Keeping kids safe in the car...

Xero

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Mar 20, 2008
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A lot of people don't realize the importance of car seat safety. There is more to keeping a child safe in a vehicle than just buckling them in. So many children each year are injured or killed in a crash due to improper car seat usage. The concept seems pretty simple. Purchase a car seat, strap it into your car, and buckle in your child. However, there is actually so much more to it than that.

You need to make sure that you are buying the right car seat for your child for their height, weight, and age. Always pay very close attention to whether or not your car seat is able to rear-face, forward-face, or both. Infant carrier car seats cannot face forward, ever! Larger all-in-one car seats some of the time cannot rear-face at all. Convertible car seats are capable of doing both. Make sure you know what your kids' car seats can or cannot do! All car seats also have height and weight restrictions, minimums and maximums, so make sure your kids fall in between these limits. Check your manuals or look online if you are not sure. My five-month-old is a big boy, and has almost outgrown his current infant carrier already. He is only an inch or two away from being too long for it. It can happen before you know it! As for age, obviously infant carriers are for children under a year of age, convertible car seats are for infants and toddlers, and all-in-one seats are usually for toddlers and older children. As for booster seats, your child is required to be at least four years old and forty inches tall before he or she can ride in one - my four-year-old is still not tall enough!



You need to make sure that the seat is properly installed, and your child is properly restrained. Once installed, the car seat or it's base should not be able to move from side-to-side <I>at all</I>. There are different ways to install most seats, and ways to reinforce the install. You can use the seat belt, or the anchor system. The latch system helps secure everything properly. Most fire stations will have a car seat professional there that will be able to check your install or help you to install a car seat for free. It can't hurt to drop by and have yours looked at! When buckled in, the straps on a child should not be loose or twisted. You should not be able to fit more than two fingers under the straps on your child. The chest clip should be level with the child's armpits, not on the child's belly or anywhere else. Thick coats should not be warn in a car seat. When rear-facing, the straps setting should sit at or below the shoulders. When forward-facing, the straps setting should sit at or above the shoulders.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2DVfqFhseo

Above is a link to a video depicting why it is safest for children to rear-face for as long as possible. At first I was skeptical of this, and I wasn't aware of it when my oldest was a baby, so he was forward-facing at the legal minimum of one year <I>and</I> 20lbs. Car seat experts are now recommending that you rear-face for at least two years, or as long as your car seats will let you. I have seen the proof for myself, and it is obvious to me that rear-facing is safest. I think that I will probably practice extended rear-facing with my little guy now that I know about it. Another good idea is to keep your kids in five point harnesses for as long as possible - they are also the safest this way. Most kids cannot stay in place properly with a regular seat belt until they are much older than the minimum required age. Also, be aware that car seats do expire! Check your car seats to make sure you know when they expire, because it can be dangerous to ride in an expired seat. Be careful when considering buying a used car seat - they could be expired or close to doing so, and you don't know if the seat has been in a car crash (if a seat is ever in a crash, it must be thrown away and replaced right away).

There are so many rules and regulations, limits and requirements, it's true they are hard to keep up with and can be overwhelming at times. However, when it comes to the safety of our children, I think that we can all take time out of our days to make sure we know what we are doing. I hope that everyone does their research and keep their kids as safe in the car as they can!
 
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IADad

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Feb 23, 2009
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I'll share my big pet peeve. When people with infant carrier/car seat systems, (the infant carrier snaps into a base) leave the handles up in that car. It's soooo dangerous and they seemingly have no idea that what they're doing is dangerous. I really want to stop them and tell them, but it'd probably get me pepper sprayed.
 

Xero

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Actually IADad it depends on the seat! Many of them allow the handle to be in the up position while snapped into the car, some even require it! :)

http://www.thecarseatlady.com/car_seats/rear-facing_seats_10.html[/URL]

(click for a list of brands and which can or should do what)

"Where should the handle be?
A lot of parents think the handle has to be down when the safety seat is in the car. This is not true! Many infant carriers allow--and some even require--that the handle be up when the safety seat is in the car.The table below lists the authorized handle positions for travel in the car for current and recently discontinued carriers. Please always double-check the manual for your child's safety seat."

