Baby Safety Month - Are you using your car seat correctly?
September is Baby Safety Month. This infant safety emphasis effort was initiated in 1983 by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) to educate parents and caregivers on the importance of the safe use and selection of juvenile products. Since then, every September has seen an effort by the JPMA to raise awareness of safety efforts for infants. In keeping with this tradition, A Room Of Their Own will offer safety tips throughout the month. We invite you to follow our posts on Facebook or Twitter, in addition to our Helpful News blog.
Thanks to our good friends at Britax for their excellent webinar this past week on Car Seat Safety. If you missed it, here are some of their key point:s.
- Loose harness straps. Straps should be snug at the collar bone area. If you can pinch the strap, it is too loose.
- Chest clip too low. Should be high on chest and comfortably under chin to prevent child from slipping their arms though the opening.
- Car seat not properly secured. Should not move more than 1” front to back or side to side. Use manufacturers LATCH (lower anchors and tethers) system of lock-off straps if available. All cars build since 2002 should have lower anchors and tether bars.
- Seat belts should be placed through the car seat, not around the child. They should never be placed around the outside of the car seat, as shown in this photo. This is dangerous for your child.
- Harness straps not properly positioned. Harness height should be adjusted to accommodate height of child and position of seat. With a rear-facing seat, the harness straps should be positioned at just below shoulder height. With a front-facing seat, harness straps should be 1” above shoulder height.
OTHER GOOD CAR SEAT SAFETY TIPS
Keep your baby in a rear-facing position as long as you can. Many states require a baby to be rear-facing for up to 1 year or 20 lbs., but NHTSA studies have concluded that a child is 5 times safer when riding rear-facing.
Always place your car seat in the rear, not the front passenger seat. Even though airbags are not as dangerous as they once were, they can still be damaging to a young child.
Check your car seat for its expiration date. Manufacturers test car seats for durability and know that plastic parts can deteriorate after normal wear and tear or after a crash. They do not recommend their use after a certain number of years or if the car seat has been involved in a collision. At A Room Of Their Own, we always recommend that you buy your car seats from an authorized dealer, not a yard sale, to be sure that your car seat is at its safest.
Don’t bundle your baby up in cold weather and create a cushion between the car seat straps and the child. This may be comfortable for your chlde, bu loose fitting straps can cause greater harm in an accident. NHTSA recommends that you pre-heat the car whenever possible, and clothe your baby in tight fitting garments to ensure they are properly secured. Cover the baby with blankets after you have secured them in their car seat or infant carrier for warmth.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have child restraint laws that require children to travel in approved child restraint devices. As of July 1, 2011, Georgia law requires all children under 8 to be properly secured in a booster seat. For laws and guidelines in other states, visit these helpful websites: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Child Safety Guidelines , American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Child Safety Guidelines ,
Safe Kids USA and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety .
Many thanks again to Britax and to Sarah Tilton, Child Passenger Safety Advocate, for these informative tips. For more information on Britax webinars, go here.