Monday, February 27, 2012

11 DEADLY mistakes you didn't know you were making!

This post was a request from some friends, feel free to share wherever you'd like!  

There are many, many more that I could write, but it would take all day, so I am touching base on the ones I see most often.

#11- That little thing that's called a chest clip...it goes on the chest, no really- IT DOES!
If your child's chest clip looks like this:



then you are doing it wrong.

This is the proper placement of the chest clip (a general rule of thumb is to have it even with the armpits, you can never go wrong if you remember that):



What could happen:

The chest clip is designed to keep the harness straps properly positioned on the child’s shoulders; this is important because the harness is the component that keeps the child restrained in the car seat. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that 59% of child harnesses are not tight enough. If the harness is loose and the chest clip is too low, one or both harness straps can slide off the child’s shoulders, allowing the child to potentially be ejected from the car seat in the event of a crash.

In a collision, the chest clip can cause damage and/or internal bleeding to vital organs in your child's abdominal region, which is not protected by the ribcage.


#10 Harness straps should fit snugly!

The easiest way to check to see if your harness straps are too loose is the pinch test. Secure your child in the car seat and buckle the harness as usual. Using your thumb and pointer finger, try to pinch one of the harness straps at your child’s collarbone level. If you’re able to pinch the strap, the harness is not tight enough. You should not be able to pinch any
excess
   
Picture borrowed from Britax, no copyright infringement intended.

Be sure that you don't get the harness straps TOO tight-there is such a thing. You don't want it digging into the child's body, making it uncomfortable for them.

What can happen:
Loose harness straps leave your child at an elevated risk of injury during a crash because they may allow your child to move out of position; they can even lead to ejection from the child seat during a crash.


#9 Installations need to be TIGHT 
This video speaks volumes


If that wasn't simple enough for you...

You should not be able to move your car seat side to side more than 1inch...that's it, an inch. In a car accident, the force is much stronger than you are, so that 1 inch becomes even looser. Unless you want your child's seat thrown around like a rag doll (as shown in the video), keep their installation tight!

What can happen: besides the obvious, whiplash...severe shaking of the brain could cause swelling and bleeding and possibly death. Imagine the car seat striking the window or another passenger.


#8 Car seats expire just like your food does!
Why do car seats expire?

***Technology gets better, standards change.For example, in 2002, car seats were not even equipped with Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children (LATCH). Now however, they are a standard feature in nearly all car seats. Car seat expiration dates ensure that seats being used are current and safe for use.
***Materials wear down, just like clothes get holes in them. Nothing was made to last forever. Over time, the seat base can develop hairline fractures which may shatter in a crash, and belts can become more loose and relaxed after years of use, both causing a car seat to fail.
***Seats are only tested for a certain period. After X amount of time, manufacturers do not test seats. They cannot attest to how older seats will perform in an accident.


This is a quick 16 second video showing what happens if you get into a car accident with an expired car seat:



What could happen: see above video

#7- Washing your car seat straps
 Let's face it- kids are very messy. If yours are anything like mine, their car seat straps have been covered in candy, juice, and some odd sticky stuff that you'd rather not know what it is.

So you take the car seat cover off and throw the whole thing in the washer, right? Wrong.

Harness straps may not be washed, they are not to be submerged.

Why not: Soaking the straps in even just plain water can wash away the fire-retardant chemicals on the harness and currently, there is no way to get that back. Even worse, washing with detergents that have bleach alternatives, optical brighteners, and a laundry list (no pun intended) of chemicals can weaken the integrity of the straps, causing them to fail in an accident.

Your best bet is to wipe down the straps with a damp wash cloth. If you can't fathom using only water to clean up the grime, most car seats allow the use of a mild soap like dove. Just be sure to check your manual first.

If you have already washed your straps before reading this, call your car seat manufacturer and explain the mistake. Most of them will ship you replacement straps for free as a courtesy.


#6- Incorrect harness position

So your straps are tight, the chest clip is up, you're all set! Not quite...

There are other factors that can cause a child to be injured in a car accident even when the most obvious precautions are taken.

When a child is rear facing the harness straps should be coming out AT or BELOW shoulder level. Here is a dummy-proof picture:
 
Picture borrowed from orbitbaby.com, no copyright infringement intended.
So why is this?

Most car collisions happen when the car is moving forward causing a rear-facing child’s back to be pressed against the seatback of the car seat. This makes it extremely important to keep the child's body from sliding upwards against the car seat's seatback.

Any additional acceleration of the child upward influences the performance of any rear-facing car seat. Also, every tiny increment of increased distance the child moves exponentially amplifies the forces on the child's body. The more a child’s body accelerates, the more the child’s head and chest are subjected to increased g-forces both at the beginning of the collision and during the deceleration after the collision.

For FORWARD FACING seats however, the harness straps need to be positioned AT or ABOVE the shoulder level.
Picture borrowed from Britax, no copyright infringement intended.
If the child is forward facing during a frontal collision, the crash forces will cause the child’s body to be thrown forward. The harness straps should be positioned at or above the child’s shoulders when forward facing to most effectively decrease the amount of distance the child will travel when propelled forward and to limit the forces on the child’s spine and shoulders.
#5 Re-using a car seat that has been in a crash
Car seats are a one time use deal.
Most car seat manufacturers state to replace a carseat after any crash regardless of the details of the crash. Here is a list of some of the popular brands, just check your manual if you don't see your brand listed here.

Combi's website says "
Q: Should my car seat be replaced after a vehicle crash?
A:
Combi recommends replacing a seat after any crash. This includes the seat base if it was in the vehicle when the crash occurred. "
HOWEVER, If you consult your Combi Coccorro manual, it will say they follow the NHTSA guidelines and the seat may be reused after a minor crash. In this case, it would probably be best to contact the manufacturer directly in the event of an accident.


Graco says to replace the carseat after any type of crash.


Graco's FAQ page-
I was recently in an accident. Do I have to replace my child's car seat? There doesn't appear to be any damage.
Answer: Yes. You must replace your child's car seat if it was involved in an accident, no matter what. Even if there appears to be no damage to the car seat on the surface, the impact and force of a collision can cause unseen structural damage to the interior of your car seat. Any such damage may prohibit your car seat from properly protecting your child in the event of a sudden stop or crash.

Evenflo's FAQ
instructs parents to discontinue using the crashed seat immediately and to contact Evenflo for additional guidance.

For Dorel Juvenile Group (Cosco/Eddie Baurer/Safety First) ever manual states "Do not use a child restraint that has been in a crash.You must get a new child restraint" Here is just one example.

Britax is one of the only brand that is safe to reuse in a minor crash. Their FAQ refers to the NHTSA criteria for carseat replacement after a crash at.


Q: What should I do with my child restraint that's been involved in a crash?

A: Britax recommends that use of a child restraint be discontinued if it has been in a severe crash. We further advise of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) position that it is not necessary to replace a child restraint after a minor crash. A minor crash is one that meets ALL of following criteria:

* The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
* The vehicle door nearest the child restraint was undamaged;
* There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
* The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
* There is no visible damage to the child restraint.

Sunshine Kids products states "Do not use restraint after it has been involved in any accident. Damage to the restraint may have occurred which could impair its ability to adequately protect a child." Here is the manual, it is on page 4 of the pdf or page 7 of the manual

This holds true for the original Sunshine Kids Radian seats, but I was made aware that the Diono brand (which is what SK is now called), does in fact allow the reuse of their new seats in a minor crash. Please check your manual to be sure.

Here is a link to a Recaro manual  which states on page 5 "If the ProSPORT was occupied during a crash or vehicle accident, it must be replaced. Do NOT use the child restraint again. A crash can cause unseen damage and using it again can cause serious injury or death."

Please note that the above manufacturer's crashed seat FAQs and NHTSA criteria do not differentiate between an unoccupied and occupied seat. (aside from a Recaro seat used as a booster) The car seat has been subjected to crash forces even if it was unoccupied at the time of the crash. There could be unseen damage from the stress of the crash that could potentially cause the seat to fail to properly protect a child in the event of another crash.

