The story of how I became a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) starts long before I owned a baby store. I was a new mother and I was trying really hard to chill out. Babies are so small, so fragile. It’s easy to let fear drive you to irrational behavior, especially during the early months. I didn’t want to be that kind of mother. So I relaxed.
But when it was time to move my baby to a convertible car seat, I perused the manual for a moment or two before I became overwhelmed by all the illustrations and legal jargon. I felt fear boiling up inside me again, so I took a deep breath. Just put it in the car, I told myself. The baby will be fine. And so I did the best I could, and I was sure that was good enough.
A few weeks later, I was leaving a playgroup with a friend whose baby was just a few weeks older than mine. She was much less relaxed than I was. She glanced at my car seat and reached in to feel how securely it was installed. She rocked it back and forth easily and her eyes widened. “You need to get your car seat checked! This isn’t in properly.” She explained that she’d brought her car seat to her local police station and they had checked it for her. “Mine doesn’t feel like this.”
I practically snorted. What a worry-wart! She’d brought her CAR SEAT to the POLICE? I smiled and nodded, thanked her for her feedback and drove off, shaking my head at my friend’s anxiety level.
A week later, as I was packing to drive to New York for the weekend, my phone rang. It was my friend, and she was calling me from the side of the road. She had just been in a car accident (everyone was OK), and all she could think about was my loose car seat and my upcoming four-hour drive. “Please,” she told me, “you never know what can happen. Go get your seat checked.”
Well, now that karma had gotten involved, I wasn’t feeling quite so relaxed. I called the Brookline Police department and begged the officer to see me, even though she didn’t have an actual appointment available for several weeks. Casey Hatchett, who has since become a friend, spent a good, long time with me, instructing, pushing, pulling, and tightening until the car seat was completely immobilized. I drove to New York the next day with great peace of mind.
After that, I became a noisy advocate for getting car seats checked, and I never quit. When I finally had the time to get certified this past summer, it felt incredible to finally be able to help parents myself. Now, I’m delighted to announce that Magic Beans has started offering car seat installation services in all of our stores.
Parents can now make an appointment online to meet with a Child Passenger Safety Technician for a one-on-one car seat checkup. We’ll teach you all about how your car seat works, and we’ll show you how it fits into your car. We’ll give you the confidence you need to install the seat yourself, because it’s an essential skill. And we’ll make sure you drive away with your seat installed properly.
Our car seat installation service costs just $19.99 when you purchase your car seat at Magic Beans, and it’s $39.99 if your seat was purchased elsewhere. This makes a great gift also, if you have a friend who you suspect may need a kick in the pants to go and get her seat checked. I’m just saying…