Sponsored post. Although this post is sponsored by Cars.com, car seat safety is very important to me and I'm always happy to share tips!
I've been a bit of a car seat safety nut since before I had kids. I'm incredibly grateful to my best friend for sharing all of her car seat knowledge and sparking that interest with me. Both of the boys rear-faced until they were about 3.5 years old and I'm super proud of that. Keeping our kids safe in the car is one of the easiest things I can do as a Mom. I'm sharing a few tips today to help you keep your kids safe in the car.
READ THE MANUAL
Seriously. I know it sounds crazy and we just toss all of those manuals that come with everything in a drawer (or maybe even the trash), but please read the manual that comes with your car seat. In your manual, you'll find important things such as the height and weight limits of the seat, the seat's expiration (also usually on the side of the seat), if the handle (on an infant carrier) needs to be in a certain position while in use in the car, and the answers to numerous other questions you may have.
FOLLOW THE SEAT'S WEIGHT AND HEIGHT RESTRICTIONS
So many people think that car seat usage has to do with the age of the child, but it's more about the weight and height of the child for each particular seat. At 6.5 years old, Charlie is still in a 5-point harness. We recently got him a new seat that is able to keep him harnessed until he is 65 lbs and then it transitions to a booster up to 100 lbs. Each seat is different, so you'll need to pay attention to your seat (read the manual) and follow those rules. The restrictions and limits need to be followed for the car seat to be used safely.
PROPERLY RESTRAIN KIDS
Simply using a car seat does not make your child safer in the car. You need to actually restrain your kids properly in their car seat. Make sure that the chest clip is just about level with the arm pit. Too high or too low could actually do more harm than good. Make sure that the chest clip is actually buckled. If the straps are twisted, take the extra few minutes to straighten them out. If there is visible looping, bunching or slack in the harness straps of the car seat, than they are too loose. If you can pinch the straps between two fingers, they need tightened.
TAKE COATS OFF
As we're heading into colder weather, it's always a good reminder to take coats off while in the car seat. While the straps may seem tight enough in normal conditions, the forces exerted in a car accident can actually compress the fluffy insulation and air inside of that coat and make the car seat straps too loose. You can use a blanket in the car or put the coat on backwards after kids are properly buckled in their car seat.
INSTALL CAR SEAT CORRECTLY
All parents want to believe that their child's car seat is installed correctly, but the truth is – it's probably not 100% correct. You can read the manual and even look up videos, but I suggest taking your vehicle (with car seat installed) to a technician to have your installation checked. Doing this at every car seat change or even periodically, can make sure your car seat is always properly installed and most effective.
We were in a car accident over the summer (a deer jumped out in front of me while I was on the interstate going about 70 mph. Because of my knowledge in car seat safety, both boys were properly restrained in car seats that were correctly installed. Both kids slept through the whole thing! You never know when an accident is going to happen, so make sure your kids are safe in any vehicle they are traveling in at all times.