Before there was a company
When Greg and I met and married, he was a firefighter/paramedic. He also was a Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor. Greg did a lot of events and occasionally I would go with him and volunteer “scribing” (making notes for each car seat check).
Eventually when I left working full-time so we could start a family and after yet another miscarriage, I took the course to become a CPS Tech also so I could be more helpful at these events. More techs = more cars checked = more kids riding safer.
I took this knowledge and worked at a hospital for a few years through two pregnancies and newborns, helping new parents install their car seats correctly and educating them about car seat safety. It was a fun job and I loved the dad’s expressions when I waddled down to their car with them 9 months pregnant (yes, I was checking car seats up to 3 days prior to giving birth to my first child).
Download our report: Common Car Seat Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Together we’ve shared information with thousands of parents at events, at classes, in our neighborhood, to anyone who asked — and sometimes didn’t ask. (People don’t always appreciate that. Weird.) We have always loved that we were helping other parents keep their children safer in the car.
Years went by and we were pregnant with number 3 and driving one car, which didn’t not allow for fitting three car seats across because of the hump in the middle and the bucket seats on the sides. Our good friend and fellow technician instructor reminded us of the RideSafer Travel Vest and how it could be a solution for us.
And a company was born
Although we had seen it before in update classes, at first we too were skeptical. This flimsy looking little vest versus a big hard bulky car seat. How could the vest really be that safe? (I know at least some of you have wondered this too.)
But knowing how crash dynamics work and seeing the results of the RideSafer tests, convinced us it was a safe product to use. And it worked like a charm to solve our challenge.
We felt our kids were safer with the RideSafer vest than a booster seat and it allowed us to fit three across in that car. Not to mention traveling with kids that first summer with the RideSafer attached to the older kids’ backpacks instead of carrying an additional duffle bag with booster seats. So nice!
Our friend asked us to think about helping the manufacturer of the vest. We saw the value of the vest and the lack of awareness in the general public about it even though it had already been on the market for years at this point. I had the graphic design background and Greg the firefighting background so we had some experience that could help the manufacturer. But we were already starting a different business and had a new baby. We weren’t ready to take on another project.
Fast forward a few months, our friends, Jeff and Stephanie, were staying with us to go to a mutual friends’ wedding. We showed them the vests and they agreed it was a little known solution that could help so many parents. They said it would have been useful to them when they had other people picking up their sons when they were younger. So while our mutual friends were getting married, we decided to merge our families in a business marriage. (Update: They have since moved on to other ventures. We wish them all the best.)
From birth to toddlerhood, still a ways to grow
In the three years since that time, we’ve worked hard to offer the education about the RideSafer that was previously missing and share it with a wider audience than before. Slowly we’ve gained more awareness in the public about the vest.
We have more people now saying, “oh ya I’ve heard of that before,” when we share a card with them. Of course a couple of times it was, “I got a card from… you… last time I was in the airport.” We hand out cards to parents traveling with kids every time we travel. (Hint, we send some with every purchase so you can share this amazing product with other parents when you travel too.)
And while it’s been difficult at times to keep going and we’re challenged to consistently brand the RideSafer when the manufacturer makes decisions like selling to Amazon (which also cuts into our sales, essentially competing against us) or changing his mind (RideSafer 3 is going away… oh… no, no it’s not) — we are still in the game because of all the people who thank us for the information, education and customer service we offer.
Making a difference
We’ve reached people who have never heard of CPS technicians and didn’t know there were experts out there to ask about car seat safety. We’ve had customers thank us profusely for being there to answer questions for them. Customers have thanked us for sharing these innovative products they had never heard of before but turned out to be a lifesaver (or a back saver in case of traveling!) for them. People often say it’s amazing to communicate with a company that so obviously cares about their customers and the safety of their children.
Along the way with the RideSafer Travel Vest, we were introduced to the Tummy Shield. Having gone through three miscarriages and understanding the devastating loss that it is — in addition to having carried three pregnancies and driving uncomfortably through each of them — the Tummy Shield just made sense to me.
More than just offering a more comfortable ride to moms-to-be, it allowed us to help parents protect their precious little ones during another stage of child passenger safety that had previously been ignored. The more research we did into safe driving during pregnancy, the more we wanted to share the Tummy Shield with parents-to-be.
That’s been an uphill battle too because a few safety experts make the blanket statement that all of those maternity seat belt products are not safe, while not actually taking a closer look at the Tummy Shield and the data we offer. We always invite these people to engage in a conversation with us and when they do, they have, as yet, always conceded. But their first comment still roams out there in cyber space for people to see.
Other safety experts see the value in the Tummy Shield right away. Some go as far as recommending it, others are not there… yet.
So here we are every day thinking, “what information can we offer to support our fans, our customers and those we have yet to reach? What more can we do to help other parents keep their children as safe as possible in the car from conception on? What more value can we give?”
We have plans to grow, adding stages of car seats, even safety information for keeping older children safe in cars.
We are so grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in parents’ lives and help them protect their children. We are so grateful we get to make some small difference in this world and perhaps to some parents a big, life-saving difference. Thank you for joining us on this journey.
We love hearing from you whether it’s gratitude for us or the products we offer or suggestions or places we missed information or something on the website is not working. Whatever it is, we most love that we are in direct contact with you and being able to support you in this endeavor to keep your children safe. So please share with us. Comment below!
By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004
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