Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Some Info to Pass On

I am writing a post on car seat safety today.  I will be the first to admit, that I did not do enough research about car seats when Caleb was an infant.  I knew which "pattern" I liked, and I knew the car seat was installed correctly, but I realize that I did a lot of things "wrong", due to the lack of knowledge.  After Mckinlee was born I started following my birth board on baby center, and I have learned so much about car seat safety.  I am so thankful for this knowledge, because I have seen first hand in my family the damage a car accident can cause.  I am not writing this post to make any mother feel targeted or upset, but simply to pass on the knowledge that I have learned.  After all, car accidents are the number one killer of children each year, and as parents it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to keep them safe. 

General car seat knowledge for both an infant seat and a 5 point harness seat. 

  • First of all since it is winter it is important to know that Winter coats are unsafe in a car seat.  I was unaware of this with Caleb and I feel as though I put him in danger.  You can simply put the coat on backwards to keep their arms warm, or provide a blanket.  Here is a great video about why it is unsafe.
  • Proper strap placement.  I have to admit that I have cringed at various pictures on facebook, blogs, and other Internet sites due to the placement of their car seat straps.  I just hate to imagine something happening to their sweet baby due to lack of knowledge.  With that being said.
             Proper strap placement:  Straps are to be tight (unable to pinch to bunch), and harness buckle is to be pulled to armpit level.  It is unsafe if it is down at the bellybutton. This can cause the child to be thrown from the car in the case of an accident. 
            Improper strap placement: Loose, and down below armpit level. 

  • Importance of Rear Facing:  I know that the guidelines for this rule have changed in the last year.  The recommendations used to be 1 year and 20 lbs. The baby needed to be both ONE YEAR and 20 lbs.   However, the new guideline is age 2.  I admit I switched Caleb forward facing around 16 months.  He was always a big boy, but I did not want to switch him at a year.  I waited until I thought he was ready, but if I could do it over I would have waited longer. Mckinlee, however, will be rear facing until at least 2 and possibly after. The thing that you need to realize is that even though babies may be larger, or appear stronger their neck muscles are unable to withstand the impact caused from a collision. If they are forward facing their heads can literally be snapped from their neck due to impact.  Forward Facing is not a milestone! It is actually illegal in the US to have a baby under one forward facing, but I know various mothers are ill instructed to do so. Research your options when it comes to your child's convertible car seat.  Almost all can rear face until at least 30 lbs, and some up to 40.  We just purchased the Graco My Ride 360 for Mckinlee and it will rear face up to 40 lbs.  Here is a video on the importance of rear facing as long as possible.  http://youtu.be/sssIsceKd6U

  • 5 Point Harness as Long as Possible is Safer.  Moving your child from a 5 point harness carseat is not a milestone to hit quickly. There are various car seats that go up to high weight limits that keep the 5 point harness.  Here is a video on the importance. http://youtu.be/CNGT9eBL_gg

  • Height/Weight Limitations:  It is important to be familiar with your car seat.  On the side sticker it should include expiration date and the height and weight limits. If not, you can look it up online.  I see babies well past the height, weight, and age limits in infant car seats all the time, and that is not safe. There are restrictions for a reason.  Please, research your seat, and move your child to are convertible seat once they have reached at least one of the limitations. 

  • The bar to the infant seat is actually unsafe to be left up while driving.  I was completely unaware of this until a few months ago, and I felt horrible that I never knew.  Leaving the bar up actually keeps the seat from folding against the backseat in a collision as it is made to do.  I always thought that since they made cute toys to dangle from the bar that it was meant to be left up.  This is not the case however, and a mistake that I have made for 2 years. 
Car seat safety is something every mother needs to research for themselves.  I am so glad I have learned all of this new information and that I can implement it all in my car to keep my children as safe as possible.  I hope you take this information and put it to use with your family as well.


Meant to be a mom said...

Great post. I am a freak about my kids safety in our car. I think its very important for a parent to research these things and learn as much as they can to keep their children as safe as humanly possible. Again Great post!!!

emily_michele said...

It is one of my biggest pet peeves to see pictures posted by my Facebook of their children in carseats that are forward facing before age 2 (and some even before age 1!) with straps that are twisted and too loose, harness clips in the wrong place, etc. My little one is 18 months and still rear-facing. We have a Britax Marathon that rear faces until 35 lbs and forward faces all the way to 70. Great post!