Children first: some car safety tips for parents

editorial image
Parents want their children to be safe while travelling in a car so it’s important they take the time to learn how to properly use a car seat.

Parents want their children to be safe while travelling in a car so it’s important they take the time to learn how to properly use a car seat.

There are several options when it comes to car seats and the type you need for your child depends on factors like your child’s size, age and also the type of car you have. Once you’ve determined which car seat is appropriate for your child, you have to learn what mistakes to avoid making with the car seat.

Place the car seat in the right position. You should never place the car seat in the front seat of the car where it can be hit by an inflated air bag and injure your child. The car seat should be placed in the back seat and preferably in the center seat, away from the car doors.

Make sure you install the seat correctly. Properly installing a car seat may take some time to figure out so it’s important to read the instruction manual. The car seat needs to be secured tightly and facing the right direction. There are child car seat inspection stations across the country that you can go to and see if it’s been installed properly.

Buckle up. When buckling up your child, make sure that the harness or clip is even with your child’s armpits and not placed over the abdomen or neck. You also want to check that the straps or harness are not loose and instead lie flat against your child’s chest. To keep the belt from becoming slack, look for a special locking clip at your baby store.

Keep baby from slouching forward. You can use tightly rolled baby blankets or cloth diapers and place alongside your child’s shoulders in order to prevent slouching. Even better check out Baby Elephant Ears which is the perfect solution!

Get the right booster seat. Older children need booster seats that use both a lap and shoulder belt. Even booster seats that are backless still need to be used with a shoulder belt and never just a lap-only belt.

Know when to switch to a forward-facing car seat. It’s recommended that a child rides in a rear-facing car seat until they reach age 2. You should also check the car seat manufacturer’s instructions which state the highest weight or height allowed. Rear-facing car seats are safest for infants because the back of the seat protects baby’s head, neck and torso.

Check to make sure your car seat hasn’t been recalled. If you’re using an older car seat or a used car seat, find out how long it can safely be used for by contacting the manufacturer. You might also be able to get a replacement model from the manufacturer if your car seat has been recalled.