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Drivers, no matter the age, should always drive as safely as possible and use many safe driving techniques as well. When there is a child with you, making sure they are protected is a top priority. This not only means driving safe, but being properly restrained in their seats. Making sure that children are secured in their seats doesn’t take much time and in the event of an accident, could mean the difference between injury and no injury. How the seat is used should be taken into consideration as well as a small mistake in how the seat is installed or used can lead to disaster. Here are several tips that will ensure that your child’s car seat is not only installed correctly, but the child is protected when in the car seat. Car seat safety is no laughing matter and should always be taken seriously. Your child’s life is precious and in your hands.
Before we go into tips about the proper use of a car seat, we are going to give some information about when not to use a car seat. As time progresses, so does technology that is used to build more innovative and safer car seats. If the car seat looks too old, using it would not be advised. Just as safer car seats are made, older car seat’s integrity weakens. Most car seats can get from five to nine years of use, depending on the brand and type of car seat. If you cannot clearly see a label with a manufacturer’s date and model number, you will not be able to check on recalls. We always hope that these types of products are perfect, but mistakes happen. When a company has a recall, it’s for our safety. And if you’re unable to tell if it has had a recall, would you be willing to risk not knowing? Also, car seats that have been in an accident are not to be used because it may have been weakened. This applies to car seats that may look fine too. Used car seats often come without important parts, so check with the manufacturer to confirm you have the correct parts to install it correctly. If you’re using a car seat that is not brand new, make sure you know the history of the car seat.
Here are several tips that will help ensure that your child’s car seat is used correctly.
- Infants should be rear facing in the back seat of your car for maximum protection. NEVER put an infant in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag.
- Straps should be flat, not twisted, and be below shoulder level if the child is rear facing. If the child is forward facing ensure that the straps are at shoulder level or higher. The harness straps should be snug and the clip should be at armpit level. These straps can be adjusted as your baby grows, but slack should not be created. In an accident this can allow an infant to be ejected.
- Prevent slouching by rolling up diapers or receiving blankets to pad the seat.
- New car seats are now required to come equipped with top tether straps to keep the car seat from being thrown forward in a crash.
- To check if your child’s car seat has been recalled, call the Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT.
For more information about care seat safety, Safer Car is a website that provides in-depth knowledge about car seats.