Swimming Pool Blog

Pool Noodles ~ Not Just for Fun anymore!

Sean Griffin, December 03, 2009

Pool Noodles ~ Not Just for Fun anymore!

pool noodles used for car safety seatsPool noodles can be used for plenty of fun activities. Floating on them around your pool in a make shift lounge, a helpful float in the ocean, or a headrest as you catch some rays. If you’re not a parent or are not privileged enough to be in the company of children, you may not have known they are also used in conjunction with children’s car safety seats.  

Used as a wedge, a pool noodle is a cheap and safe way to ensure the proper installation of a car seat in the back of your vehicle. It's a scary statistic, but in many locations, child safety seat installation error and misuse rates reach close to 95%, according to carseatsite.com
Although noodles with center holes will compress slightly more than solid noodles, either style can help you achieve proper installation for your safety car seat. Some car seat safety programs prefer to use the Monster noodles, which have a larger diameter.
A quote from an online forum discussing child safety seats states, “The angle of the newborn seat is very important. I remember having mine installed the first time and when I had it inspected, the angle wasn't what it needed to be. The installer used a piece of solid foam pool noodle to make the base more level and still provide the stability.”
pool noodles for child car seats
Poolcenter.com provides special discounts available to police/fire and other car seat safety organizations, for help with securing car seats properly. One of our regular customers, Beth Benham, of the Fairfax County Traffic Division, filled us in on some common mistakes made by parents installing their own child seats.
1. Child seat not tightly secured with seat belt. It must be very tight!
2. Harness straps not tight enough or routed through the proper slots.
3. Retainer clips not positioned at the proper level.
4. Child seat not level, leaning too far back (use a pool noodle).
5. Non-approved items* used to secure the seat.

*Never use such items as bungee cords, tie down straps, rope, wire, clamps, duct tape, etc., to secure your child seat. These items could prove dangerous in a crash.
A rolled up towel or foam "pool noodle" can be used under a rear facing seat to assist in properly positioning the child seat at the required 45 degree angle. Why a noodle? Well, you can also use a tightly rolled towel, but towels compress over time, whereas the material in pool noodles does not. If you use a towel, check it occasionally to see that the angle has been maintained. 
 To get more information about child safety seats and child safety in general, check out this non-profit site dedicated to children safety. Now, that's using the ol' noodle!