Car Seat Safety: 10 Common Mistakes To Avoid
Parents to little-children should know that car-seat safety is very important when it comes to protecting your child while travelling. On the other hand, research shows that 4 out of 5 safety-seats are used incorrectly and these mistakes can actually be deadly to your little-one since they compromise his/her safety when travelling. However, there is something that you can do as a parent to keep your little-child safer while travelling and all you have to do is finding-out whether you’re making any mistakes in-terms of car-seat safety and then fix them so as to protect your little-one once again when travelling. So, try to check-out the 10 common-mistakes parents often make in terms of car-seat safety and how to avoid these mistakes.
THE 10 COMMON-MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN USING A CAR-SEAT:
- Avoid purchasing a used car-seat without making any research about its history: in case you decide to buy a used car-seat for your little-child, then make sure that this car-seat hasn’t been recalled, has no damage or missing-parts, it isn’t expired, hasn’t been involved in a terrible crash and it should even come with instructions coupled with a label showing the model-number and manufacturing-date. So, if you fail to get or know the car-seat’s history, then don’t buy it.
- Avoid placing a car-seat in a wrong position/spot: you should actually know that the safest spot to place your infant car-seat in the back-seat and away from any active air-bags. In fact, if a car-seat is placed in a front-seat and an active air-bag inflates during a crash, it will hit the back-section of the rear-facing car-seat and this may cause fatal injury to the little-child sitting in it. Likewise, little-child sitting a forward-facing car-seat can also be hurt by an inflated air-bag during an accident. So, it’s advised to install the car seat in the center-seat or back-seat of your vehicle if possible in order to minimize on the risk of injury during a crush. However, if your vehicle features only 1-row of seats, then just install the car-seat into the front-seat and after deactivate the air-bags so that they don’t inflate during a crush.
- Avoid using a car-seat as a replacement-crib: car-seats are designed to safe-guard your little-child when travelling and not meant to be used as a replacement-crib in homes. This is mainly because sitting in a car-seat for long-periods in an upright-position might compress the baby’s chest and lead to lower-levels of oxygen hence impairing a child’s development. Additionally, sitting in the car-seat for a long period-of-time may contribute to the development of a flat-spot at the back of the infant’s head and even worsen the gastro-esophageal reflux-disease (GERD) which is actually a chronic digestive-disease. On top of that, your little-child can even be injured by just falling-out of an improperly -used car-seat incase it falls from an elevated-surface like a table. So, only place your baby into a car-seat that has been properly installed into the vehicle but don’t keep your child in this car-seat after uninstalling it from the vehicle-seat unless you are going to use the car-seat in a stroller.
- Avoid improper installation a car-seat and incorrect buckling of your little-child: it is always recommended to read through the car-seat manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly install a car-seat into your vehicle. However, its best to install a car-seat while not allowing more than 1-inch of movement from side-to-side or front-to-back as the car-seat grasps at the bottom near the attachment-points yet facing in a correct-direction. All in all, whether you’re using an infant car-seat or convertible car-seat in a rear-facing position, just use the harness-slots as described in the car-seat’s instructions-manual and even make sure that the harness and straps lie flat over the child’s chest and hips without any slack.
- Avoid reclining the little-child at an incorrect-angle while in a car-seat: when a car-seat is placed in a rear-facing position, try to recline it according to the manufacturer’s-instructions while making sure that the infant head does not flop-forward. In fact, most car-seats feature an angle-indicator/adjuster which enables the user to achieve the right recline-angle. On the other hand, you may also put a tightly-rolled towel under the car-seats front-edge in order to achieve the right recline-angle. Additionally, in order to prevent slouching, you should put a rolled washcloth in-between the crotch-strap and the little-child.
- Avoid shifting to a forward-facing car-seat early/too-soon: you should not actually rush to place your infant car-seat in a forward-facing position just because you want to see his/her smile in a rear-view mirror. In fact, travelling in a rear-facing position is recommended until your infant reaches about 2-years, reaches the highest-weight an infant car-seat can hold which is at least 35-pounds or when he/she reaches a height allowed by the car-seat manufacturer. So, it’s best for the parent to purchase a convertible car-seat because it can be used for rear-facing and forward-facing yet it even has a higher rear-facing height and weight limit compared to infant car-seats. Likewise, when you’re little-one reaches 2-years or the rear-facing weight/height limit then you will be able to face a convertible-seat forward but install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions for best safety results.
- Avoid dressing the little-child with bulky outwear: the car-seat harness-straps may not offer enough protection when placed over an infant’s bulky outwear. In fact, even if it’s cold just dress your infant in a lightweight sweater/jacket, buckle-up the harness snugly and after tuck a blanket around the infant for extra-warmth.
- Avoid switching to a booster-seat early/too-soon: children who have grown in-terms of age, weight and height actually need a booster-seat so as to allow for an adult safety-belt to fit correctly over them. However, it’s only recommended to switch from a car-seat to booster-seat when your little-child reaches the highest height and weight allowed by a car-seat manufacturer.
- Avoid using a booster-seat incorrectly: a booster-seat should actually be used with a lap and shoulder-belt and you even make sure that the lap-belt lies low and snugly across the child’s upper-thighs while the shoulder-belt crosses the middle-section of the child’s chest to the shoulders. Likewise, even backless booster-seats should be used with a lap and shoulder-belt in order to provide your child with extra-protection.
- Avoid using a vehicle safety-belt early/too-soon: before using a vehicle safety-belt, wait for your little-child to reach ages of 8-to-12 years because he/she will be fully developed and strong enough to support himself/herself while in the vehicle-seat by only using a seat-belt. Additionally, only allow the kid to use seat-belt when he/she reaches a height of nearly 1.5-meters, when he/she can bend the knees comfortably at the edge of the seat while leaning against the back of the seat, when the lap-belt can rest flat across the child’s upper-thigh section and when the shoulder-belt can rest in the middle of the child’s chest to the shoulders.