Monday, September 8, 2014

Child Car Seat Safety Tips

Most people believe their child safety seats are properly installed, but many may be shocked to know that there's a good chance they aren't. There's a lot more to properly installing child safety seats than most people know. Below are a few safety tips to ensure that your child is properly protected.

Car Seat Safety Tips
When installing a child safety seat into a vehicle, press all of your body weight onto the safety seat, then tighten the seat belt. Once the seat belt is fastened and the safety seat is installed, shake the safety seat to make sure it does not move more than an inch in any direction. Give the seat belt a firm pull every time you're about to place your child in the safety seat to make sure the seat belt is still securely fastened.

Some vehicles require locking clips to safely install a safety seat in the vehicle. Your owner's manual will inform you if one should be used. The locking clip should be placed ½ inch from the seat belt latch.

The absolute safest place for a child's safety seat to be installed is in the back of the vehicle, away from any active airbags. All children under 20 pounds, despite their age, must face backwards. The seat should be secured at a 45 degree angle in the back seat. You can roll towels tightly and place them underneath the safety seats base to achieve this angle.

Tether straps should be used when using a forward facing safety seat. Most vehicles come standard with tether anchorage points. The tether straps are attached in the back of the child's safety seat. Attach the tether straps to the tether anchorage points in the back of the vehicle, as stated in the vehicle's owner's manual. Tighten the tethers until the safety seat is snug against the car seat.

To make sure your child is secured safely in the safety seat, you're going to want to check the safety seat's harness. If your child is facing forward in the car, the harness straps should either meet the child's shoulders or be no more than an inch above the shoulders.

If your child is facing the back of the vehicle, the safety seat's harness should also meet or be no more than an inch below the child's shoulders.

The safety harness should be tight enough to only allow one finger between the harness and the child's chest. The harness should never contain a twist and should always lie flat. The chest clips should be securely fastened at the child's armpit level.

Children under the age of 8 are required to ride in booster seats. In order for an adult seat belt to work effectively on a child, a booster seat is required. The shoulder belt should not be on the child's neck or face, but firmly across their chest. The lap belt should go across the child's hips and not the legs or abdomen.

Now that you have learned a few tips to safely install your child's safety seat, you can drive confidently knowing you have done everything you can to properly protect your child in case of an accident.

If you're still concerned, many local fire departments and police departments offer free training for properly installing car seats and will often check to ensure it's installed correctly.

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