Thursday, February 20, 2014

Top 10 Things Everyone Should Know About Car Seat Safety

My father is a safety engineer. I come by it honestly. I hope parents travel with their children in the safest way possible. Car seat safety is so simple. Here are the top 10 things I wish everyone who straps a child into a car seat knows!

1. Third-party or after market products should not be placed under the baby or through the straps in any way. Many people don't know this can void your warranty on your car seat. (Check any car seat manufactures website.) They can also cause the straps to malfunction in a crash. Statements from manufactures found HERE.

Examples of products that will void your car seat's warranty and can potentially interfere with car seat preference:

Products that do not go under the baby or do not interfere with the straps or car seat cover are ok.

2. It is called a chest clip for a reason. The clip should be positioned armpit to armpit.

3. The straps on the car seat are meant to be tight. There is any easy pinch test that you can do. If you can pinch the straps between your fingers, the strap is too loose.

4. For a backwards facing car seat, the strap should go in the slot AT or BELOW the shoulder. For forward facing, they should go AT or ABOVE shoulder level. Always check the guidelines for when your child should be forward/rear facing.

5. Winter coats should NOT be used in a car seat. A good video to watch to see why among the many out there:

Long story short, there is a lot of air in a coat that would compress in an accident, leaving your kid loosely harnessed.

6. Do not submerge seat belt straps into water or use detergent. This can weaken the straps and cause them to snap in a crash. Always consult your user manual for care guidelines.

7. Be VERY careful when buying a used car seat. Make sure you KNOW it is not expired. Make sure you KNOW for 100% complete certainty it hasn't been in an accident. KNOW that proper care guidelines have been followed. Great checklist guideline found here:

8. NEVER use both the LATCH system and the seat belt in tandem (unless your car manufacturers handbook states you can which is very rare). Some people assume this means your child is twice as safe, but that is FALSE. It can actually cause your car seat to not move enough. The seat moves absorb shock and without this movement, your baby will absorb the extra shock.

9. Car seats really do expire. It took me a long time to buy into this one. But the plastic deteriorates after time and exposure to heat/cold. I'm not going to chance it. Plus, I heard you can get a ticket for having a kid in an expired seat!

10. And, car seats should be replaced if in a crash. The guidelines have changed and I am not 100% sure what they are, but call your car insurance or check with the manufacturer. Most insurance companies WILL replace your car seat as part of a claim. Hair line fractures can take place in a crash!

And just so you know...

A lot of airlines will allow you to take your car seat aboard for an infant in arms for the flight if there is an empty seat available on your plane. I have even been assigned a new seat so I could bring my car seat aboard. Most airlines also allow you to check your car seat for free plane side if there is not room for it aboard.

Resources given to me by our state rep:

Another great resource is Most everything I got for this post is on there!! Plus, consult your car seat manual/website for most of this information, too!

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