Car Seat Safety
Okay, so you just found out you’re going to be a parent. As a responsible adult, you start making lists of the things you’ll need and gradually crossing them off as you purchase them, receive them as gifts, or figure out they’re unnecessary. You’re reading reviews from other parents, taking advice from friends, and in some cases seeing what consumer based magazines have to say about the product. You’re reading baby blogs by the dozens on a daily basis and the general nervousness of first time parenting has taken over your life before the baby even gets here.
When the time gets closer, you start to tackle the big stuff; assembling the crib, washing the tiny little clothes and blankets, and generally getting ready for the baby to arrive. When it comes to putting the crib together, the directions are fairly easy to follow and assembly can be completed with little to no violence. Pack and plays, baby swings, exersaucers, jumparoos, and walkers are pretty simple to put together these days, so the only thing left to do is to get the car seat installed in the car. This may seem like a simple task, but there is more to it than meets the eye.
You take the car seat out of the box and both of you sit there looking at it for a minute. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a big problem to get it in the car, but it doesn’t weigh very much so you’re skeptical about how it’s going to protect your child. There are a bunch of straps and notches that are worrisome, but after perusing the directions, you think you can get the hang of it once you get started, but you still have your doubts.
Be sure of one thing. When it comes to the car seat, installation is the most important facet of keeping your child safe in the car. Your baby is entirely defenseless as they lack the reflexes to protect themselves in the event of a collision. So, the car seat is their only line of defense. However, their safety relies heavily on how well you pay attention to the directions, and the proper installation of the seat. If you’re at all intimidated by putting it in the car correctly, follow these simple instructions to ensure that your child will be as safe as possible.
- Read All the Instructions. The car seat will come with an extensive instruction manual, and your car’s manual may also have detailed instructions about how to properly install the car seat using the car’s LATCH system. Don’t just skim the manual; it is important to get all the particulars correct when you’re installing your infant seat or convertible car seat.
- Don’t Overthink Things. Most cars made after a certain year are outfitted with a system called the LATCH system that makes car seat installation a lot easier than it used to be. If it seems overly complicated, walk away, because it shouldn’t be something that causes you worry or stress.
- Consideration Professional Installation. Many Babies R Us stores offer professional car seat installation with one of their nursery consultants. These employees are certified to properly install a car seat for customers at no additional charge. You could also take the car seat to your local fire department. Typically, a phone call and a polite offering of food will entice them to put the full force on your installation. This varies from city to city so the best bet is to call ahead and see if there is someone qualified at that department to do that.
- Have it inspected. If you decide to install the car seat yourself, but you’re still concerned that it’s not done right, you can have it inspected at one of several locations. If your town celebrates National Night Out in August, you can ask someone there to inspect the installation. Otherwise there are locations set up specifically for the purpose of making sure your car seat has been perfectly placed in your car. The people responsible for these inspections value your child’s safety as much as you do, so they’ll do a very thorough job of adjusting things that need tightening.
Your life is about to get stressful enough, so you shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not you’ve installed the car seat properly. If you’ve read all of the instructions, you should be fine, but having things checked out, just to be sure may not be a bad idea.