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Basic Car Seat Safety

Posted by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 1:44 PM
  • 55 Replies

Hey mama's. I just want to take a minute to show you something real quick about car seat safety. Don't worry, this isn't about rear-facing vs forward-facing, 5-point harness vs belt positioning booster. I do have some pretty convincing info on that subject. If you are interested, feel free to pm me. But I do not want this post to be about that topic.

However! This is just a quick little post about what a child should look like in a 5-point harness. Either way they are facing, please make sure that you cannot pinch any slack in the harness at their shoulders, and please make sure that chest clip is at armpit level. Even if your car seat itself is installed rock solid, if the those two things are not in place, there is a very good chance the child could be ejected from their car seat.

This first picture is of a forward-facing (FF) toddler. The straps must be above their shoulders. What you risk when the straps are below their shoulders FF is spinal compression. This can seriously damage the nerves to their limbs, resulting in paralysis. If your child is already above the top slots in their harness, then it is time for a new seat.

This is an infant (5 months, 20lbs) in the same car seat as above, but the straps are set for rear-facing (RF.) (He is my neighbors son, so I don't want to put his face on the internet without her permission.)  The straps for RF are to be at or  BELOW the shoulders. This prevents the child from raising up in their seat during the first stage of a front end accident (most common and most severe), when all of the motion continues towards the front of the car. A seat is outgrown in the RF position when the child has less than one inch of hard shell above their heads. There will be some upward motion in the car seat, so you want them to have at least 1 inch of clearence to prevent any head trauma.


by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 1:44 PM
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Replies (1-10):
25beengoodtome
by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 1:47 PM

good info.

ProudMomOfZoey
by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 1:47 PM

bump


Jillayna21
by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 1:49 PM

I didn't know that about the straps.  My two at 14 months are still rear facing in a carrier car seat that goes up to 30 pounds (they haven't hit 20 yet though).  Their straps are below their shoulders, I always thought they were suppose to be, but I didn't know that it changed with the toddler seat.  Of course we probably won't get a toddler seat til their second birthday!

mamalinzie
by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 2:19 PM

Yea, with those Graco Safeseats, a lot of kids can go from an infant seat into a FF only combination seat like the Nautilus, and skip the convertible all together!  Depending on height, that is. I wonder if my 2.5 year old would fit height-wise in a Safeseat. She is under 26lbs.

Quoting Jillayna21:

I didn't know that about the straps.  My two at 14 months are still rear facing in a carrier car seat that goes up to 30 pounds (they haven't hit 20 yet though).  Their straps are below their shoulders, I always thought they were suppose to be, but I didn't know that it changed with the toddler seat.  Of course we probably won't get a toddler seat til their second birthday!


michelle6_10
by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 2:23 PM

Question... the base of the car seat (rf, infant seat) moves side to side A LOT no matter how much I tighten it.  Is this a problem and how do I fix it??

mommyofblueyes
by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 2:25 PM

bump


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partieswithJenn
by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 2:26 PM

My DD is 4 and she is big for her age. When can she be in just a booster you know the thing that just goes under her butt with no back? Age aside I need weight and height!

hurleydoll18
by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 2:30 PM

4 yrs and 40lbs is the bare minimum for a booster but it is much safer to keep her harnessed closer to 65lbs.  Also, the next step would be a  highback booster instead of a backless booster because backless boosters don't offer any kind of side impact protection.  A great seat for her would be the Graco Nautilus that will keep her harnessed to 65lbs and will then convert to a highback and backless booster to 100lbs.  It keeps most children harnessed to about 7 yrs old and will be the last seat she will need.  It is on sale at Amazon.com for $136 I believe.  Most 4 yr olds are simply not mature enough to sit properly in a booster throughout the entire car ride

Quoting partieswithJenn:

My DD is 4 and she is big for her age. When can she be in just a booster you know the thing that just goes under her butt with no back? Age aside I need weight and height!


Jillayna21
by on Dec. 15, 2008 at 2:31 PM

The sticker on the seat says-  5-30 pounds and less than 32 inches!  I love that they still fit in these seats.  It means I can still use our stoller with the car seat attachment and just put their car seats in it when they are sleeping and we are out.  When we do outgrow these, we will be buying the kind that is the toddler seat/preschool booster!

Quoting mamalinzie:

Yea, with those Graco Safeseats, a lot of kids can go from an infant seat into a FF only combination seat like the Nautilus, and skip the convertible all together!  Depending on height, that is. I wonder if my 2.5 year old would fit height-wise in a Safeseat. She is under 26lbs.

Quoting Jillayna21:

I didn't know that about the straps.  My two at 14 months are still rear facing in a carrier car seat that goes up to 30 pounds (they haven't hit 20 yet though).  Their straps are below their shoulders, I always thought they were suppose to be, but I didn't know that it changed with the toddler seat.  Of course we probably won't get a toddler seat til their second birthday!

 


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