Blogging mom inspires undercover investigation
Never underestimate the power of a woman with a blog.
When Debbie of DeliciousBaby and her family were traveling, their car rental company only offered filthy and dilapidated car seats. When the manager tried to tell her the seats were cleaned after every use and replaced every two months, the mother of two didn't just get mad, she blogged the entire experience.
But she didn't stop there. After sharing her story and pictures of the disgusting car seats on the internet, Debbie sent the link to news stations. ABC news affiliates in San Diego and Seattle picked up the story and ran their own under-cover investigations, recently airing their findings on national television.
As a result, Advantage Rent A Car has performed a company-wide inspection of all car seats, removing those that did not meet the appropriate legal guidelines of safety and cleanliness standards. The company has also instituted a company-wide Child Safety Seat policy to ensure that they rent only safe, clean car seats in the future.
The best way to be sure you have a good child seat available at your destination is to bring your own. If that is not possible and you have to use a rental seat, here's what to look for:
- Each car seat should be inspected the seat thoroughly for any evidence of cracking, twisting, worn harness webbing or broken buckles.
- Verify that the seat belts are threaded through the proper channels.
- Once you have latched the buckles, pull hard to make sure that they do not detach.
- Find the "birth date" label on the side or back of the seat, and don't use a seat that is older than 5 years.
- Parents should also ask for the car seat manual to ensure that they install and use it properly.
An even bigger lesson we can all learn from Debbie is if you see a company putting people (kids or adults) at risk, take action to make it better. Debbie was shocked at how many parents and car seat installation experts responded to her story saying "I've seen that before."
It didn't take super powers or an advanced law degree for one mom to make a big difference, only a little bit of time and a blog.