Installation and Car Seat Safety
Installing car seats using the vehicle seat belt is more challenging than using the LATCH system
A car seat can only offer additional protection for your baby if it is installed correctly. Over half of all children killed are either unrestrained in the car or improperly restrained.
Most Common Car Seat Mistakes to Avoid:
Harness too loose
The most common mistake made by parents of a new-born is leaving the harness too loose. Follow your car seat’s instructions carefully to learn how to properly tighten your harness. Make sure it is tight enough.
Car safety seat installed too loosely
The car seat base should be tightly enough installed that it can only move an inch or less in any direction.
Recline angle of car safety seat incorrect
Your car seat will have some kind of level gauge or line to help you make sure the angle of the base is properly levelled. Look in your car seat manual for instructions on how to make it properly levelled.
Retainer clips too low
The retainer clip should be placed at armpit level. When it is too low there is risk your baby will not be properly restrained in the event of an accident and can suffer an injury to the abdomen and internal organs.
Safety belt used but not locked
Installing the base with a seat belt is more challenging, and while it is perfectly safe when properly, we recommend using LATCH anchors due to the increased simplicity and ease-of-installation. If you do choose to install the base using a seat belt, we encourage you to choose one of the car seats that is relatively easy to install using a seat belt.
Harness too high
Each seat will have its own way of adjusting the harness height. It is very important that the height of the harness be adjusted so it exits the back of the seat at or below your baby’s shoulder height. Read your car seat manual for specifics on how to adjust it, and what height it should be at for your baby.
The height of the shoulder strap should be adjusted so it exits the car seat at or below the infant’s shoulder height. Read your car seat manual for instructions on the proper height and how to adjust it.
Incorrect spacing between car safety seat and vehicle front seat
The front seat position should be set so that it will not interfere with the child restraint system. Leave a significant space between the front seat and the car seat, keeping in mind that the seat may move up to an inch based on the normal tightness of the straps, and in the event of an accident, the straps may stretch a bit more. Leaving a clear and free space between the carrier and the front seat makes it easier to be certain the car seat carrier is firmly clicked into and locked into the base and allows the child restraint system to properly operate in the event of an accident.
Caregiver not knowing how to adjust the harness
It is important that anyone who will act as a caregiver for your infant knows how to properly use the car seat, and how to properly harness your baby into the seat. Like many baby products, such as monitors and bottle warmers, you’ll need to make sure that it is not just you who can operate them correctly, but grandparents and babysitters too.
Read the Manual
While manuals are never fun, but you should read the manual carefully. Parents should never assume they know how to install a seat without reading the manual, as each vehicle and seat have its own limitations and restrictions.
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