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Q&A: Car seat safety?

How can I keep baby safe in the car?

Re: How can I keep baby safe in the car?

The Bump Expert

The most important thing you can do? Strap the little one into a car seat! (The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) agree.) But are you doing it correctly? Here are a few tips:

Look for a good fit. Make sure the seat fits baby and your car. The AAP suggests trying it before buying it: Strap baby in and install the seat in your car. If both go smoothly, this is the model for you.

Read the instructions. We know it's tempting to just figure it out, but please -- read through the instruction manuals for both your vehicle and your car seat! (Check for advisories on your seat belt labels too.)

Babies to the back! If baby is less than two years old and lighter than highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer, she should be riding in a rear-facing seat. Also, make sure you stow your little one in the back seat, particularly if your car has a passenger airbag (which most models do nowadays).

Keep them seated!
From age two until they reach the maximum height or weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer, children should ride in a forward-facing seat. After that, until they're about eight years old, or 4 feet, 9 inches, use a belt positioning booster seat. Once they've outgrown the booster, make sure they properly strap in with the lap-and-shoulder seat belt.

Make sure it's locked.
If your seat belts don't have an automatic locking mechanism, you can purchase a locking clip to be sure baby is secure.

Get it snug. Be sure the car seat fits as snugly as possible to the vehicle's seat. Press on the seat, and pull the seatbelt until it is as tight as possible.

Get an inspection. Get your seat-installing skills checked out by your local NHTSA office. They maintain Safety Inspection Stations in every state to help moms like you.

Drive safely. Set a good example for your little one by always remembering to buckle up. After that, car safety is up to you and your defensive driving skills.

-- Updated August 29, 2012

Plus more from The Bump:

How to Buy a Car Seat

Top Ten Car Seats

The Bump Editors

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I recommend checking for inspection stations in your area. Most times these are non-profit organizations that are dedicated to keeping your little one safe.

JMcKelvey |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

You can also go to your local police or fire department. They will show you how to do it.

ashleyfd |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Contrary to popular belief, you actually can’t get your car seat inspected at your local fire department. (At least not in NY state.) My father’s an officer in the FDNY and has told me they frequently have to turn away people looking to get their car seats inspected. Firemen actually don’t have training in this. Most police departments can do this for you though. Your best bet is to find a place with this locator:

JennaBTK |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I am a Nationally Certified Child Safety Seat Inspector. A lot of hospitals will have someone on staff that is a Certified checker. Also it doesn't hurt to check the fire departments and police departments as those three areas are the most frequently trained...not every staff member maybe trained however. I work for my counties Sheriff's Dept. and I am the only certified inspector. I highly recommend having someone do an inspection...before I went to training for this I was installing them completely wrong and you would be surprised that almost 100% of the seats I check have something wrong with them, be it installation or being too old. A car seat should not be used if it is older than 6 years. You can find a manufacture date or experation date embossed on the underside of the seat or on a sticker. Good luck!

copgirl83 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

1. Try as best you can to buy a brand new (rear-facing) car seat - that way you won't have to worry about whether or not it had been recalled for safety reasons. 2. Call your local police station and find out about having your car seat checked out there. They ensure that it has been installed properly - making any necessary adjustments for you 3. Don't buy one of those mirrors that allow you to see the baby in the backseat while you drive. For me, it was far too distracting. To ensure the safety of your little precious, you've got to be able to keep your eyes on the road and safely pull over if you need to tend to things in the back there.

SharenRo |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I am going to my Local police dept. they give great tips and will insect my seat when I put them in. Always check your seat dates and when in an accident replace them even in a minor crash. NEVER buy used. You don't know if they have been in a crash or not always be safe than sorry later. When you buy new fill out the factory forms and mail it in. This way if there is a recall you will be notified.

