Step 1: Inspect Your Childs Seat for Wear and Tear
Every car seat has a manufactured date located on the seat bottom or side, as well as an expiration date depending on Manufacturer. Make sure all the straps are intact and that buckles work. You Need A New Car Seat IF: •History of car seat is unknown (e.g. garage sale item). •Car seat was involved in an accident where airbags were deployed. Check recalls at: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/recalls/childseat.cfm
Step 2: Look at Labels on the Car Seat
Chances are you saw the labels when you installed your car seat, but you haven’t taken a second look since. Answer these questions: Is your child within the weight limits of the car seat? Is he/she facing the correct way (Forward-facing / Rear-facing) per manufacturer directions? Is the seat belt passed through the correct belt path for the position of the child? (Always Read Manufacturers Manual for Proper Installation and For All Restrictions)
Step 3: Is It The Right Seat for Your Child?
The best seat for your child is the seat that fits your car and child best! Brands don’t make the seat safe, your awareness does! Make sure the seat fits properly in your vehicle and that your child fits the seat. Most stores allow you fit your child and car seat to car before purchase. Only you know your child’s growth so think long term for your purchase.
Step 4: Keeping Your Child Safe
You strap your child in and secure his straps, right! Well 3 out of 4 parents strap their kids in wrong! Make sure the strap harnesses are At or Above shoulders for Forward-Facing seats and At or Below for Rear-Facing seats. You should not be able to pinch the straps. The straps should slip from your fingers once you’ve strapped your child in. The Chest Clip should be adjusted to fit over child’s chest, about armpit level. Never strap child in with a jacket on or blankets underneath. Never place a Rear-Facing Infant car seat in the Front Seat! For children that are Rear-facing there should be a least 1 inch of space between the Top of the Head and Top of the Car Seat. Safe Numbers: 4 and 40 (4 yrs old and 40 lbs to go into a booster, 8 or 57 (8 yrs old or 57 inches to get out of a booster and if child fits properly with vehicle safety belt)! Make certain that seat belt is over hips and shoulder strap is between neck and shoulder!
Make certain that you are not able to move the car seat more than 1 inch! Keeping Children Rear-Facing for As Long As Possible Within weight limit of Car Seat is recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics!
References: •Safe Kids Worldwide: www.usa.safekids.org •American Academy of Pediatrics: http://www.aap.org •National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://nhtsa.dot.gov •Safe Ride News: www.saferidenews.com •State CPS contacts: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/CPS/Training/ContactList.cfm
Final Check- Kiss those precious cargoes on the forehead and tell them how much you love them!!
Contact a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician at Blissful Baby™ for a car seat check appointment in the Edinburg Area (866)684-4811. Nancy Cavazos (mother to a 4 y/o and 10 y/o) is a Baby Planner in the RGV and specializes in preparing you for your baby. Visit www.blissfulbabyusa for a list of services.