If I had a dollar for every time I went to the store and saw one of these common car seat mistakes, I’d be rich. Car seats are meant to be worn in a very specific way in order to keep your child safe and anything less could put them at risk in case of an accident. Read below to see if you are making any of these car seat safety errors:
1) No Puffy Coats
This one is especially important for people in colder climates like myself. My doctor told me to make sure that my daughter was not wearing any sort of puffy jacket that required me to accommodate it by loosening the straps. Many parents are confused about this rule and complain, but if you think about it for a second, it makes a lot of sense. In the event of a crash, the puffy coat essentially acts as an air pocket between your child’s body and the straps, allowing him to whip forward quite a ways before coming into contact with the restraint device. A light fleece coat is okay.
2) Use the Chest Clip Properly
I cringe every time I see the chest clip hanging way down over a baby’s stomach. This is the most common mistake I also see parent’s make. The chest clip is supposed to go over the breastbone at armpit-level. During an impact collision, the chest clip could break and lacerate internal organs if placed too low or damage the esophagus if placed too high. In 2010, Britax recalled almost 20,000 car seats due to faulty chest clips that were not only breaking, but babies were trying to swallow the sharp and shattered pieces.
3) Check the Laws
Just yesterday I was talking to a friend and she said how she’s pretty anxious to turn her baby around because her baby doesn’t “like” being seated backward. I asked her if she knew it was illegal in the state of Alaska until her baby was at least 20 pounds (which she is) and over a year old (she’s far from it). She had no idea! Check your state law regarding the minimum age and weight limitations before you can turn your baby forward-facing. Even if your baby does meet those limitations, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all infants and toddlers be rear-facing at least until they are two.
4) Aftermarket Products
Did you add some little cute bunny wraps around the safety straps so they wouldn’t chafe your baby’s neck? It turns out that adding any product that the seat did not come with could actually void the manufacturer’s warranty.
These are the four most common mistakes I see people when buckling their babies up. Parents are supposed to protect their babies, but sometimes they do things unknowingly put their infant’s safety at risk. Now buckle up and drive safe!