Recall of Vehicles Outfitted with Takata Airbags Expands

airbagIf your vehicle is equipped with an airbag we suggest you read this post immediately. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has upped to nearly 8-million the number of vehicles that may be affected by faulty airbags built by Takata. Caranddriver.com says the airbags have the potential to inflate improperly, resulting in the shrapnel-like shooting of metal fragments. The NHTSA is providing a list of potentially affected vehicles but says that list may change as more information becomes available. We advise running your vehicle’s VIN through the NHTSA’s database to see whether it falls under the recall, and then signing up for alerts so as to stay informed. You can also check your manufacturer’s website for more information.

Sources: nhtsa.gov, www.caranddriver.com

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Mobile IAlert App Sends Messages From Your Child’s Carseat to Your Smartphone

Tomy International "The First Years" converitible car seat mobile IAlert app

That alert your smart phone just sounded? It’s a message from your child’s car seat. And no, we’re not kidding. Tomy International is touting a new child safety seat complete with sensors that monitor everything from proper seat installation to whether you accidentally left your kid in the car. Download the mobile IAlert app and, should your toddler’s seatbelt, among other things, come un-buckled, The First Years convertible carseat will, you guessed it, send you a message.

Tomy maintains that the app is not meant to be used while you’re driving. Motortrend.com quotes Greg Kilrea, the President of Tomy International, as saying, “Our mission is to help parents and caregivers keep kids safe by making our quality products easy to use and install and by building in features and functions that take some of the guesswork out of using infant gear properly.” But we’re skeptical. If the alert does sound while you and your kiddo are on the road, wouldn’t you want to check it? And wouldn’t the mere act of doing so take your eyes off the road, thereby putting you and your wee one more at risk of crashing? And not just crashing but crashing while something’s wrong with the car seat that’s designed to keep your kid safe. Are we missing something here?

Maybe so. Maybe most drivers would be conscientious enough to pull off the road before glancing at their phone. Maybe most parents would find the IAlert app beneficial. But, let’s face it, if you need a car seat sensor to remind you you left your kid in the car, you’ve got bigger distraction problems. And no, there’s no app for that.

(If you’d rather do things the old-fashioned way, the Jackson County Sheriff’s office will check your child’s car seat for proper installation free of charge:

http://www.co.jackson.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=3603)