We all try to find the best car seat for our little owns. Most of the time we choice one based on personal prefrence as well as safety. But how many of us are taking the time to properly install them. A few years ago I responded with my FIre Dept to a car accident that involved a 4 month old child. the car the child was riding in was rear ended by some moron talking on a cell phone and not paying attention. Car seats are designed to protect our little ones in the event of an accident, but only if they are installed correctly. The mother of this young infant didnt take the time to read the instructions, and the seat was facing forward, in the front seat and not buckled in correctly. Needless to say it didnt end well. They infant should have "walked away" from the accident istead The mother had to bury her child as well as face charges. Today is the anniversary of that day and now that I am having my own child it haunts me even more and I am sure it haunts the mother of the child. So today as you take your children out I urge to recheck those seats, you could never be too careful, please.
Good advice, Firebabe! In my area, the local paper featured a horrible car accident on the front page. 9 people were in an SUV and the mommy want paying attention. She drifted over a little into the left lane, and when she realized what was happening, she jerked the wheel to move back over in her lane. That motion cause the SUV to flip over. Thankfully there were no deaths, but they found two children sharing a seatbelt, and one that should have been in a carseat. Im sure she will be in deep poo-poo because her vehicle was not supposed to have that many people.
This world will never cease to amaze me.
For reasons just like this I strap both my babies into their appropriate carseats (DD 26 mos and DS 6 mos) I use their latch systems and strap the seatbelts through. Something like that is one of my worst nightmares... and soemthing that is completely under my control.
I have to add to firebabe's post and reitterate the need to read through each carseat's manual. Is the seat properly installed (there are places to have this checked if you're unsure). Do you know the child size limits for the seat? Is the harness snug and fitted into the proper strap holes? Do you know that in most, if not all carseats, the strap needs to be at or below the baby's shoulders for rear facing and at or just above their shoulders for forward facing? If you don't have a latch system, do you need to be using an I-clip? If someone else is caring for them, do they know how to properly install the seat and buckle your child in? Sometimes we think that we are above tragedies like these, but it can happen to any of us in the blink of an eye. Please take the time to insure that your child is protected in any vehicle they are riding in. Firebabe- thank you for the reminder to us all.
Another thing I will add, Police officers frown on improperly installed car seats as well as children not in one. A friend of mine went through a routine traffic stop and got busted for not having her 2year, and 4 year old in car seats at all. (her in NY the age limit is 7 years old for car seats) She also has 4 people in the back seat of her car, and her 9 month old in the front seat. She got a total of 7 tickets, was made to pull over and wait for someone to pick her up. She was also charged with 3 counts of endangering the welfare of a minor. Her insurance company dropped her from their policy and she hasn't been able to get any insurance since (its been a year) She had well over $2000 in fines for the tickets.
The best trick I've heard to get a car seat installed correctly (so that it is tight enough) is to face it and put your knee (and your weight) in it while you strap it in. It gives you good leverage to pull all the straps/belts tight enough.
I've always used both the latches and the seat belt. And if it wiggles even the littlest bit I yank on the belts and straps until I can barely make it budge.
What's the word on where to put it in the backseat? I have her facing forward (she's 14 mo.) in the center of the backseat of a Hyundai Elantra (small family car), b/c I'm nervous about putting her on the side in the case of an accident. But when we've used my husband's Explorer, I can't get into the car with her in my hands well enough to get her to the middle so we put her on the side (I then proceed to drive like a granny). What's preferred?
With our first daughter, we had her in the middle of the backseat of our Honda Civic, but once our second daugher was born, both of them had to go on the sides.
The middle would generally be the safest as long as the seat can be properly buckled in. Some middle seats are not meant to use the latch system (check the vehicle manual). In older vehicles with only a lap belt in the middle seat, you may have more difficulty getting the seat buckled securely. A lot can depend on the car and the carseat, as they all fit differently. Like Liana mentioned, usually you have to use the outside seats to fit two carseats properly unless you have a wide vehicle.
One or the other, ktejmommy & Kaiya - NEVER, EVER install a carseat using both LATCH and seatbelts. That can be deadly - no manual approves this, no carseat technician approves this, and no seat was ever safety tested this way.Originally Posted by Kaiya23
If you would go to a carseat check, your installations would be among the 85% that fail because they are installed properly - PLEASE fix them!!!
Please read: http://babyproducts.about.com/od/car...f/LATCH_SB.htm
"Car seats are designed to handle crash forces in specific ways....Putting two installation belts through the same belt path could put stress on the car seat shell from two different angles during a crash, causing breakage." <--and thus causing your child to be ejected.
Last edited by nathaliehanna; 08-01-2008 at 12:51 PM.
i just had my carseat done my the state police tech. he actually recommended not using the latch systme in my car but rather the seatbelt. I am all about installing carseat safely. and even though the owners manual was clear and i could have done it safely i was still paranoid. my dad (who is extremely active in the fire service) insisted upon it.
Last edited by firebabe; 08-02-2008 at 12:18 AM. Reason: opps