Saturday, September 17, 2011

Five Simple Steps to Carseat Safety (Rearfacing Version)

Carseat safety can seem daunting. Confusing. Intimidating. Overwhelming. And annoying. After you've correctly installed your child's seat, here are the 5 basic things to follow for proper rearfacing before getting behind the wheel. Make them a habit and it will take 15 seconds to buckle in your child:

1) Make sure the harness straps are AT or BELOW the shoulders and the harness is buckled snugly without twisting.

Straps are below the shoulder; harness is snug and flat.
2) Make sure the chest clip is buckled at armpit level, or boobie level as my daughter says.

This is more important than people realize! The chest clip positions the straps for a collision. Otherwise the straps could slide off the shoulders and the child could be seriously injured. Chest clip on the chest! No belly clips!
3) If using an infant carseat (sometimes called a capsule, bucket or pumpkin seat) read your manual carefully to see which handle position is required while driving. Safety bonus: while adjusting the handle to the required position, wiggle the seat to ensure it is completely latched into the base.

Evenflo, for example, requires the handle to be down and 1.5 inches of space all around it.
The general rule of thumb when uncertain is to keep the handle down.
4) Make sure no extra products are being used in or on the seat and no thick clothing is between the child and the seat. Watch this video about winter safety. Does your tiny baby need support? There is one other approved method.

Any extra product or thick clothing/coat between baby and the seat can disrupt the way the carseat works.
It can also prevent the harness from fitting snugly.

5) Make sure all hard or sharp projectiles are secured. Read this article about how a sippy cup severely injured a boy in a collision.

This is all the crazy sounding carseat safety stuff condensed into 5 simple steps. Memorize them and make them habitual. It will not be annoying or time consuming after you make it a routine. :)

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