Did you know that seventy-three percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly? I’ll admit, we found out a while back that we had been making some rookie mistakes when it came to car seat safety. Before you hit the road, check your car seat – it’s crucial that our little ones are fully protected when they’re in the car.
SafeKids.org has a great checklist you can use to make sure you’re following the right steps for installing and using your car seat. In the meantime, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size. Choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.
- Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions; read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
- To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
- Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.
- You may have heard that a child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat, but recommendations are now that children up to age two should remain rear-facing. I know we’re planning to keep baby E rear-facing for two years once she is born! It can seem like an inconvenience, but it’s worth the safety it provides.
- Choose a seat that you can trust. There are a lot of seats on the market, but after a lot of research we decided Britax seats are the best choice for us. They go to great lengths to make sure their seats provide maximum levels of safety, and we feel good knowing our kids are well-protected.