Did you know that September is Baby Safety Month? In addition to worrying about what your baby can get into once he or she starts crawling, it is also important to take this time to make sure you are using your car seat correctly and a recent article on Parenthood.com provides you with the resources you need to make sure your child is safe. In April of 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued new guidelines on care seat safety that can be found by clicking here. Some of the guidelines include having your child ride rear-facing until they are at least two years old and to have them use a booster seat until they are at least eight.
According to the NHTSA, almost 90% of all car seats are installed incorrectly, which reduces their effectiveness.
One of the most common errors in installing a car seat is that the safety belt of the car does not hold the seat in place tight enough. In order to ensure that children are protected, the NHTSA has made the following recommendations:
- Regardless of how long you will be in the car, or how fast you will be driving, always make sure to restrain your child properly
- Use only federally approved car seats and make sure it is appropriate for the age, size, and weight of your child
- When anchoring the car seat in place, make sure you are using the lap seat belt in the car or the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system which comes on newer models of cars
- If the car seat is involved in a crash, do not re-use it
- Make sure any caregivers for your child also use a car seat properly
- Always make sure to position your baby in an infant car seat facing the rear of the car
- Keep yourself informed of product recalls
Car seats should always be the right seat, the right size, and the right use. If you are ever concerned that you are not properly using a car seat, visit the child car seat inspection station nearest you. At these stations, certified technicians inspect the seat and show you how to correctly install and use it. The closet station in Lowell is at the Lowell Police Department (50 Arcand Drive) and the technician is 978-937-3200 through Paul Corcoran. If you would like to locate other local inspection stations, please click here.
For access to the full article on Parenthood.com, including additional links to recommendations and guidelines, please click here.