Parents go out of their way to choose the right car seat for their child. They spend significant time and money to protect their most precious cargo. Yet, in 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that, according to a multi-year study, misuse occurred in 79.5 pct of the child safety seats inspected.
The study suggests that many parents inadvertently put their children at risk by failing to use the security restraints correctly. The most frequent mistakes found were slack harness straps and security belt attachments. Regrettably, the NHTSA also calls these misuses "dangerous" because of the potential for injuries.
So how do you make awareness of keeping your child secure?
First, make sure you are using the right seat – in the correct place -- for your baby's age and weight. Most infant seats can be used in the rear-facing position for kids less than one year of age who have not yet reached 20 pounds.
Child-only seats are designed for younger, smaller babies, so they are a fine option for your infant. They offer a high-quality fit and are conveniently small and transportable. Baby seats must at all times be used in the rear seat, as should all baby safety restraints, and only in the rear-facing location.
If you desire a seat that will hold your infant as she grows, a convertible seat is one more option. Convertible seats are larger and heavier, as a result they are able to accommodate your newborn for a longer period of time. They are used in the rear-facing position for kids less than one year of age and for kids over one year who do not yet weigh 20 pounds. After baby turns one and exceeds 20 pounds, you can turn the seat forward-facing. Most convertible seats hold children up to 40 pounds.
Whichever seat you decide on, it is very essential you understand how to operate it. Make certain to read the manufacturer's instructions, as well as your car owner's instruction manual. To be operational, your child's seat should be buckled into the seat correctly, also the seat must be properly buckled into your vehicle.
Harness straps appear to be an area of particular difficulty for parents. In favor of your baby's security, the harness must be in the right slot position plus fitted securely to your baby's chest. The straps must be located in the slots at or under your baby's shoulders for nearly all baby seats and at or on top of baby's shoulders for more convertible seats. The harness clip that holds the straps together must be at about armpit level, furthermore the straps must not be twisted. You should at all times verify the owner's instruction manual to confirm proper placement.
Safety belt use is a common problem, as well. Be sure the seat belt follows the right direction for the position of the seat plus recline the seat at about a 45-degree angle, if feasible. A rolled towel under the bottom will help secure the seat into place. Tighten the seat belt, as needed, to make sure the restraint is secured to your car. If your auto has a LATCH system, make use of it in accordance to the specs of your baby's seat along with those of the automobile owner's instruction manual.
Further significant seat concerns include seat age as well as condition. If your seat wasn't obtained brand new, check the label. Don't use a seat that is more than 5 years old or does not turn up with the manufacturer's directions. Make sure you have all the components as well as know whether or not it has been in an accident. If so, be safe not sorry – don't take the risk.
To conclude, if you are uncertain regarding your safety seat sense – or else yet if you are, call a safety seat technician to get your seat checked. Your baby's life may well depend on it. To find a technician close by you, go online to www.seatcheck.org or telephone 1-866-SEATCHECK.