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Carseats and keeping your kids safe

Posted by on Oct. 3, 2011 at 10:11 AM
  • 31 Replies
6 moms liked this

7 Most Important Car Seat Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe

Posted by Christie Haskell
on September 20, 2011 at 12:01 PM

baby in car seatCar seat safety is one of my passions. Fueled not only by my mother, a nurse who has seen car accident trauma in a hospital, but by experiencing my own accidents as a teen (none of which were my fault). I still have injuries and scars that will be with me forever. Now that it's Child Passenger Safety Week, I felt it only right that I write something to help moms and dads out there to make sure their own babies are as safe as can be.

Not all hospitals help with car seats. So here is a quick checklist of the most important car seat tips, so you can keep your kid the safest.


Too loose!1. Tighten the harness until you can't pinch any slack across the collarbone. A loose harness is the most common mistake and can result in too much forward movement, head injuries, and even partial or total ejection -- meaning your child goes flying out of their seat. You want the straps as tight as you can get them without hurting the baby. Don't put bulky clothes on under the harness that make it seem like it's tight enough when it's not, either. Blankets go over baby AFTER baby is buckled in.

2. Place the chest clip between the nipples and sternum. This holds the straps (aka the harness) where they need to be to catch your child's body, and it is designed to break on impact. However, it's only designed to break on the hard, strong sternum. Too low, and it doesn't position the harness correctly and can even damage internal organs in the soft belly.

3. Make sure the harness is flat and in the right slots. No twists allowed on the belt! Take the time to straighten the belt if it became twisted. This can create weak points in the harness and also pressure points on your baby's body that can hurt them. Make sure the top of the harness goes into the back of the car seat level with or BELOW your baby's shoulders, never above (until they're forward facing).

4. Make sure the seat is reclined enough. A baby's car seat needs to be reclined at a 45-degree angle. This helps protect their body from stress on the weak neck holding up the big head, or the weak spine in an accident. Also, too upright can make their head fall to their chest and restrict their breathing. Never put the car seat on a cart or floor unless it maintains this angle.

5. Make sure the seat is tight enough. When you push on the seat, it shouldn't move more than 1 inch at the place where the seat belt or LATCH strap goes through it. Movement at the top of a rear-facing seat is normal. Use the top-tether for rear-facing, but only if you have a Radian, Britax, or Coccoro seat (others don't allow it).

6. Don't add anything to your seat that didn't come with it or from the manufacturer FOR your specific seat. Headrests may look nice, but most infant seats come with them. For those that don't, the only safe and approved addition is rolled receiving blankets next to the baby, outside of the harness, like pictured above.

7. Get help, even if you think you've got it right. While you can always call 1-866-SEATCHECK and find a local check-up station, take advantage of this special week and go to one of the many nationwide check-up events. If you have everything right, you'll have that peace of mind. If you don't, then you know your baby will leave there safer!



I'm amazed at how many mothers I know who do NOT know how to properly use a carseat, so I thought this was a good share!

Sarah: Mommy to 2 little monsters.

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by on Oct. 3, 2011 at 10:11 AM
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splatz
by Sarah on Oct. 3, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Here is another good read:


http://www.carseatsite.com/correct_harness_use.htm


Correct Harness Use

Using a harness incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes parents and caregivers make when using a car seat. Read your owner's manual to determine proper harness use. Pay careful attention to what the manufacturer of your seat says is the maximum weight limit for the harness as it's used, i.e. rear-facing weight limit or forward-facing weight limit. The pictures seen here are meant to be used as a supplement to your manual.

What is a snug harness? Per federal requirements, current instruction manuals define a snug harness as: "A snug strap should not allow any slack. It lies in a relatively straight line without sagging. It does not press on the child's flesh or push the child's body into an unnatural position." The vast majority of parents and caregivers still leave the harness too loose, even given these guidelines. Think about snugness as "snug as a hug from a friend." Find your seat type below and use these guidelines in conjunction with the car seat manual to properly secure your child.

Chest Clip Types

Click here to see a paperclip-style chest clip.

Click here to see a 2-piece chest clip.

Rear-Facing Seats

Click here to see when a rear-facing seat is outgrown.




Forward-Facing Seats

Click here to see when a forward-facing seat is outgrown.



Booster Seats

Click here to see when a booster seat is outgrown.


Pinch Test

If you can pinch a fold in the harness above the chest clip, it is too loose. The following picture shows a harness that is too loose:


Coats in Car Seats

The following pictures show the dangers of dressing a child in a thick coat in a car seat. A thick coat doesn't allow the harness to be snug against a child's body. In a crash, the coat will compress and leave slack in the harness. This slack could be enough for the child to be ejected from the car seat.



Here's a good blog article showing more pictures of children wearing thick coats and why kids can be ejected from car seats when they wear them.

Car Seats Made Easy

How do you keep a child warm in a car seat?

If the child is in an infant seat, use a shower cap-style cover that doesn't put anything under the child. Dress the baby in layers and after the baby is strapped snugly in the car seat, layer blankets on top. Once the child is in a convertible seat or booster seat, dress the child in polar fleece. It's very warm and thin. You can also buckle the child in first, then put the coat on backward. Keep plenty of blankets in the vehicle for everyone! Another option is a Car Seat Poncho. It's made of a thick polar fleece or velvet and comes in kid-friendly colors.

goddess99
by Michelle on Oct. 3, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Great info!

we're past this stuff though, my 9 year old is almost 5' tall  lol poor thing

splatz
by Sarah on Oct. 3, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Crazy!

I read somewhere.... maybe it was one of these two articles I dont want to go back through lol that kids are supposed to be in a booster until they are like 8. I never realized it was THAT long!

Quoting goddess99:

Great info!

we're past this stuff though, my 9 year old is almost 5' tall  lol poor thing


goddess99
by Michelle on Oct. 3, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Yep it's 8 years old or 4' 9" I believe.

Quoting splatz:

Crazy!

I read somewhere.... maybe it was one of these two articles I dont want to go back through lol that kids are supposed to be in a booster until they are like 8. I never realized it was THAT long!

Quoting goddess99:

Great info!

we're past this stuff though, my 9 year old is almost 5' tall  lol poor thing



LovelyLauren55
by on Oct. 3, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Good share! Thanks! I will be referring back to this when I bring my new baby home (I knew most of this but its a good refesher)

splatz
by Sarah on Oct. 3, 2011 at 10:45 AM
It really is!
Its something so simple that you can do to keep your kids safe. It only takes an extra minute, so why wouldn't you?

Some of the very best moms I know do not have chest clips in the correct place, straps, etc. Its a good refresher for anyone with kids. :)


Quoting LovelyLauren55:

Good share! Thanks! I will be referring back to this when I bring my new baby home (I knew most of this but its a good refesher)

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NearSeattleMom
by Member on Oct. 3, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I understand all the important of car seats . . . it just seems to much more complicated than when my kids were in car seats so I'm glad I'm past that age!

Thanks for all the information, though.  It's awesome!

mrsnoble2004
by on Oct. 3, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Good info.

mom2gr8tgirls
by on Oct. 3, 2011 at 4:07 PM
I hear ya on the tall thing! My oldest will be 9 just before Christmas and she's just under 5'. Our poor giant daughters!


Quoting goddess99:

Great info!

we're past this stuff though, my 9 year old is almost 5' tall  lol poor thing


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Andeigh
by on Oct. 3, 2011 at 4:36 PM

My son that's 7 is just about there to 4'9", and over 80lbs but in the booster he stays until he gets there, or 8! 

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