Car Seats – Safety First
Did you know that 7 out of 10 car seats are not properly installed? Yet, 96 percent of parents and guardians believe they have installed them correctly. Yikes! If you have car seats in your car, buckle up, because here’s your morning wake up call.
Car seats have been around since the 1930’s. They were originally designed to act as booster seats so their parents could see them easier in the car, not for safety. It wasn’t until the early 1960’s that we finally came to our senses and car seats began to be designed to protect children.
Today there are literally hundreds of car seats available in the marketplace. Yet, the majority of car seats are made up of the same stuff: polypropylene pellets. These compressed pellets are tough yet flexible under stress. The pellets are molded, colored, and shaped into all sorts of sizes and configurations. The seat is then padded with flame resistant foam for energy absorption, covered with fabric and/or vinyl, and fitted with a buckle and harness system to secure the seat.
Interesting side note, since most car seat covers are often met with regular doses of milk, vomit, and other substances, resist the urge to throw them in the washing machine with the kids clothing. Detergents and other chemicals have shown to break down the flame resistant treatment in the car seat fabric and could be putting your child at greater risk. Experts say hand washing with mild soap and water should do the trick.
Before we get to the installation, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Choose the appropriate car seat for the child’s age and weight (believe it or not, this one is the most common mistake)
- Face the car seat in the right direction: rear facing from birth until the child is at least two years old and at least 20 lbs. Some seats will allow rear facing up to 35lbs.
- Front facing up to 40 lbs at which point the child can ride in the car with a booster seat. In California a child is required to use a booster or safety seat until they are age 8 or are at least 4’ 9” in height.
- Check the expiration. By law, every car seat comes with its own expiration date on it. Most experts agree six years is the maximum life of a car seat.
- Use common sense. Avoid putting the child in the middle seat when possible. Here they are most vulnerable in a crash without something in front of them to soften the blow.
- Follow the instructions given for installation, care, removal, and disposal of the car seat.
Once you have selected the appropriate car seat for your child’s age and weight, you are now ready to install the seat.
Start by placing the car seat in the back seat, facing the appropriate direction. Use a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system where appropriate. This should be standard, but not all cars are able to accommodate the system. Next, save yourself some headache and make sure all of the belts in the system are free from twists, kinks, and knots. Make sure the bottom or base of the seat is positioned at the correct angle, many seats have adjusters or indicators on them for proper positioning. Start by anchoring the seat or base to the anchor clips and pulling tight so there is no more than an inch of give in any direction.
Next, if forward facing (and applicable), secure the strap found at the head of the car seat to the anchor that should be found behind the seat you are using near the seat or floor. Secure again with no more than one inch give in the belt. Next secure the child in the seat so that the harness clip is even with their shoulders or armpits. Don’t secure the child in the seat with a blanket or heavy coat. Secure straps to no more than one finger’s slack. With certain car seats some parents find, after securing the buckle, a gap develops around the child’s groin region. Try a diaper or rolled towel for additional security.
Above all, use common sense. Don’t put yourself or your child in unnecessary risk. Choose and use car seats appropriately. Install the car seat per the instruction manual, obey traffic laws, and secure your children properly in their car seats every time…it could just save their life!
For more information on child safety features offered by our vehicles, visit the Roseville Automall. Our experienced staff and stunning showrooms are an excellent place to see the latest safety features and technological advancements available to you and your family. If you are researching cars for sale in Sacramento, CA, turn your attention to the experts.
The Roseville Automall – Driven To Be The Best !!!