As a parent, one of your most important jobs is keeping your child or children safe. This safety extends to car safety too. Car seats are designed to protect and keep children safe in the event of a car accident. For this function to be fully utilized, a car seat must be properly installed. Each year, children who are already strapped into car seats are injured or even killed in car crashes and this often points to poor car seat installation. Maximum safety is underlined by proper car seat installation. These 5 tips should go a long way in ensuring you get the installation right.
- Shopping for a car seat
Whether you are shopping for an infant car seat or upgrading your toddler’s car seat, safety should be top of mind. Do not accept hand-me-downs, they may have a major defect that you may not detect until it is too late. Newborn car seats come in rear-facing or convertible options. Keep cost in mind too, without compromising on safety standards. It is wise to pick a seat from a well-known manufacturer with a high safety score.
- Read the manual
Each car seat comes with an installation manual. Reading it is a very critical step you cannot afford to skip. While some of the information may be obvious, there are some very critical warning signs not to overlook. The manual will also list other features of the car seat you would have otherwise never known without reading it! Read your car manual too as some settings on the car seat will require you to consult your car manual.
- Decide car seat location
Arguably, the middle section is the safest position for the car seat. However, this may not work for everyone if the car seat won’t attach properly here. Another factor that will help determine where to locate the car seat is if there are other children to consider in the seating arrangement. At this point, you may have to set the recline if the car seat requires it.
- Install the car seat according to manual instructions
The manual usually contains images that will guide you along with the written instructions. Follow these with no alterations whatsoever. It may take longer with some car seats than others, but the key is to note the path of the seat belt through the car seat provisions for it. It is also important to check for any recline and properly latching.
- Check for movement
If it is your first time installing a car seat, you may be expecting a rigid fit, with no movement. However, slight movement less than an inch from side to side, and back and forth is acceptable. The path of the seatbelt will help determine if you have done a correct installation
Finally, be sure to check if the safety harness of the car seat fits snuggly on the baby or the child. The fit should be snug and comfortable with no slack. Ensure that they are not so tight that they leave a mark on your child’s skin. Many cities have car seat safety checks. Look online in your city for this important appointment. If you live in Boca Raton you can schedule an appointment HERE.
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