Are You Using Your Child’s Car Seat Correctly?

Parents and kids spend a lot of time in cars getting from home to school, school to playdates, playdates to errands, and so forth. While accidents and injuries can happen anywhere, there’s a lot we can do to minimize those that take place in the car.


You cannot control the actions of other drivers, but by answering some simple questions you can ensure that if you do get into a crash your car seat is being used in the safest manner. Checking the answers to these will go a long way toward providing your family protection and peace of mind!


Is the car seat properly installed?


Proper installation can make all the difference if you get into a crash. Tether and anchor systems for car seats have been standard in cars since the early 2000s, so if you have a vehicle with these available, use them. While simply threading the seat belt through the car seat may seem secure while your car is at rest, during a high-velocity crash it is the tether and anchor system that will keep the seat from rocking around dangerously or coming loose.


Is the chest clip placed appropriately?


Experts say this is one of the most common car seat mistakes. Many parents assume that the sliding chest clip belongs down near the child’s stomach or pelvis. In fact, the buckle should be placed over the child’s ribcage. Slide it up or down until it is even with the armpits. Then, tighten the straps until the fit is secure and you cannot pinch any excess from the straps.


Has your child outgrown their car seat?


Car seats have weight limits based upon the size, structure, and materials of the seat. Check around the base or bottom of the seat for a manufacturer’s sticker telling you what weight range the seat is made for. If the sticker has come off or is illegible, look the model of the car seat up online to check. As soon as your child reaches the limit, the seat is no longer appropriate and it’s time to buy a larger one.


Have you removed any blankets or bulky coats before buckling them in?


Winter coats and blankets interfere with the safety of a car seat if placed between your child and the seat. Always remove coats prior to buckling up. In a crash, a coat or blanket can compress quickly, making the straps loose and allowing a child to slip out of a seat and into the interior of the car. Once they are strapped in, you can safely drape a coat or blanket over them.


If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact Steinberg Injury Lawyers today at 800-989-6385 for a free case evaluation.


Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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