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May 13, 2009  

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Baby Car Seats - Articles

Am I Using My Baby Car Seat Correctly?

By learning to correctly install and use their baby car seat, parents can protect their kids from unnecessary injuries in case of an accident. Every year many kids get injured in car accidents because their car seats are not installed properly in place. Parents need to make sure that the baby car seat is secured correctly before they put the baby inside. Here are some points to allow parents to make sure that they are using their baby car seat properly:

Position for shoulder and lap belt for booster cat seats – Instructions for securing the baby in the car seat should always be followed strictly. For kids riding in a booster car seat, you should never tuck the shoulder belt under your child’s arm or behind your child’s back in an attempt to prevent it from running across your child’s neck. Instead, use belt padding if you feel that the shoulder belt is hurting your baby. Similarly, make sure that the lap belt fits snugly on your child’s thighs instead of running across the stomach.

Recline angle for your infants car seat – All infant car seats come with a recline angle to let you move around with your baby in a comfortable position. This recline angle allows infants and small babies to travel in the infant car seat in a laying position, as they are too young to sit up and travel. If the recline angle is set at an angle more than 45 degrees from vertical, it can cause your baby to fall forward, disrupting his or her breathing.

Position of harness straps for infants – For infants and small kids, the harness straps should be located slightly below the infant’s shoulders when your child travels in rear facing position. As your child grows and shifts to a convertible car seat in forward facing position, the harness straps should be located at or slightly above your child’s shoulders using the top set of harness slots available. This will hold your child’s shoulders and upper body in place in case of a crash or accident.

Use the correct seat for your baby – This is also another point over-looked by most parents. There are special baby car seats available to help you move different aged children around. For example, you should start with an infant car seat for your new born, move to a convertible car seat when your child weighs between 20 and 40 pounds and then shift to a booster car seat. Similarly, if your baby is born premature, the best car seat to use for him to go home in would be a crash tested car bed or an infant car seat in which the baby has been observed sitting in at the hospital. This is important because premature babies allowed to travel in an infant car seat can have an affect on their heart rate or breathing. Dependable Car Seats can help you choose the correct car seat for your child.

Placement and positioning of the baby car seat – This is another important issue which should not be over looked. Infant car seats should always be installed in rear facing position at the back seat of the vehicle. Similarly, convertible car seats should also be installed at the back seat, in rear or forward facing position, instead of in the front seat of a car which has a passenger side air bag. Booster car seats should also be installed on the back seat of the vehicle in forward facing position.

Movement of the seat after installation – Once the car seat has been installed in place, you should check it to make sure that it does wiggle more than an inch. Seats which are LATCH equipped are easy to install, and those that use the vehicles seat belt to install in place may require a locking clip to make them tight enough. You should always keep extra locking clips with you to use in case of an emergency.

Harness straps – Just like you have to make sure that the seat is not moving around when installed, you also have to make sure that the harness straps fit your baby properly. They should not be loosely fitted to let your child get out of the car seat easily. Similarly, there should not be any slack in the harness and they should fit snug and tight. The harness clip should also be properly positioned, which should be at the level of your child’s armpits.

Following simple instructions can help parents travel around with their child safely in any vehicle. Always make sure that you install the baby car seat correctly and use it as directed in the instructions manual.


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