B.C. kids at risk from second-hand child car seats and installation mistakes

A new BCAA survey reveals many parents take risks when transporting their kids such as using a second-hand child car seat and not checking regularly for proper installation.

The survey, by Insights West for BCAA, asks parents for their views and behaviours around driving with their kids. BCAA’s Community Impact Senior Manager, Shawn Pettipas, says everyday mistakes could put children at risk.

The survey confirms most parents install their child car seats themselves but many don’t do regular checks and some have doubts:

  • Half (51%) don’t check regularly that their child’s seat is properly installed.
  • 21% are not certain that their child is properly installed in the child car seat.
  • 17% aren’t sure if the seat is correct for their child’s age and weight.
  • 66% install seats themselves.
  • 25% have their car seat checked by a certified expert.

While the survey also indicates many parents and caregivers feel certain they’re using the correct car seat correctly, Pettipas and his team of child car seat specialists see something different first-hand.

“We were surprised with the survey results because at every one of our car seat clinics, we find so many seats improperly installed, kids in the wrong type of seat, second-hand seats, and worried parents baffled after realizing how much they don’t know,” says Pettipas who manages child car seat programs for BCAA. The bottom line is that many parents simply don’t know what they don’t know and may be making mistakes.”

The survey also revealed that second-hand child car seats are an area of much uncertainty for parents:

  • Half (50%) believe it’s safe to use a second-hand seat as long as it’s in “good condition.”
  • Almost one in five (18%) use a second-hand seat (from friends, family or bought from sites like Craigslist)
  • 29% of parents who use a second-hand seat admit to not knowing the history of the seat.

“Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s safe. Not knowing the full history of a second-hand car seat means parents can’t be absolutely certain of the seat’s condition and this can put their kid at risk,” Pettipas says. “From using the wrong type of car seat to improper installation, we understand mistakes can happen and BCAA wants to help by raising awareness about common mistakes and offering support to help parents do even more to protect their children.”

BCAA’s child car seat website, bcaa.com/carseats offers a wealth of car seat information including step-by-step installation instructions with images and printable checklists to help parents and caregivers use child car seats and booster seats correctly.

BCAA’s key tips for child car seat safety include:

1.     Use correct child car seat for child’s age and size. Take note of weight and height limits for car seats.

2.     Ensure proper installation. Read vehicle and child car seat manuals before using child car seat. Proper installation includes the child car seat being placed on an appropriate vehicle seat, positioned correctly and properly secured.

3.     Find a local car seat clinic. Parents and caregivers can attend workshops like ones offered by BCAA to learn more and receive hands-on installation education. If a car seat clinic is unavailable in your area or you have questions, contact BCAA’s Child Passenger Safety information line at 1-877-247-5551.

4.     Ensure your child is properly placed and secured in the car seat.

  • Adjust harness straps to the correct height: Rear-facing (below child’s shoulders) or forward-facing (above the shoulders)
  • Both harness strap latches should be fastened (both have been clicked into the buckle).
  • Harness straps are snug (only room for one finger or less between harness and child’s collar bone).
  • Chest clip positioned at the child’s armpit level.

5.     Regularly check car seat position and condition.

  • Wiggle test: Hold car seat at the belt path and give it a side-to-side wiggle. Car seat should not move sideways more than 2.5 cm (1 inch).
  • Look for signs of wear and tear such as frayed harnesses, torn padding, cracks in the shell. Clean out every day crumbs and dirt from around the straps and buckle.

6.     If a second-hand car seat must be used, be absolutely certain of its full history. Ensure the seat hasn’t been involved in any collision or dropped. Check for recalls and ensure it is within its expiry date.

BCAA is dedicated to the safe transportation of children. For the past four years BCAA, has donated more than 7,000 new child car seats to families in need across B.C. through the Community Child Car Seat Program, in partnership with United Way of the Lower Mainland. This June, BCAA will provide another thousand seats, bringing the total donation to 8,000 car seats.

Applications for the Community Child Car Seat Program are now being accepted from February 16 until March 6, 2017. Community programs offered by registered non-profit agencies throughout B.C. are eligible to apply and encouraged to visit bcaa.com/carseatprogram for program details and to apply online.

About the Survey
Results of the survey are based on an online study conducted from January 30 to February 2, 2017, among a representative sample of 401 British Columbian adults who drive a car and have a child car seat. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability is +/-4.9 percentage points.

