As a parent, keeping your child safe in the car is your responsibility. You know you need a car seat. Maybe you already have one. However, you can hear a lot of conflicting things from a lot of different people about car seat safety. How can you be sure that your baby is as safe as possible while riding in the car, especially when faced with the possibility of a car accident? Here are a few tips to ensure that you do everything you can to protect your child.
Don’t put your child in the front seat.
Car seats are made for the back seat, and putting your child in the passenger seat puts them right in front of an air bag in the event of a crash. While air bags are made to protect adults, they can harm a child.
If your child is under a year old or below 22 pounds, have them face the rear.
Infants in their first year of life or any child below 22 pounds should have their car seat situated in a way that allows them to face the rear. If your car seat’s directions differ from this, it will be in the manual, so make sure you read the guidelines that come with your child’s car seat.
Double-check the safety belt and harness.
Both the car seat and your child should be snug, so make sure that the belt is holding the seat tightly in place and its passenger is buckled in with only one finger’s worth of room under the harness.
Children who are too big for a car seat should use a booster seat.
If your child is more than 40 pounds but their knees aren’t long enough to bend over the edge of the seat, they aren’t quite big enough to just wear a seat belt, so employ the use of a booster seat until the seat belt is snug enough.
If you are still concerned about car seat safety, there are most likely local technicians who will inspect your car seat to ensure that it’s properly installed, or possibly even classes at a community center near you for the purpose of teaching new parents how to use a car seat.