Tips to ensure you are using a child car seat correctly
Car seats can be difficult to put in and can easily cause confusion. Here are some important car seat guidelines for keeping your little one safe:
- Never put an infant in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag.
- Route harness straps in lower slots at or below shoulder level.
- Keep harness straps snug and fasten the clip at armpit level.
- Make sure the straps lie flat and are not twisted.
- Dress your baby in clothes that allow the straps to go between the legs. Adjust the straps to allow for the thickness of your child’s clothes. Do not use bulky clothes that could increase slack in a crash.
- To keep your newborn from slouching, pad the sides of the seat and between the child’s legs with rolled up diapers or receiving blankets.
- Put the car seat carrying handle down when in the car.
- Infants must ride in the back seat facing the rear of the car. This offers the best protection for your infant’s neck.
- Recline the rear-facing seat at a 45-degree angle. If your child’s head flops forward, the seat may not have reclined enough. Tilt the seat back until it is level by wedging firm padding such as a rolled towel, under the front of the base of the seat.
- All new car seats are now required to come equipped with top tether straps. A tether strap is a belt that is attached to the car seat and bolted to the window ledge or the floor of the car. They give extra protection and keep the car seat from being thrown forward in a crash. Tether kits are also available for most older car seats. Check with the manufacturer to find out how to get a top tether for your seat. Install it according to instructions. The tether strap may help make some seats that are difficult to install fit more tightly.