Twopeasinapod36 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

What backseat position is safer in a vehicle with side airbags; behind the driver seat or in the center seat?

lrodor |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Middle, rear-facing is best but not always possible due to vehicle. Our car doesn't really have a "middle" so we're doing passenger side.

emgeebee |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Try going to the fire dept. They can show you how to install a car seat!

lookingwithjessica |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

The "try it before you buy it tip" is great in theory, but doesn't work -- you can't take baby any place to try it without it! I suggest getting recommendations from friends and then learning how to install your seat properly. In California, you have to go to specific Highway Patrol stations - you can't have it done/inspected at the local police or fire stations. My advice though is DON'T have the officer at CHP install it for you; instead, you do it while they help and guide. You will probably need to install and re-install the seat many times - from your car to daddy's, to grandma's, to a rental car while on vacation, or when you get a new car, and you need to be the expert.

renee614 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

REAR FACE for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. 1 year is the MINIMUM but there are car seat out there than rear face even up to 40 pounds. I STRONGLY encourage you to leave your little one rear facign for as long as possible to avoid severe/life threatening injuries or death

Cohensmum |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I know that having lighted mirror for the rear facing car seat really helped me be at ease while driving. I could just glance up and see his little sleeping face, that helped me pay attention to the road and therefore a safer driver.

NinaBart |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Keep the baby's seat in the middle with the lap belt. And people forget to push the handle back to wear it turns into a safety bar between the carseat and the front seats.

trtgfc17 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Car seats are the best way to keep your child safe in a vehicle until they reach 5 years of age (i'm not exatcly sure about that age number, that is just what I had been told) Infant car seats should be facing the rear of the car seat, and in the middle of the vehicle if possible, which is safest for the baby. Make sure that you read the directions carefully, and that you have the base of the carseat installed properly and very tight, it should not shift more than a half an inch in either direction. I use to worry about having the harness straped too tightly, but you should not be able to fit more than two fingers between your baby and his/her harness. If they are a newborn who cannot hold their head up yet, I would suggest getting good head support for them. And, I was always so worried about my son, because I couldnt see him, so instead of turning the car seat around so that you can make sure he's okay all the time, buy a mirror that you can install in your vehicle so you can check on your little one once in awhile just by looking in your rear view mirror :) Congratulations! happy parenthood!

jlindsey41 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Make sure you also put LO in the middle and not behind the driver or passenger. My sister took a driver's safety class and they said that if God forbid you got into a car accident, the driver/passenger seat can crush the baby; and if you get hit really bad from the back, same concept, the seat can crush the baby. At least sitting in the middle, if in an accident, the chair has give and baby is more secure. Better safe than sorry; whether you believe this little tid bit of info or not... <3

mrscheese15 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Yeah, you can't exactly "try it before you buy it". The hospital will not release the baby until you have an approved car seat installed.

reason00 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

If you're not sure what seat would fit better in your car ask your friends for help. When I was looking for a proper car seat I called all my friends and asked if I can try their seats in my car. Lucky for me, four of my friends already had small children. I found one that seemed to have a better fit than the others so that's the model I bought for my baby. I've also found there are a lot of car accessories that can help raise the safety level. I started looking for people that would donate car parts and see which of those were what I was looking for. This way I've managed to get all the necessary accessories without paying the whole price for them. Some of these things can be quite expensive mostly because everyone knows that parents would do anything to keep their children safe.

girones |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

My husband is a salesman, and we've been looking for to buy a car, we found some nice conversion vans for sale, beautiful and economical cars but there is no seat belt in the middle so that means we would have to put our 3 month old son on the side. I know that many people put baby on the the side, but is it really safe?

leronimo |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

My brother in law works for a car dealership. He says whenever a car comes in to be fixed, they check the car seat to see if it is installed correctly. That's just another option if you need a place to check it out.

Anne Mommy |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I have read many articles about this. I have come to the conclusion that despite the precaution measures one can never be very safe in the car. Maybe in the future someone will invent 100% safe cars. I've read on about electric cars, and since I saw that electric cars have become reality, why not hope for 100% safe cars?

AllieValenza |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I'm a new mother and was wondering if car seats had experation dates on them. For my baby shower I received a used car seat from a family friend but was told by someone else that car seats have experation dates after 5 years. So, my question is, should I buy a new car seat for my baby so I know for sure that he's safe?

alysa07 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

The baby car seat is the best thing ever invented! It is very sure and in case of an accident it protects the baby. I've recently went on a winter holiday with my family and we decided to rent a car in order to be more comfortable while traveling. The Fox Car Rental company gave us a van which had all the accessories we needed including a baby car seat. Our little baby was very comfortable there and we felt very good knowing that he is protected there.

crazysony |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

If you have an older car model you should first know something about how to donate a car. Get rid of your old car and buy a newer model where your child will be much safer. Keep that in mind.

jacklondon |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

And another thing you want to be up to date with is your car insurance. Don\t forget about that because it can really hurt your wallet in case of an accident. Good luck and hope you find my advice useful.

