As a new parent, you’ll quickly learn the importance of safety, especially when it comes to car seats. Avoid these car seat mistakes to keep your child safe.
If you’re a new parent looking for a car seat for your child, safety should be the top priority. No matter what safety ratings the new seat has or what car safety tips you’ve followed, there are still plenty of risks associated with car seat installation and use. Keep an eye out for these car seat safety mistakes to avoid, to keep your child out of harm’s way.
The key to a safe car seat is to install it correctly. Here are the top mistakes to avoid during installation:
- Allowing too much movement. There should be no more than one inch of movement from side to side or front to back after securing the car seat.
- Reclining the seat to too much or too little. A car seat that is too far forward will cause the child’s head to flop. A car seat reclined too far back will make it more challenging to keep their airways open.
- Putting the car seat in a front-facing position. You may want to have your child face you so you can check in on them from the mirrors, but don’t do this too soon. Each instruction manual will come with height and weight requirements for when it is safe to do so.
Other Common Car Seat Mistakes
Aside from installation, there are many other mistakes new parents make when it comes to car seat safety, including these examples:
- Keeping puffy jackets on. A puffy coat can create unsafe slack in car seat straps. Covering your child with a blanket is a much safer option than keeping their jacket on.
- Ignoring expiration dates. If you’re using a hand-me-down car seat, pay attention to the expiration date. These dates are set based on how long the straps will hold up.
- Transitioning too early. From rear-facing car seats to front-facing and booster seats, the transitions should reflect your child’s height and weight. No matter what age they are, height and weight determine when it’s time to make the switch.
Every parent should take extra precautions when it comes to car seat installation and use, including reading up on the car seat safety mistakes to avoid.