Every parent cares about the safety of their child. In fact, many parents would say it’s their highest priority. Whether you’re new to parenthood or have a few little ones running around your house already, car seat safety is one of the most important ways to protect your child.
The thing is though, there are so many tips to help keep a child safe in their car seat that aren’t widely known. And car seat-related mishaps are more widespread than you might think. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, unrestrained children 14 and younger accounted for nearly 170,000 car injuries in 2012 with 1,100 of them fatalities. Check out our top five tips that’ll help you drive with confidence knowing your child is safe in the back seat.
Always look at the label
The best way to be sure you’re using the appropriate car seat is by checking the age, height and weight limits on the label. This may be surprising but car seats have expiration dates. It’s usually about six years. Double check the label to find out if it’s time to buy a new one.
Tug ‘til it’s snug
Buckling your child in a car seat is essentially ineffective if the car seat itself is loosely installed. Once you’ve installed your carseat, give it the good ol’ inch test. Tug the carseat at its base where the seat belt runs through it. If it doesn’t move more than an inch in any direction – you’re all good!
Get the hang of the harness
Making sure your child is properly restrained in their car seat is the best protection in the event of a crash. First, you’ll want to adjust the car seat straps to fit snugly over your child’s shoulders. Next, make sure the chest clip is right at armpit level. Lastly, if you can’t resist, go ahead and give your cute kid a tickle.
Bundle without the bulk
Winter weather is here. And so are those bulky winter coats. Cute on baby? Yes. Safe for the car seat? Not so much. Instead of bundling your child in a coat that can make their car seat protection less effective, layer them in 2-4 thin, tight layers of clothing. Layering pieces like tank tops, long sleeved shirts, sweaters and leggings keep baby warm AND safe.
Flip them forward on their 2nd birthday
Experts agree, it’s the safest option to keep your child rear-facing until they are two years old OR they exceed the height and weight limit for the car seat. (You can find the limit on the back of the car seat.) If their feet touch the seat or their legs need to bend a little to stay rear-facing, that’s okay. It’s the safest option.
Following these five tips will help you feel like a parenting pro AND keep your child safe. If you need an extra layer of protection, you may want to purchase our car seat sensor system Driver’s Little Helper. This car seat monitor tracks temperature, movement and arrival so you can prevent trouble before it happens.