Top 5 Car Seat Safety Tips

This post has been sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own.

Did you know car accidents are the leading cause of preventable death in children? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, combining all unintentional injury deaths among those between 0 and 19 years of age, motor vehicle traffic-related deaths are the leading cause. Knowing this makes it extremely important to follow the recommend car seat safety guidelines to keep children safe and protected. There are several important factors to keep in mind with car seat safety but listed below are my top 5 favorite tips.

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1. Follow the Proper Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics as well as state laws offer the standards to follow regarding car seat safety. In addition to these guidelines it is important to follow the guidelines given by the manufacturer for the specific car seat you have chosen.The most important standards to remember include:

  • Keep your child in a rear facing seat until they are at least 2 years of age or are the highest height or weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Children 2 years or older or those younger than 2 who have outgrown rear facing weight or height limits for their car seat should use a forward facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible up to the highest weight or height allowed by car seat manufacturer.
  • Children whose weight or height is above the forward facing limit for their car seat should use a belt positioning booster seat until vehicle lap and shoulder belt fits them properly.

2. Car Seat Installation Safety Check

When installing your child’s car seat, the manufacturer instructions must be followed precisely. Test to make sure your car seat is installed properly by confirming that the seat fits snugly in your car and does not move back and forth or side to side more than one inch in any direction. Additionally, ensure the harnesses are not loose or twisted and chest clips are at the level of your child’s armpit. Cars.com is an incredible and trusted resource for information regarding car seat safety and installation. They offer several articles and videos that take the difficulty out of getting your car seat installed correctly as well as simple solutions to various issues parents may experience. Many of the featured videos even include how to install car seats into specific car models which is very helpful. Cars.com Honor Roll is another informative offering that recognizes the cars they’ve tested during the last year that have ample room for at least two car seats and have Latch anchors that make car-seat installation easier. Most importantly, you can be confident in their provided information as certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests on various cars Latch systems and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats.

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3. Place Car Seat in the Center of Backseat

Studies show the center of the backseat is the safest place for your child’s car seat (newborn-3 years). This is because  in a side impact collision, the center seat doesn’t take a direct hit and there’s less for the child to hit his/her head on in this position.

4. Check Expiration Date

Car seats are stamped by the manufacturer with an expiration date typically found on the bottom or sides of the seat. Utilizing a seat beyond this specified date it is unsafe for your child, as the materials of the seat break down over time. Additionally, standards for car seats change over time so an expired seat may not be up to proper safety guidelines.

5. Remove Bulky Clothes or Coats

Another safety concern is bulky clothing and coats when temperature begin to decline. These items must be removed before your child gets into his/her car seat in order to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. The reasoning behind this is the harness straps may be too loose to properly protect your child in a crash.

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