One of the important things you need to get before your baby is born is a car seat. It must be installed properly in your vehicle so the car seat fits your baby correctly. Here are some common mistakes new parents often make when installing the car seat that you need to avoid for proper safety.
Leaving the Seat Too Loose
This is a common mistake that many parents don’t realise is an issue. You might have buckled the car seat in a way that seems secure, but if the car seat has some wiggle, it is probably too loose. You should not be able to grab hold of a secure safety seat and be able to move it, even by a few inches. This includes in any direction, not just side to side. After you secure it in the vehicle, try to move it by holding near where the belt path is. If it doesn’t budge, it should be tight enough to keep your baby safe.
Incorrect Shoulder Strap Height
There is not a one-size-fits-all position for shoulder straps on a car seat. The proper position actually depends on whether the car seat is front-facing or rear-facing, which depends on the size of your baby. For an infant or toddler that is in a rear-facing car seat, the shoulder straps should be below the baby’s shoulders or right at her shoulders. As your baby gets older and is sitting in a forward-facing seat, the straps can be adjusted to above her shoulders.
Leaving the Harness Too Loose
The harness should be nice and tight when placed over your baby so that if an accident occurs, he is not able to move or get injured. A good way to test it out is by using your thumb and forefinger to pinch the harness material on the baby’s shoulders. If you are able to grasp the material by pinching it, it is too loose and not as secure as it could be. Try adjusting the harness to be a little tighter, then try it again. When you can no longer pinch it, it should be secure enough.
Purchasing a Used Car Seat
While there are some exceptions, you should try to buy the car seat new. When you buy a used car seat, there is no telling what condition it actually is in. The harness or straps might not secure all the way, or the seat may be loose. There could be parts that are missing, but you don’t realise it right away. The car seat might also be recalled, so you should look up that information first.
If you have any concerns about the car seat, bring your vehicle to a police or fire station. They can inspect it and adjust it as needed.