Baby Safety Month – Car Seat Safety Tip
September is Baby Safety Month, championed by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This month aims to help educate parents and caregivers on the safe selection and use of children's products while encouraging those around us to become safety ambassadors. As a family-focused law firm, we are committed to doing everything possible to keep your family safe, especially our youngest family members. To help you review and reinforce the best practices to keep your little one safe, Meyers & Flowers will be posting baby safety tips each week this September. This week’s Baby Safety Month tip:
4 Car Seat Rules Every Parent Should Know
One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your children out of harm’s way when riding in a vehicle. Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable death and injuries to children in the United States. Proper use of car safety seats can help keep your child safe.
A car seat is most effective when it’s used and installed properly. Yet more than half of car seats are not set up correctly. We would like to remind family members and caregivers to take a good look at their child’s car seat to make sure it follows these basic rules:
1) Select the right car seat. The type of seat your child needs depends on several things, including your child’s age, weight, height, and development. Buy and use the seat that fits your child now.
2) Use your car seat in the correct direction. Rear-facing is safer than forward-facing. You’re your child is rear-facing, his or her, head and neck are better supported during an accident. In a crash, everyone moves toward the front of the car in an aggressive motion. A rear-facing baby will move into the back of his or her car seat letting the car seat absorb the force of the impact.
Experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend children remain rear-facing until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Convertible seats now have rear-facing weight limits of 35-50 pounds meaning they can accommodate most kids until at least 3 rear-facing. Parents are often concerned with their child’s long legs, but it’s both safe and comfortable for a rear-facing child to sit with their legs off to the side, cross-legged, or frog-legged.
3) Install properly. Experts are available to help you install your car seat, but if you opt to install the seat yourself make sure to pay close attention to the instructions as they vary on the model. Once you have found the best position in the second row of your car, there are two ways to secure a car seat in a vehicle.
You can either use a seat belt or latch – both are safe but do not use both at the same time. Those choosing to use a seat belt will place the belt through the car seat at the belt path and buckle. While those using a lower anchor or tether will attach the strap at the top of the seat to an anchor in the back of the vehicle. Every forward-facing car seat should be latched.
To check if the product is correctly set up, give it a good shake to test if it slides. A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
Click here to watch a video on how to secure your car seat. See below for more information about expert installation on Saturday, September 25.
4) Know when to change your seat. Look at the car seat label to ensure your child is still within the weight, height, and age limits for the seat. Don’t be in a rush to swap out your toddler’s seat. As we previously discussed, the longer your child is comfortable riding rear-facing the better. After your child outgrows the rear-facing seat, you can then turn the convertible seat forward-facing, or use a forward-facing only seat with a 5-point harness and top latch. From there your child will transition to a booster seat.
Click here to learn what to do with your old car seats.
Every year thousands of children are unnecessarily injured in car accidents that could have been prevented had their car seats been used correctly. If you or your child is hurt in a collision our attorneys are prepared to represent your family. The Meyers & Flowers car accident litigation team combines years of experience in complex automobile litigation with the use of modern technology to achieve the best possible results for every client.