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I am offering a guest post today from Sheryl Brown at Best Convertible Carseat HQ
That first baby usually brings a huge sense of exhilaration and joy, but also trepidation. Trust me, I have been there. I had so much to look forward to such as my baby’s first word, and their first step, and first smile, but I was also totally petrified of doing the wrong thing. As a new mother, no matter how many parenting books you have read or how many new mother groups you are in, you will feel a sense of consternation when you get that first baby. The safety of your baby is of utmost importance and apart from the feeding which is a breeze in the first six months, travelling with your child is the next most critical aspect of safety that you need to deal with from day one. As such, ensuring the child is safe while riding in an infant car seat, convertible, or booster car seat is one of the most important thing one needs to be knowledgeable about.
Some important statistics from the CDC
- Car seat use reduces the risk for death to infants (aged <1 year) by 71%; and to toddlers (aged 1–4 years) by 54% in passenger vehicles.
- Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% for children aged 4–8 years when compared with seat belt use alone.
- For older children and adults, seat belt use reduces the risk for death and serious injury by approximately half.
Even as many conversations on car seats typically center on what are the best car seats, which is a good thing, it is not the most important thing. I have written a lot about car seat safety, and I know that adhering or not adhering to car seat safety rules and installation can be the deciding factor that makes any car seat safe or unsafe for your child. Sure a good quality car seat is paramount, but even if you go for mid-range or budget car seats, you can still keep your child safe. Having made my own share of car seat installation and safety mistakes, the following are recommendations to keep your child safe.
- Use the pinch test to ensure the harness straps on the child safety seat are as tight as they can be without hurting the child
- If you install the seat in rear facing mode (rear facing is safer) ensure the harness straps are below or at shoulder level
- Recline the child at a 45 degree angle when they are below six months (they do not have good neck control at this age) and gradually reduce the incline up to 30 degrees when they get older.
- Dress the child in thin but warm clothing to prevent loose harnesses that may make the seat less safe
- Keep the child in rear facing until they are at least two years old before turning forward facing, as this is the safest position for the child
- Keep the child in a forward facing mode in a five-point harness until they reach the height and weight limits of their car seats
- Ensure the chest clip is between the nipple and the armpit
- Keep the child in a booster seat until they are at least 8 years and up to 12 years old before graduating them to vehicle seat belts
There is much more about child seat safety that I cannot cover in a single blog post, but if you would like to read more about car seat safety and installation, read the full post on the PDF below or my website.
Download the PDF HERE: