Car Seat Safety-Infant Carrier
Remember when I posted about Booster Seats a couple months back? Well, today I’m going to tackle the infant carrier! Car accidents are a leading cause of death in childhood, which is why I have become so passionate about car seat safety and the reason I became a technician. There are a lot of events in life that are out of our control, but buckling your child up correctly so that they ride safely in the car is not one of them. It’s so important that parents and other caregivers know the correct way to do it. Car accidents happen fast with little to no warning. You won’t have time to jump in the backseat and tighten your child’s harness straps, etc. So every time you buckle up your kiddo, remember these tips to help you ensure that your child is as safe as possible when riding in their car seat.
The harness straps need to rest right at the level of the child’s shoulders or SLIGHTLY below (not in the middle of your child’s back). This harness position will keep your child from riding up or possibly even being ejected from their car seat. Look at the picture on the left. There is a huge gap between the harness height and the baby. A huge gap like that can put the child at risk from being ejected from the car seat in a vehicle crash. You can adjust the harness height on every infant carrier. Refer to your car seat manual as every car seat works differently.
The chest clip. This is one of the most common mistake parents make. They forget to place the chest clip at armpit level and leave the chest clip down over the belly. This is dangerous for a couple of reasons. The chest clip’s job is to keep the harness straps in place so they do not fall down off the shoulders like you see in the middle picture. You probably know what I’m going to say next, right? If the harness straps fall off the child’s shoulders in an accident, the baby can be thrown from the car seat, even if the straps are tight! Remember how those little tiny humans squeeze through the birth canal? Yeah, well those little shoulders will also squeeze right through those harness straps if they are loose and/or the chest clip is not in the right position. You also don’t want that hard plastic over your child’s soft tummy but instead, over their chest where there is bone to protect their vital organs. Baby Quinn is MUCH happier when she’s buckled up right 😉
Harness straps should be tight enough to fit only one finger width between the harness and the baby’s shoulder. If you can pinch up the webbing as shown in the picture on the left, it’s too loose.
No bulky clothing
Can we all just give Quinn a round of applause? She really acted the part in this car seat safety post! Thank you, Quinnie!
Avoid bulky clothing like double layered fleece, snow suits, puffy jackets, etc. Even if you think you have those straps really tight, the force of the vehicle crash will compress all of that fluff that is between your child and the harness straps, leaving a huge gap and the perfect escape route! Instead, keep your child buckled in thin layered clothing and cover them with a nice warm blanket and a hat! The hat is huge. We lose most of our heat from our head so cover that noggin up and keep it warm! If you are on the fence whether a piece of clothing is too thick or not, go ahead and buckle them up in the clothing, tightening the harness straps and all. Take your child out of the car seat without loosening the harness, take them out of the garment and put them back in the car seat. Buckle them up and see how loose the straps are. Are they still snug? Can you pinch up a bunch of extra webbing? If the harness straps are still snug and you can fit one finger between the harness and your baby’s shoulder then the item is safe to wear in the car seat. See the picture below.
I did just that. I didn’t loosen the harness straps from the picture above and I took Quinn out of her double layered fleece jumpsuit and buckled her back into the car seat. See how huge of a gap that is? The impact from the vehicle crash would have compressed all of that fluff and this huge gap is what would have been left. Last year the Today Show did a segment on Car Seat Safety. Check out this short clip about the dangers of winter coats in car seats.
I hope this didn’t come across as “parent shaming” and I certainly hope you don’t feel like I just scolded you. This just happens to be life-saving information that I want to share with everyone because there are a lot of caregivers who just don’t know any better. I don’t want any parent to be in a position where they say “I wish someone would have told me…..”
We have a 90% misuse rate in Walla Walla County. In other words, there are a lot of children riding around in cars who at risk for serious injury or worse. It’s a personal goal of mine to reach out to parents and caregivers so they aren’t part of this statistic.
Share this post with your friends and family! Pin it to your Pinterest boards and check out this post if you have older children! The car seat used in this post is an Uppababy Mesa and you can check it out by clicking on my affiliate link or read this post to understand why I love this car seat SO MUCH! Thanks for reading! Be safe!