If you have been in an accident and your car seat should have been replaced, immediately contact your car insurance agent and explain the situation. The majority of insurance companies will reimburse you or pay for new seats after an accident. I was able to get Progressive to pay for 3 car seats, totaling over $600, for an accident that had occured over a year before, once I learned that crashed seats couldn't be used.

If you have any problems with your insurance company not cooperating, shoot me an email and I will be happy to provide you a form letter that has worked in every situation.
#4- Purchasing a used car seat
Everyone loves a good deal! Consignment stores, friends...Craigslist, the mecca of bargain shoppers.
Any given day, you will get hundreds of results if you search your local Craigslist for a deal on a previously owned car seat.
There are some things you must not buy used, underwear would be on that list.
However, I'll try to stay on the subject of car seats.
What is wrong with a used car seat you might ask...well, the problem is, we just don't know. So many people just want to make a quick buck and you can't verify the safety of anything that you don't know the full history of. Has it been used in a car accident? Did the owner ever wash the straps? Is it expired? Believe me, when someone is wanting to make a sale, they are less inclined to disclose truthful details and will more often than not, tell you what you want to hear.
We already know what could possibly happen if you buy a faulty seat, so let's just skip the "what if's" and only buy new. It may cost a little bit more, but your child's life is invaluable.
#3- Winter coats and car seats don't mix
I can't really put this into words any better than these videos, so take a quick look.
#2 No Aftermarket Products!
Most simply put: If it didn't come with your car seat, it isn't safe to use.
Those cute little puppy dog harness covers, the newborn head support, the notorious JJ Cole. All of these (and ANYTHING that attaches to your car seat) are not only potentially dangerous because they alter the seat or affect the harness fit, they also void manufacturer warranty in the event of a crash and the car seat fails.
#1- Use the LATCH system OR the seat belt...NOT both
Often times, I have heard moms tell me that they install their car seats with the latch and then the seat belt, just as a precaution. The common misconception is that using both is doubly safe. In fact however, it is the opposite.
It seems like common sense that it would hold the seat in place better, but actually, a car seat is supposed to be able to move and flex a small amount during an accident to absorb some of the impact. If you used both, it could possibly cause too much of the force to be transferred to the child...or having two straps could simply put too much stress on the car seat's belt path, causing the plastic to break and have the child and car seat fly out of the windshield.
Truth of the matter is this: we don't know WHY we can't do it, all we know is that EVERY.SINGLE. car seat manufacturer says not to, so it would be safe to assume that it has failed for some reason or another. Since they don't release crash test info, we can only speculate on theories.






****Feel free to "follow" this blog or check back
 regularly. If you enjoyed this, see part 2 or for a more condensed version, click here****

211 comments:

  1. thanks for making this...and i love your christain playlist!!!!

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    1. No problem, I am just hoping it benefits a lot of people! And thanks, I love it too...it keeps me going :)

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    2. http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_levitt_on_child_carseats.html

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    3. That is so not a surpise. I'm so sick of being spoon fed 'facts' that aren't. I'm angry. Just like their idiotic stopping child medicines... so now parents are going to be guessing how much would equal what was the child (infant) dose. Oh yeah, that will help...

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    4. Not sure who you are angry with. Which facts in this article are not fact? And not making child medicines? There are still shelves full of them at every drugstore and grocery store I've been in.

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  2. My father was recently in a front end collision and my daughter's car seat was in the vehicle at the time of the accident. His insurance company will only cover up to 3,200 dollars in damage and he's hit that limit. They ARE fixing his car but I believe it's right at the 3,200 mark. Nothing has been said about the car seat (it was left in the car while they towed it so they know it was there) and now I'm wondering if I'm even able to receive a new car seat or if it's something that I have to pay out of pocket for. If you could, e-mail me at OhLindsayyy@yahoo.com if you think that form letter could be beneficial for me, thank you. :)

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    1. What has worked for some folks is to notify the insurance agent that they also need to pay replacement cost for the seat, and then if they refuse, ask them for a letter stating that they accept liability for any future injury caused by re-using a seat that has already been in a crash.

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    2. We have been in an accident (rear-ended) where we had 3 car seats involved. They replaced all 3 my seats and if I am not mistaken it is a law...at least where we live...CA. They asked us before we even knew they would pay for them if we had any children in the vehicle and how many were in seats. I would push the issue if you need too! Good luck!

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    3. I had someone rear end me when my son was 6 months old. HE was not in the car, but his carseat was, the insurance company told me to uy a new car seat and fax them a copy of the receipt. They cut me a check for it.

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    4. What about backless boosters? We switched my daughter to one on her 8th birthday because she was too tall for her transition seat. My grandmother bought it as her present, and I chose a backless because it was half the price of one with a back. I know you can't put a price on the life of your child, but when you're talking hundreds of dollars for families living in poverty, it's too much to ask. Most of my friends moved to backless or just transitioned kids out because they couldn't afford to keep replacing them. We just dropped over $100 on her last car seat two years ago, and she's already outgrown it! I thought for sure it would last longer because she's a small kid, but she hit a growth spurt.

      Also, how dangerous is it for her to ride in a seat she's outgrown? I have one passenger seat in my truck, and occasionally I forget to swap out the carseats before it's too late. She's using a booster as a booster, she's just too tall and too heavy for it.

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    5. at eight years old, unless she is significantly less weight than others her age, she is perfectly safe to ride without boosters or car seats. I can't remember the exact number but I think if the child weighs more than 55 pounds combined with the carseat (combined is very important there weight your carseat and weigh your child if you're worried about it, but at her age she should be well over the limit), you absolutely can't use them anymore, as that is the maximum weight it is cleared to be safe with.

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    6. Actually, children should be able to pass the 5 step test before going to a backless or no seat situation. http://carseatblog.com/3966/the-5-step-test/ my 9.5 year old sits in a backless booster because of fit issues

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    7. I know that here in VA with most insurances you have to say there is a carseat invloved, they wont do it otherwise. I was in a minor accident before thanksgiving and because the carseat sat on the driverside (where the damage was) my insurance replaced it, because I said there was a carseat in my car

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  3. I'd love to have the form letter!

    krackley 220 at gmail dot com (no spaces!) :)

    Thanks so much!

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    1. emailed you, let me know if you need anything else :)

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    2. I'd love to have that form letter also. Thanks. roller.girl@att.net

      Julia

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    3. If there is a form letter I would love a copy as well, was in an accident with my three kids, 2 in seats and insurance is giving some issues.
      angel4nature@yahoo.com

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  4. when my oldest was 16 months (shes now 13 yrs) she was in a serious accident. not injured, but i had to replace the carseat. there was no getting out of it. the person who caused the accident insurance company HAD to pay for a new one and they had to total out the van. im kind of partial to the carseat she had but they dont make them anymore and i feel that if she had one of todays carseats she would have been injured (it was one that had the thing that came over the front of her)i have given away 2 infant carseats that i bought myself so i KNOW they werent involved in any accidents. had they been i would have thrown them away. my toddler has two of the newer ones, and i dont like them, but i have to use it, just my personal opinion of the newer carseats.

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    1. Let's try that again.

      I am so glad that you and your daughter were okay in your accident. The reason they do not make overhead shield car seats any more is because they are not as safe as 5 point harness seats. Overhead shields actually caused several injuries because of their design. As referenced above, rear facing is the best protection for your toddler in the car until they outgrow their seat's rear facing capabilities. Another great way to make sure that your child is as safe as possible is to visit a CPST to make sure that the seat is installed and being used properly. You can go here: https://ssl13.cyzap.net/dzapps/dbzap.bin/apps/assess/webmembers/tool?pToolCode=TAB9&pCategory1=TAB9_CERTSEARCH&Webid=SAFEKIDSCERTSQL and enter your city and state to find one. Be safe!

