Common Car Seat Mistakes

First thing you have to remember, is to get your seat installed by a professional.  They are very difficult to install properly and to play it on the safe side visit safekids.org to find an Inspection Station in your area.

1. You should use either the LATCH system or the seat belt for your car seat, never both. -a

2. Never put your car seat on top of the shopping cart seat.  Car seats are not made to attach to the shopping cart and the car seat is at risk for tipping. -b

3. In the car your car seat should not move more than one inch from side to side.  If you are able to move your seat back and forth more, think about what would happen if you were in an accident.

4. Ensuring that straps on the car seats are in the right slots to protect your child            

  • On rear facing seats the straps should sit at or below the child’s shoulders.
  • On forward facing seats the straps should sit at or right above the child’s  shoulders. -c

5. The chest clips need to be even with the arm pits, and the straps need to be tight enough for only one finger to fit under the straps.  The pinch test is a great way to check to see if your straps are too loose, if you can pinch the strap, it is too loose!

6. Follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guide for car seat types.

  • Infant Seats: Always rear facing, use until child outgrows the weight limit, or reaches the weight limit of the next seat.
  • Convertible Seat:  Purchase one that is reversible – at first you should use it as a rear facing seat and your child can move up to this seat when the appropriate weight limit is reached.  Keep this seat rear facing until the child is 2 years of age or until they reach the height and weight limit of the rear facing feature of the seat.
  • Booster Seat: The child needs to be at least 4 years old AND 40 pounds.  You should really just use this as a guideline, and pay attention to your child and if he or she is ready for a booster.  The seat belt need to fit snug across the check and not too close to the neck. Your child also needs to be mature enough to sit up straight in the seat.
  • No more seats when the child reaches 4’9” usually between the ages of 8 and 12.  The child should still ride in the back seat, always with a seatbelt. –d

7. Winter coats and car seats DON’T mix .  When it is freezing outside, its easy just to put the little ones in the car seat with their heavy coats on but this is not safe.  The coats can prevent the child from being properly secure in the car seat.

8. Do not use anything that did not come with the seat.  While those soft strap covers are adorable, they could void the manufacturer warranty and liability if there was a crash. – e

9. If you have been in a crash where, the car was not driveable after the crash, the airbags deployed, or there was damage to the side of the car that the car seat is on, you need to get a new car seat.

10. You need to buy a new car seat, never a used seat, you just don’t know where the seat has been.

11. Pay attention to expiration dates, yes car seats have them.  They go through a lot from day to day, some of which you can not see.

12. Always take the time to mail in the card that comes with the car seat, this way you are in direct contact with the manufacturer in case of a recall.

13. LATCH systems have a maximum weight limit.  Check your owners manual, and read this post about new laws

Did you know about these? Have you made any of these mistakes? Pretty please share so others don’t make these mistakes!

a-http://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/babies/on-the-way/carseat-safety-for-babies.html
b-http://carseatblog.com/10985/shopping-carts-eeek-what-not-to-do-with-your-infant-carseat/
c-http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/carseat/tips.shtml
d-http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token
e-http://dailymomtra.com/2011/03/30/the-picture-guide-to-car-seat-safety/

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