Properly used car seats keep children from being injured every day. Sadly, thousands of them still get hurt due to their improper use. So, finding a good seat and following the instructions is crucial in keeping your child safe. However, choosing the right one among countless of choices often becomes a burden to parents. If you are perhaps expecting a baby, it is a good idea to use the time before birth smartly and learn how to install the car seat properly to make sure that your newborn is safely brought home from the hospital.
There isn’t a place for mistakes with such a delicate topic. Everything should be perfect, from the size to the installation. When it comes to choosing the type of seat, you should consider different things, such as the age of your child, its size, and its needs. If you feel like reading a bit more about this topic, refer to the American Academy of Pediatrics for a more detailed guideline. Meanwhile, take a look at some common mistakes you should most definitely avoid.
Many parents make mistakes when it comes to choosing the right car seat for their child. Usually, parents would rush their kids to a new car seat, even though there is no particular need for that. Refer to the car seat guidelines and check what is the weight and height limit for the seat you are using at the given moment. Also, consider the maturity level of your child as well as its age.
This means that you shouldn’t put your four-year-old, for example, in a booster seat if the kid is not ready for it yet. If you notice that your child is constantly unbuckling himself while sitting ina booster, you want to replace that seat as soon as you can. A combination car seat might be a much better option in this situation because it features the harness. Once your child has grown enough, you can then change it for a booster seat and everything will be just fine.
Advancing the seat too soon
While it may not seem like a big deal, changing the seat to a ‘better’ one before your child is ready is one of the major mistakes parents make when it comes to car seat safety. Instead of promoting your child to a better seat, let it stay in its comfort zone for as long as possible. This is to ensure that your child is getting the best possible protection. Every new ‘level’ of the seat brings some risk with it because it offers far less protection for your child’s fragile body.
There is no need to place your child’s car seat in the front before the age of two. This age is also recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The rear-facing car seat offers maximum protection to babies, in case of a car crash as well. According to various kinds of research, rear-facing car seats offer great distribution of the force in a crash, keeping your little one’s body safer. According to car seat guidelines, opt for a seat that has a higher height and weight limit so your child could use it for longer.
Also, don’t forget to use a booster seat. They are made so your child can safely use your car’s seatbelt. Research shows that higher booster seats are better than backless booster seats because they place the seatbelt in a better position across children’s chest, thigh, and hips. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these kinds of seats can reduce the risk of getting seriously injured by about 45 percent.
Skipping both your car’s and car seat’s manuals
It may certainly seem like a very boring task, but reading these manuals can play a major role in your child’s safety. There is no need for that kind of approach because the instructions are usually simple. Besides, if you ever forget anything, just flip a few pages to get back on track. According to a study conducted by Safe Kids, 64 percent of parents do not use the top tether which helps car seats not to pitch forward. Not using it can be very harmful and can lead to head injuries. Reading the seat manual can help you locate the top tether, and if you have trouble finding the correct spot to attach it, simply refer to your car’s manual to increase car seat safety.
Avoiding professional help
Properly installing a car seat is not the easiest job out there even though there are always car seat guidelines included. What is much easier is seeking help (which is usually free) from trained professionals who practice for about 40 hours and are there to make sure everything is done correctly. There are many lists of local car seat check-ups provided by Safe Kids and NHTSA. The professionals can easily spot if you’ve made any critical mistakes in the car seat installation, such as straps being too loose, or placed in the wrong spot. Remember, everything has to be done perfectly for your child to enjoy injury-free rides.
Using old car seats
An old saying advises that it is better to be safe than sorry. That’s why you should avoid using old car seats, be it hand-me-downs or rented. The logic behind it is pretty simple – you can never know what the seat endured or if it has ever been through a car accident. Moreover, older car seats are not equipped with the latest technology resulting in a worse car seat safety. Also, car seats have an expiration date, though virtually no one thinks about that. Your child’s safety is your priority so don’t risk, get a brand new car seat that offers maximum security. Finally, if you ever get into an accident with your little one’s car seat inside the car, replace it immediately because you should avoid any potential risk.
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Staying safe on the road is crucial, for both parents and children. Don’t be ashamed to ask for professional help when it comes to installing a car seat. You should better be safe than sorry. Check the manual you get with a seat to see if it is suitable for your child, then follow the instructions. Drive safe!
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