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    2. Thank you for answering a long time question of mine. We received an overhead shield car seat from my sister (her son had just barely outgrew it) for my toddler as an extra car seat. My husband loved how much easier it was to buckle our tot in, and made it the permanent car seat. After using it for maybe 5 months, the side of the over head bar popped right off when it was hit while lowering the seat to the trunk to make room for some boxes. Wow, was I surprised! This car seat was new when my sister bought it and she was never in an accident, plus I know shes super gentle on everything she owns, and we were pretty sure it wasn't expired. How amazed was I that it popped off by a force that wasn't that hard, more of a rub than a hit. My Hubby and I were disappointed that we couldn't find another one (just because it was easier to put tot in), yet happy that we didn't have to live through a car accident and having our 2 year old ejected from the car seat through the side. I hope this sheds a little light to others on why overheads are not safe.
      Also, to add something to your #3 about winter coats, I have to say I almost didn't read it because we live in AZ and I don't think I have ever put my tot in a coat; but then I realized that with #3, the same can be said for dresses and skirts. I know that I have loosened the straps to try and fit my tot in with a bulky dress or skirt. After watching that video, it was like I got hit in the face with a "DUAH" and I know I will never alter her seat for a dress again (for those ones I will just change her when we get to our destination). Thank you so much for this wealth of knowledge that could potentially save my children's lives. I am definitely going to share it with my siblings and parents.

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    3. Actually the seat your daughter had is off the market now because it was crushing internal organs and causing more internal damage in severe accidents. Todays seats are very different yes, but there are alot of options. Most of the seats you find in Walmart and Target that don't come in a box(aka cosco) are not the greatest seat nor get good installs. I tell everyone if you are gonna splurge on one thing for your kids save your money and get a good top of the line car seat. A $500 crib only lasts what 2 years? But a $500 Foonf will last about 5-6 years, or a $180 Graco Snugride 40 and a $200 Britax Frontier 90 will get you all the way til out of carseats and keep your child harnessed the longest.

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    4. What about the dangers of switching children out of a 5 point harness into a booster seat too soon? My kids are very petite for their age so they had to stay in a 5 point harness a lot longer than their friends and the pressure was getting to me to switch them. The ease of booster seats is so great so would love some feedback...my take was that a 5 point harness was always safer than a booster - as long as my kids were willing to do it.

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    5. Last year, when my daughter was 3, we were rear-ended at a red light while she napped in her car seat, my car was totaled, and I had to replace the car seat. For peace of mind, I had her pedi examine her two days after the accident. Since she is very tall for her age (95th-97th percentile for height), I thought it would be a good time to move her to a booster bcs of her height and the pressure I was getting from her godmother and other experienced Moms who had moved their kids to boosters as toddlers (some as young as 22 months). When I asked the pedi what the best move was, she gave me an article that was written by the parents of a 3 y.o. girl who had died in an accident in her booster seat. Booster seats do not provide enough restraint and her brain jerked violently in her head. Since then, we have decided to keep her in a 5 pt harness car seat as long as her height permits. On another note, I completely agree with a previous poster who said that you should spend the money for a better car seat. We have stayed with Britax (and they are affordable if you get them on-line). When the police officer and the pedi saw her car seat, they both said that we were lucky she was in a Britax. I got the first one, a Roundabout, on amazon for $205 and the second one, a Pavilion 70, on haymarket.com for $236. Both had free shipping. They are more affordable than you think if you look around.

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  5. I love the information you put out! Very good! But I can't turn off the playlist to listen to the videos.

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    1. scroll to the very bottom of the page and you'll see a playlist, just pause it and you can see the videos with sound :D

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  6. The Sunshine Kids/Diono seats also have special rules in a wreck :) They follow the NHSTA guidelines :)

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    1. Thanks! This letter (from the insurance company that I just copied and pasted) was actually written before Diono came out, so I need to figure out exactly which car seats it is and add it in. I'll be editing it soon. I was also told Combi follows them too so I'll be double checking that as well :)

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    2. Diono does not follow NHSTA standards. They say to replace the seat after any crash. Page 7 of the car seat manual states "• Do not use restraint after is has been involved in any
      accident. Damage to the restraint may have occurred
      which could impair its ability to adequately protect a
      child."
      Link to the PDF here: http://us.diono.com/docs/manuals/Diono_US_RadianRXT_Manual_US_Eng_122811_web.pdf Look at pg 7 of the manual.

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  7. I...don't want to call bunk on one of your rules...But the carseat/accident thing...OF COURSE the manufacturer wants a new seat to be purchased in the event of ANY LOSS (loss = car crash/accident/incident, etc). Because they make more money that way. This does not mean I think no seats should be replaced, but there are accidents in which impact is not a factor, and the carseat wouldn't have experienced any extra stress than typical driving - which can mean a sharp turn, hard brake, quick acceleration. There are several types of losses which cause no stress to the inside of the vehicle. Your car seatbelts also experience this stress...but we do not replace them at every bump & dent on the outside of the car.

    Britax seats can be pricey, they know that people may not be able to afford to replace it after a loss (b/c not all losses are the fault of someone else, or even covered by insurance, so you may end up replacing a seat out of pocket), rather than send the buyer to a competitor for replacement, they "okay" smaller losses. They use the NHTSA guidelines - b/c really, those guidelines are appropriate for most seats.

    These companies may be providing a service to save the life of a child - but carseats are required BY LAW almost everywhere now for most of the early years. There used to be one or two options. Now there are dozens. B/c there is a profit to be made. They're not do-gooders providing seats out of the kindness of their hearts. They're providing a service for the benefit of their wallet.

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    1. I have to disagree. Britax goes by the NHTSA standards because their seats have been tested and passed after such minor crashes. For other seats, if the manufacturer says not to use them after any crash, I'd rather be safe than sorry. You never know what kind of unseen damage has happened to the seat, and it's a small price to pay to ensure your child's safety. The insurance WILL cover the seat if it is supposed to be replaced according to the manufacturer. And yes, our car seat belts do experience the stress as well, but they aren't made out of plastic, with the possibility of cracking because of a minor crash.

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    2. I wouldn't buy a seat that was unsafe after an exchange of paint incident. If a fender-bender renders a seat in need of replacement according to the manufacturer, how safe is it really before your cage gets rattled? Is it safe to use the carseat after the vehicle has been taken off-road? What about after jumping a curb?

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    3. I have a britax and got in a small accident. My ins. Said the car seat was fine but if I get in another accident and my child was injured her dr bills will not be payed by them because it was not replaced. So I had them replace it.

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    4. 1. It is irresponsible parenting to put money before the safety of your child. 2. Unless you build and test car-seats you really aren't an expert of what the car seat can and cannot handle so why not listen to he experts instead of your own opinion. Motor vehicular crash is he leading cause of death for kids 2-14. Research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce
      fatal injury by 71 percent for infants (less than 1 year old) and by 54 percent for
      toddlers (1-4 years old) in passenger cars WHEN USED PROPERLY. Having your child improperly restrained is just as dangerous as not having them restrained at all. Why risk it? You can replace a car seat; you can NOT replace your child.

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    5. I have to agree with you Maegan. If the safety of the child was the only thing the car seat companies were interested in I would think they would make the carseats a bit more durable to begin with. I do not personally have one in a carseat anymore....thank god. But the last time I had to shop for a carseat those things were so expensive even then. My youngest uses a booster seat and that thing cost me $60 and it doesnt even have belts to restrain him, but thanks to a new law that says you have to use a booster until age 8 he has to be in one for a few more years. If making something that is supposed to save my kids life out of plastic is the best way to go then they should make those things more affordable to begin with, but carseats that cost in excess of $150 is a bit ridiculous.

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    6. It amazes me that people will throw down $200 for a phone, but when it comes to their child's safety, "$150 is a bit ridiculous". Many parents really need to check themselves and look at what is really important. A couple hundred dollars really is not that much money for something they can get a good 5 years or more out of. Also, there are seats that you can get for $50. If you get in a car accident, just replace the seat.

