When it comes to children, safety is always the first priority. You’ve chosen the right car seat for your infant, toddler, or youngster, but how do you know if it’s properly installed in your car? We’ve all read the statistics that indicate many parents are missing the mark when it comes to the installation of car seats. While that’s a frightening thought, if you take the time to better understand the basics of safe car seat installations, it can provide you with the sense of security that comes from knowing you’re keeping children as safe as you possibly can – each and every time you head out in your car.
A Safe Location
Safe Ride 4 Kids shares that when it comes to your child’s car seat, the first order of business is determining where the safest place is to install it. For children who are 13 years old or younger, the backseat is always the safest location. The backseat puts your child further away from the impact of frontal crashes, which are the most common type, and bypasses the danger of a front airbag deploying during an accident and further endangering your child. The safest seat in the back is the middle seat, which makes it the perfect spot to position a child’s car seat (or the car seat of the youngest child if more than one child is a passenger).
Signs of a Safe Car Seat Install
According to Parents magazine, one of the surest signs that your car seat isn’t installed securely enough is if the car seat moves from side to side, back and forth, or in any direction more than an inch. They also offer the following safety recommendations:
- Be on the lookout for harnesses that are not taut and/or that are twisted and for chest clips that ride lower than a child’s armpit.
- Do not put a child in a front-facing car seat before it is safe to do so. A baby should remain in a rear-facing child seat in your car’s back seat until he or she is at least two years old or exceeds the seat’s height and/or weight requirements (whichever comes later).
- Remember that even the LATCH system, which has been standard in most cars since 2002, is not a foolproof solution. This system of lower anchors and tethers that bypasses the use of seatbelts was designed to make installation easier, but is not compatible with all makes and models of cars and should still be inspected to make sure your installation is safe.
Installing your car seat correctly helps to ensure that it provides all the protection it’s intended to provide.
Baby Car Seat Installation
The most vulnerable occupant of any car is a baby, and this makes getting a baby car seat installation done right that much more important. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds parents that infant car seats are designed specifically for young babies, but that they are usually outgrown before a child turns one – at which time, you should change to either a convertible or an all-in-one style car seat that you use in a rear-facing position.
Who Can Check and Ensure that Your Infant Car Seat Is Installed Properly?
You’ve read your car manual and your car seat instructions carefully and have installed your car seat according to the exacting standards described therein. Now what? To make sure that your car seat is installed as safely as possible, you should have it inspected at a car seat inspection station in Biloxi – or wherever you happen to be when you install it. In fact, NHTSA offers a tool through which you simply enter your city, state, or zip code, and they’ll provide you with information about the station nearest you. At your inspection – which in most cases is free and which may be available virtually (in response to COVID-19) – a certified inspection-technician will put your installation through its paces to help ensure that the seat itself is safe and that it’s installed correctly. You are also encouraged to register your car seat with the manufacturer, which allows them to send you any recall or safety notices (if necessary).
Ready for a Boost
As a child grows, he or she will transition into a booster seat, which is intended to boost his or her height so that the car’s seat belt rests in the correct position, which is snugly across the strongest areas of the child’s body. As such, the seat belt should lie smoothly across a child’s upper thighs and should stretch smoothly across his or her chest and shoulder. The belt should not rest on a child’s stomach area or across his or her face or neck.
NHTSA encourages all parents to adhere to all of the following safety recommendations to help make sure that you get the proper car seat fit and that you maximize safety on every drive:
- Select a car seat that aligns with each child’s age, height, and weight and that fits well in your vehicle – then use it every single time.
- Keep each child in a car seat for as long as possible – until he or she outgrows the height or weight limit (regardless of age).
- Remember that until a child is at least 13, he or she should ride in the back seat.
Consult with an Experienced Biloxi Personal Injury Attorney Today
If your child has been injured by another motorist’s negligence, you need a dedicated personal injury lawyer in your corner, and Christopher C. Van Cleave at Van Cleave Law in Biloxi is here to help. Mr. Van Cleave is a formidable and compassionate attorney who is committed to tirelessly advocating for a just case resolution that addresses your physical, financial, and emotional damages in their entirety. We’re on your side, so please don’t hesitate to call us at (228) 432-7826 or schedule your free initial consultation today online at: https://www.vancleavelaw.com/contact-us/.