According to Safe Kids Connecticut‘s website, 4 out of 5 car seats are installed incorrectly. Not me, right? Isn’t it interesting when we read a horrific statistic, we tend to assume it doesn’t apply to us?
My husband and I bought a new car seat (the Safety 1st Air Protect – we’ll let you know how we like it!). But we could not figure out how to install it – partly because this seat is quite large, and partly due to my husband’s SUV seats being deeply pitched. I, the totally impatient one, said after a mere five minutes, “Oh, forget it! I’ll just go to that police car seat inspection and they can install it – they’ve probably popped a million of these things in!” And aren’t I just World’s Best Mom for getting this car seat inspection done?
|What NOT to do with your car seat!|
1. Chest bar way too low
2. Hard plastic toys = potential projectiles
3. Baby way too cute for public consumption!
(Okay, last one not serious)
WHAT? I wasn’t even having this seat inspected! The officer pointed out the froggie toy I had strapped across the carrier handle was a danger. “In an accident, that thing will fly back, then come forward to hit him in the face.” She went on to tell me all these hanging toys we moms use with carriers are hazardous. “Take anything you want to hang and throw it at your husband’s face – if it hurts, now imagine that same object traveling 75 miles per hour and hitting your baby in the face.” Yikes.
And another thing… (there’s more?)… the officer pointed out I didn’t have the 5-point harness snug enough across my baby’s chest; the top/bar part of the harness was more across his upper stomach. She explained that in an accident, since babies are so “squishable” (which we love them for), they will slide right out of the carrier if the harness isn’t snugged up around the shoulders. DOUBLE Yikes!
And… (something else?) she pointed out several problems inside the car. “See this?” she picked up a block of wood on the seat (who knows what that was for!) “Projectile! In an accident, this is going to rise up and slam forward into the baby, or other passengers.” She picked up a water bottle, ice scraper, and other flotsam and jetsam, pointing out their dangerous potential.
Basically, everything in a car that can be strapped down, should be, to remove potential for projectiles during an accident. She recommended using a doggie gate across the back seat to keep items in the trunk from propelling forward. And bungee cords to strap as much as possible down – even the stroller stashed in the back.
By this time, I felt like World’s Worst Mom! How was I so clueless about the dangers in my own car? Probably because like most people, I assume an accident won’t happen to me, or my car seat is properly installed. According to Parents Magazine, there are 8 Common Mistakes parents make with car seats; and on average, each car seat is guilty of 3 of these mistakes. I am so thankful we had this car seat installed by “professionals” – I am much more aware of safety precautions, and am confident our baby is protected.
So, I urge you, check your car seats! Have them inspected by a police officer trained in car seat safety.
Have you had your car seat inspected? Did you know about all these common mistakes? Are you guilty of any of them (I sure was! But I took care of it!)?