Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Is Your Child Secure In Their Booster Seat?

I would always recommend a high backed booster seat for children ages above 4 years old, but regardless of the style of child's car seat you use, it is important to make sure that the seat belt that holds it in place is correctly positioned and held taut enough to protect your child in the event of impact. The SHOFT is a new accessory for both adults and children that is designed to keep your seatbelt taut when travelling.

RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) recommends that seat belts are worn as tight as possible across the pelvis but, as you drive, cornering and braking can cause the belt to slacken and become improperly positioned. For a child's booster seat it is important that the belt remains in the correct place across the pelvis in order to protect your child (after all, this is the position that the belt is in when both the car and the car seat are crash tested by their manufacturers). The SHOFT is a small, simple attachment for your seat belt which acts as a brake against the seat belt, holding it tight and reducing the movement of the belt during travel.

We were sent a pack of two SHOFT attachments to review. We have tried them out on the adult seats of our car to help improve our posture (SHOFT is good for reducing backache too!) and also on the rear seats to help ensure that the children's car seats are properly secured when they are sitting in them. The install the SHOFT you fold the belt back and slip the device over the existing plastic tongue of the belt. When you relax the belt you can clearly see that the bright orange bulge on the SHOFT causes the belt to be held tighter in place.

I've used the SHOFT on my own seat for a month. I certainly notice a small improvement in my posture but I wouldn't say that it totally eliminates slackness on the belt - it does reduce it though. On my eldest daughter's high back booster seat I was particularly keen to try the SHOFT. As a 5 year old she is particularly wiggly when we travel in the car and tends to try and reach for stuff that she has dropped, or lean over and prod her little sister! I was hoping that the SHOFT would help to keep her a little bit more stable in her seat; it does to start off with but, once again, I've found that over longer distances the SHOFT does still allow some movement of the belt and it is important for us to undo and re-tighten the belt if we stop during our travels.

Using the SHOFT has given me a little more confidence that the girls' car seats are correctly secured when we travel and it does give me a little peace of mind knowing that the belt is more likely to be in the correct position to protect them if we were in an accident. It is such a small, nifty and easy-to-install gadget that there doesn't seem a good reason NOT to use one; I'm surprised that the car manufacturers haven't provided something similar already.

This video shows how easy it is to fit:

This August, SHOFT will be launching a funding campaign through the UK’s largest crowd funding network, to help SHOFT ramp up production to meet demand. This provides concerned parents and all drivers across the country with the chance to make small donations to help fund the company and in exchange, they will receive one of the very first production packs of SHOFT, with a portion of each donation going towards supporting the UK charity Back Care and the UK children’s charity WilliamsFund. To register your interest in SHOFT please visit and click ‘Get Yours’ to sign up so you can be notified when the campaign goes live on Crowdfunder. You’ll also receive your free illustrated eBook on top tips for a healthier drive. You can also follow Shoft on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Changing a flat tyre is child’s play

Today I'm swapping guest posts with etyres where you will find me blogging about simple car maintenance ideas for busy working parents.  etyres have provided us with some basic checks that'll help make changing a tyre that little bit easier.

Getting a flat tyre can seem like a disaster, especially if you are stranded miles from home on a deserted road at night or with a car full of lively children.

But by taking a few minutes to discover how quick and easy it is to fit the spare tyre, you could save yourself hours of frustration in the unlucky event you are ever in this situation.

And the good news is you don’t need a set of bulging biceps to get the job done, just follow these simple steps compiled by etyres, the UK’s leading online mobile tyre fitting company, and you will be back on the road again in minutes:

Get your car into a safe place on a flat surface so it doesn’t roll away. Turn the hazard warning lights on. Apply the handbrake and put the car into first gear or P if it is an automatic.

Look in the boot of the car, where you should find the spare tyre and the tools you need to change the wheel.

Image courtesy of stockimages /
The tools you need to change your tyre are a jack, to raise the car off of the ground and a wrench to release the wheel nuts, which are tightly screwed onto your wheel.

Most cars have alloy wheels, although some have plastic wheel trims, which you need to remove to expose the wheel nuts.

Before you jack the car up use your wrench to loosen the wheel nuts, they are going to be stiff, so you may need to use your foot to apply some extra pressure to unscrew them.

A lot of cars have one nut that is different from the rest and requires a special key to remove it. This stops people being able to take your alloy wheels off your car without the locking wheel nut key that came with your car. The key fits into the end of the wrench.

To jack your car up find the jacking point nearest to the wheel that you are removing and place the jack under it. Raise the car until the tyre is about 10cm clear of the ground. If you don’t raise it high enough you may struggle to get the new tyre on.

Once the car is safely raised, remove the wheel nuts, take off the old tyre using both hands and pulling it towards you.

Now fit the spare tyre and screw the wheel nuts back into place with your wrench. Begin with the nuts opposite each other to make sure they are evenly balanced and don’t tighten them fully at this stage.

Lower the car back to the ground and when it is touching the surface, tighten the wheel nuts completely.

If your car has wheel trims, place them back on to the car, making sure they are secure all the way round.

Lower the car completely to the ground, remove the jack, put the tools away and you are ready to get back on to the road.

If you are still not convinced that you can carry out this straight-forward procedure yourself, watch the etyres short video here, which demonstrates how to carry out these steps with the help of a 10-year-old William – it really is child’s play!

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