If you have children, it’s so important that you have them properly secured in their carseats while driving. While child safety seats are wonderful at preventing potential injuries in an accident, wrong usage of them is very common. When you think about it, even a small error in how the seat is used versus how it should be used can be the cause of serious injury or accident.
- Never put an infant in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag.
- Route harness straps in lower slots at or below shoulder level.
- Keep harness straps snug and fasten the clip at armpit level.
- Make sure the straps lie flat and are not twisted.
- Dress your baby in clothes that allow the straps to go between the legs. Adjust the straps to allow for the thickness of your child’s clothes.
- To keep your newborn from slouching, pad the sides of the seat and between the child’s legs with rolled up up diapers or receiving blankets.
- Put the car seat carrying handle down when in the car.
- Infants must ride in the back seat facing the rear of the car. This offers the best protection for your infant’s neck.
- Recline the rear-facing seat at a 45-degree angle. If your child’s head flops forward, the seat may not have reclined enough. Tilt the seat back until it is level by wedging firm padding such as a rolled towel, under the front of the base of the seat.
Do not use a car seat if any of the following apply:
- It is too old. Look on the label for the date it was made. Most carseats now have an expiration date where you are not supposed to use the seat past that date.
- It does not have a label with the date of manufacture and model number. Without these, you cannot check on recalls.
- It has been in a crash. If so, it may have been weakened and should not be used, even if it looks all right.
- It does not come with instructions. You the instructions to know how to install and use the car seat properly. Do not rely on the former owner’s instructions. Get a copy of the manual from the manufacturer.
- It has cracks in the frame of the seat.
- It is missing parts. Used seats often come without important parts. Check with the manufacturer to make sure you can get the right parts.