August 17, 2019 — By Wendy Sachs
Correct car seat usage can reduce infant fatality by 71 percent. That’s a huge number. So let’s take a look at a few misconceptions about car seat safety practices.
“My kid is now 2 so I can let them face forward FINALLY!”
Car seat transitions should be made based on height and weight NOT age. Rear facing seats are now suggested for as long as possible- many brands of rear facing seats will go up to 65 pounds or more! While it seems that a toddler looks uncomfortable rear facing with legs bent, the truth is that they don’t know the difference until you switch them. Plus watch how any 2 year old crawls and hides in small spaces; their bodies can accommodate the decrease in leg room quite easily, especially since the statistics show it improves safety in a crash by a sizable amount. And if you are worried about them having a higher risk of breaking their legs, there is no study that shows that to be the case.
“I had my car seat checked and it was installed correctly. I don’t need to recheck.”
Car seats should be checked often as straps will loosen over time. Give the car seat a shake when you buckle in your little one- it shouldn’t move more than an inch in any direction.
“My kid needs a coat. They will be cold. I don’t need to remove it when they are strapped in if the straps are tight over the coat.”
Puffy or bulky clothes allow a child to slip right through straps in a high speed crash. NEVER let your child wear a big coat in the car seat. Instead, toss the coat in the car and have your kiddos in micro fleece to get in and out of the home. Keep a blanket to put over sung fitting straps if child still is chilly.
“These toys keep my baby engaged in the car.”
The truth is that anything added into the car can become a projectile in a high speed crash situation. Best to keep toys and accessories to a minimum. Also know that putting something under the car seat to protect your seats makes car seats less safe. And while mirrors are great so we can see our little ones, be sure they are installed very tightly so that they don’t fly off in case of a crash.
“I bought the most expensive seat I could find and we are installing it in all of our cars and moving it in and out of the nanny’s car. We are protected.”
Just like every child, every car is different. In fact, some make and models change drastically depending on the year the vehicle was manufactured. And if your child is in your SUV sometimes and in the nanny’s sedan other times, the same seat may not be the best for both. Do the research and figure out what model works best with your vehicle. The most expensive brands are not always the safest and there are many reasonably priced car seats that offer wonderful protection. Because we know that up to 74% of car seats are installed incorrectly, we know that moving a car seat back and forth and installing it over and over means there are more chances to have errors. Best solution is to spend upfront for a car seat for nanny’s car if they are driving your child on a regular basis.