Before we take our little ones home from the hospital, we must have a car seat and it needs to be installed correctly. You can go anywhere from a store with trained car seat technicians, fire station, police station, or see a private car seat technician. Below is a safety checklist to keep your car seat safe with your baby or toddler.
- Straps: When you baby is rear facing, the shoulder straps need to be in the insert hole that is below or at shoulder length of your baby. Most baby car seats have 2 or 3 slots so make sure to use the correct one.
- Rear Facing: Keep them rear facing for as along as possible. This is the safest way for your child to sit. New laws state to keep your child rear facing until they are 2 years old.
- No Gaps: Your car seat is a 5-point harness. The snap that is in between their legs in their crotch should have no gaps between their legs and the harness of the car seat. This is mainly an issue in small newborns.
- Chest Clip: Make sure the chest clip is placed correctly on your child’s body. This clip should be in the area in between their nipples and armpits. Always use their armpits as a checkpoint every time you strap them in.
- Outgrowing: Know the guidelines for your car seat of when your child outgrows their car seat. Know your car seats rules so read the manual! Most babies out grow their infant car seat in length before weight, so know the rules. ☺
- Straps: They should not be too tight or too loose. The “two finger rule” is outdated. Tighten the straps then try to pinch the strap near the collarbone, if there is enough to pinch fully then the straps need to be tighter.
- No Coats: Next time you put your baby in a coat, take them out and take the coat off then put them in again and see how big the straps are, that will say it all! Coats add extra space that is that, so the straps will be too loose. Every car seat has in their manual no coats because it isn’t safe.
- Manuals: I know we all want to do everything with out directions but read the manual. This information is so informative and your child’s safety depends on it.
- Help: If you are having problems seek help at a local fire station or a car seat technician. Car seat technicians are truly the best because they are trained and can answer all and every question.
So next time you put your child in the car seat go through your mental check list to make them as safe as possible.