6 car seat safety tips every parent needs to know
September 8, 2016
Car seat safety is really important, but it can be kind of daunting and confusing. To help you navigate through the ins-and-outs of car seat safety and maintenance, we’re sharing 6 car seat safety tips that every parent needs to know.
Proper car seat installation is vital
According to USA Today, nearly half of car seats are installed or used improperly. If you’re unsure whether or not you’ve installed your child’s car seat correctly, you can find a free car seat safety inspection in your area that is conducted by a certified passenger safety technician. This technician will inspect the car seat and show you how to appropriately install it.
Never place an infant seat on top of a shopping cart
Placing an infant car seat on the top of a shopping cart makes the cart top-heavy. Even if you can click the seat onto the cart, don’t do it. The seat or the cart itself can tip over, and result in injuries to your child. Try placing the seat in the bucket of the cart instead.
Register your car seat to be notified of product recalls
When you purchase a car seat, there is typically a document included that you can fill out and mail into the manufacturer. This ensures that you are notified of any recalls. You can also sign up to receive email alerts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about these recalls.
Rear facing until two … it’s up to you
This is probably one of the most important tips on this list, and one that you may have not gotten the most accurate information about because of recently updated guidelines and laws. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Infants and toddlers should ride facing the rear of the vehicle until they are at least 2 years old.” Because this is one of the newest AAP recommendations for car seat safety, it hasn’t been incorporated into the laws of every state, but is still vitally important.
Don’t use accessories that didn’t come with your car seat
While it may seem like a good idea to add a head pillow or other accessories to your child’s car seat to make it more comfortable, these additions can be potentially harmful in a crash. Why? Because these items were not included in car seat safety test, and may impact how the seat functions in a crash. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if it didn’t come with your car seat, don’t use it.
Place child in car seat in non-bulky clothing
With winter approaching, it’s important to remember that puffy coats and car seats don’t mix. Bulky clothing inhibits your ability to properly tighten the straps of the car seat, and the clothing will compress during a collision. To ensure your child stays safe and warm in the winter, try dressing your child in thin, tight layers under her coat, or using blankets or the coat draped over your child once she’s been buckled into her seat. It may seem like a pain at first, but it’s definitely worth it.
—Contributed by Lauren Soderberg
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