Infants, especially those just discharged from the hospital, are at the highest risk of injury during a car crash. The scary part? Almost 83% of new parents use their car seats wrong while bringing home their baby from the hospital, according to this study.
When looked at more closely they found that certain people were more prone to misuse depending on their financial status and age, and believed that it had a lot to do with the fact that those people did not have access to the correct information when it was needed.
Many parents cannot afford to buy a brand new car seat and so they use inexpensive second-hand items, and since many used items do not come with instructions, they are installing them incorrectly.
Are you in the 83% of people who are misusing their car seat? Find out below …
Tips For Using Your Car Seat Correctly
Keep Them Rear-Facing Longer
In many (most) states it is a law that you must keep your child rear-facing until one year of age, but many states are changing this to age two because of the amount of accident-related deaths among young children.
If you get into an auto accident with your child facing backward, the force will push them into the seat, which is designed to cradle the most vulnerable parts of their young body. This is not true with a child facing forwards, and the force of the crash will push them forwards, where they have no protection for their little neck and spine.
Most parents cannot wait to put their child in a front facing car seat because it can be a hassle to continuously strap a rear facing seat into the car every time you go out. However, if you ever were to have an accident your child would be at a much higher risk of injury or death.
Keep them rear facing as long as possible!
If You Have an Accident Get a New Seat
Many parents may not realize that when a car seat is involved in a major accident it could be compromised and less safe for your baby next time. If you have a small fender bender and are able to drive away with no serious damage it is okay to keep the same seat. However, if there was any serious damage to the car, the doors nearest the sear were damaged, the airbags deployed, or there was any visible/obvious damage to the car seat, it is time to toss it and purchase a new one.
Buy New Not Used
Listen, most of us understand how expensive a car seat is and having to add that extra expense to the list of things you already have to get in preparation for a new baby can put a serious tax on your finances, but it is one of (if not the) most important things you will need to keep your baby safe.
When you buy a car seat used, or have one given to you second-hand, you have no way of knowing if that seat has been in an accident, been recalled, or has expired (if the sticker is gone). Furthermore, it probably won’t have the instructions that explain how to install it properly so you will be guessing how to latch it into the car. All of this is just a recipe for disaster.
Spend less on the boppy and moby wrap, and buy a good car seat. If you have a baby shower, ask everyone to pitch in and get a car seat instead of other gifts, or ask a relative to buy it until you can pay them back. Some areas have programs that will help new parents with vouchers for car seats and other furniture they may need for their baby.
Don’t play with your baby’s life just to save a few dollars.
Expensive Does Not Mean Safest
There are some very expensive car seats that are actually less safe for your baby then the cheap one at Target. Point being, check out the rating on a car seat before you buy it and don’t just assume that because it is the most expensive on the lot that it will be the best.
Check the Expiration Date and Recalls
This website ( Car seat Recalls ) gives you a list of seats that have been recalled recently, and also the opportunity to lodge a complaint against a car seat you may have had a problem with.
Safekids.org also has a good list of recalled products but they also have an E-mail you can sign up for that will alert you to any new recalls on kid items. It is always a good idea to sign up even for other items besides a car seat.
Car seats have expiration dates and many people are unaware of this. Sure, they are not going to rot the day after their expiration date but they will become less durable and unsafe. If your seat has expired get a new one and cut the straps on your old one so no one else can use it again.
Don’t Forget The Tether Strap
When the time comes to put your child front facing, make sure you are using the tether strap. Most parents don’t because they either don’t realize it is there or doesn’t want to be bothered. Almost every car out there has at least three anchor points specifically designed for these straps, and since the point of them are to keep your child from pitching forward into something in front of them, it is a good idea to use them.
Keep Our Kids SAFE
You spend months preparing for your baby, you spend hours bringing them into this world, you love them unconditionally from the moment you see them, don’t risk their lives by putting them into an old car seat that is not strapped in correctly.
You can always find a support group online to help you learn how to use your seat. There are websites with car seat technicians available to help you with any questions you might have. The internet holds a wealth of information, use it.
Keep our babies safe, use your cat seat the right way!
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