With recalls, updates on standards and information being thrown at us left and right on social media, it is time to think about car seats safety. Are We Misusing Car Seats? In one word – yes. The truth is the majority of parents are not educated on car seat safety, laws and regulations. While it may seem inconsequential to you to learn about, the safety of your child is at stake. When it comes to protecting our children, we must take these things seriously.
ARE WE MISUSING CAR SEATS?
Every day children are strapped into (affiliate link) car seats that are no safer than if they had simply buckled into a regular seat. Whether the car seat is not seated and hooked up properly, has expired, been in a car accident, or simply is too small for the child – the lack of safety is appalling. The purpose of car seats is to provide safety to your children, not put them at further risk, as would happen if we are misusing car seats.
Common Mistakes Made With Car Seats Safety:
Car seats have expiration dates. After a few years, the materials a car seat is made from begin to break down. This causes them to be unsafe. This can be further increased by general wear and tear and extended use. There are expiration dates for a reason. Check them and abide by them.
Car seats are always unsafe after being involved in a car accident. The extreme movement and jarring that occurs in most car accidents quickly adds to the breakdown of a car seat. There are often hidden cracks and injuries to the seat itself that aren’t easily identified with the naked eye. If you are in a car accident with a car seat in your vehicle, it should be replaced immediately.
Changing To Forward Facing Too Early. Just because you can change at 1 year doesn’t mean it is the safest choice. Many studies have proven that waiting until your child is 2 or even 3 years old to change to forward facing is much safer. Regular high back car seats are also designed to be used rear facing. Evaluate this decision before switching.
Using The Wrong Car Seat For Weight & Height. There are so many car seat designs out there. Why pick the most popular when it might not support your child properly. Make sure you are getting a quality seat that is suited for your child and their current height and weight as well as leaving room to grow. Check weight regulations and buy a new seat when your child outgrows the old one. Just because they can still fit in the seat doesn’t mean it is truly safe for them at their current weight.
Switching To Booster Too Early. Even though your child may be in kindergarten, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are truly big enough to go to a booster only style car seat. Age has nothing to do with safety when it comes to car seats. Continue watching safety regulations and use a 5 point harness as long as is necessary.
Yes, we often see parents misusing car seats. This doesn’t mean they are bad parents or don’t care about their kids safety. It simply means they are often uneducated on the dangers involved. Instead of going with what you “think” is okay, take the time to read and learn what is truly the best choice for your child and their safety.
Have you been misusing car seats without even knowing it? Did any of this surprise you?