You might have read "5 Common Car Seat Mistakes" from Daily Mom, but we decided to write another one because, when it comes to the safety of our children, we can never have too much information. As parents, you will go above and beyond to keep you children safe. You make sure your children have the safest products, food, drinks, and accessories on the market. But, have you ever stopped to think, "Yes, I have the safest gadgets - but am I using them correctly?" Daily Mom has put together 5 more mistakes you may be making with your car seat.
1. Pick One Way to Install!
Either use the seat belt or LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) to install the car seat. As a parent you think you are providing more safety by using both when installing the car seat - but in reality you aren't. The LATCH system was added to vehicles around 12 years ago to make car seat installation much easier on parents, as well as being just as safe as using a seat belt. (1)
2. Forward and Rear Facing
The NHTSA says, "Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness."(2) This means that technically your child can stay rear-facing until he or she is almost 4 years old. BUT, this is all dependent upon your child's height and your specific car seat manuals height requirement.
3. Chest Strap Placement
Some people may think this is common knowledge but a lot of people forget that the chest clip is actually supposed to be at nipple/armpit level.
4. Tightness of Harness.
If you can fit more than 2 fingers between the strap and the child when measuring just below the chest clip - it is too loose.
5. Using Top Tether When Rear-Facing.
After speaking with Trooper First Class Gammon with Georgia State Patrol, who is a child safety seat technician, he said, "It is a common mistake that goes against most manufactures' recommendations suggestions" when talking about the top tether. "Misuse of the top tether is one of the top five mistakes I've seen in my 10 years of experience."
Also, please remember it is not recommended to buy used or expired car seats, but if you do buy a used one, check out Parents Central's used car seat checklist. If you can't afford a car seat, check with your local highway or state patrol. There are programs that not only help people in need, but also teach parents how to install car seats properly. If you live in Georgia - check out this website to find assistance near you.
Photo Credit: Becca P