Installing Car Seats: Protect Your Child
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "one of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your child safe when riding in a vehicle." When it comes to choosing a car seat for that precious bundle of joy, the decision can be confusing and overwhelming. When my husband and I went to buy a car seat before the birth of our first child, we were downright baffled. Convertible, forward-facing, rear-facing, booster, 5-point harness, LATCH...our heads were spinning. Not to mention the store had about forty different seats to choose from, ranging from about $50-$350. Ultimately we decided on a seat that was middle of the road price wise and would function as a booster seat later on.
Buying a used seat is not recommended unless you know for certain that the seat has never been in a major crash. Child safety seats can be damaged during motor vehcile accidents. Another tip when buying a car seat is to make sure it will fit in your car. If you own a compact car like I do, some of the larger seats will only fit if you like to drive with your knees against the dashboard.
Regardless of which seat you decide on, proper installation of the car seat is pivotal. Whether you spend $40 or $400, if the seat is not installed correctly, your child's safety will be in jeopardy. There are many resources for car seat installation. Check out your local police department, fire department, and hospitals. Car dealerships even hold free events now and then. A dealership near my home even advertised free car seats for the first 50 people who showed up. What a great incentive! To find a child safety seat inspection location close to you, visit http://www.seatcheck.org/ or call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK.
If you feel comfortable installing your child's seat on your own, check out the list of websites below for some helpful hints. Also, make sure to read the owner's manual thoroughly for specific instructions on installing your chosen seat properly.
- AAP - Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families - 2008
American Academy of Pediatrics - Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families 2008
- Installing a Car Seat