Car Seat Basics Part One: Get Your Seat Checked

Posted on 15. Jun, 2012 by in Auto News

As adults, we can decide whether or not to wear a safety belt, no matter what the law says. But children are our most vulnerable, and they rely on others to make the right choice. I recently became a certified child safety seat installer and learned that most car seats are not installed correctly, and the results can be fatal.

Even something as simple as a twisted strap could hurt the child in an accident, and an improperly secured car seat can have fatal consequences. A 10-pound child is involved in a 30-mph crash 300 pounds force when the child is not properly restrained, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and SafeKids.org. It is not only fatal for the child, but dangerous to the occupants.

I spent 30 hours learning to how to properly install a child safety seat. After days of confusing buckles, belts and latchplates, it is no wonder that parents are struggling. Below are some tips to install and resources to help you, a certified car seat installation technology in your area. So that your child is behaving properly and safely their top priority, and there you should be.

Check your seat by an expert. There are plenty of places to get help for car seat. Many fire departments and police stations have certified car seat installation technicians on hand. Click here to find a certified tech nearby. NHTSA has a new website that is easier to find the right car seat. The agency also encourages parents to register their car seats, so that manufacturers know whom to contact in case of a recall. Look up child seat recalls here.

Latch or belt? Latch – Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children – was prescribed for the model year 2001 vehicles, and it is still the law today. The anchors will make the installation of a child safety seat easily, but with a belt is as safe, if done correctly. Some vehicles "latch systems have weight limits, so always check your owner's manual and the child safety seat manual before installation also hook only one seat, a set of Latch anchors;. Not most anchors rated weight average for the division for by the Insurance Institute. Highway Safety are exceptions to this rule several Ford models: Edge, Escape, Explorer, F-150, Flex, Focus, Fusion and Mustang.

Every vehicle is different. Cars.com installed child safety seats in most cars that we test because they fit differently in each of them. Some rules apply to all vehicles, but:

  • Never install a car seat in the front passenger seat when the vehicle is equipped with a front-seat airbag. The force of the insert could be fatal for the baby. The back seat is always the safest place for a child.
  • The middle seat of the second row is the safest place for a child safety seat, because it is the farthest from impact areas such as windows and doors.
  • If the second row of the middle seat comes on to double as an armrest, it is no longer a safe place for a rear-facing child seat. It could accidentally fold down and hurt the child in an accident.
  • The child safety seat, at least 80% on the bottom seat cushion for it to work properly in an accident be.

Know when to replace the seat. You'll probably end up buying multiple car seats as your child childhood. A new one is required in the following cases:

  • When the child outgrows it in terms of weight or height, it's time for an upgrade. Read the instructions to determine the seat height and weight limits.
  • An accident serious enough to injure passengers and activate means an air bag, it's time to replace your child's safety seat for a new one. Make sure that your insurance company will add a new seat for your claim. In case of a fender bender, the seat is probably OK, but check to be sure it is free of cracks.
  • Getting a used seat is OK, as long as you can absolutely sure his story. If it involved from your sister, and you know that she's never been in an accident, then it's fine. If it from a resale shop, it is a risky purchase. Hard-to-see hairline cracks could undermine the integrity of the seat and render them so in a crash.
  • Expiration dates expire depending on the manufacturer, but the seats usually after six years.

Related
New NHTSA website to help parents choose the right seat
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