Most Important Safety Tips For Installing A Baby Car Seat – Avoid the most common mistakes

Car accidents are a leading cause of death for children in the United States. These deaths are preventable. Unfortunately, many people do not know the proper way to transport a child safely. Many factors contribute to the safety of a child when they are in a car.

The direction your child’s car seat is facing can affect how well your child will be protected in the incident of a crash. The age and weight of your child also affect what means are best to protect them.

Older children do not need a full car seat. A booster seat is all that is needed to protect older toddlers in a car. Some people transport their children without using any safety restraints at all. This is dangerous, and it is also illegal.

Installing a child safety seat can be a difficult process. Experienced parents who’ve had multiple children even struggle to install them properly.

This guide will explain the best safety tips for installing a baby car seat, but before we go into detail about these tips, we first need to explain which safety restraints are best for children depending on their age and weight.

Car accidents are a leading cause of death for children in the United States. These deaths are preventable. Unfortunately, many people do not know the proper way to transport a child safely. Many factors contribute to the safety of a child when they are in a car.

The direction your child’s car seat is facing can affect how well your child will be protected in the incident of a crash. The age and weight of your child also affect what means are best to protect them.

Older children do not need a full car seat. A booster seat is all that is needed to protect older toddlers in a car. Some people transport their children without using any safety restraints at all. This is dangerous, and it is also illegal.

Installing a child safety seat can be a difficult process. Experienced parents who’ve had multiple children even struggle to install them properly.

This guide will explain the best safety tips for installing a baby car seat, but before we go into detail about these tips, we first need to explain which safety restraints are best for children depending on their age and weight.

Bring Yourself Peace of Mind When Driving Your Baby Around With A Rear-Facing Car Seat

Rear-facing car seats are ideal for young children who are small or babies. Rear-facing car seats should not be placed in the front passenger seat. The reason for this is because of the fact that front seats typically have airbags.

Though airbags provide critical protection in the incident of an accident, they can also be dangerous. They are especially dangerous for small children and babies in rear-facing car seats.

According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the reason they are so dangerous for this demographic of children is because if they are placed in a rear-facing car seat and it is impacted by an airbag, the force of the airbag deploying will directly impact their head and send them flying face first into the front seat.

Small children can also sustain other life-threatening consequences if impacted by an airbag such as broken bones or death. Air bags can even make young children airborne and cause them to collide their head into the ceiling of your car according to Stanford Children’s Health.

Protect Your Young Child With A Forward-facing Car Seat

A forward-facing car seat is an incredible source of protection for young children aged two years old to seven years old. Forward-facing car seats often have a harness-styled restraint system, and they typically come with a specified weight or height limit.

Once the weight or height limit of a child car safety seat is reached, they child no longer have to use that particular safety device. They either age from one car safety seat style to another, or they grow out of car safety seats entirely and only need to use a seat belt like adults.

Keep Your Child Safe by Following The Progression of Child Safety Seats

Like everything else, your child will eventually grow out of their safety restraints. Children should start in a rear-facing car seat then progress to a forward-facing car seat when they are about two years old.

Once the child is older, they should be upgraded to a booster seat. Booster seats reposition where your child’s seat belt will cross their body. Children will need to be placed in a booster seat until your car’s seat belt fits them comfortably and safely.

For many kids, they will not be able to safely ride in a car with just a seat belt until they are about twelve years old.

Provide Your Child With an Extra Boost of Protection with a booster seat

All booster seats are not made equal, and some are better for some children than others. If a booster seat is safe for your child, then it will position your child so that the shoulder belt fits them snugly. It should not be loose, and it should not be too tight.

The shoulder belt should not cross your child’s neck or face. The lap belt should not cross your child’s stomach. It should lie across your child’s upper thighs, an it should lie flat. This is according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Save time with a convertible car seat

Convertible car seats transition from facing the rear to facing forward. They age with your child, so you don’t have to spend extra time shopping for a new car seat as your toddler ages.

Save space and money with a 3-in-1 car seat

3-in-1 car seats are the ultimate convertible car seat. Not only do these car seats transition from rear-facing to forward-facing, they can also convert into a booster seat so that you only have to pay one price for your child’s car seat to carry them to their preteen years.

Combination car seats come with a 5-point harness

Combination car seats are a type of forward-facing car seat. They can transition into a booster seat once your child ages or gains weight.

Protect your child’s head with a high back booster seat

So cars do not have headrests in the back seat. Some also have a low seat back. This is not good for children because their heads need support. If your car does not have a headrest in the back seat or if it has a low back, getting a booster seat with a high back may be best for your child.

High back booster seats are also great for children who enjoy sleeping in the car.

