Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Car Seat Safety

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Car Seat Safety
Car Seat Safety Week The Right Seat NHTSA - Harper Mondays

September is a time for a lot of things – though some went back in August, it marks the month for back to school for many of us. It is also that one month that gives us the transition from Summer to Fall – depending on where you live, the weather isn’t quite hot, but it also isn’t too cool yet either. But September is also a very important month for another reason – Child Passenger Safety Week. And while we should all ALWAYS be conscientious about child and other passenger safety; this week signifies a time that we can spread the message to everyone in mass!

This year, Child Passenger Safety Week will run from September 17-23. With more than 1000 events are expected in 45 states across the country to raise awareness for proper car seat installation and usage, this is a great time to brush up on car seat safety tips and make sure your child is in the right seat, with the right fit and installation.  

For most of us, grabbing our gear and running out the door and hoping in the car is an everyday occurrence. Maybe you are headed to work, a play date, or on vacation – but we spend a lot of times in our cars. When we have little ones, we put them in their car seat and buckle them up without a second thought to whether or not they are in the right seat. We trust that they are safe – and we go on our way.

Did you know that every 33 seconds a child under 13 is involved in a car crash in the United States?

Car seats, if used correctly, can dramatically reduce the risk of fatality or injury. But over half of car seats are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness and 1 in 3 children killed in car crashes are completely unrestrained at the time of the crash.

Can you imagine? Thinking that your child is in the right car seat, only to find out that they aren’t!

Buying your first car seat is terrifying not only because of the prices but because you want to get the safest seat out there for your new baby. When I was pregnant with Harper, I researched for hours the different brands and restrictions for car seat safety.

My car seat buying checklist included:

  1. Ranking car seat brands by recalls in the last five years
  2. Solo car seat vs. travel system pros and cons
  3. Brand prices lowest to highest
  4. Brands with the highest height and weight limits for the infant carrier

Maybe my car seat buying checklist isn’t the most conventional, but these were all VERY IMPORTANT details for me to consider. I didn’t want to commit to a brand that was issuing recalls yearly or buy a seat just because it’s the cheapest one I could find. In my frugal yet foggy pregnant mind, I wanted a seat that we could get our money out of without losing any of the conveniences of an infant carrier. Harper was anticipated to be a larger baby (born at 9lbs 3oz), so I had no idea what her rate of growth would be after she was born! Lucky for us, she decided that she was going to be a long, slender baby that didn’t push any of the height or weight limits of her car seat until she was almost 18 months old. After her first birthday, we did it all over again and purchased a convertible car seat that is going to last her until she is ready for a seat belt.

At that point, it was up to me to find the best seat that would last her the rest of her child safety seat riding days. I didn’t have someone at the hospital to check the seat or a trove of mothers that were spouting off recommendations at any given second. I wasn’t a “new mom” anymore, and I had to delve into the car seat manual and do my research. A great first stop for all new parents is one of my favorite resources, NHTSA.gove/TheRightSeat, a one stop learning experience complete with videos on car seat and booster seat installation and super helpful guides to find the right seat for your child based on their size and their age. We even have the luxury of many fire stations in our area offering safety seat checks so that the new seat could be installed correctly. Imagine my elation when a certified car seat installation tech affirmed that I had installed our car seat correctly all thanks to The Right Seat!

The week concludes with “Seat Check Saturday,” where Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will help parents and caregivers make sure their car seats are installed correctly. In most cases, this service is FREE.

Here’s a video that has been helpful for me:

To make sure you have the right seat for your child, visit NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat, or find a Child Passenger Safety Week event in your area. During Child Passenger Safety Week, many communities will have Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on-hand to provide education on how to use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts for children. To find events near you, including free car seat checks, visit bit.ly/CPSTech.

The Right Seat NHTSA - Harper Mondays

*According to 2015 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The is a social good post on behalf of NHTSA.

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