This past week has been National Child Passenger Safety Week! I have now been a certified car seat technician for about 2 1/2 years. Many people think it is slightly ridiculous to go through 60 plus hours of training…. but did you know 4/5 car seats are used incorrectly?!? They are either the wrong seat for the child, the wrong seat fit for the car or installed incorrectly.
Here are the 4 steps to safety:
1. Rear facing seats:
– there are two types:
and also rear facing convertibles (same seat as below). Infant carriers usually go from 4 or 5 pounds to about 20 or 22 (although the Chicco Key Fit 30 goes to 30 pounds!). Rear facing convertibles go from 5 to 30 or 35 pounds (and go to about 40 pounds forward facing).
– rear facing is THE SAFEST way for a child to ride. This is because most crashes happen head on and when a seat is rear facing, the seat takes most of the crash forces versus the child’s body taking the crash forces. Keep your child rear facing as long as possible. Legally you must keep your child rear facing until they are 20 pounds AND 1 year old.
– when seats are rear facing they need to be on a 45 degree angle.
2. Forward Facing 5 point harness
– next step is forward facing. Usually, babies are 20 pounds before a year and so a convertible is the best next step.
– Once you decide when is best to turn your child forward facing (AT LEAST a year, but as long as possible – up to 18 or 24 months is Ohio Buckeye Buckle’s recommendation!) Make sure there is a 5 point harness like the one above. Most of these go up to 40 pounds so you want to use the harness as long as possible.
3. Booster Seat
two types: high back booster
– you can put your child in a booster when he is 4 and 40 pounds. The biggest thing a booster seat does is to make the seat belt fit correctly. The high back and no back can both be used at the same age/ weight. But the high back offers a little extra – different places to put the seat belt so it fits the shoulder correctly and extra head and neck protection.
– as of October 2009, Ohio put a new booster seat law in effect where a child MUST be in a booster seat until 8 years old OR 4 foot 9.
4. Shoulder and Lap Seat belt:)
Installation can be used both with the LATCH system or with the seat belt. Different cars and different seats require different installations. To check tightness, grab the seat by the belt path and pull side to side. The seat can move up to one inch to either side. When babies get more mobile and wiggly the seat loosens! So check and re-tighten regularly. Ensure the 45 degree angle for all rear facing seats. If you have questions about installation – let me know! I’m more than willing to check or install your seat!
Hope this was a nice learning experience/ reminder! Do what you can to keep your children safe!!!