ChikiGirl |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Believe me I have always wondered the same thing. This is the first article I read that says exactly how to do it. Of course, I don't have this problem anymore since my children are not little. But I find this useful, if you take into account the tips and don't forget about Tata AIG travel insurance things should be just fine.

TheodoraMorce |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

The car seat is definitely the best choice if you want to keep your baby safe while driving. I don't have very much knowledge about cars as I only have a ms in information security but after I gave birth I tried to find as much information as possible about how can I have a safety travel with my baby.

astridanc |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

When you choose a car seat you really need to have as many options as you can.It's like buying a car,I for example rented lots of cars from Fox car rental just to see how different cars are and finally I got one.

Cindy5th |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I think you can talk to a car lift specialist because I think he knows many things about car seat safety.I know that when you have small children you need to think about their safety during their time in the car.

Markuan1 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

To all the new & new-ish Mommas out there: Did you know - Every car seat has an expiration date. Generally, it is 6 years from manufacture. Many have the expiration date stamped on the seat. Contact the manufacturer of your specific seat to find out what its expiration date is. ~ Our carseat is still like brand new but because it was made in 2006 we have to get a new one!!! nice.............

kdc83 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I am lucky enough to have a friend working for a car dealership in Framingham and he always offered advice when we had to make our car safer when driving with a child on board. I suggest you talk to someone who is a professional. Good luck!!

DolceM |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

this is actually a great advice " If baby is less than two years old or lighter than 20 pounds, she should be riding in a rear-facing seat. Also, make sure you stow your little one in the back seat, particularly if your car has a passenger airbag (which most models do nowadays)." I will surely follow this through

Apollosan |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

This was a really great contest and hopefully I can attend the next one. It was alot of fun and I really enjoyed myself.. Santa Wheels Tips

mic1122 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

There are those special seats for the baby. I can remember this one time a few years ago, I was driving with my baby and I was so lucky to have one of those baby seats because I suddenly realized I had an overheated car and a baby to look after until the road assistance guys arrived. It took us a few hours before we got home and I don know what I would have done without that baby seat.

conquerer |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I have been looking around in baby shops at car seats ready for when my little one arrives. So its best to have them rear facing at first. When is it best to turn them around?

staceeyb123 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I have 3 little ones and currently have them in an infant car seat and two convertible seats. I did a lot of research on the safest car seats and decided on Britax for all three of them. I could not have been happier. I am now part of the Britax Safety Squad and there is a ton of information on the different things to consider when getting, installing and using your car seat. Here is a link that I have used to make sure I had everything done properly.

stefkix02 |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Do not carry the baby on your lap. In an accident, you can not hold it or press down. Do not wear your seat baby car seat belt. So you hardly will save him a belt designed for adults. Do not allow a child to stand behind the driver, between the backs of the front seats. Do not leave loose in the cabin heavy objects. In a collision, they turn into a dangerous projectile. Do not allow a child to sit in the back seat rear-facing: the collision of baby back of his head will fall forward. Do not install the seat between the front seats. Of course, in this situation the baby will be a good review, it will be able to play their favorite minecraft flashgame, but first, it is the most dangerous place in the car. Second, between the seats, you can not reliably fix it.

juegocom |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Car seat with well equipped soft reducer pillow of trasparent material that provides support to baby's back and right posture to baby's spine.

monikaasharma |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

I have a friend who is very knowledgeable on this subject that works for Car Part Kings I will check with him and get back to you.

ChildrenAreOurFuture |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

First of all, don't panic about this new territory that you're just reached. Take it one step at a time. Ask for help from a couple of your friends, preferably ones that have children and go try on custom vehicle wraps and search for an entire day if you feel like it. Ask for some professional help while in the store. Then, make sure you installed it properly. That's that

JanisJNoukster |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Couple of things wrong w/ this article. 1. Children should rear-face as long as the seat allows, age 2 is the minimum. 2. Most children are not 4' 9" at age 8. My daughter is nearly 10, in the 75th percentile for height and is only 4' 6". Most kids need to be in a booster until they are 10 (or so).

goodlittlemonkey |

Q&A: Car seat safety?

Buying a car seat is definitely the best protection you can get for your baby. After buying a car at my husband bought also the most expensive car seat, it has much more interesting features that the cheap ones.

Knottie99497478 |