Hubster and I attended a car seat safety class this week, sponsored by our local medical clinic. I was dreading two hours of boring info about laws and facts. It was actually really informative and I’d highly recommend any parent or soon-to-be parent to attend one of these classes. Next week, we’ll even be able to have our car seat checked for proper installation.
I’ll include some of the most critical points here:
- Never purchase a car seat second-hand (i.e. from a garage sale or a resale shop). If a car seat has been involved in a crash, its safety will be compromised. Car seats more than six years old are unsafe due to deterioration of the plastic.
- If you are borrowing a car seat, check its expiration date to be sure it is less than six years old. Be sure that you can trust the people you are getting it from so that you know it has never been involved in a crash.
- When installing a car seat, be sure it is securely fastened and you are only able to move it one inch in any direction. For rear-facing seats especially, be sure it is at a 30-45 degree angle to be sure baby’s head receives the least impact in a crash.
- Never use any car seat accessories that do not come with your car seat (i.e. seat covers to “protect” your upholstery/leather, supports for baby’s neck, etc.).
- Sun shades that have the metal rods in them are unsafe because they could potentially become projectiles in a crash. Use cling-ons if necessary.
- On an infant carrier, keep the handle back while you’re driving. Baby will be fine without having toys dangling from the handle while you’re driving. Handles in the upright position are not tested in a crash and can injure baby in a crash.
- Keep baby rear-facing for as long as possible (18 months-2 years; per your seat’s rear-facing weight limits). Even if baby’s feet are up on the back of the seat, a pelvis or leg injury is much easier to recover from than a head/spinal injury.
Even if you can’t find a car seat safety class to attend, there are likely car seat installation checks in your area. Look into one!!