Every parent knows that their infant or toddler needs to be buckled up in their care seat even on the shortest trips but safety experts estimate that about 75% of car seats are secured in the car incorrectly.
It is not hard to make car seat safety mistakes, even if you have read the manual that came with your particular model from back to front. Unfortunately those instructions are not always too clear, especially if you are a poor sleep deprived new parent and if you are in a hurry car seat safety mistakes are easy to make. Here however are some tips to help you ensure that your child is properly secured every time you go anywhere with Baby.
Face Them the Right Way – There is still some confusion about when a child should switch from a rear facing car seat into a forward facing one and that confusion is compounded because expert recommendations have changed recently.
Currently it is recommended that babies should remain in a rear facing car seat until they have passed their first birthday and they weigh twenty pounds. If a child is over 1 but lighter than 20 pounds to help ensure car seat safety they should remain in a rear facing seat until they do tip the scales at over 20lbs.
Toddlers should ride in a forward facing car seat until they are over 40lbs, however old they are, after which they should be graduated into a booster seat. And the weigh new car seat safety guidelines (and many state laws) now state a child needs to continue to use a booster seat until they are four feet and nine inches tall, which means many kids might be in booster seat until they are almost teenagers.
Securing the Seat the Wrong Way – Most car seat safety mistakes come from the car seat being secured incorrectly or the harness system being fastened in the wrong way. Common car seat safety installation mistakes include:
- Putting the harness straps in the improper place or not securing them tightly enough
- Putting the harness clip that’s near the chest in the incorrect spot
- Not locking the seat belt in the proper manner.
- Not tightening the seat beat straps tightly enough, or putting the straps in the wrong spot
- Putting the infant car seat in a spot where it can potentially be hit by an air bag
Various safety studies have shown that parents often misunderstand the instructions that come with their car seat. To make sure that you know how to install your car seats the right way in your particular car go to a car seat inspection station where experts can make sure you really are doing everything correctly.
Lastly, car seats don’t last forever. Straps fray, frames crack. While handing down a car seat from child to child saves money you need to inspect a used car seat very, very carefully before using it.