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As parents, we have a responsibility to keep our children safe. I know, as a parent you love your child more than anything. And if you love your child, I encourage you to take the time to research car seat safety.
Sometimes I am shocked at what people don’t know about car seat safety. But then I remember, when Sawyer was just a few weeks old how little I knew about car seat safety. In fact, someone (very kindly) pointed out to me on Facebook that the head support insert I was using with our car seat, wasn’t ideal for safety. And rather than be offended, I was thankful. I was a brand new parent and how would I have know otherwise?
So when someone stops you on the street to offer advice, a friend pulls you aside, or a well-meaning aquaintence messages you on facebook, to correct you or offer advice, please take it an do not get offended. Most likely, they are doing it out of concern for your child, because we all want children to be safe. They are not trying to embarrass you or tell you you are a bad parent. We are all just trying to help. It takes a village, right?
And when it comes to your children, the most important people in your life, you want them to be safe, right? So sometimes we need to swallow our pride, and accept the correction. Especially where our children’s safety is concerned.
We are so desensitized to the car. Because we get in it every single day and drive ourselves just about everywhere, and 95% of the time, nothing bad happens. But a car accident happens somewhere in the world every 30 seconds. And most people will experience at least 1 car accident in their lifetime. And if your children happen to be with you, they need to be the safest they can possibly be.
I hope you will read, share, tweet, and pin this post. Everyone needs to be educated about car seat safety!
Chest Clip Placement
I know I’ve mention this is posts before but the chest clip needs to be at armpit level. Any lower can damage their internal organs, and any higher could damage their collarbone if you were to get in an accident. Always armpit level! The straps should also be snug, but not too snug. You should be able to fit 2 fingers under them.
No Winter Coats!
This one is so important. Your children should not be wearing winter coats in their car seat! What this does is creates an illusion that the straps are snug when they really are not. If you were to be in an accident, your child would lurch forward, and possibly even be able to slip out of the straps, because they were not secure. I find a good rule of thumb is (for me personally), if I don’t have to adjust the straps while buckling him in, then whatever he is wearing is fine. If I need to loosen the straps, then the coat needs to come off. Typically a sweater or very light jacket is okay. Anything heavy or puffy (waterproof, snowy type jackets) cannot be worn in the car seat. We usually just put his jacket in my diaper bag, and put a fuzzy blanket over him to keep him warm for the car ride, then put the jacket back on once we’re out of the car. It is a hassle. But I would rather do the work and know he is safe.
Rear Face as Long as Possible!
So many people turn their kids around too soon! Did you know your children are 500% safer rear facing? 500%! Before age 2, their little bodies are simply not strong enough to handle the impact of a crash while forward facing and will likely break their necks in the event of a collision. Both of our car seats support rear facing until 60 lbs (yours probably does too!), so why would I turn him around? If he is able to rear face, and it’s 5 times safer, why on Earth would I risk his safety and turn him around? Now that you have read this, you know. Please please, keep your children safe and rear face if you can, as long as you can. There is no reason to turn them around! You can read more about the reasons parents turn their children early, and why, despite them, you still don’t need to here.
And don’t just take my word for it, check out more information on extended rear facing here:
And if you’ve already switched to forward facing, it’s not too late to turn them back around! You owe it to them to keep them safe.
Pay Attention to Height and Weight Limits
Infant car seats become unsafe once your child passes the weight or height limit! The weight limit on most infant car seats is 30-40lbs. Much more than most children weigh at a year, but parents often forget there is a height limit too. And you should switch to a convertible seat as soon as you child reaches whichever comes first. The height limit on most infant seats is around 29 inches, or when the top of their head is less than 1 inch away from the top of the seat.
Sawyer’s infant seat allowed for him to remain in it until her was 40 lbs, OR 29 inches. He obviously hit 29 inches well before he hit 40 lbs so we switched him to a convertible seat as soon as he was tall enough (around his 1st birthday). Pay attention and switch them as soon as they are big enough! Or, you can just use a convertible car seat from the start, as they allow for infants as little as 5lbs.
Pick a Good Car Seat!
There is so much information out there! Do you research and pick a car seat you love that has great safety features. You want to make sure it is compatible rear facing in your car and has passed all safety tests. And don’t buy a used car seat unless you know it’s full crash history and expiration date. It’s easy to shop at diapers.com because they have a ton of different brands and styles, including a wide variety of graco car seats. Do your research and pick the car seat that is best for you!
You would think when you hear diapers.com that they would sell diapers and only diapers but that’s not true! They sell just about anything parents could need! It’s a great one stop shop for all your baby and toddler necessities. You can also create a registry through them. It’s such a wonderful resource. Be sure to check out diapers.com!
This is just a tidbit on a few of the things I have learned doing my own research on car seat safety, and have implemented for our son. I am not an expert. Please, do your own research and make your own conclusions. Here are some of my favorite articles for researching car seat safety. And remember, even if this was all news to you, you are not a bad parent. Love your children and keep them safe.
Don’t forget to share this post! Let’s keep those kiddos safe!