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    7. Thank you Megan!! I totally agree with you that parents spend serious cash on unnecessary items like phones and then balk about a SAFETY item for their child. I was blessed with my in-laws purchasing Britax Marathons (for his first and second birthdays) for my older child that were able to be passed down to my younger child prior to expiration.

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    8. Just to let ya'll know, The rule DOES apply to car seat belts too, but no one ever seems concerned with it. My husband works in the automotive parts industry, and they do infact reccommend that seat belts be replaced after an accident.

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    9. Britax car seats now have a special strap that tells you if the impact of collision was enought to warrant replacement of the seat. The small straps have stitching in them that will tear in and accident. So if the stitching is torn, replace the seat. If not, keep the seat.

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  8. There are a few other manufacturers that go by NHTSA criteria, btw. And the most important reason to not wash the harness straps is to not weaken the fibers. :) Just so you know, there are also some issues with that "expired car seat" video, which I'm not going to go into in detail right now. Not that you should use them past expiration- there are good reasons not to. That video is not an illustration of one of them.

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    1. Yeah, those were just copied and pasted from a form letter I had written but since then, things have changed so I need to update it.

      As for the straps, I am pretty sure I mentioned that in the section about them, I know that's the main reason not to :)

      That video is of an expired car seat, I am not quite sure what you are talking about.

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    2. 1. There's no indication of what seat it is. Sleuthing has turned up it may be a 4-point European harness. The way it fails may be a failure all 4-points were prone to.

      2. If it's a 5-point, non-expired seats made by the same brand did the same thing in certain crash tests.

      3. The most likely failure of an expired seat is the harness, not the shell, and that can't really be seen enough to be understood in a crash test, especially one where the shell fails. If a shell fails it would usually crack.

      4. The video comes from a European news station originally, and it's not a controlled, comparative test designed scientifically. It may indicate further research needed but of what is hard to quantify.

      So. Four reasons I don't share that vid as an example of expired seat failure.

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  9. Thank you for this informative article! We are pregnant with our first baby so I'm happy to be learning all about car seats and safety NOW!

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  10. What a great article! A couple of years ago, I replaced an expired Turbobooster with a brand new Turbobooster of the same price range/trim level/whatever you call it and I was astounded by the wear and tear the old one showed. As a former child passenger safety technician, I didn't think it looked all that bad in the car. I'd be happy to share the pictures with anyone who is interested.

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  11. The "car seat should not move more than an inch rule" is one of those "it works for most people" rules. You can potentially break a seatbelt, latch anchor, or a car seat if you make it to where **I** cannot move it more than an inch. Also, you're taking all the damping effects out of the seatcushion at that point.

    With all that said, buy a decent seat. We bought a britax, then a second, and then we bought a graco. The graco was a mistake. I despise the thing. It doesn't have independent latch anchors (they're on one strap that loops through), the belt path is too low for most cars to effectively restrain the seat, and it just feels "cheap".

    Nylon strapping holds up fairly well as long as it's not exposed to oils or sunlight.

    I'd also like to take the time to say that plastic is probably the worst material to make a car seat shell out of. The structural parts should be aluminum. It wouldn't make the seats any heavier but it would increase their longevity which is currently based on an average profile of plastic degradation over time due to thermal, ultraviolet, and chemical (ozone in particular) influences, and erring on the side of caution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When checking for movement, you ONLY check at the BELT PATH with your NON-DOMINANT hand. So while some of us may be able to get a tighter install, It doesn't necessarily need to be immobile, just with very little movement. The top of the seat is designed to shift if needed. It only needs to be secure at the bottom at the belt path. You can over tighten the seat so the cpst's are trained not to lean into the seat for installation but to only put a hand in to push it into the seat a bit more.

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  12. Thanks for this! My daughter is 6 now and we use a booster seat. Do you have any information on those? I make sure the seatbelt is snug across her lap and the seatbelt crosses her shoulder. There really doesn't seem to be anything else to be done with those, though. On a related note, I've recently heard that children need to be in rear-facing child seats until the age of 2. My concern with this, is that some two-year-olds are tall children...wouldn't their legs be pushed into the back of the seat (the one they are facing, that is)?

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    Replies
    1. My daughter is very tall and we rear faced until almost 3. Her feet pressed up against the seat, but it didn't seem to bother her, she just sat with her legs crossed. It is actually less uncomfortable to prop your feet up than have them dangling, so I can't imagine it would be that uncomfortable to be rfing with long legs. You can fix broken legs, but you can't fix internal decapitation.

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    2. My daughter actually preferred rear facing until well after 3. She had more options with her legs/feet while RF versus forward facing. FF, all her feet can do is dangle. RF, they could dangle to the sides, fit cross-legged, be propped up on the back of the seat.

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  13. Very disappointing that you did not give more attention to extended rear facing past the age of 1. That is, by far, the most deadly issue we have with children in car seats.

    And for the prior poster asking about children's legs being pushed into the vehicle seat when rear facing - it is not dangerous. It is unheard of for children to have leg injuries when RF. But one of the most common injuries in forward facing children is to the legs. Watch crash tests comparing the two to see why.

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    Replies
    1. I appreciate your concern Cathleen. In part 2, I explain why rear facing was not mentioned. I never intended this to be reposted so many times and it took me by surprise. Here is part 2 :) http://treadingragingwaters.blogspot.com/2012/03/deadly-car-seat-mistakes-part-2.html

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    2. Does anyone, anywhere, have some actual links to some actual research saying that there is the oft-touted HUGE safety difference between rear-facing and front-facing for 1-2 year-olds? I've been trying to find info for years, and the only link to an actual study I got was one that has generally been touted as saying that rear-facing a toddler is 75% safer (the stat we all keep hearing). BUT, when you actually READ the study, the results were that rear-facing an infant was 75% safer, while rear-facing a child over 12 months was 15% safer than front-facing. To my mind, a 75% safety difference would be convincing, but 15% is not a big enough difference to force a carsickness-prone kid to ride backward (if you don't get carsick--riding backwards is a sure way to invoke motion sickness. I've got to face front even on a train). There's a lot of emotion on this issue, and tear-jerker youtube vids, but I've found factual info to be pretty thin.

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    3. Heather,
      It is a common misconception that rear facing makes you car sick. It is actually looking out of the side windows that does. If your child is having a hard time with motion sickness, then cover all of the side windows and allow them to look out of the back windshield (if possible) and that should fix the problem.

      Secondly, evene if it were just 15% safer, would that not be enough to you? A fraction of a percentage would be enough to change my mind, anything that could make my child even POSSIBLY safer.

      However, here is this, maybe it will help. http://parentingpatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Car-Seat-Infographic.jpg

      Delete
    4. Candice...you do realize that it is illegal (at least where I live) to cover the side windows of your car? You have to be able to check your blind spots, etc. or you'll definitely be checking out how well your child's carseat works, and paying for tickets for having your view obstructed while operating a motor vehicle.

      Delete
  14. Don't forget infant carrier seat with the handle in the carry position while driving.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Melissa, this only touched base on a few things that came to my mind when friends asked me for some car seat help. I never intended this to be so widely distributed. There is a part 2 here http://treadingragingwaters.blogspot.com/2012/03/deadly-car-seat-mistakes-part-2.html where I added a lot.

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    2. Melissa - good call, yes this is extremely dangerous as well.

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    3. This varies by manufacturer.

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    4. Jenrose is right, it depends on the car seat. Check the manual to see what is allowed by your manufacturer. I have a Chicco Keyfit 30 and any locked position is allowed.

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  15. I have 2 toddlers in RF Sunshine Kids, ine is a 20lb 3 year old and the other is a 30lb 2 year old. They should be safe and perfect only they have decided that they can move the chest piece down and either leave it down or worse, sit with their arms out of the straps. I am constantly screaming at them to pit their straps back on!! Any suggestions anyone?

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    Replies
    1. Try getting a thin rubber band that you can put on the strap just under the chest clasp. This may keep them from sliding it down.

      First I would try calling the manufacturer to see if they have any suggestions. Adding anything to the carseat inclusing carseat strap covers or the rubberbands may void the warranty.

