A good number of mums use the car seat, but how well do we use it? We’ve listed the most common car seat mistakes and how to fix them.
Mistake #1: Using the wrong seat for your child’s age, height or weight- Don’t try to stretch an infant seat. If it no longer fits, it no longer fits. You can’t use an infant seat for a toddler. If you don’t want to buy 2 car seats, go for a convertible car seat.
Mistake #2: Not installing your car seat correctly- I see a lot of car seats installed incorrectly, and very few done right. This means most of us are driving around town with seats that could be more dangerous than not using one at all. Read your car seat’s manual and follow the directions.
Mistake #3: Fitting the harness incorrectly- Think of your child’s car seat as a parachute that slows her fall and cushions her landing in a crash. The harness should fit very snugly to your child’s body. Your parenting instinct tells you it will be better loose. But making it snug is a much safer choice, and not uncomfortable.The chest clip should be even with the armpits. Remember, it’s a chest clip- it goes on the chest, not the tummy.
Mistake #4: Facing your child forward too soon- Most of us agree rear facing is best for 0-12months, but we are scared. We want to see our babies through the rear-view mirror. Some say ‘my baby prefers the forward one…’ Oya tell me, has your baby never cried in a forward-facing position? Babies are safest when they are rear facing. The chances of being in a collision are slim. In a rear facing car seat, the stress on the child’s neck is minimised when a collision occurs. A baby’s neck muscles are not yet strong enough to withstand the force of a collision. A lot of mothers are so distressed by crying they turn car seats forward facing. For me, the risks of spinal injury outweigh a few weeks of crying, so whilst it may be tempting, turning the car seat shouldn’t be considered lightly. Also, active babies/toddlers don’t like to sit happily in the car for long period of time, no matter which way they are facing. Toddlers are curious by nature and want to run around and explore their world, something which car seats (whether rear-facing or forward-facing) don’t allow. To get your child to sit happily in his rear-facing car seat, you are going to need to put in a little effort, but I can guarantee that the pay off is worth it for both of you.
Mistake #5: Not using the tether- You know that long strap that always gets stuck in car doors and under your feet when you’re moving your car seat around? That annoying guy is a lifesaver. Get your car seat’s manual, and install the tether according to both sets of directions.
Mistake #6: Parents not wearing their seat belts- Be a good example to your kids. The car doesn’t move until EVERYONE is belted in.
Mistake #7: Not using the car seat every time- “Let me quickly get groceries down the road… It’s not far. “ Remember that your kid’s safety is more important than saving a little time. It’s either you do the right thing, or leave the kids at home.
Mistake #8: Letting kids sit in the front seat too soon- You know enough to never use a car seat in the front, but wouldn’t having your older child with you be nice? The front seat is not a safe choice for a child. So, keep them safely buckled up in the back seat. If there’s an accident, the child has a smaller chance of hitting the windscreen.