Sticky Car Seat Buckles and Car Seat Safety

By: Lydia Ortiz
2/13/14
Owner of Stroller Spa Austin and
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician
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The massive Graco recall announced this week has the media and the public talking about sticky car seat buckles.  What should you do if your child’s car seat buckles feel sticky?  Here are some do’s and don’ts of car seat maintenance and safety to guide you.
DO
1) Check your owner’s manual for troubleshooting information.
2) Clean out your child’s car seat buckle regularly, especially if your child eats or drinks while in the seat.
3) Keep your car seat clean and maintained according to the seat’s owners manual.
4) Call the manufacturer if the problem persists.
DON’T
1) Never, ever, lubricate the buckle of your child’s car seat.
2) Do not use chemical-based cleaners like bleach or spray cleaner, as they could damage car seat parts and materials.
3) Do not cut or alter the harness strap webbing unless you plan on discarding the seat immediately.
4) Never allow your child to ride unrestrained, unless he or she meets your state’s requirements for lawfully riding outside of a car seat or booster.
Stroller Spa owners are Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians.  Please feel free to set up an appointment for help with sticky buckles or any of your baby gear maintenance needs.
*Photo Credit, Kidshealth.org

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It’s time we took a stand against poor handling of strollers and wheel chairs on the loading belt at the airport. This mom was told not to travel with an expensive stroller. Yikes! To protect your stroller when traveling:

1) Use a padded travel bag to secure your stroller and wheels. Consignment bags work well too – check Craigslist, your local mommy group or a Stroller Spa near you.

2) Leave your stroller at home and rent one at your destination. There are several baby gear companies to choose from or Stroller Spa rents clean and updated gear.

3) Remind the airlines to be very cautious with your stroller. If you must, tell them the value. There was once a baggage concierge worker that I knew that once told me, “Well, it’s a stroller, it’s not like we are loading a Madone (an expensive racing bicycle)”. True, it’s not a Madone, but it might as well be for the value in price and usage.

Travel safely and travel well this year!

Tips for buying a used jogging stroller

Have you ever purchased a stroller on Craigslist that looked perfect when you bought it but then brought it home to discover later that the brake was loose, the chassis was broken, or some screws were missing?  Here is a quick guide from our Austin Stroller Spa Owner, Lydia Ortiz, on for what to look  when purchasing a used stroller

Tips for purchasing a used jogging stroller

By Lydia Ortiz

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Anyone who has bought any used item from the Internet knows that good deals are not always what they seem. Sellers may not post accurate pictures or may downplay defects. When it comes to buying a used stroller online, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a safe ride and not getting taken for a ride.

Savvy parents will set up a time with the seller to check out the stroller in person before committing to purchase. But how do you know what to look for? This expert checklist from Stroller Spa Austin, a full-service stroller repair and baby gear detailing service, can help you inspect any used jogger like a pro.

1) Tires – Flat tires are the most common repair on used jogging strollers. If you own a bike pump, bring it with you to the inspection. Are the tires holding air? If not, the tubes will need to be replaced. The cost of replacing an inner tube is typically about $15 per tire. You will want to negotiate the asking price down to account for this repair if it is needed.

2) Brakes – Check the brakes. Are they working? Now try them on a hill or sloped driveway. Do they still work? How easy or hard are they to engage? Broken brake cables can be replaced, but again, you’ll want to negotiate down the asking price of the stroller to account for this repair.

3) Straps & Buckles – Missing harness straps and broken buckles could be a deal breaker. A professional may be able to replace missing straps or broken buckles. If the broken straps are sewn to the stroller upholstery, you will have to replace the whole seat. Keep in mind, though, that not all stroller companies will sell replacement seats – especially for late model strollers.

4) Fabric – Is the fabric torn, ripped, moldy, or sun damaged? Minor fabric damage can be mended by hand or even repaired with a patch. Likewise, mold stains can be removed with intensive cleaning. Sun damage is irreversible, however.

5) Alignment – Check the wheel alignment of the stroller by lining up either one of the back wheels with a straight line (e.g. the line where the curb meets the road or a line of grout on a tiled floor). Push the stroller away from you. Does the stroller travel in a straight line? If not, the stroller may need an alignment.

6) Padding – Feel the stroller seat and headrest sandwiched between both of your hands. Is there padding missing? This is a common missing part and depending on the stroller brand it may or may not be replaceable.

7) Rust – Rust could interfere with your stroller’s performance, but a light amount of rust is easily removed with some elbow grease. You’ll want to inspect the entire stroller frame, even turning it upside down, to ensure that rust corrosion is minimal.

8) Screws – Look all around the stroller frame to make sure the upholstery is secured with screws or rivets. Take your time and don’t rush through this step. Are there screws missing? If you find missing screws, make sure you have them replaced before you hit the trail with your baby. The seat could come off of the frame if it is not secured properly with screws or rivets.

9) Recalls – Not every seller will know if their stroller has been subject to a recall. Ask them if they will give you the make, model, and serial number then check for recalls athttp://www.cpsc.gov.

10) Accidents – Ask the seller if this stroller was ever in an accident. You might be surprised how frequently strollers get run over by their owner in home garages. Likewise, strollers can incur serious damage if they were stored in a car trunk during a collision.

Safety is paramount when buying any stroller, but it’s even more important with a used jogging stroller because your jogger will be expected to perform at higher speeds and travel over rougher terrain than regular strollers. So make sure to inspect that previously-loved jogger in person before buying it off the internet. Doing so will buy you some peace of mind when you place your precious cargo into the seat and hit the trail.

- Lydia Ortiz is the owner of Stroller Spa Austin, a full-service baby gear repair and detailing service.
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