Thank you to SuperMom Kat for sharing her car seat safety installation tips with the SuperMommy readers.
Baby and Child Car Seat Installation: Not As Easy As It Looks
I had three thoughts when I took my baby girl’s new child car seat out of the box to install it. “It seems so easy- piece of cake. ” The car seat comes with instructions- how hard can it be? ” And last but not least, “Anyone can do it. It looks so easy on the online tutorial video.” Or so I thought.
When In Doubt, Get It Checked Out
Ever experience a futile attempt at properly installing a baby car seat?
While some are great at applying car seat directions, I found after several attempts that I was still uneasy as to whether my child ‘s car seat was installed to child safety standards. And as I pulled up to a local certified car seat installation specialist’s station, I met other baffled moms, confused dads, and concerned grandparents and caretakers with child car seat and instructions in hand (apparently with similar child seat safety concerns. )While child car seat installation may not be rocket science, it can get rather complicated.
Is Your Child’s Car Seat Really Properly Installed?
Most parents think that their child’s car seat is properly installed, but the truth is that statistically 4 out of every 10 children are not riding in their car seats correctly due to improper car seat use or installation. Since motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of baby deaths and injuries, I decided it is better to be safe than sorry, and wanted to make sure my baby’s car seat was installed to approved child safety standards.
During my car seat inspection appointment, the specialist explained to me that most of the people who come in to see him think they have their child seats correctly installed per their instruction manual. They are often shocked to find that their own do it yourself car seat installation did not meet child safety standard inspection.
Get Your Child’s Car Seat Installation Inspected For Free
Check your local fire station, police station, or highway patrol to see if they take appointments for child car seat installation and safety checks. It is a free service by a certified child passenger safety technician who will walk you through how to properly set up your child’s particular car seat to ensure that your child is safe while you are driving.
Common Mistakes of Child Car Seat Installation
The specialist can ease your concerns about some of the more common areas where people make mistakes in car seat installation. For example, my technician explained when my child would be ready to change from rear facing to forward facing, the Latch System and if my vehicle could accommodate it, where to tighten restraints on my baby’s particular car seat, and just how tight the restraints need to be. I brought my daughter with me for the inspection appointment. My baby’s presence was invaluable because the technician was able to make adjustments and custom fit the car seat installation for my little one while demonstrating how I could avoid the most common car seat installation mistakes.
Don’t Put A Price on Your Child’s Safety
Can’t find a place that will inspect your car seat installation free of charge? There are independent certified specialists who can be found online and will install and inspect your car seat for a reasonable fee. I recommend checking the independent car seat inspection specialists out with the Better Business Bureau or by referral of a reliable parent or baby establishment source first.
What to Bring to Your Child’s Car Seat Safety Appointment
Bring the Child Car Seat Manual. Don’t expect the technician to look at your particular car seat and know instantly how it is supposed to be installed. Each child seat is different, so have your child seat’s manual with you just in case it’s needed.
Bring the Entire Car Seat & All Car Seat Parts. The last thing you want to do is show up and realize something is missing. If you can have the car seat installed the way you think it goes, it’s probably preferable. However, if you were confused and cross eyed after page 5 of diagrams and instructions for your child seats’s installation like myself, the car seat installation technician can demonstrate how to get your car seat up to necessary child safety standards.
Bring a Well Rested Child, Snacks, & Toys. The car seat installation specialist can fit and adjust the car seat to your child’s measurements. You can distract your hopefully agreeable and well rested child with snacks and toys if in case he or she has the “Who are you?” expression during your inspection appointment.
Make sure to pay close attention when the technician explains and demonstrates how to install your child’s car seat to meet safety standards. If possible, record the installation with your cell phone for future reference. This way, when and if you need to install your child seat again on your own, you will know how.
Wishing You Safe Travels
Follow these guidelines, and you and your child can be well on your way to safe travels on the road.