Today I am going to talk about a topic that I consider myself very passionate about. Car seat safety. You may be thinking this is silly, after all, you just place your child in a car seat, strap him in, and be on your merry way, right? Wrong. So very, very wrong.
Lately I have been seeing photos on instagram and Facebook of toddlers all cute in their car seats. However, I am always drawn to the risk factors in the photo. The straps are too loose. The chest clip is too low. The child has reached the height requirement and clearly needs a new car seat. The child is in a booster seat too soon!!
Seeing all these things make my heart race and think about all the awful, tragic things that could happen. Things that could very well be prevented if only the car seat was being used correctly.
We travel a lot. Which means, Lincoln spends quite a bit of time in his car seat.
Although it might be hard to distinguish from this photo, the harness is very snug. A good way to tell if the harness is tight enough, is when you cannot pinch any extra material on the child's shoulders. You might think this seems too tight. It's not. Also, the straps are not twisted, another important factor. The chest clip should be at your child's armpit level.
Here are a couple scary photos I have seen lately.
Those photos scare the hell out of me. It also appears that this child has passed the height limit of this particular car seat. Which brings me to my next topic, when should you switch over to a booster seat?
The rules to switch over from a car seat to a booster seat are that your child has to be four years old AND at least 40 pounds. Have a 3 year old who weighs 40 pounds? Your 3 year old still must be in a car seat, NOT a booster. Have a 4 year old who weighs 35 pounds? You child must also still be in a car seat. You can only transfer if they meet BOTH requirements.
It is also important to note that just because your child is 4 years old and 40 pounds, you should still keep he or she in a car seat for as long as possible. There is no need to rush it, unless they meet the height requirement. Then at that point, you can even purchase another car seat with a higher height limit, which is much safer for your child. I plan on having Lincoln in a car seat for as long as possible, before switching over to a booster.
Another very important factor when talking about car seat safety, is winter car seat safety. My friend Sarah, over at Nurse Loves Farmer, has a great post about the importance of this.
I'm sorry if this post offended anyone. I hope if you are doing one of these things incorrectly, this just opened your eyes, and now you can take the corrective measures to ensure the safety of your child.
Interested in more detailed car seat safety information, click here.