Car Seat Safety – Know For Sure #TheRightSeat
Recently we were driving home from a routine errand and a truck at a crossroads ahead of me was turning left. I had already seen another car from the other direction turning into that same middle turn-lane and immediately began slowing down and moving to the side. Thankfully, the car saw the truck in time and avoided a collision but it was a near thing.
It reminded me that while I can control my OWN driving awareness, I cannot control everyone else on the road. And with five kids riding with me most of the time, that thought is more than a little frightening. That's why it's so important to me that all my kids are in the proper car seats and car restraints. We do not take the car out of park until everyone is properly buckled.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in children ages 1-13 in the US and according to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about half of the child deaths in motor vehicle accidents could be prevented if proper child safety seats were used. Half. That's a frightening stat isn't it? Well worth a second look, I'd say. The recommendations for kids have been updated and chances are, what your friends are telling you is safe, isn't safe anymore. Get the latest information and MAKE SURE that you have the best features in place for your kids.
The Right Seat With The Right Fit
The most important thing is that you get the right seat for the right child, and then make sure it's properly installed in the car. How can you be sure you've got yours set up correctly? Here are three easy tips any parent can do!
- Check the instructions for your specific car seat There's a handy resource page at SaferCar.gov for parents.
- Take your car seat and vehicle to a certified safety check point where a certified child passenger safety technician will help you install the seat if any adjustments need to be made. Use the search tool to find one near you - even in my rural town I had a check point within easy driving distance!
- Register your car seat with the manufacturer whenever you buy a new one in case of potential recall. You never want to get stuck with a car seat that has unexpected dangers.
Don't be afraid to adjust things as your children grow - my long, but skinny, four-year-old needed a larger seat that would accomodate his length but still give a secure 5-point harness and we had him sitting in more than one option before selecting one that would fit him. Each child and vehicle is different so there's no one perfect seat for every situation. With so much at stake it's worth a quick (and free!) visit to a local certified child passenger safety technician and give yourself peace of mind.
What ages are your kids? Are you still using car seats?