Car Seat Safety Guide

Posted by Tracey Valade on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 Under: Educational
Hello!

About a year ago I posted a blog on car seat safety. At the time I was not a trained technician. Now I am! So I am posting a slightly updated, more informative blog to car seats! All the children's photos in this have been used with permission from the parents or guardians and I've removed some faces for privacy reasons. Feel free to ask me anything, or let me know if you need help installing your seats!


CHILD RESTRAINT SAFETY GUIDE by Darolotty's

Rear-Facing – Infant Seat


Important things to remember

It is 5 times safer for a child to be rear-facing in a car!
• The harness must be snug against the child. If you can pinch the seat straps at the shoulder/collar bone area while the child is in the seat, it's too loose!
• Snug means no winter coats or snowsuits that cause you to adjust the straps bigger. This also means nothing behind the infant, like the snug-a-bye bunting bags with thick backing. Nothing should interfere with the positioning of straps.
• The bottom clip should come from behind the child, not in front of them. This is to prevent slouching. If you're unable to get the belt close enough to prevent this use a rolled blanket in a U-shape between baby and strap. This is the only time it is ever recommended to use something.
• The shoulder straps should be below or at the child's shoulder, not above.
• The chest clip goes on the chest. Not the stomach, not the neck.
• Rear facing in an infant seat starts at newborn and goes to the maximum weight and height for that seat – not necessarily one year of age for all seats and all children, but no child under one year, 22lbs and walking unassisted should be forward facing.
• The infant seat should be on a 45 degree angle at all times, most seats have an angle adjuster or a line to show the right angle.
• Car seats should only be used in a car unless used with a stroller combination to ensure proper angle and child safety.
• Car seats should not go on the top of shopping carts, on high flat surfaces, on beds, or on sofas.
• Remember that car seats do expire! Check your expiration date.
• It is illegal in Ontario to purchase and use a used car seat in a vehicle that does not meet the 2012 requirements.
• Never put a child in a rear-facing (or other) seat in the front seat of a car! Under 12 – back seat is the best place.





Rear-Facing – Convertible Seat w/ 5pt Harness


Important things to remember
It is 5 times safer for a child to be rear-facing in a car!
• The harness must be snug against the child. If you can pinch the seat straps while the child is in the seat, it's too loose!
• Snug means no winter coats or snowsuits that cause you to adjust the seat bigger. This also means nothing behind the child.
• The bottom clip should come from behind the child, not in front of them.
• The shoulder straps should be below or at the child's shoulder, not above.
• The chest clip goes on the chest. Not the stomach, not the neck.
• Rear facing in an infant seat starts at newborn and goes to the maximum weight and height for that seat – not necessarily one year of age for all seats and all children. The minimum rear-facing limit in Ontario is 22 pounds, walking unassisted, and one year of age. This does NOT mean you have to turn your child once they meet these requirements, there is no MAX age or weight limit by law, only by seat. You can rear-face a child up to 50lbs with some seats.
• World health organizations suggest to rear face a child until at least 2 years of age.
• Longer is better as long as the seat allows. Check the owner's manual and writing on the car seat at purchase.
• Remember that car seats do expire! Check your expiration date.
• Remember when travelling to check the laws of the state or province you are travelling to as some states and provinces are different when it comes to car seat requirements.
• It is illegal to sell, buy or use a used car seat in Ontario, or use one purchased in the United States or other countries.
• Your child is safe to rear-face in a convertible seat until they have reached the limit or they are one inch from the top of the shell.




Forward Facing – 5pt Harness Seat


Important things to remember: This is because they do not have strong enough neck muscles or bones to stop them from serious injury or even death in the event of even a minor collision.
• No child under the weight limit for the seat's requirements should be placed in a forward facing position. Always follow the manual with your seat.
• Make sure straps are snug against the child, if you can pinch the straps while the child is in the seat it's too loose.
• Winter coats and snow suits should not be used in a harness seat, even when forward facing. Nothing that causes you to have to adjust the straps should be used.
• The shoulder straps should be at or above the child's shoulder.
• The chest clip should be at the child's chest level, not on the stomach.
• Make sure to read the owner's manual to get specifics on the weight and height limit of your seat. Different seats have different limits.
• You do NOT have to put your child in a booster seat because they are 40 pounds, 40 inches. This is the minimum requirement for using a booster seat, not the MAX. You can still use your harness seat until your child outgrows it, and often you can buy a seat with higher limits if you do not feel your child is ready for a booster seat yet.
• Remember when travelling to check the laws of the state or province you are travelling to as some states and provinces are different when it comes to car seat requirements.
• It is illegal to sell, buy or use a used car seat in Ontario that does not meet 2012 regulations, or use one purchased in the United States or other countries.




