Car Seat Safety

I don't know why, but I have a passion for car seat safety. I wanted to share the information I have learned with you all. Maybe God has a plan in using this information in someone's life to protect their child...I don't know. I do know that I felt very convicted to look up all of these websites and articles and type up all of this information. You may think I'm crazy, but for some reason, I felt God tugging at my heart to do this.

There are so many "little" details involved in correctly installing a car seat and correctly buckling your child in his or her car seat. Some of these things are easy to do, but many people just don't know about them. If you are a parent and have ever installed your child's car seat, you know it can be a hassle. Whenever we have to move a car seat or two from one car to the other, I cannot help but let out an audible "UGH!!!" Please take the time to do it correctly, though. Your child's safety is determined by the little mistakes we have to avoid!

I've tried to organize all of this information as well as possible, so you can easily navigate through it. If you don't have kids and will never be faced with installing a car seat or buckling a child into one, skip this post. It's a doosey:) (NO idea how you would spell that!!)

HINT: If you don't want to read my ramblings, please just read this article. AND please take the time to look into everything to make sure your child's car seat is installed properly and to guarantee you are buckling them in correctly every single time.

This is for everyone:
"As many as 80 percent of all car seats are improperly installed and used. Eighty percent. It's a significant factor in why automobile accidents are the number-one killer of children under 14."
1. Why our 1.5 year old is still rear-facing (RF)
2. How to choose a car seat for your child
3. If you have a car with leather seats, you MUST use a seat cover (like this one) so the car seat doesn't slide around. You can even just use a non-slip rubber shelf liner for this!
4. Always read your car's manual and the manual that came with your specific car seat. Each car seat is different and requires different "little" things.
5. You know that weird ball thing on the side of your child's car seat? USE it!! It's so important that the seat is at the correct angle. If you need to, it's completely safe to roll up a towel or use a pool noodle under the car seat to make it the correct level. Remember, though, that the towel or noodle will eventually begin to flatten. You'll need to keep an eye on it and replace when necessary.
6. If you're using strap covers, they should be at the child's neck. They are designed to prevent the car seat straps from cutting into the baby's neck. Basically, slide them up as high on the car seat straps as they will go!!
7. A car seat is considered "expired" after 6 years. The straps can become frayed and will tear/twist easily.

*RF = Rear Facing; FF = Forward Facing
LATCH = Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children/Child Safety Seats

Installing your child's car seat:
1. GREAT how-to videos here
2. **NEVER use both seat belt and LATCH system. The LATCH system was not designed for this. Choose one or the other. **
3. Look at the next section to see if you need to use a locking clip when installing your child's car seat.

Using a locking clip:
1. This is a locking clip.
2. When and how to use a locking clip

Buckling an infant in car seat:
This baby is NOT buckled in correctly!!!
1. In any RF position, the straps should be in the inserts at or just below the child's shoulders.
2. Coming from a soon-to-be chiropractor's wife :), make sure the foam under the car seat pad goes from the top of your baby's head to at least their knees. If it stops in the middle of their back (like our Graco infant car seat foam did!), it will cause much discomfort to your baby, along with problems like acid reflux (The pressure in the middle of their back will cause their spine to be misaligned.) Buy a new car seat or replace the foam. Ask me if you need help replacing the foam safely:) Been there, done that!
3. The chest clip should be level with the child's armpits. (NOT below or above this!)
4. You should not be able to pinch the car seat straps between your fingers at all. (example)

This is just kind of a taste of all the information out there (and all the information you need to know when installing a carseat/buckling in a child.) I hope this encourages all of you with kids to stop, think, and pay attention to the details involved. I hope you will take the time to research and read more on your own, and I specifically hope that you will take the time to make sure you're doing everything correctly!! A few years ago, we witnessed a car accident. Derek ran to the car only to see a tragedy, involving 2 young children in car seats. I have no idea if everything was done correctly or not, but I know it was certainly devastating for the father who lost his family that day. Don't be in a rush to turn your kids FF in their car seat, and make sure you're buckling those little babies in tightly enough:)


Dana said…
Thanks for posting this car seat important!

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