Making sure your child is properly strapped into their car seats is SUPER important. Here are some tips to assure your little one will be safe on the road!
1. Make sure the chest clip is aligned with your child’s armpits. This keeps the harness straps properly positioned on the child’s shoulder so that your child remains restrained in the car seat.
2. The harness straps should fit snuggle. Use the pinch test to check if they are too loose. If you are able to pinch the straps they are too loose.
3. Installations need to be TIGHT. The car seat or base to your car seat should not move more than one inch either way.
4. Car seats do expire so be sure the car seat you are using has not expired.
5. Do not wash the car seat straps. This can weaken the integrity of the straps causing them to fail in an accident. If they get dirty (which they will!) the best bet is to simply wipe them down with a damp wash cloth.
6. Make sure the harness straps are properly positioned. For a rear facing child the harness straps should be coming AT or BELOW the shoulder level. For forward facing children the harness straps need to be positioned AT or ABOVE the shoulder level.
7. Don’t use a car seat that has previously been in a car crash.
8. Children should not wear heavy winter coats in the car seat.
9. Use the LATCH system OR the seat belt….NOT both. You would think that using both would be an extra precaution to keep your child safe in the event of an accident. However, the opposite is true. A car seat is supposed to be able to move or flex a small amount during an accident to absorb some of the impact. If you use both it could possible cause too much of the force to be transferred to the child or put too much stress on the car seat’s belt path causing it to break.