If there’s one thing that we hope you take away from our blog, it’s the posts about children’s safety and well being. One of the biggest dangers for your child is the one thing you would think would be safest – car seats!
In a study conducted by the CDC, more than 650 children die in car crashes every year, that’s more than a dozen a week. Only 2 in every 100 children live in states that have car seat requirements up to the age of 8.When you’re registering for a travel system and caring for your baby we want you to be as safe as possible. Here are some tips to help keep your baby/child safe.
Do Your Research
When you decide on a car seat it shouldn’t be a decision you make because it’s cute, it matches your theme, it’s less expensive, etc. Research is key here. Take the time to look up the different brands and styles and read about their safety ratings. Sherrie and Emily both chose the Britax car seats for a reason – they’re at the top in the industry for safety. When used properly they have great crash test ratings and that’s most important to us.
Have Your Car Seat Inspected
Installing a car seat may seem like an easy task, but how do you really know you’ve done it properly? Chances are unless you get it inspected you won’t know if it’s installed properly until it’s too late. Check out this site for what local fire departments, police stations, or other certified organizations near you that can inspect that you have installed your car seat correctly. You can search by state or zip code and a list will populate with each certified locations’ contact info to set up an appointment.
Read the Manual
No car seat is created equal. Each car seat, even if the same brand, has been run through countless testing to ensure that when used properly your child is safe so each have their own rules and regulations. When you purchase your car seat we highly recommend that you read your car seats manual. You may not know that car seats have limited lifespans. The each have their own height and weight limits. That wonderful infant car seat that Emily loves? It’s about to retire because Madeline is so tall that she is already growing out of it. You may be tempted to save some money by reusing or purchasing a used car seat from a friend or family member, but did you know car seats expire? Rules and regulations on safety changes frequently occur and over time your car seat materials can degrade due to exposure to extreme temperatures (read more here). Under no circumstances should you ever use an expired car seat. Read your manual so you don’t make any mistakes on limits, restrictions, expiration dates, etc.
Use the Seat Properly
So you’ve read the manual, great! Now you have to make sure you are following those rules. We can’t tell you how many babies we see in car seats that we know are not properly being used. It’s hard – you want to say something but you don’t want to overstep. Please please please be sure of a few things that we notice being done incorrectly with car seats.
1: Make sure the straps aren’t twisted or loose. No car seat should ever have twisted straps, it’s not safe or comfortable for baby. Once they’re straight be sure they’re tightened down to be snug. Not sure what is a snug fit? Take a look at Britax’s site and read about the pinch test. One of the things Sherrie loves about her Britax car seat for Logan is the feature called, “Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator.” You hear a clicking sound when the car seat is ‘within range of appropriate tightness’ – another reason we love Britax!
2: Make sure your child is rear facing until the recommended weight/height for your car seat. We promise, they’re comfortable, and it’s SO much safer. Again, read the manual to know how long your child should remain rear facing!
3: Check your chest clip. It is even printed on the clip – armpit level. We can’t stress this enough because in a crash, if a baby is pressed against the straps and the clip is where it’s supposed to be, the clip presses against the rib cage and sternum keeping them safe. If the clip is crooked or placed at the tummy level – the clip will press on the baby’s organs and could easily cause internal bleeding and injuries. Be smart and always double check your chest clip!
4. Never use a car seat for naps. This one may seem strange. You bring the baby in from the car, baby is napping and you don’t move or wake the baby right? WRONG. Letting a baby nap in a car seat that’s not in its base in the car is extremely dangerous. What you’re risking is asphyxia. Once the car seat is out of its base, the baby is no longer at a safe angle, and their airways can become constricted. This is why you shouldn’t use your car seat as a bouncy chair, swing, or nap place. When sleeping (among other things) they need to have their airways clear. You need a few mins when you come in from the store to put your groceries away? Understandable. Making it a habit? Dangerous.
As we stated above, be sure you do your research and read your car seat manual to follow your seat’s specific rules and regulations. We hope we’ve helped you discover a few things that you need to be doing! Here’s to keeping our babies safe!