Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's
It’s safe to say I haven’t used a car seat in a while. When my daughter was born 14 years ago, I learned about car seats from my parents and now I realize we weren’t as informed as we all thought we were.
As a new mom, I was nervous and not confident with my knowledge of car seats, all I knew was that my daughter needed to be in a rear-facing seat. Like most parents, I transitioned my daughter into a forward-facing car seat when she turned one. Once she was pre-school aged, she was in a booster seat and then to the seat belt. My daughter’s transitional stages from seat to seat were done based on her age and not the seat recommendations itself. Now having been a car seat technician for almost two years, I realized my car seat information was very much outdated and lacking.
New moms and dads want to be prepared for everything that comes with parenthood. As parents, that preparedness comes with wanting to protect our children and we want to ensure that our children are safe. Learning more about how to properly transport our children to and from is where it begins. Education is key, once we learn and know, we do better. Here are some mistakes I have noticed parents/caregivers often make:
- Installing the car seat using both lower anchors and the seatbelt together; most manufacturers do not allow for both to be used at the same time.
- Chest clip not at armpit level; ensuring that the chest clip is not too high or too low
- The harness straps not tightened enough; if you can pinch the straps at the shoulders the harness still needs to be tightened.
- Switching the child to a forward-facing seat too soon; rear-facing seats support the head, neck & back
- Not locking the seatbelt to secure the car seat; check that the seat does not move more than an inch at the belt path
- Adding additional inserts for support; not all manufactures allow for additional inserts that did not come with the car seat or have not been crash tested.
- Not having the seat at the correct angle; rear-facing seats should recline at a 30-45-degree angle, check your car seat’s recline indicator.
As a car seat technician, I can provide education to parents and community members on installations and car seat education with hands on experience. Not every teaching opportunity is the same but helping parents to ensure their child is riding safely and secure in the vehicle is a task that I enjoy taking on.
Most parents don’t know if they are using the incorrect car seat, do you need help choosing the correct seat? To learn more, download our “car seat helper” app available for iPhone and Android available in both English and Spanish.