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    2. I stop the car and fix the straps. Every time.

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    3. see if you can find someone with the limited edition harness covers from that company they go above and below the chest clip preventing it from being able to be moved to low. Being limited run time the manufacture no longer has any either.

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  16. This is a GREAT article. Thank you so much for complining this information. My husband is a Firefighter and has been trained on how to properly install carseats and he taught me as well. When my brother had my nephew I went over the guidelines with him and we showed him that his seat and the straps were too loose. It must have been a God thing because just days later when they were driving home they were t-boned on the freeway. My nephew sustained ZERO injuries because he was properly strapped in.

    Brittax may look fancy but in Consumer Reports crash tests they always score lower than the Graco Snugride. I'm not slamming Brittax but as a parent I check with CR before buying this type of equipment. As my kids are ready to transition to boosters I am doing the same and found that one of the $75 seats out performed the foofy $230 seats.

    Those who are trying to debunk some of these rules....SHAME ON YOU!!! If you want buy a used car seat or leave your kids straps loose, go on ahead, risk your childs life. Argue over semantics to justify your disregard for proper safety but don't try to convince others that your negligence is acceptable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Consumer Reports may be good for some things, but it's not a good resource when it comes to car seats and there are a lot of problems when it comes to their testing. You're better off sticking to resources that actually specialize in this area and looking at info from CPSTs. The NHTSA is good too.

      Here are two links with more info about why you shouldn't rely on Consumer Reports when it comes to judging car seat safety:
      http://www.car-safety.org/guide.html#cr
      http://www.carseatsite.com/cr.htm

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    2. Consumer Reports is absolutely a reliable and trustworthy source for information on Car seats. The articles you are referring to are from 2007. Since then they have added crash expertise to their staff (straight from a major vehicle manufacturer) and everyone that does the car seat testing are Certified Passenger Safety Technicians.

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  17. It is also important to note that you cannot "borrow" a latch from one of the sides to latch a seat in the middle unless the car seat explicitly says you can. If you don't have center latches in your car, it is perfectly okay to use a seatbelt or put your car seat on one of the sides. And while it is safer to have a car seat in the middle, if you can't install it correctly while allowing those in the front seat to be safe and comfortable, put it on the side.

    And don't over-tighten seatbelts when installing, as they may pull the car seat off balance so that it's tilting at a side-to-side angle.

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  18. Thank you so much for posting this. I was in a car accident with my son when he was only 2 and 1/2 months old. Thankfully he was in an infant carrier that was properly hooked into the base and sustained no injuries. My son is now almost 10 months old and has moved into a convertible car seat. I thought I was doing everything right, until I read about winter jackets. I had no idea and I am sick to my stomach thinking about him in the car everyday for the past few months with his bulky coat on. I am so happy to be informed about this now and will pass on the info to my friends. Thank you so much!

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  19. Thanks again for the post. Very informative, i do have a question though... i have a Britax Marathon carseat, & according to your post the chest latch(buckle) should be level with the shoulders, how ever my question is, that our carseat has a plastic covering on both of the straps (they too say Britax),there are located above the latches... are they incorrectly installed or should i get rid of them all together? they seem to irritate my daughters (almost 2) neck anyway... any advice?
    Thanks again for the information :)

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    Replies
    1. the chest clip should be level with the armpits not the shoulder. I know the things you're talking about and if they are in the way of the chest clip being where it should be you can remove them (I removed them from both of our britax at one point) they are there for the comfort of the child not safety.

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    2. I think you're talking about the HUGS. They should straddle the chest clip, not be entirely up above the clip. They are optional for rear-facing, but required for forward-facing. There's a pic here: http://www.childconvertiblecarseat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/britax-marathon-70-HUGS.jpg

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  20. How about booster seats? Thank you for putting this together, so much great information.

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  21. Thank you so much for sharing this info and the reasons! I tend to deal with many misinformed friends & family!
    www.foraging4aliving.com

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  22. To put into perspective for those who think it is a money making scheme to buy a new safety seat after an accident. Just think of it as a motorcycle helmet. They are both meant to protect the user and if anything potentially ruined It's integrity it should be replaced. I would even go so far as to say even just like a helmet being dropped from a high point put the equipment at risk of now being faulty. In the end. Do you really want to risk a child's life over it?

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    Replies
    1. This would also be why it's important not to check a carseat while flying. Baggage handlers are NOT gentle and could care less that it's a carseat and not a bag of clothes.

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  23. Thank you for posting this. I too was once just a newbie with carseats. Thanks to people like you I have been able to educate myself and others.

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  24. You did a nice job reminding us of these all important rules. One thing I would point out, however, is in one section, you post a video suggesting the use of a carseat poncho instead of a coat. Then, in the very next point, you call shame on someone who uses an infant carrier cover because its after market. You can't have it both ways.

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    Replies
    1. The caresat poncho does not interfere at all with the buckling of the straps. It doesn't sit between the child and the carseat or between the straps and the child at all - it simply drapes over the child and over the carseat. The infant carrier covers that, I believe, were being referred to, are the JJ Cole Bundle Me version. It has two pieces - one piece lays on the carseat between the child and the seat and the straps are threaded through holes in the cover. The other piece zips onto the top of it and lays over the child.

      Here's a link to see what the Bundle Me is - http://jjcolecollections.com/original-bundleme-thermaplush

      I don't think she was referring to products that just simply lay over the infant carriers to either protect the baby from the sun or the cold - something akin to laying a blanket over the top of the carseat. There are even ones that stretch over the top of the carseat with a hole to peek in on the baby.

      The Bundle Me is unsafe because of compression issues because it's actually between the child and the carseat. A blanket, a car seat canopy-type cover, or the stretchy cover do not come between the child and the straps or the child and the seat, which is why they're okay to use.

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    2. I would say the poncho is not aftermarket, because it doesn't attach to the car seat in anyway. It's really no different then using a blanket as it's just draped on top. A cover is actually attached which would be a different case.

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    3. Actually the poncho poses a choking and decapitation risk because of the zipper/neckhole. In the event of a crash of the back of the poncho is tucked in rather than draped, then the child will be thrown forward into the zipper. If you use a blanket, there is no hole around the child's neck to pose a hazard and the blanket will not choke during an accident. So even though the poncho maker wants to advertise it as "safer," it is sadly not.

      Delete
  25. i have a couple questions i have an almost three year old she is only 23 lbs and in a forward facing carseat i was wondering if anyone has suggestions on were the seat should be placed and would be the safest like behind the passenger, behind the driver, or in the middle? also with her being almost three a lot of booster seats say she can be in them but with her being so little it worries me suggestions on this too?

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    Replies
    1. The middle is always safest, assuming the seat can be installed properly there. In your case, I think it's best to go off of height and weight requirements for the seats rather than the suggested age. The booster seat you're thinking of putting her in should have the weight and height requirements listed. Those aren't just guidelines - those are requirements. Just as children outgrow car seats, they also may not fit properly in them. It would be like putting a 5lb preemie in a carrier meant for a baby 8lbs or bigger.

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  26. So I have I Britax 70 cs. My son makes a mess of the car seat I took off the car seat covers (not the straps and washed them in the washing machine)But I took the actual seat with the straps and sprayed them off with the hose. Do you think I should call Britax to replace the straps? They weren't submerged in water or used with soap but I did spray them down with the hose?

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  27. What a great post! More people need to be aware of the true safety rules of car seats. I used to work at a Naval Hospital and we offered a free car seat installation demo for all new parents leaving the hospital. I learned most all the above mentioned guidelines from this service at the hospital and wish that more hospitals had this service. You can however get a car seat installation check free by the highway patrol.

    It was because of my use of the above guidelines that my son was not injured in a recent car accident we were involved in. My 3 year old and I were broadsided by a girl that ran a red light. After 40 ft of skid marks the estimate was she hit us at close to 70 mph. Impact to my drivers door and side passenger door of my van. We left the ground in our 180 degree spin before coming to a rest facing back in the direction we were leaving from. I was taken in full c-spine and back board to the ER and my son was released at the scene. The paramedics inspected my vehicle at the scene and said it was because of the proper installation of my sons car seat and him being properly secured that he was not seriously injured.

