As many of you already know, I recently had the opportunity to review the Britax Frontier 85 SICT Harness-2-Booster seat for the Eighty MPH Mom website. It is, by far, my favorite seat on the market for our little one’s age and size. Check out the full review here for all of the details and a chance to win your very own!
Now, as promised, this is the long-awaited “Part 2” follow-up to the original post. Child passenger safety is at the forefront of my mind the second we set foot out of our door and into any vehicle. I could, very likely, go on for days rambling off all of the car seat world’s faux-pas as well as positive points. However, had I touched on these in the original post, it would have made for quite the lengthy read. Alas, “Part 2” has finally arrived.
Below is a quick compilation of some of the most necessary car seat tips as well as current recommendations and/or laws that will help keep your child safer while traveling.
1. Choose the right seat!
*Photo credit: National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration
2. Never buy a used car seat!
Unless you’re doing so from a very close family member or friend, there is no way to tell if a seat has been involved in a car accident, thus making it unsafe for use. Also, car seats DO have expiration dates that need to be taken into account. Expired seats need to be disposed of properly and are not adequate for use after its expiry date.
3. Read the manual!
The most common problem with car seats is the simple misuse by parents. Be sure to read your seat’s (and vehicle’s) manual to insure proper installation before ever getting your little one into the car.
4. No jackets!
Winter coats are a big no-no because they do not allow for the correct tension of the straps on your child. Instead of risking your child’s safety, take the few extra minutes to warm up the vehicle before getting in.
5. Fit your child correctly!
If the harness and straps are not positioned correctly on your child, the seat is not able to fully do its job in protecting your precious passenger.
6. Extended rear-facing!
Do NOT turn your child forward-facing prior to their second birthday. The old recommendation was one-year-old AND a minimum of twenty pounds but studies have shown that extended rear-faced riding greatly benefits the child where safety is concerned. The current recommendation is to keep your child in the rear-faced position until they outgrow the seat’s limits or are, at least, two-years-old and twenty pounds.
7. Boostering is still a necessary step!
Many parents are forgoing the boostering step because they believe that their child is old and/or big enough to ride with just the vehicle’s seat belt. Most children, however, do not meet the requirements for this until closer to the early teenage years. For a reference point – I, as well as many women I know, could still (technically) ride boostered.
8. Wear your own seat belt!
Not only will you be setting a good example for your child but you will also be protecting them further in the event of a crash. Unbelted passengers, when involved in an accident, can become projectiles themselves and cause injury to accompanying passengers, including children in car seats.
9. Keep your vehicle clean!
To touch again on projectiles in the car, if your vehicle is clean, there are less (if any) objects that could cause injury to you and/or your passengers during a crash. Everything from your cell phone to your child’s sippy cup is a possible danger.
10. No after-market products!
There are a slew of after-market products designed to, both, entertain and create extra comfort for your child. Just about all of these products are unsafe! Please, do your research before purchasing anything that did not come with your child’s seat.
Knowing what is best for your child comes with the territory of parenthood but, as much as we’d hate to admit it, we don’t always know it all. Fix that. Make yourself knowledgeable about passenger safety for, both, your child as well as yourself. Then, share that knowledge with others in an effort to keep children everywhere safe.