How To Use and Install a Car Seat Correctly

As you are probably aware (since you are reading this), a car seat is one of the most important material to keep your child safe especially if you travel with it frequently. Also, choosing the right car seat, installing it correctly and using it the way it is recommended are some of the steps you should take to provide maximum safety for your child. In this article, you will learn how to use a car seat in the proper way and also how to know if you have installed a car seat correctly.

How Use a Car Seat Correctly

Always Place the Car Seat in the Right Place

The best and the safest place to place the car seat is in the back seat in the center. This will prevent severe head and neck injury during a side-impact collision. In the case you have two kids in the car seat, you might want to place one at the center and the other on the right side where you can see it through the side mirror.

Use a tether system with your car seat

Federal safety requirements have stipulated that a car seat should have a tether system attached to the car seat for increased child safety during a ride. Some older car seats may not be equipped with a tether system required by the federal regulations.

You may want to check with the manufacturer or a local dealer to fix this if you have a car seat made prior to 2002. However, if you have a new car seat or your car seat comes with a tether system, you don’t have to worry about this.

New regulations have stipulated that new car seat must be compatible with a vehicle LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for Children) system. The LATCH system connects to an existing anchor in the rear of the car seat for easy installation and for protection purposes.

Consider the safety of your child

To maximize the safety of your child, try to keep close to the following:

  • Make sure the car seat you are using meets or exceed the Federal Safety Standards. All new car seats are required by law to meet these standards. To know if your car seat does, check the car seat for a certificate label bearing this
  • Make sure the car seat have substantial padding for additional comfort and protection for your baby
  • Whenever you are buying a new harness seat, look for a car seat with 5 point harness system. They provide the best protection and lower the pressure on the child

Consider the Comfort of Your Child

In other to make your child comfortable when it’s riding in the car seat, you can do the following:

  • Your car seat should have an adjustable back-end that can be manipulated to conform to your preferences. This is most common with harness car seats. It ensures your child’s comfort
  • The car seat should comfortable and soft cover with high cushioning
  • If you can get a car seat with removable pillows and a headrest, better. The headrest should be adjustable too; so that you can always adjust it to suit your child’s preferences

How to Ensure You Install Your Car Seat Correctly

Another very important thing is making sure that your car seat is correctly installed. Safety experts have warned parents from making common mistakes such as installing the car seat improperly or not reading the car seat instruction manual – which could pose serious risks to the baby’s life.

How to Know You Have Installed Your Car Seat Correctly

  1. Before installing your car seat, make sure you have read and understood the manufacturer’s manual. You might want to read your vehicle’s manual too – to be well informed
  2. Always install the car seat in the back of the car seat! Never place a car seat in the front – it could cause serious damage to your child when the airbag pops out in a crash. The back is the safest place especially for a rear-facing car seat
  3. The car seat should not slide after it has been installed. The belt should be tight and no slack in the car seat since it could be very dangerous. Get a belt-tightening device to tightly secure the car seat
  4. To test whether you have installed a car seat correctly, grab your car seat and try to tilt it forward and sideways. If it moves more than an inch in any direction, you should unbuckle it and re-install

Secure your child properly

  • Use head inserts to support your child if it is small. Use Head bolsters and headrest to support your toddler’s head
  • Always place the harness straps in the right slots. You can adjust them as the child grows
  • Make sure the harness straps are tight fitted. A correctly fixed harness strap will snug on the baby’s shoulder and thighs. A common mistake most parents make is leaving the harness straps loose and below the child’s chest. Try to avoid this! You should also make sure the harness straps are not twisted around the back of the car seat as it will skew the tightness of the straps
  • Check your car seat everytime you want to use it. Make certain it is properly installed and tightly fitted

Try to get an expert to check it

After installing the car seat, try to get an expert in your local to access the car seat for you. Taking this extra step will help you confirm that you have installed the car seat correctly. After doing this, you can be sure of a happy ride with your kid!

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