About BCAA
The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, auto and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full auto service at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres. BCAA has a long history focused on keeping kids safe on the road and at play through safety programs such as its School Safety Patrol, Community Child Car Seat Program and most recently, BCAA Play Here which, in its first year, provided $260,000 to revitalize kids’ play spaces in B.C. Please visit bcaa.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

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Risk Pie, Anybody? How To Negotiate While Reducing Risk

Risk Pie, Anybody? How To Negotiate While Reducing Risk

Article by Robert M. Jackson

Negotiation – the very essence of the word often conjures up the thought of adversarial trade-offs, however, when negotiating a purchase/sale agreement parties should turn away from opposing positions. A good negotiation takes a more integrative approach, resulting in a deal that satisfies all parties.

The pitfalls of a distributive negotiation often appear when assessing risk, and negotiating the representations and warranties of an agreement.  Often, a vendor will simply seek to limit the number and scope of representations and warranties as much as possible, while a purchaser will seek to do the opposite.  This tactic will see parties negotiating against each other in a zero-sum game in which they compete for the smallest slice of a fixed “risk pie”.  There are, however, some qualifications that vendors and purchasers can use to shrink the overall size of the pie – limiting risk for both sides simultaneously.

Knowledge and belief

By qualifying a representation or warranty with language such as, “to the best of the vendor’s knowledge and belief”, parties can often arrive at an agreement.  The vendor can be sure that they aren’t taking on risk stemming from an unknown factor, and the purchaser can be provided with enough comfort to satisfy themselves on the issue.  A knowledge and belief qualification can be further fine-tuned to shrink the total amount of risk by taking the often overlooked extra steps to further define the qualification.  For example, parties can consider a vendor’s obligation to investigate an issue, or specify the people whose knowledge is to be relied upon.

Immaterial Breaches and Upper Limits

Representations and warranties can be limited so that a breach exists only when the substance of the transaction is materially impacted.  Parties can negotiate what constitutes a material breach, and except any breaches that do not meet this threshold.  Vendors can, in turn, look to limit the amount that the purchaser can recover from a breach.  By defining the scope of what can be recovered for a breach, both parties can find themselves comfortable with the amount of risk that they are taking on.  This can shrink the total amount of risk exposure for all parties when these upper and lower limits are set in a way that insulates the purchaser from risk of a material breach, but also limits the exposure to the vendor by ruling out unlikely but significant, as well as likely but insignificant, breaches.

Time

Representations and warranties will either merge on the closing of the transaction (limiting exposure to post-closing claims), or will survive.  By explicitly specifying the length of time that a particular representation or warranty is to survive, both parties can find themselves happy with their risk exposure.  A purchaser can limit their risk with respect to an issue, and a vendor can insulate themselves from claims arising long after closing.  Such provisions can also be fine-tuned to provide comfort to the purchaser where the vendor provides security for their obligations (for example, placing a portion of the purchase price in escrow during some or all of the survival period).

With some creative negotiation and drafting, parties can minimize the likelihood of a breach, and its potential impact.  All of a sudden an unpalatable representation or warranty can become acceptable to both parties, and a deal can move forward.

If you are looking for more information on some commonly used qualifications to representations or warranties, please feel free to contact us.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

BC VIEWS: Flu fallacies are costing us all

BC VIEWS: Flu fallacies are costing us all

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press.

Hospitals around B.C. are struggling with the annual influx of influenza sufferers, many of whom are making matters worse for everyone by crowding into emergency waiting rooms.

In this “information age,” there are so many misconceptions around seasonal influenza that it’s hard to know where to start. First, in most cases there is no cure or prescribed treatment that can be offered at hospitals or clinics.

Frail elderly people, and those with chronic conditions or secondary infections may need medical support. The rest of us should learn to prevent contact, treat ourselves and avoid spreading these fast-mutating viruses around.

Many people still don’t understand what “the flu” is. No, it’s not generally associated with throwing up, contrary to every statement by every hockey coach who has ever spoken on TV. (Professional athletes and coaches have medical doctors on staff, but apparently they never listen to them.)

Influenza is a respiratory illness with chest and nasal congestion, which can last for weeks. Young children may vomit, often because they can’t control their coughing.

I won’t go into all the nonsense people hear about the flu vaccine. Suffice it to say it is the best current effort of modern medicine. This year’s vaccine targets the A/California, A/Hong Kong, B/Brisbane and B/Phuket strains, which emerged globally last year as the vaccine formula was finalized. It’s not perfect, but little in science is.

“Flu shot didn’t work. My kids are throwing up,” is a classic comment from a parent who really should do some studying. A good place to start would be a call to the B.C. Nurseline, 8-1-1, for reliable non-emergency health advice, available around the clock.

The kids more likely have what is erroneously called “stomach flu,” or to be accurate, norovirus. This is another contagious winter malady, featuring diarrhea as well as vomiting. No, there’s no cure for that waiting at the ER either. It’s particularly dangerous in hospitals and care homes, where quarantine and intensive cleaning are the main responses.

Taking virus-infected people to hospitals or clinics unnecessarily has the added impact of exposing medical personnel, who are already overworked at this time of year.

Our website editions carried a story last week about a medical clinic in Pemberton, where doctors posted a letter on the door calling on employers to get a clue too.

“People seeking sick notes – who otherwise wouldn’t see a doctor – end up in physicians’ offices, walk-in clinics and emergency department waiting rooms,” it said. “There, they may spread germs to pregnant women, frail elderly people, cancer patients and babies – all of whom are vulnerable to communicable diseases.”

They warn that “sick note” visits are not covered by B.C.’s Medical Services Plan. If local employers continue to demand sick notes, the clinic will invoice them $50 per visit, which is “standard practice for non-medically necessary services for third-party organizations.”

The doctors offer some advice that may sound familiar:

“In most cases, the best remedy for a patient with an isolated illness (such as a gastrointestinal virus, influenza or a common cold) is to stay home, rest and drink fluids.”

Remember the common cold? It’s technically called rhinovirus, and it also changes as it spreads through the population as a generally milder version of influenza.

People don’t talk much about getting colds any more. Now everything tends to be called the flu.

One last point: the contagious period for influenza begins when you catch it, a couple of days before you know you’re sick, and extends for about five days after symptoms emerge.

Road Safety: Left Turn Surprise!

A signal light does not provide you with any protection when you make a left turn. This simple fact was discovered by a lady who slowed as she approached her driveway, signalled for a left turn, saw a truck approaching in her rearview mirror and started to make the turn. To her complete surprise, the truck passed by her on the left and they collided corner to corner.

The woman driving the truck said that she did not see the signal light and there were no witnesses to confirm whether it was in use or not.

As there were no lines painted on the highway to prevent the truck from passing ICBC divided the liability for the collision 75/25 with the highest portion bourne by the driver of the turning vehicle.

This collision should not have come as a complete surprise to the lady for a number of reasons. The first might be that she hadn’t actually checked to see if her signal lights were working. The second is that she may not have signalled for a sufficient time to give the driver of the truck notice of her intended left turn. Finally, she could have taken human nature into account. My experience with many drivers is that they will tend to remain in motion rather than slowing or stopping if there is sufficient room to pass by.

When is the last time that you walked completely around your vehicle and checked to insure that all of the lights were working? Unless you are required by law to do pre- and post-trip inspections I suspect that it could be a long time, if ever. We rely on systems that can fail to protect us far more than we should because for the most part they keep working. Until they don’t. It’s up to the driver to make sure that the vehicle is in proper working order in all respects before leaving the driveway.

How long should we leave our signal light on before we do what it indicates? Certainly long enough that other drivers can see it, recognize what it is telling them and then react as necessary to insure safety. I might suggest that at least 4 seconds of signalling should be the minimum time before we take the advertised action. Failing to give sufficient warning is as bad as not giving any warning at all.

The Slow Down, Move Over law has resulted from the drivers tendency to remain in motion without taking action when presented with a sudden situation that does not require slamming on the brakes. Chances are good that you have watched many fail to slow down or move over in your travels. This lady’s left turn indication, if she made it properly, is another example of the same circumstances.

ICBC assesses liability for collisions based on guidance imposed by civil law. The case of Carmichael v Mayhew is an example of similar circumstances that I wrote about in the article Who’s Responsible?

There may be a witness to the operation of the signal lamp after the fact. If it was on when the force of the collision was applied to it, the signal filament could show indications of hot shock stress that could be discovered in post crash lamp examination. This kind of determination would require a trained collision investigator to provide ICBC or the courts with an expert opinion, but it is possible.

What about the driver of the truck who was found to be 25% at fault? The onus was on her not to pass on the left if it was unsafe to do so.

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