Parents feel a tremendous obligation and responsibility to keep their children safe at all times. One of the most dangerous places for children, and where damaging events can occur beyond a parent’s control is in the car while on the road. If your child is still in the age group that should be riding in a car seat, ensuring that your car seat is properly installed is of critical importance.
The team at Cars.com recently released a comprehensive guide to car seat installation and safety. You can read more about car seat installation for your particular make and model on the site’s blog at www.cars.com/articles/2013/09/how-carscom-conducts-car-seat-checks/. For general car seat safety, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind when choosing the proper seat and installing it in your vehicle.
Car seat laws vary from one state to the next. The general rule of thumb for them, though, is that car seats must be used until age four and booster seats should be used until a child weighs 80 pounds or more. Rear facing car seats are the safest and parents should consider keeping their children in the seats for as long as it’s possible and plausible depending on the child’s height.
When installing rear facing car seats, first refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific installation instructions. You should attach the car seat base to the back seat of your car with the seat belt. The belt should be tightened so that the base does not move more than an inch in any direction. Rear facing seats that use a base typically snap into place. This auditory cue will let you know that the seat is properly attached to the base. The angle of recline is also important too to ensure that your young child’s airway is open.
Forward-facing car seats are attached differently and should always utilize a harness to buckle your child into the seat. These seats are placed with their back against your back seat. The seat probably features an anchoring mechanism that must be attached to the actual seat of your car. These anchors keep the car seat in place and secure. The harness should be tightened so that it is snug and offering adequate protection for your child.
Installing a car seat doesn’t have to drive you crazy with worry. You can follow the instructions provided in your owner’s manual to ensure proper installation. You can also read through the resources offered at Cars.com. As a final test, you can also drive down to your local police station and have an officer check your seat for proper installation and performance.