How To Properly Use A Car Seat For Your Child

Every parent knows that car seat use is essential for the safety of their child. Parents have been told in every birthing class, in the hospital, at the pediatrician's office, and many other places that children should be in their car seats while driving. Sadly, even though many parents use car seats, they may not use them correctly. This can be very dangerous seeing that 19% of people who die in car crashes aren't wearing seat belts. Here are 3 common mistakes parents make when it comes to car seats.

1. Improper Installation

You cannot simply put the seat in the car and hook the seat belt around it. There are certain ways that the seat needs to be installed. Before you install the seat, you should read the manual to know if the seat should be used with a seat belt, other restraining devices provided such as LATCH, or both.

In addition, many seats are not tight enough. If the seat is installed loosely, it is very likely the seat will not protect the child in the case of an accident. If the owner's manual is not detailed enough to understand the proper way to install a car seat, go to your local health department. There should be an expert who can help you to install it.

2. Harness Is Too Loose

Another major problem that parents face is that the harness is too loose on the child. They might let the child put their seat belt on themselves, or when putting it on they don't pull the harness tight enough.

As a general rule, the harness should be so tight that you can only put one finger inside of it. Next you should make sure that the chest restraint is on the sternum of the child. This is the proper way to wear a harness.

3. Wrong Seat For The Child's Weight

Don't make the mistake of putting the child in the wrong seat for their weight. The child's age does not mean nearly as much as how large the child is. Even if your child is over 5 years old, they still may not be able to ride in a booster seat unless they are over 40 lbs, which is the ideal weight for a child in a booster seat.

Thus you should take into account your child's, weight, height, and age when transiting them to a new seat.

Improper car seat installation is a concern for the child's safety. In fact, many pediatricians will talk to the parent of a child about the proper use of the child's car seat at the child's well child checkup. If you have any questions or concerns about your child's car seat, talk to your doctor, they have specific guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics on what is the right seat for your child.