"Curious how the rumor "the handle must always be down" got started?
The first infant carrier with a base ever sold in the United States--the Century 580--hit the market in the mid 1980's. On this particular seat, you placed the infant carrier into the base with the handle up (position #1) and then rotated the handle to position #2 to lock the carrier into the base. Forgetting to move the handle to position #2 meant that the carrier was not locked into the base and could come out of the base in a crash! The Century 580 and its successor the 590 were the only carriers to feature this type of locking mechanism. All other seats lock automatically when you place the carrier into the base. Other manufacturers were concerned that if they allowed their seats to use position #1, parents might mistakenly think it was okay to use position #1 on a Century 580/590, which could be a deadly mistake. With the last Century 590 made in 1997 (and too old to be used after 2003), manufacturers now feel comfortable recommending different handle positions. In fact, most seats sold in Europe use position #1."
 
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IADad

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Thanks for the correction Xero, Now I can assume those parents are doing what their seat instructs them to.

However, the explanation of how that rumour got started is not why I was told that down was the only way. I was told that all rear facing seats use the seat back of the auto seat as part of the system and that the carrier, in an accident will pivot at the seat belt and fold back against the auto seat back, like a clam shell, crqadling your little pearl, as it were, between the carrier and the auto seat back, so if the handles are up, the handles orevent the carrier from folding all the way up while your baby continues to fly backwards (so, you can see my concern.)

I can only presume that the handles up type are designed to collapse back(or forward in the car direction) or something in an accident. Anyway, good to know that I needn't be so concerned and I can stop spreading the rumour now.
 

Xero

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I'm not honestly sure about that whole thing (getting in the way in the event of a crash etc). I don't think I've read about that at all, so who knows. Hopefully all parents are doing what they are supposed to with their seats, but the truth is probably that you're right in a lot of cases and they have the type of seat that requires the handle to be down, and they just don't bother. It is hard to say, but a very large amount of people misuse their carseats or don't check the manuals at all.

I gotta tell ya, it drives me nuts how I constantly see the chest clip on a baby's belly or the straps all twisted up. I see that allll the time. And I know this is more of a personal problem, but I hate when I see people that spend insane amount of money on their hair, make-up, and fashion statements for themselves but their kids are running around in junky too small clothes and riding in the cheapest piece of crap car seat ever. :/ And like, the straps are all twisted and the fabric is peeling back. lol ew.
 

JenniferLock

Junior Member
Feb 9, 2012
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Not only do you need to make sure your child in strapped in properly, but I also know that making sure that you do not lock your child in the car too. Please share this link with your readers http://www.popalock.com/emergency_door_unlocking.php. If anyone locks his/her child in a car, they can call Pop-A-Lock and have the door open free-of-charge. Thank you so much for your post and keeping children safe when riding in cars.
 

MartinBrendal

Banned
Feb 8, 2012
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cjdj3

Junior Member
Oct 19, 2012
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Indeed.
I've heard too many stories of car crashes that break my heart. There are also many stories about parents who leave their children in the hot car as they get groceries :(
Car seats are super important for safety in the van. If you don't have a car seat it is both illegal ang dangeorous. I use a graco nautilus 3-in-1 car seat, its a very good seat.
Theres so many things you need to do to ensure your kid's safety in the car. Parents need to learn to stop being careless and lazy and make the neccesary ajustments.
 
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akmom

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May 22, 2012
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I gotta tell ya, it drives me nuts how I constantly see the chest clip on a baby's belly or the straps all twisted up. I see that allll the time.
I know it's an old thread that got bumped, but NO KIDDING! I see this too. What do they think that chest clip is for? It does nothing sitting down there where the main clip already is. Think "orbitron." If it wouldn't keep your kid in an orbitron, it's not right. No loose straps, no giant openings at the shoulders!
 

tadamsmar

Banned
Jun 21, 2012
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In the USA, you can find the free car seat inspection station closest to you here:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm

Studies show that about 70% of kids are not in a correct car seat that is correctly installed.

The safest spot is in the middle back seat.

http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Child_Passenger_Safety/CPS-Factsheet.html[/url]