I’m pretty passionate about car seat safety and I am in the process of finding a class to be a child passenger safety technician. I am passionate about it because it’s so important to keep babies and children safe at all times and car seat safety should be no different and yet it is often ignored or taken for granted.
Here are some facts:
“80% of child restraints are used incorrectly." NHTSA
"Nearly a third of children ride in the wrong restraints for their age and size. Recent data from the Crash Injury Research & Engineering Network indicate that inappropriately restrained children are nearly three and a half times more likely to be seriously injured than their appropriately restrained counterparts." National SAFE KIDS Campaign
Carseats reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for children ages 1-4, and reduce the need for hospitalization by 69% for children ages 4 and under. National SAFE KIDS Campaign and NHTSA Child Passenger Safety Technician Program Participant Manual pg. C-4”
Car seat safety can be so simple:
Read the car seat install instructions, watch videos to know how to properly use them and if you are still not sure, find help.
Do your research and find out which car seat will fit in your vehicle the best.
Don’t skimp on safety features.
Don’t use anything that the car seat manufacturer didn’t make or anything that didn’t come with the car seat. This means don’t buy the seat mats that go under the car seat. Don’t buy the strap covers that you find in stores (unless they are made by YOUR car seat maker).
Don’t put a lot of bundled clothing on the baby. This creates excess padding that can and will compress in an accident leaving more room for the baby to move which can harm the baby.
Don’t let the straps get twisted. If they are twisted, take the time to fix it before you put the baby back in the seat.
Make sure the chest clip is placed where it should be... on their CHEST. It should NOT be placed on their stomach.
Make sure the shoulder straps are placed properly. They should be at or BELOW for rear facing seats and at or ABOVE for forward facing.
Make sure that there is nothing around the baby (in their seat, on the floor boards, in the seats near to them, etc) that can harm the baby in an accident. Objects fly and land hard in an accident.
Find a place near you that will help show you how to install your car seat. Most of the time you can make an appointment and they will help you. Here’s a link for the National Child Passenger Safety Certification: You can find a certified technician near you:
Search around this website… it has some wonderful information on it:
Keep babies rear-facing for as long as possible! 2 years old is still early to turn them around. Car seats are able to stay rear-facing longer than they have before. It's safer for them!
Keep them in 5 point harness car seats for as long as possible.
Once they have out-grown the 5 point harness, keep them in a booster seat until they are at least tall enough to wear a seat belt properly. Go by height, not by age! Know your state laws, some have specific ages and heights before they can be out of a booster seat. However, if they are still under the height needed to use a seat belt properly, keep them in the booster seat.