On the heels of Hannah’s review of the peg perego primo viaggio 5-70 it makes sense to talk about, Child Passenger Safety week. We spend lots of time reviewing car seats and this week should spotlight WHY we do so and educate us on Child Passenger Safety. I am no expert when it comes to car seats and/or child passenger safety but I am an advocate for doing everything we can to keep our most precious cargo safe – especially when you hear, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for kids ages one through 12 years old. In addition, three out of four kids are not as properly secured in a vehicle because their car seats are not correctly installed.
For the expertise, I turn to my friends at Britax. Sarah Tilton, the Britax Child Passenger Safety Advocacy Manager, is sharing her tips on keeping your children safe. I have personally met Sarah, she is really wonderful and has a great way of breaking down the technical side of car seat use to terms us moms can understand so here goes her tips:
· Select a car seat that fits your baby and your vehicle(s). Also, be sure that you can use it correctly each and every time. If you are unsure consult a certified car seat technician.
· Be sure your car seat fits your growing child. Seated shoulder height is often overlooked.
· Belt-Positioning Boosters are for big kids. Don’t transition out of a 5-point harness prematurely.
· When using LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), be aware that your vehicle’s lower anchors have weigh limits. You must switch to vehicle seat belt installation when the weight of the car seat and the child exceed 65 lbs.
· A snug harness strap should not allow any slack. If you’re able to pinch the strap, the harness is too loose. You should not be able to pinch any excess webbing.
· For children 12 years of age and under, remember — the backseat is always the safest place for them to ride. Be sure to check your child seat and vehicle user guides for available seating positions.
· Britax recommends that the use of a child seat be discontinued if it has been in a moderate to severe crash. Also, never purchase a used car seat if you don’t know its history.
· Did you know that your car seat has an expiration date? Double check the manufacturer’s tag to be sure your seat is still safe.
· Vehicles can become very hot, especially in the warm summer months. Never leave your child in a vehicle unattended.
· Be sure your child’s harness is tight enough, especially in the winter months when children are bundled up in thick layers and bulky outerwear.
· After buying a car seat, be sure to register your product either by visiting the manufacturer’s website, mailing the registration card or by calling their Customer Service department. That way you can be contacted in the event of a recall.
· Always refer to your child restraint user guide or call your car seat’s customer service about installation and proper use questions you might have.
If you still feel unsure about your car seat installation, please have a certified technician check your installation. Here’s how to find a certified technician in your area. Also, many locally owned baby retailers (like Galt Baby in Chicago) employ certified technicians and will install your car seats free of charge.
Another GREAT resource is The Car Seat Lady – if you live in one of their markets they will install and train you how to use your seats!
One thing I want to touch on is proper use of car seats. I think we talk so much the feature of car seats we don’t really touch on how to use them. Other than install, please make sure you position your baby and the chest clip properly – here’s how:
I know this is quite a bit of technical information but it is important. Read, re-read and forward to all caregivers!