For a number of parents car seats can be a bit confusing. We all know how important they are to the protection and well being of our children, but finding one and using one can be a bit overwhelming. You can spend weeks researching the best car seats on the market and finally end up getting something that you are confident will keep your little one safe, but then you have to figure out how to install it properly and make sure your child is securely fastened inside of it. This is where doubt creeps in and we start to freak out because we are not sure if we are doing everything correctly.
There are a certain aspects of using your new car seat to pay attention to so that you can avoid putting your child at risk. We hope that by the end you have a better understanding of what to look at for and feel more comfortable using your new car seat. It is natural to feel a little stress, but we can overcome this.
Car Seat Safety Tips
Below are some of the things you need to watch out for so that your child is safe and you can calm down knowing that they are protected. Your focus on the road should be what is in front of you and not what is in the back seat. There are numerous types of child car seats from which to choose, but no matter if you are using a booster, infant, or convertible car seat, many of the same tips apply.
Getting The Right Seat
Safety seat recommendations are based on the height and weight of your child. This is something that you must be familiar with before getting a new seat. Infant seats are designed for smaller children typically up to 2 years old. All seats have weight limits. Most standard convertible seats have a general range between 5 and 65 lbs. Booster seats are for taller children and can go up to 120 lbs.
Convertible seats also have a weight and height range for using both the rear facing and forward facing positions. This is critical because switching your child to forward facing too soon can put your them in a dangerous situation. They should ride in the rear facing position as long as possible before making the switch.
Read The Manual Front To Back
This requires a little work and a lot of study, but the owner’s manual is something that you diligently need to learn. Following the instructions on how to properly secure the car seat to your vehicle is extremely important. Once you have that mastered then you must learn how your child should fit inside of the seat. Knowing where the harness straps should sit, how tight they need to be, and where the chest buckle, if your seat has one, should ride. Doing all of these correctly can save your child from possible injury in the event of a crash. If the manuals seem too confusing, most car seat makers also have videos on their websites to help make sure installation is done right.
To take things a step further, many local fire stations will also inspect your seat and give you practical tips to ensure that your 100% comfortable with how to use the seat correctly on a daily basis.
What Is In Your Seat
For kids with allergies and for the general health of little ones, it can also be helpful to know if your seat is made with any toxic chemicals or allergens. Car seats must be fire resistant and to achieve this a variety of retardants are used. For certain individuals this can be a problem. If you are worried about the hazards of certain car seat chemicals, then this is something that you should consider before buying a new model.
Make Sure To Buy New
Car seats have an expiration date. This is something that most new parents are not aware of and it is something that can end up costing you if you try and buy a used seat. Another reason to avoid used child seats is that you do not know if they have been in a previous car accident. It may look alright, but crash forces could weaken and compromise the seat which is why it is always recommended to discard seats that have been in any sort of wreck. Always get a new seat from a store that you can trust.
Avoid Stress On The Road
Our job behind the wheel is to give our attention to what is in front of us. If we are always concerned about our kids in the back, have any doubt about the integrity of their seat, or just worry incessantly about whether everything is secured properly, then bad things are likely to happen. Practicing installing your seat beforehand, reading the manual, getting a second opinion, and buying a reputable seat will help alleviate a lot of the worry and let you keep your eyes on the road. It does take much except a little research and some practice to get your confidence up and help keep your children safe while out on the road.