We all know that car seats are the best defense against your child being injured in a car accident. A properly installed seat is a must whenever you have your baby in the car. But is your car seat up to snuff? Car seats, like everything else, can wear out or get broken or can stop being the right fit for your child. It’s important to periodically asses your car seat and decide if it’s still the right seat for your child or if it’s time to replace it.
The first thing to consider is the age of the seat. Check the manufacturer’s website to see how long they recommend using a seat. Usually, 6 years is about the limit before the materials in the stop being sound. Many car seat makers will stamp the date of manufacture or an expiration date on the seat so you can simply look at it and see if your still within the safe range. You might also be able to enter the serial number into the website to get that information. If you seat has expired, replace it immediately. Check with local retailers to see if they offer discounts for trading in the old seat.
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Another thing to consider is the size of your child. Car seats all have height and weight limits. If you baby is too big for their seat, the seat is not safe for the baby. Check the instruction manual that came with the seat or the manufacturer’s website for the height and weight limits. If you think your baby may be exceeding them but you’re not sure of her height or weight, call you pediatrician and see if you can stop by for a quick height and weight check. The doctor is there to help, after all!
You should also keep an eye out for recalls. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for recall information. You can subscribe to alerts on the site to get recall information emailed to you. If your car seat has been subject to a recall, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the safety of the seat.
If you’ve been in an accident with your car seat, you may have to replace it. The National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration has guidelines for when a car seat needs to be replaced after an accident. If you have been in an accident and need to replace your car seat, heck with your auto insurance company. Sometimes they will pay for a new seat.
My personal opinion – and I’m not an expert, I’m just a mom who’s concerned with the safety of her kids – is that if you doubt the effectiveness of your car seat, it’s worth getting a new one. Sure, it’s money out of your pocket but peace of mind is worth the price.
Are you baby safety savvy? We’re giving away two Graco SnugRide Click Connect infant car seats! To enter for a chance to win, simply comment on this post with a personal tip on how you keep baby safe in the car.
The content and viewpoints expressed here within are solely that of the originators. Graco’s sponsorship does not imply endorsement of any opinions or information provided and we do not assume responsibility for the accuracy of the content provided. Please always consult a professional for matters related to your child’s well-being. Click here to see more of the discussion.
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