With so many different car seats available these days that tailor to specific age groups, it’s no secret that the world of car seats can be confusing and complex for many parents. However, with statistics showing the number of road accidents to be on the rise in Canada, installing your baby’s car seat properly is essential to avoid disaster should an accident occur.
So, if you’ve recently purchased a car seat for your child and aren’t 100% sure of the best installation method, below you’ll discover some of the top mistakes parents make and how to avoid them for the safety of your baby.
Seat not secure enough in the car
Once you’ve installed your new seat, check its movement. Experts say if you’re able to move the seat more than an inch in any direction, it’s not secure enough and could even crash forward into the back seat if the vehicle were to suddenly stop or crash. To ensure the seat is as fully secure, place all your weight on it by using your knee for leverage, which will tighten the adjoining seatbelt as much as possible.
When shopping for a new car seat, it’s essential to analyze the size of your vehicle first to establish which size seat will be best. If you own a large vehicle of similar shape to the Chrysler Pacifica, you’re likely to have a lot more versatility regarding which seat will securely fit. If you own a much smaller vehicle, you might have to do a bit more research into what’s suitable.
Turning the seat face-forward too soon
All infant car seats are rear-facing for a reason. During the first two years of a child’s life, the delicate bones that protect the spinal cord are still developing. If a road collision was to unfortunately occur with your baby facing forward, their head would likely lurch forwards causing the spine to ‘burst’ and expose their spinal cord. This is extremely dangerous and can even cause death in severe cases.
It’s extremely simple to prevent this from happening – don’t put your baby in a front-facing position until after they’ve turned two. This will give your baby the best possible chance of safety if an accident were to happen.
Straps/harness too loose
Every car seat comes accompanied with straps or a harness to keep your baby securely in place; it’s how you tighten them that determine how safe your baby will be. If you can still fold the strap’s fabric in half with your fingers after adjusting them, they aren’t tight enough.
A baby who’s loosely strapped in can be ejected out of the seat during a collision, causing potentially serious injuries. When strapping your baby in, tighten the harness as much as you possibly can without causing discomfort to the child.
As long as you’re careful with the entire installation process of your car seat and strapping your baby in, you can rest assured that you’re putting your child in the best possible safety for any road trip you may take!
Rachel Bryant is a Mommy who is enjoying some extended maternity leave as she bonds with baby. She’s enjoying tapping out some parenting articles when time allows.