    That car seat went to the junk yard with my totaled van and I have a brand new one in our new vehicle. Follow the rules, they were made because someone else's child was not so lucky. Make it a priority to check the seat on a regular basis and protect your child.

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    Replies
    1. Forgot to mention that I am about to be released finally from physical therapy 6 months after this wreck due to my injuries and again, my son suffered only bruises due to his properly placed car seat 5 point harness.

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    2. You can not always get a free check from the Highway Patrol. I recently called our local HP office and asked for a seat check and for the current car seat laws. The officer passed me to another officer and then he passed me to another... none of them could even tell me the current law. Wonder how they enforce laws they can't even remember. So sad!!

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    3. Try the fire department instead of the police department or a local hospital. Our local hospital has a car seat advocate on staff who will come talk to Moms groups, etc. she was awesome.

      Delete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. Could you please email me the form letter also? We were in an accident in March and my daughter was not injured at all and the accident was in a parking lot; however, the car was not able to be driven away. The person at fault's insurance paid for everything but no one made mention of replacing the car seat. If it should be replaced I want it replaced.
    Thanks
    Yayaa
    yayaasreflections@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Could I get a copy of the form letter please?
    Thank you!

    anothermod[AT]gmail[DOT]com

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  31. Very informative...Protect children from injury, use baby car seats.

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  32. Hi there!

    I need that letter, please. My husband was just in a parking lot accident but the woman who t-boned him was probably going 30 mph. Whole front side of the car caved in, been in the shop going on 2 weeks now. And my adjuster said they won't replace our car seats.

    Thanks!!

    shawna 75 at gmail dot com

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  33. I am a Child Safety Restraint Technician in Canada. Some things are not the same in Canada as they are in the Us, but this article gives very good general information. Be aware that seats that are sold in the Us are generally NOT approved in Canada.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Siqiniq, I am just wondering.... why? Is the safety of American car seats inferior to Canadian seats? Are most Canadian seats approved in the US? I am sincerely interested because I'd like to purchase a new car seat for my daughter soon and wonder if I should import from Canada or buy here, or which one I should buy. Any recommendations?

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  34. Just sent this to my son and daughter-in-law. I got it off of PINTEREST! Hope this info gets out there! I am amazed by how many parents do NOT follow the specific safety guidelines!

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  35. Here in Kansas the State Troopers told me not to use even a Britax after a crash because you just don't know.

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  36. My son's carseat was in a wreck (thankfully he wasn't in there!) The truck flipped four times and was totaled. The insurance company would NOT replace it- we asked the agent, the adjuster, & the apraiser!- they told us we had to file it under homeowners- which the deductible is more than a new carseat! So we had to buy a new one out of pocket & our carseat wasn't even 6 months old! :( could you email me the form you were talking about? We have already settled with them on paying for the car- so idk if there is anything we can even do now? maloriepeters@gmail.com

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  37. Can you email me the paper for the ins regarding car accidents and car seats? I was in an accident a few days ago, thankfully my little girl wasn't with me, but her carseat was. Thank you. Mdlavinder@gmail.com

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  38. I just have a quick question...about locking the carseat in. It says to only use the belt or the lock. Well, in my case, I have to use both because my middle seatbelt in back doesn't lock on it's own. So if I were to only use the belt, she'd be moving back and forth with just my normal driving let alone what would happen if we were in an accident. So what am I supposed to do in my case?

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    Replies
    1. You can get one of those metal clips that lock the seat belt.

      Delete
  39. Thank you for this. Great info and even things I didn't know in the comments about car insurance getting new careseats if they were in the car that was in an accident. I was in one with my girls right before they turned 1 and my insurance didn't mention anything about it to me or even that they should be replaced.

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  40. I have a question about car seat covers and the voiding of warranties. There were some comments about canopies and covers that use elastic to secure them to the infant carrier being perfectly safe because they are not between the child and the seat and do not interfere with the seat in any way and certainly not more than a blanket. My question is do they still void the warranty since they're technically after market? Also, is it correct that they are perfectly safe?

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  41. You missed one, no car seat should be put in the center part of the back seat. Its the number 1 thing I see new parents doing wrong. That car seat weather it's forward or rear facing will fly straight thru the windshield in an accident. And because the cars are not manufactured to have the seat in the center you will never get it tight enough latched in.
    Otherwise this is a great list. I personally think that every parent should have to have an inspected cars eat with paperwork to

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rear center is actually generally regarded as the safest place for a carseat. The average car seat will not fit through the gap between the front seats of a vehicle. If the child is ejected from the seat, that is due to improper harnessing or improper installation of the seat itself. the majority of vehicles now are equipt with carseat anchors for all three seat positions (passanger/center/driver. Of course, if your car doesn't have the anchor in the center you will want to put the seat where you feel it will be most secure. The problem with putting a carseat behind either the driver or passanger seat is that it places them much closer to the point of impact in a side collision. You also run the risk of airbag injury if your vehicle has side impact airbags.

      Delete
    2. Both of my Subarus' driver manuals (as well as my husband's Dodge truck) told us to put my daughter's car seat on the passenger side in the rear. The police officer who inspected the car seat confirmed this. The center rear is not necessarily the best spot in all vehicles...you should check the manufacturer's recommendation.

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  42. I have washed my seat cover on the hand-wash gentle cycle of the washing machine. Is that okay? I've used a kirkland on the straps and plastic...is that okay?

    Jess---I see what you are saying with the center seat but I thought they say that is the safest seat in the car???

    Thanks,

    Lisa

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  43. Heather, I've also sprayed down my seat with the hose. Hmm, hope that was okay?

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  44. If kids don't wear winter coats, what are you supposed to do in the winter? Also, I have a safety first air car seat and it says to use the latch and the seat belt.

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  45. The following sites all say to put the seat in the rear in the center... it's safer because it's farther away from direct impact.

    children.WEBMD.com
    britaxusa.com
    www.cdc.gov
    www.car-seat.org

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  46. oh man, i have read all your seat belt posts and i was sitting here patting myself on the back for being such a good mother and doing everything right ... and then i got to the part about not using the harness straps AND the seat belt. gotta fix that today! thank you so much for taking the time to put all this together and posting it. there is no telling how many little lives you are saving.

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  47. Thank you so much for these posts! I did not know about the flame retardant on the straps; guess I'd just never thought about it. Glad to say that I haven't ever tried to clean them, but I figured that I would probably have to once DD is big enough to have snacks in the car. Sharing this with all my facebook friends.

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  48. My Graco carseat says that you ARE to use both the anchor (LATCH) and the seat belt. While I do believe this is great to bring awareness to people, everyone should read the instructions for their own model and if you change models or manufacturers don't rely on what was right for your first one.

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    Replies
    1. Is there a way you could send me a picture of that and the model of your car seat? I'd love to see it. My email address is candicekellie@gmail.com

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    2. It has been a while, but I am sure our Graco required both the tether and seat belt.

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    3. The tether is different than LATCH. The top tether is necessary in a forward facing installation, but using LATCH and a seatbelt is dangerous.

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  49. Thanks for sharing. I took a carseat safety class last week and all of these points were mentioned!

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  50. I'd seriously love to know what a person's supposed to do when it's 0 degrees outside or lower? Just throwing a blanket on the child isn't going to protect them from the temperature and the car's heat certainly isn't going to kick in that fast when it's that cold out. it's the one thing with the car seat that I've never understood/ figured out. Otherwise I agree with the other items. Can someone offer a suggestion? The poncho thing looks like a suffocation strangulation risk to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We take the coat off upon entering the car, get clipped in, then put the coat on backwards. Warm the car up before entering & it will be fine.

