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What Parents Should Know About Their Children’s Car Seat

Updated on May 21, 2018

Who would have thought that there are 14,000 car seat-related injuries per year? With the vast media coverage of the importance of car seat safety, why is there such a high report of damages? There are some critical features of a car seat to help combat safety issues that all mothers, in particular, single mothers should know. To help tackle these problems it is imperative to be aware of the proper method of installing a child’s car seat and ultimately the dos and don’ts of their use.

Basic Rules

When transporting any car seat, there are some common sense rules on positioning. Always place the car seat in the back of the car; it is never a good idea to position any child safety device in areas that can cause injury to a child. Therefore, do not place portable child care items on tables, bar stools, counters, beds, sofas and any surface above the ground. Furthermore, after placing the infant or child in the device, immediately fasten the safety straps. As a single mother, there are many distractions, and hence it is highly probable to forget whether or not the device was secure. Consequently, it is good to develop the habit of safety first.

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CC by Flickr | Source

Many parents are using or installing their children’s car restraining device incorrectly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “80 percent of car seats” are position erroneously in vehicles. Below are their age-appropriate recommendations.

  • Newborn 20 pounds or less should face the rear in the back seat. In this position baby’s spine, head and neck are better protected. Place the seat at a 45-degree angle and ensure that the seat’s handle is down and the belts are covering baby’s shoulder. It is essential to check that the strap is not too loose. Some positions may not allow for angling adjustments, if not, place a piece of material below the device to create the appropriate angle. When setting the item in the backseat of the car, secure it tightly. If the seat moves more than an inch, it is not accurately secured. All car seats and vehicles after 2002, are required to have Lower Anchors and Tethers for children, commonly known as a LATCH. It is used instead of the car’s seat belt.

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CC by Flickr | Source
  • Children 1 year, or more than 30 pounds, can move out of the rear-facing position into the forward-facing position. In this area make sure the child’s seat is snugged to the back of the car seat. Readjust the LATCH to the car’s anchor. When securing the child, place car seat straps above the shoulders with the clip below the armpit. Make sure the placement is a not too slack or too tight. When a child gets pass 20 pounds the angle of the seat can change to 35 degrees. If theres is a preference to use the car’s seat belt pass it through the seat’s “forward-facing belt path”.

  • When a child is four years or more than 40 pounds at 4’9” in height, the booster seat can replace the car seat. This means that the vehicle seat belt will secure the child. If the car only has a backseat lap belt purchase a harness vest system. This device can be purchased online or at a major department store. Whether the strap vest system or regular seat belt is used be sure, the device is overs your child’s shoulder and near the armpit. The lower portion of seat belt, should cover the top of your child’s thighs. The next step after the booster seat is the standard car seating and safety belt. Experts suggest that when a child no longer uses a child seat, he should still be placed in the back seat of the car until he turns 15.

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Getting The Right Car Seat

Contrary to popular opinion, an expensive car seat is not necessarily the most effective. Experts assert, a good fit is most important, and that might lead to purchasing an inexpensive car seat. What this means is that you cannot be a reasonable consumer when you are buying a device, and your child is not with you. Baby’s presence is a must to establish the “right fit." Before making the purchase, strap baby into the seat as per the above directions. The next step is to see if the item is appropriate for your car. It may not be a good fit so make sure the place of purchase has a good return policy. As a single parent, you might have the good fortune of getting a “hand-me-down” seat. When you receive the donation, keep in mind that car seats should be replaced a minimum of five years after initial purchase. So, check the product for the manufacture’s date. If over eight years the device may no longer be sturdy enough to keep your child safe.

Inspector’s Help

If you are anything like the average person, the above directive on installing your child’s protective car device went right over your head. It is all intimidating and at times confusing. Experts understand that parents, in particular, single parents who have so much to do, can get overwhelmed by instructions and guidelines. If after several attempts, installing the item is too complicated, call 866-SEAT-CHECK or visit this website for additional support. The service provided by these two divisions is focused on assisting you to locate “inspection checkpoint” for proper handling. The checkpoints are excellent areas of service. The inspectors patiently work toward putting you at easy concerning your child’s safety. They will reinstall the seat, and review with you how best to secure your child.

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CC by Flickr | Source

It should always be safety first when it comes to your child. When in doubt solicit as much help as possible and remember to buckle your child appropriately. Help bring the car seat injuries down.


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    • Flipsgeraldine profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvette Marshall 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It was a pleasure to write on this issue, I too learned some new things about car seat safety.

    • thebrownbear profile image


      5 years ago

      Wow, back seat until 15! I'll have to remember that as mine are still quite little. Thanks.


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