I have a love / hate relationship with car seats. Why? I LOVE the protection and safety they afford our little ones. But I HATE that there are a million to choose from and that the best type for your child may change as your child grows. There is one brand that checks most boxes and comes the closest to a universal seat …more on that later.
For now, let’s focus on making sure the car seat we’ve already invested in is as safe as possible.
Did you know, a whopping 73 % of car seats are not installed or used correctly! Is there a way to consistently lower those percentages? In addition to finding a local checking station such as a fire station or police station to get a car seat checkup, you can also get some helpful installation tips at safekids.org.
Let’s consider their recommended top 5 car seat safety checks.
Pick the Right Seat
This is as simple as verifying the seat is the appropriate size for your child’s age, weight, and height. And make sure the expiration date has not been exceeded.
Secure the Right Location
Keep all children under 13 in the backseat
Ensure the Right Direction
Many states now make it mandatory that your child remain in the rear facing direction until age 2. If this is not yet a state law where you live, it is still recommended for safety. When in a forward facing seat be sure to attach the top tether as well as the seat anchor supports.
Test for the Right Inch
After installation, shake the base. Does it move more than an inch in any direction? Then reinstall or tighten the straps. A correctly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
Test for the Right Snugness
When using the 5-point harness, make sure it’s lined up with the correct slots. Then once the chest clip is moved level with your child’s armpits, pinch the strap at shoulder level. If the strap is the correct snugness, you will not be able to pinch excess strap material.
A must use resource is the safercar.gov site. You must check this out!
You’ll learn how to find the right car seat for each of your children; installation instructions; ease of use ratings; recall information; locations for inspection – and much more!
Now for my recommended pick for overall best car seat from 5 pounds to 120 pounds with a 10-year life – Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat – it is made with an all steel frame; it’s narrow (a necessity when fitting multiple seats in a back seat); it’s fully convertible; it folds flat for travel!
P.S. What’s Your Favorite Car Seat?