11.21.2012

Five Biggest Car Seat Mistakes!

I recently completed by Child Passenger Safety Technician Course, which included twenty-one hours of intense book and hands on work and a six hour community carseat check. During the carseat check, there were some major mistakes I kept seeing repeatedly. I'm going to share them in hopes that my readers will take notice and check the carseats in their cars.

I am still finding my voice as a CPST. I'm still nervous about informing parents I don't know of the mistakes they're making. That those mistakes could mean the difference between life or death in the event of a crash.  It's a harsh reality, but I hope what I'm writing can help empower parents and caregivers to keep their children safe.

1. The seat belt not being in a locked position, if not using LATCH. Parents tend to think that all you have to do is buckle the carseat in the car, when in reality doing so provides little to no protection in the event of a crash. Read your car manual for directions on how to fix this.

2. Incorrect chest clip position. The chest clip needs to be at the chest. An easy indicator for correct positioning is "right across from the tickle spot". Meaning that the chest clip should line up with the arm pits.

3. Incorrect harness strap position. For forward facing carseats, the harness straps need to be at or above the shoulders. For rear facing carseats, the harness straps need to be at or below the shoulders.

4. Looseness of straps. Oh em gee. I cannot handle this one. Think "snug as a hug". Tighten those babies up! It's essentially what keeps your child in their seat in the event of a crash.

5. The allowance for tightness is one inch, both side to side and front to back. You can check the tightness by wiggling the seat at the belt path, aka where you put the seat belt through the carseat.

There are so many more hints and tips that I could share, but I will stop... for now. (: These are the most basic ones that I saw a lot of last Saturday.
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