Car Seats: Keeping Your Kid SafeMacki West
You’ve waited so long for your bundle of joy to arrive and poured over review after review of the best baby gear out there. I’m the same way, I picked what I felt was the safest infant and toddler car seats. Then baby is born and so many parents focus on the next step, things like, sitting up, crawling, walking, and talking. Parents want it to happen now. I see the same type of rush with the car seat. As soon as possible those babies are taken out of the infant car seat and put into convertible car seats, then turned around, then pushed into boosters and beyond. What’s the rush? Not only will your baby grow up way too fast (how is my first born almost 7?!), but keeping them in the appropriate seat for as long as possible is the safest way for your precious cargo to travel. Keep reading for more great car seat safety tips…
image credit: Graco
- Follow the guidelines on your car seat of choice. If the infant car seat is up to a certain weight and height, keep that baby in until they are at or close to reaching the guidelines.
- Rear facing. Most states have the 1 year rear facing guideline. Why stop there? Keep those kiddos rear facing as long as possible. Think about an accident, you are hit from behind or hit something in front of you and your body is thrust forward. If your child is rear facing, the whiplash is greatly reduced.
- Research car seats that are appropriately sized for your kids. Some kids are tall and narrow while others are small and wide or any number of combinations. Look at the width of the seat and the height of the belts. You don’t want to end up buying a seat only to discover your child is going to be too tall for it in a matter of months.
- Keep them in 5 point harness as long as possible. So this will take you an extra 30 seconds to buckle your kid in, but it is worth it. A 5 point harness straps a child in 5 places; over the shoulders, across the pelvis and between the crotch. By securely holding your child, the force of a crash is distributed. I kept my daughter in a 5 point harness long after the state guidelines said I needed to (she was well over 5).
- Booster seat. These seats are used along with the standard shoulder seat belt, no longer 5 point harness. Make sure you kid is tall enough and weighs enough to be stable in a booster. If you’ve got a wiggle worm (like my 3 year old boy), save the booster for when the wiggles are past and your kiddo can sit still.
- Follow your state guidelines and remember they change often! When my daughter turned 5, there was a new guideline that said to leave your kid in a booster until age 6 or 60 pounds. She turned 6 and weighed 60 pounds, but I decided to keep her in. Then a few weeks after she turned 6 the guidelines changed again to be 8 years old. There were also suggestions on seat belt fit. If the shoulder portion of the seat belt was hitting at the neck or throat, a booster is needed and the lap portion of the belt needs to be flat across the lap, not across the stomach.
There’s so much information to learn and be aware of to make sure our kids are as safe as possible. Make sure you check your state guidelines to find out the latest laws and safety.
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.
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