Summer is the perfect time for family road trips. Whether you’re heading down to the beach for some fun in the sun or planning a quick day trip to the park, you want to make sure every passenger in your car arrives at your destination safely. These car seat safety tips will ensure that your most precious cargo arrives safely.
Keep car seats rear-facing for as long as possible
In the event of a crash, rear-facing car seats are much safer than forward-facing seats. Rear-facing seats protect your child’s head and neck and force your child into a cannonball position, which will protect them in an accident. Be sure to check your car seat’s height and weight restrictions, as well as your state’s requirements, to see when you can safely transition your child to a forward-facing car seat.
Tighten all straps
Car seat safety straps are meant to hold your child tight in the event of an accident, so you want to make sure the straps are snug. Bulky clothing can force the straps to loosen, so you should remove winter coats and other outerwear before placing your child into the car seat. The straps securing the car seat to the car should be tight, as well—for optimum safety, the car seat shouldn’t wiggle more than an inch out of place.
Tether car seats to your car
The best way to ensure that car seats are securely strapped into the car is to tether them to your car’s anchors. As of 2000, all cars sold in the United States are required to have anchors in at least three positions. Checks your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find where the anchors are located. Tethering the car seat to the anchors reduces the amount a child’s head moves during a crash and protects their brain and spinal cord.
Ask a trained technician to check your car seat installation
With so many buckles and straps, the car seat installation process can be confusing. Follow your car seat’s instruction manual to aid you in the installation process. Then, seek out the advice of a trained technician to check your installation. Many police and fire departments allow you to schedule appointments with trained technicians who can check your installation and offer further car seat safety tips.
Check the car seat’s expiration date
Health and safety regulations are updated regularly to ensure your child’s safety. To make sure your car seat is up-to-date with these regulations, check the car seat’s expiration date. This will show you the time frame in which your car seat will prove the most effective. Some car seat manufacturers also allow you to register your car seat so that you can stay updated on any recalls or changes made to your car seat.
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