Car Seat Safety
Did you know that 90% of Americans use car seats incorrectly? While they may seem simple, there are many rules when it comes to car seats that are not necessarily common knowledge. When used correctly, child car seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%. So how can you ensure you are properly protecting your child in the car and using their car seat correctly? Here are some of our top tips when it comes to car seats:
- Purchase the correct car seat
There are many car seat options available, however there are specific types of car seats which should be used depending on the age and size of your child. For example, it is important for any child under the age of two to ride in a rear-facing car seat. Most car seats will also have labels that will describe the height, weight, and age limits for that car seat. Check your car seat and ensure it is the right fit for your child before taking them out on the road.
- Install your car seat correctly
Properly installing a car seat is crucial to ensure your child’s safety. When choosing a location for the car seat, it is best to place it in the back seat of the car, and ideally in the center seat. To secure the car seat, seat belts or lower anchors can be used; however, they should never be used at the same time. Once you have secured the car seat, ensure it has a snug fit. A properly installed car seat shouldn’t move more than one inch front to back or side to side. If you need help installing your child’s car seat, ask your pediatrician about a Child Passenger Safety Technician near you.
- Use a harness properly
A properly fitted harness provides the best protection for you child. Until your child switches to a booster seat, a 5-point harness car seat is recommended. A 5-point harness will have two shoulder straps and two straps across the hips that will buckle at the crotch. Regularly check the car seat label to ensure your child has not outgrown the height and weight limits of the harness. When tightening the harness, adjust the top buckle to ensure it is just below your child’s armpits. To ensure the harness is tight enough, use the Pinch Test. After buckling and tightening the harness, try to pinch the fabric up near the child’ shoulders. If you are able to pinch the fabric between your fingers, the harness is too loose and needs to be tightened. If you are still unsure as to how to properly tighten and use a 5-point harness, you can talk to your pediatrician or watch this video which demonstrates the proper use and tightening of a 5-point harness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCCboyKMOr0
These are just a few of the most important things to remember when using a car seat. If you are still unsure about proper car seat use of have specific questions about your child’s car seat, contact your Community Access Network provider today and ensure that your child is safe on the road.