Safety remains your first priority as a parent. Whether you have one or a dozen kids, follow several car seat safety tips and protect your growing family.
Use a Rear-Facing Seat for as Long as Possible
Infants always sit in a rear-facing car seat to protect their legs, spine and brain. However, even after your child grows into a convertible seat, keep him facing backward until he’s at least two years old for maximum safety.
Ensure Safety in Front-Facing Seats
When you decide to place your child in a front-facing car seat, utilize a tether strap. It secures to your vehicle’s top tether anchor, available in most vehicles sold in the U.S. since 2000, and decreases your child’s head movement during a crash.
Secure harness straps protect kids and won’t cause pain. To ensure the straps are tight enough, check them before each trip. Only one finger should fit under the harness by your child’s collarbone.
Ask a Technician to Check Installation
A certified installation technician can ensure the proper installation of your car seat. Schedule a free check every time you install a new seat or move the car seat to a different vehicle.
Use a Booster Seat Properly
To use a booster seat, your child should be at least four years old, weigh 40 pounds and sit without slouching or playing with the seat belt. Even if your child is not mature enough for a booster seat until he’s six, that’s okay because you want your child to be safe.
Alternatively, keep your child in a booster seat until she can sit in the regular seat with the lap belt resting across her lower hips, even if that doesn’t happen until she’s 12 years old.
Track the Car Seat’s Expiration Date
The plastic material in a car seat becomes brittle over time, so car seats include an expiration date. Whether you use the car seat for one or multiple kids, know its expiration date and retire your car seat on time.
Replace the Car Seat After an Accident
After an accident, a car seat absorbs force from the crash. Typically, it must be replaced, but you can check your car seat’s manufacturer for details.
Beware of Used Car Seats
Unless you’re 100 percent certain about the car seat’s history, don’t purchase or use a used car seat. Your child’s safety must remain your first priority regardless of the financial cost.
Car seat safety protects your child, so follow these tips as you install and use your car seat properly. For additional tips on car seat and overall driving safety, contact your auto insurance agent.