Have you heard that car accidents are one of the leading causes of death that can be prevented, especially for children between ages 1 and 13? Did you know every parent has the mandate to keep their children safe by using the right car seat?
Studies have shown that parents who are on their fifth baby have improved much knowledge about babies but nothing about their safety in the car. This here is a matter of life and death that should be handled with the seriousness it deserves.
Choosing the best car seat models for your child can be quite confusing with the market flooded with different types of seats. Be sure that right from purchasing the seat to practically adjusting your child at the right place secure your child.
9 Critical Car Seat Rules
1. Buy your seat from a store that has trained staff
The staff should be able to help you with your choice of the right seat. They should also have the right information about every seat they have in stock to help you make an informed choice that is not based on any color or manufacturers name. The chances of children dying in a car accident are reduced by 71% when the car seat is properly fitted and secured in your car. Having the car seat fit firmly in your car is as safe as having your child safely into the car seat. The staff once they have sold the car seat should accompany you to your car and help you fit the car seat properly, ensuring that it works as required. Do not attempt to put your child in a car seat that is not secured. Read your car manual as well to ensure you have an idea of what will fit in your car.
2. Take into consideration how the child fits
The most important factor is that this seat belongs to the child and they must fit properly into it. Height and weight are more important than age. Even if the child meets the age requirement, do not transition them until they weight enough.
Even if your car is bouncing around when driving over those potholes, your baby should not. If the car seat is wiggly, then it’s not safe. It can easily throw your child off when the car is on the move. Test the car seat by yourself by pushing it around before trusting it to protect the child while on the move.
4. Carefully check the fitting often
The car seat can be very firm on the first day but become loose with constant use. Be sure to check your car seat every few weeks to see if it requires being tightened. Make any adjustments that are needed and ensure it is back in the right place.
5. Always double check the chest bucket
When your child is in the car seat and you faster them in, check to be sure the straps are snug and that the chest clip is at chest level. The chest clip is called a CHEST clip for a reason! It should be positioned right across the middle of their chest, across from their armpits.
6. Always buy a new car seat
I know car seats are expensive, people, but this is one thing you don’t want to be scrimy about. Do not buy a used car seat on Craigslist that they claim is only a couple months old and “they no longer need it”. It is extremely dangerous to buy a used car seat! You don’t know what that car seat’s history is. It’s not like you can get a carfax on a car seat! (Although, wouldn’t that be nice?!) Did you know that if you are in a car accident you are supposed to dispose of the car seat immediately and purchase a new one? For this reason, you should always buy a new car seat for your child, unless you already own one from a previous child and you know it’s still good and has not expired.
7. Always use the two finger test rule
Ensure the shoulder area harnesses a snugly fit for your growing child. Every couple of weeks, test the fitting by sliding two fingers under the straps. You should not allow a space larger than the two fingers between the straps and your child’s chest.
8. Always pay attention to the fabric
Choose a car seat with a fabric that is easy to clean. Get a darker pattern or a color shade that can hide stains. Kids eat, drink and cause messes in their car seats. You don’t want it to show off the stains so easily. If you are buying a car seat that doesn’t expire for 10 years like a Diono, get a neutral color like gray so you can use it for future children, regardless of their gender.
9. Check your car seat’s expiration date
Yeah, for real. I bet you didn’t know that car seats expire. Sadly, most parents I talk to have no idea that car seats actually have an expiration date. It’s very important to not only ask how long the car seat is good for when you buy it, but to double check the manufacturer date and write down on the front of your manual when the car seat expires. It’s a good idea to make a reminder or note in your phone or calendar when you need to buy a car seat so you know for sure that your child is safe.
Be sure to check out these 5 travel essentials for moms before you head out the door on your next adventure!