      Delete
    2. Try a fleece - my daughters winter coat comes with a fleece insert. I usually will put that on her, it isn't bulky at all and fits snugly. I then put the shell on her when we get where we're going once she's out of the car. Kids are way more resilient when it comes to the cold than adults.

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  51. Cute baby I would share it with my family.

    Nanotech News


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  52. Just wondering.... if no aftermarket products are allowed, it voids the warranty etc, and i totally get that... then isn't the carseat poncho the same thing??? it's aftermarket and goes "over" the carset and straps..... just wondering. Thanks!

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  53. Can i get a copy of the form letter i was recently in a car accident with my 3 month old daughter it wasnt anything serious and she is okay but I'm concerned about her car seat I'm still dealing with the insurance so this was great help and info didn't know insurance would cover sad thing is they never mentioned any thing about her car seat knowing she was in the car at the time of the accident.. thank you tizette7@yahoo.com

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  54. Seat belts involved in minor crashes should be replaced, as well.

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  55. I would love the insurance for my replacing a car seat. We were in an accident in Nov and they refused to replace my newborns car seat, he was in the car when the crash occurred. They said it wasn't part of my insurance policy, and now I am kind of angry thinking about it. thanks for your help.

    fiestyred-head@live.com

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  56. I meant the insurance form, sorry about the typo!

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  57. I was recently in an accident and our insurance paid for the replacement of all 3 carseats, all very expensive carseats, without question. I didn't even have to provide proof those were the carseats I owned. My daughter had a Sunshine Kids (now Diono) Radian XT and it was well worth the money. I agree, paying $2-300 for your child's LIFE shouldn't be a question. The quality & sturdiness between the cheap Graco we had first, and the Radian were night and day.
    Also, if you're in an accident where police/fire are called (but the car isn't on fire obviously), you should leave your child buckled in. A friend of mine was praised after a bad accident for knowing this, and the boy's seat was cut from the car, carseat and all taken to the hospital. Thankfully he was okay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They use the seat as the back stabilizer instead of needing to strap the child to a board. It's much safer if there was a back injury not to move them and less traumatic for the child.

      Delete
  58. Seems like a lot of concern when there is not much data to support that car seats are even effective.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_levitt_on_child_carseats.html

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    Replies
    1. I hope you don't have a baby, Americanbaby.
      http://thecarseatlady.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/freakonomics-fallacy-an-economist-or-a-pediatrician-who-would-you-trust-to-keep-your-child-safe/

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  59. Hi there! Could I get your form letter for car seats in an accident. I was in an accident last march. The car seats were not occupied but the Graco manual does not differentiate. I called Country insurance adn she said they will not replace it if it was not occupied. Here is my email: lbk92783@hotmail.com

    Thank you!

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  60. About the flame retardants in the straps. You may be better off washing those out. You will have to balance your fear of catching fire in a car with the fear that your baby may get cancer in later years. There are a lot of well researched articles about the push from the chemical companies to mandate flame retardants. Some great links are here:
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/keyword/flame-retardants/recent/2
    http://watoxics.org/chemicals-of-concern/toxic-flame-retardants-pbdes
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-06/news/ct-nw-flames-baby-products-20121206_1_tobacco-and-chemical-industries-flame-retardant-baby-products

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  61. Hi could you please forward me your form letter as well? I am having an issue with getting my carseats replaced as well. My email is mcoughlin310@hotmail.com Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Omg how did any of us born before 1980 ever make it to adulthood?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG how about asking the thousands of babies/kids that didn't make it to adulthood?! Oh wait, you can't...which is why we have car seats.

      Delete
  63. Any advice on when to transition a child from a carseat to a booster? I have a 4yr old daughter who I do have in a convertible carseat that goes up to 100lb so I know she can stay in it - but I'm a petite chick and I just feel like I can never get her straps tight enough and I think she would be safer in a booster. Even my husband has a hard time tightening the straps and he's a pretty strong guy. If I could get the straps tight enough to where I would feel safe about her being in there I wouldn't bother looking into a booster but I just worry every time I drive with her. And everything I read says "when the child outgrows his/her regular carseat," it doesn't give age, height, or weight requirements. If it helps I'm in CA, she's 42lbs, but I'm not sure about her height. She's pretty tall for a 4yr old though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what car seat is this? are the straps routed correctly? It really shouldn't be hard to tighten at all. Are you pulling from the hip straps up and then tightening? Are you pulling down on the strap or up? pulling down is better leverage. Most harnesses go to 50-70 pounds and booster to 100. I would keep her harnessed till 5 but that is my personal preference when most kids are better listeners and make better decisions aka their brains are better developed

      Delete
  64. You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most individuals will go along with your opinion. Junk cars

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  65. Using Maxi-Cosi FamilyFix Car Seat Base for make your baby comfort and safe in car.

    ReplyDelete
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  67. I prefer to place it where it should be.


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  68. Wow, this article really is great. I read everything, and found out that I did do something that I should't have, which was to wash the straps. (yikes) But, I will be sending the manufacturer an email to see if they would be ever so generous as to send replacements. Thanks for this valuable information.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Can I pin this on Pinterest? Thank you for a great article. I am not a mom (yet), but I have buckled in many nieces and nephews and some of this I didn't even know. I'll be fixing my own buckling abilities and also telling their parents. :-)

    ReplyDelete
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  71. My son was in two accidents, one minor and one a little bit worse. We did not know that we should replace the car seat after the first accident and continued to use it. I really didn't have any issues, but after the second accident the straps did not stay tight. They would loosen up after one car ride, significantly. So we went home did some research, found a car seat that had great safety reviews, but was a within our price range. With this being said, car seats do take on damage after accidents. It is only right to replace them for the well-being of your child. Also, you do not have to buy the most expensive car seat. After doing the research, you will find some less expensive seats with better safety reviews than pricey ones. Just do the research. Just because its the latest greatest item in a baby/parenting magazine does not mean its the best option. I found a pricey seat that a friend of mine has that she insisted she buy for her child because if it was expensive it must be good, that had one of the worse reviews I have seen. Just do the research and replace the seat if that seat is involved in an accident.

    ReplyDelete
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  73. Hello,

    Is it possible to get a copy of your letter? My vehicle was hit while parked, completely destroying the door nearest my son's Britax Boulevard. As you know, Britax follows the NHTSA guidelines which states that is grounds for replacement. The other seat next to it was a SK Radian, which says to replace in any accident. My insurance company, Progressive, is giving me the complete run-around. They replaced the seats in my husband's truck with no questions asked about 8 months ago when he was in an accident, so I'm not sure what their problem is. Anyway, your help would be greatly appreciated. I know they are in the insurance business to make money, but these are my precious children.

    Thank you,
    Katie
    cheekychicphotography@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  74. Just wondering if there were any other suggestions for being without a coat in a car seat where it is below freezing all winter and it is illegal to let your car idle for more than 3 minutes (not long enough to warm it up in there.) tights, socks, boots, pants, shirt, sweater, hats and mittens and my kids still ask for blankets in the car. Blankets and those poncho things are okay but I am sorry, it gets waaaay too cold here for that to be all they have on over sweaters. Plus there is the small problem of getting them out of the coats and into the cold seats and under a blanket before they start to freeze, and there are 3 of them, so it's not like it would be a quick process getting them all buckled and the doors shut on our ford focus either. Don't want to sound like I think it's impossible but if there is something I'm not thinking of, please let me know.

    ReplyDelete
  75. these are all great rules to follow for car seat safety. One of the most important never gets talked about though and many parents aren't even aware. Every car manufacturer has a weight limit for the latch system in the vehicle. Most aren't high enough to carry a toddler seat on the latch system. Check your weight limits per your vehicle to be sure you are using the correct restraint.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Thanks for the info!!! I had NO idea you couldn't wash the straps! Makes perfect sense!

    ReplyDelete
  77. wow... really great safety precaution. thanks for telling me that method. cause it is very helpful for my children.


