Do car seats alone can ensure your child’s safety?
Having a car seat is mandatory, but there are certain things which can go wrong!
It’s a foolish thing to buy a car seat blindly without knowing its safe usage practices and what you need to take care of.
In this short guide, we will take you through 10 life-saving tips associated with children’s car seats!
1. Getting the Right Seat for the Right Kid
Oftentimes parents forget to take into consideration that car seats aren’t made “one for all”. Depending on age the type of car varies quite a lot.
For instance a car seat for a 2 year old kid, won’t be the same as for a 7 year old. Weight limit and height limit is also a deciding factor here.
Here’s a quick guide:
- For infants at 12-18 months, a rear facing car seat is appropriate.
- Toddlers should also use a rear facing car seat with convertible features.
- Older children are safest on high back boosters.
2. Ensure Maximum Safety and Shift as the Child Ages
A good rule to ensure maximum safety is to never change the car seat until your child has fully outgrown the current version. The same goes the other way, don’t let a grown up kid sit on a toddler’s car seat or a toddler to sit on a car seat made for preemies.
You need to get the stage right as this will ensure the harness is fitting perfectly. Too tight or too loose are both detrimental for kids, especially in a disaster scenario.
3. Find Ways to Keep the Harness on All the Time
Admit it! You know it. All children are master escape artists. The moment you put her in a car seat with the harness on, her busy mind starts working to find a way to remove the shackles.
But.. you being the parent should be one step ahead. Here’s what you need to do:
- Make sure the harness is always snug. Take the pinch test if necessary. Also, look for a car seat with harness adjustability features like the Graco car seat. You will love its functionalities and no wonder it’s so popular in the market.
- For clever kids who break out everytime, you might as well use an anti-escape device like the Besafe Belt Collector.
- Talk with your baby and make a routine for buckling up the harness in a positive way.
4. Avoid Placing the Car Seat on the Front of the Car
Did you know airbags explode at a speed of 150-250 mph? Yes, it’s a life saving technology. However, the same can cause serious issues when your child is seated on the front seat and an unexpected accident occurs.
Until the age 12-13, children are safer on the back seats. You could use a rear facing car seat on the front of the car, but make sure that there is no airbag mechanism installed.
5. Buckling up Is Even More Important for Adults
If you believe that only keeping your kid seated on a car seat will protect him, while you yourself isn’t buckled up, then you are wrong! It’s a big crime and during an accident, you can end up crashing on your kid.
We don’t want any of that. So, everytime you travel with your kid, make sure everyone has their seat buckled up and stop yourself from becoming a human missile.
6. Faulty Installation Can Be Detrimental
When it comes to car seats, installation is a major part of keeping the child safe. The best way is to follow the manufacturer’s manual step by step and avoid using your own brain!
You will find guides in either blue or red that shows where the seat belt should be routed. Some car seats might even require a tether anchor to secure the top of the car seat. You also need to consider whether the seats should be installed with isofix or seat belt.
7. Always Buy a Brand New Car Seat and Check Expiration Date
It’s proven that plastic will become brittle with time. So, if you have a car seat that you have been using for years, there’s a good chance it has lost its rigidity.
As a basic rule, a car seat must be replaced every 5 years to ensure maximum security. The money is worth investing considering the importance. For example, you bought a convertible car seat when your kid was 1 year old. After 5 years, get another car seat for your kid who is now 6 years old even though the older one may still fit.
Avoid buying any sort of used seats as you might not know how long it’s been used and what’s the condition of the plastic inside.
8. Be Aware of the Type of Clothing Your Child Is Wearing
Is there a different way to dress your child when geared up for a car ride? You don’t need a dedicated suit for that purpose. What you need is light clothes that won’t eat up the space inside the harness.
Wearing puffy clothes like jackets and sweaters isn’t safe at all. Even if you tighten the harness, the clothes will compress during an accident and leave the harness loose.
9. Check for Optimum Harness Height and That it Remains Untwisted
The height of the harness should be set as per the manufacturer’s guideline. Keep the strap just below the shoulder level when using a rear facing car seat. For forward facing models, it should be above the shoulder level. Keeping the right height will ensure that there’s less distance to move when there’s an external impact.
When you buckle up, make sure that the harness remains flat and untwisted. Twisted harnesses can cut deep into a child’s body and cause more harm even in a simple crash.
10. Are You Buying Aftermarket Accessories for the Car Seat? Give it a Second Thought
There’s a ton of car seat accessories that you can buy online. While they are made to provide extra safety, they might end up hurting more if it’s not recommended by the manufacturer of the car seat you are using.
If you think your child needs something extra like a head strap or shoulder padding contact the manufacturer or search if they are selling one.
These 10 tips are enough to maintain maximum safety for your child. The best you can do is to talk with other parents who survived crash incidents with kids. The more you know and the more your child is safe. And.. always buy a car seat from certified and reputed manufacturers!