Is Your Child’s Car Seat Safe?
Improper Use can be Dangerous
Every year we hear terrible stories of people involved in car crashes with their little ones on board. Some of them were making sure to use a car seat, but issues crept in and the car seat didn’t do the job properly. Car seats are great ways to protect your children while you drive, but only if your child’s car seat is safe.
Big Sky Collision Center, your source for auto body repair in Billings, lays out 5 important points when it comes to transporting your children safely. Don’t neglect these, they can mean the difference between life and death.
Know the Car Seat History
Car seats don’t last forever. In fact, even if the car seat has never been involved in a wreck, it wears out over time. You can check when the seat was manufactured based on the model and serial number; if it’s over 6 years old it’s time for a new one.
Likewise, car seats that have been involved in accidents are no longer safe. Even a small accident that didn’t put much stress on the seat can cause it to fail if there is a bigger accident down the road. Don’t risk it, get a new one.
Wrong Spot in Car
All children should ride in the back seat of the car. The car seat should, if possible, be put in the center of the back seat. This protects the child in case of collision coming from either side. Now if you have more than one, that’s not a possibility of course.
Keep the seat away from airbags. If for some reason you must put them in the front seat, make sure to turn off the airbags. A rapidly inflating airbag that hits the back of the car seat could have fatal results.
All modern vehicles come with a latch system. These make it easy to install the car seat so that it stays in place. If you don’t have a latch system, make sure you’re securing the car seat properly with a seat belt.
Many people want to move their kids forward facing as soon as possible. Studies show, however, that rear facing is the safest position for kids. Install your car seat facing to the back until it’s time.
Forward too Soon
It’s nice to be able to look in the mirror and see your child’s face. So when they hit two years old, many parents turn the seat around. The problem, however, is that their necks still aren’t strong enough to withstand an impact.
There isn’t a hard and fast rule on when to turn kids around. Generally speaking, if they’re not complaining of discomfort sitting rear-facing, then you should keep them rear-facing until they don’t fit any longer. Most modern car seats will provide ample leg space.
Quitting too Early
It’s a hassle to get a child in and out of a car seat. The straps, the bulk, and the extra time at each stop are annoying. But they’re far less annoying than having to sit in the ICU while your child clings to life. Nearly all booster seats require the child to be at least 40 pounds before they can be safely used. That’s often around age 5.
Booster seats can have backs, or no backs. Whichever model you choose, make sure that the seatbelt fits properly, and your child is big enough for that model.
Big Sky Collision Center Fixes Cars
Modern vehicles have great safety features. But a car seat that isn’t safe is a whole other ball game. Take the time, and spend the money, to ensure that your child’s car seat is safe. Then, if you do happen to get into a wreck, we can fix your vehicle and return it to factory safety standards all while your family is safe because you used the right car seat.