Forward Facing – Booster Seat

Important things to remember

• Just because your child meets the minimum requirements to use a booster seat does not mean they are physically, or mentally ready. The minimum is 40 pounds, 40 inches and/or 4 years.
• A child must be able to sit correctly in the booster seat at all times – this means no moving the seat belt off shoulders, no slouching (especially while sleeping), ect.
• A child's knees should be at or over the end of the booster/car's seat.
• It is best to use a high back booster seat to help with proper positioning. The shoulder belt should be on the shoulder, not the neck of the child. The lap belt must be on the lap of the child, not the stomach or lower legs of the child, and it must stay there.
• If there is no head rest in the car, you MUST use high back booster seat.
• Practice a few times with a booster seat before you totally move your child to the seat, especially if planning a long car ride.
• A child must be in a booster seat until 8 years old, and/or 4ft9in tall and/or 80lbs. This does not mean you cannot keep a child in a booster (high back or not) longer then 8 years old if they are not ready physically or mentally. If they reach weight and height limits before 8, try finding a higher limit booster. Some go to 100 pounds!
• Placing the shoulder belt behind your child's back or under the arm is not only an unsafe practice but it is also a chargeable offence. In a crash, these children are likely to jackknife forward over the lap belt causing serious injury.
• Always follow the manufacturer's instruction manual.
• Booster seats expire too, check your seat!
• You cannot use a booster seat if the vehicle does not have both the lap belt and shoulder belt.
• Never put a child in a booster (or any other) seat in the front seat of a car! Under 12 – back seat is safest!




Installing Car Seats & Other Important Notes


Important things to remember

• Make sure none of the harness straps on your child's seat are twisted and they are sitting properly before every trip.
• Each child under the age of 8 must be in a car seat or booster seat, according to age and weight. Do not leave a child without a seat just because there is not enough room in the vehicle for that seat to be installed. Use another vehicle or make more than one trip. Or walk!
• Each seat should be installed independently of each other. If you remove a seat and another or more than one of the other seats moved, they are too close together and need to be adjusted or removed.
• If you are using a seat in a forward facing position you MUST use a tether strap behind the seat. If you have a vehicle that does not have the hook, contact your manufacturer as they usually can install them for free.
• When installing a seat, you must have less then one inch of movement at the belt path. IF you can remove the padding there the belt installs, pull from there to get a tighter installation. Push with your knees into the back of the seat too, and down on the sides of the seat.
• Car seats should not move more then one inch from side to side or from front to back. Use locking clips if needed to keep the seat in place if you do not have a locking seat belt.
• If you are using a seat belt, make sure the seat belt is not twisted and is locked.
• You should not use the seat belt and the latch system together.
• Make sure to remove any large or hard objects from your vehicle before you drive. In collisions, these can become projectiles, and injure your child or you! Put them in a secured spot or the trunk. Booster seats can also become projectiles when not in use, so buckle them up too!
• In winter time, use a fleece jacket, unzip or remove winter coats. Use a shawl or blanket if the child is cold and warm up the car beforehand when possible.
• When a child is old enough to buckle themselves in, you should still do a visual check to make sure everything is in place, and do a physical check often to make sure the belt is not too loose, or too tight on the child.




 DO NOT USE A CAR SEAT WHEN...


  • The car seat has been in a vehicle during a collision. Even going 5km/hr can cause internal damages to the seat.

  • Dropping a seat from a height of 3ft or more is considered a collision, and can cause internal damages to the seat.

  • All stickers should be visible and still on the seat when used. If your child removes it, tape it on until you can replace the seat.

  • Do not use a car seat that is expired! Contact manufacturers if you're unsure of when yours does. The materials used in your seat break down over time from sun, heat, cold and moisture exposure as well as use. It is not going to be safe, no matter how tell you've installed it.

  • All Canadian seats require a Canadian sticker to be on the seat as well as all other intructional stickers. Do not use a seat without them!

  • Canadian seats require a chest clip. Do not use your seat if this is missing!




Adult Seat for Older Children (Aprox age 8-12 yrs)

Follow this guide! When you child can pass these steps in every vehicle they are ready to come out of the booster seat as long as they reached the minimum weight (80lns) or height (4ft9in)


In : Educational 


Tags: car seat  child restraint  technician  safe  booster seat  five step test  guide  best practice  safety  help  crst 

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About Me


Owner of Darolotty's. Mother to 3 young children and wife. Believer in stength, love, compassion and passion.

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