Car Seat Safety for Babies & Toddlers
We all like to think that we are doing everything possible to protect our children. Unfortunately we can't be there all the time and for every eventuality but car travel and Car Seat Safety is something we can get right if we have a few extra precautions in place.
1. Which seat?
Choosing the right car seat for our child's age is of utmost importance. Take into account you child's age and weight when you choose one. Don't think about buying anything that might last longer, bridge a gap before moving to a sibling's seat, or help you avoid buying another seat too soon. Children's car seat sizes are there for good reason. They include padding, side protection, reclining angles and all sorts of extras that suit each child's age, weight and potential height at each stage of their development. This helps us parents make the right decisions.
2. Buy with caution
Try to avoid buying a second hand seat unless you know it's history. Obviously don't buy one that has been involved in a collision. If you do use a second hand seat, try and buy from another parent or friend you know well.
3. Remove coats
Take off your child's coat and bulky clothing. It was recently discovered that children wearing a coat of any kind but especially puffy/bulky outerwear, would allow a child to slip through their seat belts due to the force involved in an accident and be thrown from the car. This was completely new to me and horrifying so important to take note of.
Is your seat installed correctly? It shouldn't move more than an 2.5cm either side. We all have a good read of the manufacturers instructions but sometimes for peace of mind, it's helpful to have this checked for you. Cars.com offer a car seat check service where they can assess or install your child's car seat for you. This takes the worry away as their technicians have been through extensive training and know many makes and models of car.
Cars.com also are very familiar with the Latch system (Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children) and use it wherever possible in all of their installations and checks.
5. Register your Car Seat
So your car seat is installed and you're ready to go? Well not quite. Did you use the card in your car seat packaging to register your car seat with the manufacturer?
In 2017 approximately 755,000 car seats were recalled in the United States but due to the different manufacturers coming forward with their numbers it's hard to tell what the true figure is.
However if you have your car seat registered the manufacturer will contact you to let you know there is a fault.
If you didn't know about this (I didn't!) or bought your seat years ago don't panic. Find out how to register your seat and check for recalls here.
You should also be aware of the condition of your own car.
Should you have mechanical problems, and need to research options to upgrade your vehicle check out this troubleshooter.