Travel easily with a backless booster seat

Backless booster seats are convenient if you travel often. They are more lightweight and less expensive than the high back alternative. Backless booster seats should only be used if your child’s ears rest below your vehicle’s headrest or backseat so that your child has ample head support.

Size Matters

While this guide is using age to help you determine which child car restraint system is best for children, your child’s size must also be considered when deciding which car safety seat is best for them.

If your child’s size is larger or smaller than normal for their age, they may need a safety seat that is typically not recommended for their age.

Rear-facing car seats are recommended for kids up to 40 pounds. Forward-facing car seats are recommended for kids up to 65 pounds. Booster seats are recommended for kids over 80 pounds.

Save Your Child’s Life by Correctly Installing Their Car Seat With Help From An In-Depth Video

Although child car seats are effective at protecting children during crashes, these protective benefits are only capable when they are installed correctly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about half of all car seats are installed incorrectly.

One way that parents can install their infant’s car seat is by using the LATCH system was created. You can watch Officer Patrick Roth, a certified child passenger safety instructor, demonstrate how to install a child safety car seat using the LATCH system and a seat belt here.

This demonstration has been very helpful to other parents, and it is detailed and clear. Officer Roth explains the steps you need to follow well, and the instructions are shared slow enough for you to follow along and understand the instructions .

Now that we’ve explained the different types of child car safety restraints, we will now explain the best safety tips for using a baby car seat.

1. Install your child’s car seat at the correct recline angle to protect their airways

The angle your child’s car seat is reclined at is important. If your child’s car seat is not reclined at a proper angle, it can cause their head to fall forward and restrict their airway. However, if you recline your child’s car seat too far back, it can cause them serious injury in a crash.

Car seats come with a recline indicator on them so that you know exactly how they should be reclined. It should be located on the your base or carrier of your child’s car seat.

2. Do not hang toys from your child’s car seat to help prevent tragedy

Though it may be tempting to hang toys from your child’s car seat carrier handle, this can be dangerous. If you were to crash, these toys could become flying projectiles and seriously harm you, your child, or other passengers.

If you want to transport your child with their favorite toys, then place the toys in their hand or tucked away somewhere safe in your car.

3. Don’t keep your child in a puffy coat when they in a car seat to prevent them from slipping out

If it is cold outside, you may be driven to buckle your child up in their seat with their puffy winter coat on. This is dangerous.

Though it is okay to allow your child to wear a light jacket in their car seat, according to Consumer Reports, a big coat could compress in a crash and allow your child to fly out of their safety restraints.

4. Make sure everyone buckles up to prevent backseat missiles

The purpose of a car seat is to protect your child during a crash. This purpose is defeated if the people riding in the car with your child are not buckled up. The reason for this is because if you crash, the people who aren’t wearing seat belts could be projected into your child.

The Car Seat Lady goes into detail about the dangers unrestrained passengers cause for car seat riders using numerous peer-reviewed sources.

5. The middle seat adds more safety

Research has shown that the center back seat is 43% safer than the side seats. This is because this seat won’t take a direct impact in a crash. If you have multiple children, it is recommended that the oldest child be placed in the middle.

The reason the oldest child should be placed in the middle is because the younger children will have more protection from their car seats. For example, the youngest kids ride in rear-facing car seats which are the safest car seats for kids.

FAQs

What is the best car seat for my child?

According to SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., the best car seat for your child is the one that is most convenient for you, your child, and your family. Some car seats are better suited for certain cars than others, so you should take your car or family vehicle into consideration when picking a car seat for your child.

Don’t be afraid to try a car seat before you buy it.

How can I keep my child warm without a puffy coat?

To keep your child warm during cold weather without strapping them in with a puffy coat on, you can buckle them up with a light jacket on and place a blanket on them once they are properly restrained in their car seat.

How can I tell if my child’s rear-facing safety seat is secure?

You can check how secure your child’s rear-facing safety seat is by grasping near it near its belt path and pulling it. If it doesn’t move away from your vehicle’s seat more than an inch, then it is secure.

You can also check it by trying to move it side to side. While it may move slightly, a secure rear-facing car seat will not shift more than about an inch side to side.

How can I tell if my child’s forward-facing car seat is secure?

You can tell whether your child’s forward-facing safety seat is secure by its ability to move. If you can pull the seat forward or sideways without it moving a lot, then the seat is likely secure.

If your child’s safety seat is not secure when you try to move it, then try anchoring it to a tether using the LATCH method.

We had a car crash, do I need to replace my child’s safety seat?

Yes. it is recommended that safety seats be replaced following a car crash. The reason for this is because it is difficult to determine whether your child’s car seat was weakened in the crash.

It would also be expensive to make this determination since a thorough investigation would be necessary.If your car crash was caused by another driver, some states require that their insurer cover the cost of your child’s new safety seat.

SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A is willing to provide letters of support for families needing help getting the responsible party’s insurer to cover the cost for the new car seat.

Shopping For A Child Safety Seat

Shopping for a car seat for your child can be a stressful and time-consuming process. You want the best for your child. The following are a few steps you can take to make shopping for your child’s car seat safer and easier.

1. Refer to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Ease of Use rating system to help you make a decision on which car seat to buy your child.

NHSTA’s Ease of Use rating system does not rate car seats by how safe they are. Instead, it rates them by how easy it is to find important information about them. For instance, it rates how easy-to-follow the labels and instructions for a car seat are.

This is an important thing to measure because while it does not relate to the safety of a car seat directly, how easy a car seat is to use does play a role in the its safety.

For example, if a car seat’s instructions are hard to follow, you may do them incorrectly which can be very dangerous.

Car seats with a 5-star Ease of Use rating are best.

2. Can a store worker help install my child’s new car seat after I buy it?

Yes. Someone who works at the store where you purchase your car seat can help you install the seat into your car. However, while some stores have certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians available to help assist you with putting your child’s new car seat into the car, many stores do not.

If the store you purchase your car seat from does not have a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician working there, that doesn’t mean someone in the store won’t know how to help you safely install your child’s car seat.

Please recognize that this service is not guaranteed and could be a risky move if the person helping you is unfamiliar with safely installing a car seat too.

3. Do I need to buy my child’s car seat before they are born?

You do not have to buy your child’s car seat before they are born, but it is recommended. If you purchase your car seat before your child arrives, this will give you ample time to familiarize yourself with it.

You will be able to install and uninstall the car seat ahead of time to practice the process.

Buying your child’s car seat while you’re still pregnant will also allow you to have one less thing to worry about once your baby arrives.

Car Seat Care and Maintenance

According to Safe Kids, you need to clean and maintain your child’s car seat in order to ensure it operates properly and lasts until its expiration date. Car seats expire after 6 to 10 years.

Do not use harsh chemicals to clean your child’s car seat. You especially should not use bleach.

When not in use, car seats should be stored in a cool and dry location. Pads and harnesses should not be washed in a washing machine unless the manufacturer notes on the label that it is okay to do so. Follow the cleaning instructions for your child’s car seat closely.

Cleaning instructions for your child’s car seat can typically be found on its label.

The LATCH System

LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. In Europe it is known as ISOFIX, and in Canada, it’s known as Lower Universal Anchorage System or LUAS for short. The LATCH system consists of lower and tether anchors that are built-in to vehicles.

Car seats come with connecting hooks that are usually attached to the ends of straps. However, some car seats have rigid anchor connecting hooks that are connected directly to the safety seat rather than a strap.

Rather than using your car’s seat belts to secure your child’s safety seat, the anchors and hooks are used instead,

Where can I find my car’s anchors?

Your car’s lower anchors can be found hidden in its seat crack. They are u-shaped. Tether anchors are metal rings or bars that are located behind your vehicle’s seat.

According to the Car Seat Lady, every car made after 2003 must have at least two lower anchor positions and at least three tether anchor positions.

Conclusion

We’ve detailed everything you should need to know about safely transporting your child. This list of detailed safety tips for a baby car seat is backed by research, and since we’ve covered so much information in this guide, we will conclude it with a quick review of everything you should have learned.

Rear-facing car seats are necessary for newborns and small children. Your child’s weight should take precedence over your child’s age. A child that is five years old but has the body of a toddler should not be in a booster seat just because they’ve aged a year.

Kids need support behind their heads, so a high back booster should should be used if your car doesn’t have a headrest or has low back seats. Convertible and combination car seats age with your child and can potentially save you money.

Toys should not be attached to the handle of your child’s car seat, and everyone in the car with your child should be buckled up to help further keep your young one safe in an accident.

Your child’s car seat should be reclined to the angle indicated on its label to ensure the safety of your child, and should check the security of your child’s car seat by trying to make it move with your hands.

The best car seat for your child is one that is age or weight appropriate and convenient for your family and car. You can use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Ease of Use rating system to help you choose the safest car for your child.

Your child’s car seat should be replaced following an accident to be safe. You can have the insurance of the person at fault cover the cost of the new car seat in some states. Car seats need to be cleaned and stored in cool, dry places.

Every car built after 2003 have anchors that can be used to secure your child’s car seat using the LATCH system. The LATCH system and the seat belt method should not be used in conjunction, you should only use one method or the other at once.

Now that you know the ultimate list of detailed safety tips for a baby car seat, be sure to apply what you’ve learned and protect your children while you’re on the road.

Tamara

As A mother & nurse there is nothing I want more than my kids growing up safe!, after many years of experience and research I'm confident in bringing you the best information in keeping your child safe!

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