss of life.

New kid stuff is made to ever-improving standards. Old stuff not only has dated design, but degrades over time. Plastics breakdown chemically in strong sunlight and large thermal swings, which is exactly the kind of environment you find in the back of a minivan. This kind of degradation severely reduces product safety, and is all the more insidious because it is not obvious to the consumer.

No manufacturer can afford to own liability for such a product forever. Expiration dates provide a fixed time frame for manufacturers to design around, and for customers to plan their use around.

You won't know that UV rays have weakened the nylon straps until your kid flies through the windshield in an accident. Not a good way to save $100. Best to just pitch it after the expiration date. Or better still, destroy it first so somebody else doesn't get stuck with it.

CityKin said...

I don't know Mark. Ours look like new, except for the food stains. I'm not into it enough to do the reasearch, but I would guess that 99% or maybe even 100% of injuries in carseats are because of improper use and installation rather than degradation of the materials.

scott d said...

i'm in need of a booster seat for my son. if you have anything, i'd gladly take it off your hands for you ;)

Anonymous said...

I remember wondering the same thing about five years ago about our outgrown-and-food-stained but otherwise just-about-good-as-new car seats, and hearing that plastic degrades over time. Which I accepted as a reasonable explanation until just this second.

Large parts of the exterior of my husband's two-year old Yaris are plastic -- including the bumpers.

Now, obviously the outside of a car is in strong sunlight an awful lot, and subject to large thermal swings. So at this very moment, his car is degrading and getting less and less safe? And if it isn't, can't they start making car seats out of that kind of plastic?

Blue Ash Mom

Cincinnati NAMjA said...

Ohh the thngs that go through a parent's mind...lol

Todd McFarland said...

Speaking on "unaware of one's surroundings" I find that realtors are particularly inept at describing the products they sell. It never ceases to amaze me that they think anything older than 50 yrs is "Victorian"

Anonymous said...

Charities cannot accept carseats to re-sell because they cannot guarantee that a carseat has not been in an accident and is thus weakened. I've handed-down our carseats within the time-limit to family & friends. I know this helps them outfit multiple cars and avoid buying carseats that look like new but may have been in accidents.

Very interesting to consider that the more places you go the less open-minded you might be about things. The way "home" sometimes seems so old, out-of-date, "small" when you return after being away...

CityKin said...

^When returning after travelling, I always have the excited feeling that things can/need to/will change here. But then you realize that the forces against change are so strong. I'm thinking for example of how many more bicyclists there are in some cities. It seems to make so much sense in DC, Toronto, or in Europe. I'll get all enthusiastic for a while, fixing up my old bike and trying to run errands via bike. then you get run down by cars, and struggle on the hills, and get soaked in the rain/snow, and then the tire goes flat and next thing you know it is collecting dust.

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