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  78. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  79. My son is about to be 4 and is already 40 lbs. His booster seat comes with a back, but says the back can come off once he is 4 and 40 lbs. Would it hurt him to leave the back on or it is safer to take the back off? I like keeping the back on so he has the side to lean his head against when he falls asleep on long car rides.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At not even 4, he shouldn't be in a booster at all. A 3 year old doesn't have the maturity or developed body to be in a booster. I'd consider switching him back to a 5 point harness. There are tons of cheaper options that will harness up to 65 pounds too :)

      Delete
  80. Would you send me the form to give the insurance company about the car seats that have been in the crash? david_poe02@hotmail.com Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  81. I was told the reason not to use both LATCH and seat belt was that it could end up being TOO tight. The fibers in the belts are meant to give a little, in a crash. When you use both, and make the seat too tight, you could possibly have the belts snap, and the carseat go flying.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Yeah! Very well said I agree that's why Gatwick Airport Parking tell these things to the people

    ReplyDelete
  83. I don't know if this has been brought up before, but I am confused about what seems maybe a little contradictory. Maybe yuo can help to clear it up. You said in the beginning of the article that a carseat should not be able to move more than an inch, then you go on to say "a car seat is supposed to be able to move and flex a small amount during an accident to absorb some of the impact"
    I have a rear facing toddler seat, which is very tightly secured at the base where the latch belt holds it down, but bounces & rocks toward the back & headrest. Is this normal? I literally can not get it any tighter with my latch belt. It seems to hold my car seat in almost like it is (very tightly) hinged. I even had my 200 lb. Hulk hubby fasten it in. Any thoughts would be veryyyyy appreciated. TIA! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mandy, have you tethered down the back of the car seat with the rear tether?

      Delete
  84. I shared it to my fellows and we are going to try that in used cars houston and after that we apply it to new cars!

    ReplyDelete
  85. Candice, Please email me that letter for the insurance companies you referenced above. My email is jecampbell101@yahoo.com

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
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  90. My 2 year old pushes his chest clip down and gets his arms out. So I put duck tape on the straps and now after reading this I am realizing that might be a bad idea. What do you recommend? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  91. This article is very informative and it really shows how important it is to have a safe car, especially when you have young children. Buying a new car can be a long process sometimes because it can be hard picking the right car. This is why I always recommend checking out Sign and Drive Lease Deals before buying a car. Doing proper research is very important because this can help you know and understand how the car really works and if it will be right for you.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Thank you for posting this very informative article. I was hoping that you could email me a copy of the insurance letter that you mentioned. I was in two separate accidents, with the same driver, at two separate locations back in August. In the first instance, the driver backed into my back gate in a parking lot. The gate had to completely be replaced. In that incident, the driver had refused to give me insurance information and left the scene.

    My husband and I then went to the driver's work to demand that he follow us to the police station to file a report. He agreed and, as we were leaving, he unintentionally backed into the front bumper of my van (caused only minor damage).

    In both incidents. my kids (age 5 in a booster and age 1 in a rear facing seat) were in the vehicle. However, my insurance company never mentioned that the car seats should be replaced.

    my email address is nicole.c.grove1015@gmail.com

    Thank you very much!

    ReplyDelete
  93. I had NO IDEA you aren't supposed to wash carseat straps! I have a toddler and am the 2nd oldest of nine. We've always thrown the straps in the washer. :/ I've also had a "minor bump" with a carseat in the vehicle and it never would have occured to me to think about the effect on the carseat. Thanks for this article!

    ReplyDelete
  94. I'm not even sure how accurate some of this is, since I know that at least part of it is wrong. My son was born in 2002 and his seats all had the latch system installed on them. J/S Check your sources because even if everything else is true, you just lost credit for not checking to make sure what you were saying is accurate.

    ReplyDelete
  95. I agree with everything that you have posted except for one thing...the winter coats and car seats. It is NOT in any of the manufactured paperwork, has been tested and is not recommended to leave the coats off. You have to be responsible enough to adjust the straps EVERY time you put your child in that seat. Make sure the straps are tightened down through the "puff" of a winter coat and then tightened again if the coat is off.... how hard is that?? Now you have parents bringing their children out, taking off their coats in freezing weather, strapping them in and then putting on the coat again to get out of the car only to redo again and again sometimes several times a day...a greater risk at your child getting sick....its a matter of common sense

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you misunderstood that part of the article, and the idea that it is not reccomended to leave the coat off is flat out false. The fact is, no matter how much a human thinks they can tighten the straps over a thick winter coat, there will still be enough room for it to compress by the force of an accident, causing the child to slip out of the straps and be partially or fully ejected from the seat. To find out of the coat is too bulky, strap the child in with it on, then take the child out, take the coat off and strap your bub back in *without readjusting the straps*.. if the straps are now loose, then that's how loose they will become if you are in an accident.

      Delete
  96. I was under the impression you are supposed to use the top anchor along with the seatbelt?

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  97. What should we do with old carseats that have expired or have been in a crash??? I have two Britax that are getting ready to expire.

    ReplyDelete
  98. We have both of our sons (2.5 yr old and 8.5 months) rear facing in their car seats (Sunshine kids/Diono Radian XLT). Both boys have been in their seats since birth. It works in our suburban. But in my husbands sedan it doesn't work to have both seats rear facing. We have to put my 2.5 yr old seat facing forward to fit properly and for me to be able to safely sit in the passenger seat. Have others had this difficulty? Car depth between front and middle/rear seats is not deep enough to have 1 or even 2 convertible car seats rear facing? I really don't know what we will do when its time to have a 3rd. Our eldest is a little guy.

    ReplyDelete
  99. My 1 year old has a Graco Nautilus, and my 4 year old a Graco Booster. We were in a bad roll over accident and although my husband and I were pretty beat up, my girls walked away without a scratch. The Graco car seats performed amazingly well. Although a horrific sight, my girls were dangling from the ceiling, strapped in perfectly, and safe. Thank Goodness. Thank You Graco!

    ReplyDelete
  100. I live in Canada and right now its -45 outside.. im sorry but my kids stay in their jackets if the jacket is bulky you can still tighten the straps to fit closer to their chest.. also here the police and local health units have been doing a carseat check ride program where you pull over and they check to see if carseats are properly installed and show you how to do it properly if not...thought this was wonderful...they said only 2 seats were installed properly that whole day and they were booster seats...eeek

    ReplyDelete
  101. I'm a firefighter/paramedic and learned a lot reading this. No longer will I just simply assess if a child was IN a car seat during a crash, but I'll be asking and looking at all the parameters you touched on. Great post..thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  102. Can I please have the form letter emailed to me? My husband was involved in a crash and his car was totalled. The insurance company told us that the carseat didn't need replaced since our child wasn't in the seat at the time, however the manual states ANY car crash and the NHTSA states the vehicle must be able to drive away from the scene, but his was not. I'd like to petition my insurance company for a new seat right away! Thanks in advance! Please email to nmjohnson213@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  103. Update on LATCH vs. Seat Belt

    http://www.babble.com/kid/car-seat-law-changes-in-2014/

    ReplyDelete
  104. I was in a big accident with a damaged car, it was my fault, and the person who got hit my me was taken to the hospital, my front was damaged alot but the car was still driveler , it was back in 2011, but i had no idea about the car seat, but i have a new one now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly scary the standards Americans have for their car seats. 5 point harnesses have been the ONLY standard for more than 20 years in Australia. The so call amazing Foonf will NEVER be released here because it doesnt meet our Australian standards. America seriously needs to get its act together if people consider the best out there is Foonf.

      Delete
  105. My question is: how can i put my kids safe and warm in a contry where we have -40 in winter? Do i have to put my kids in cold, buckle them up and then put there coat back? that's just don't make sens to me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My suggestion to you would be to warm the car up first. Say if you know you're leaving in 1 hr, start the car up 15 min before this way it's warm in there. If that is not an option, put the coats on the kids until you get to the car, buckle them up and put a blanket over them until the car gets warm, or you could get the carseat poncho like the one from one of the videos up above.

      Delete
  106. I have a question, I have 3 children: a 2 yr old, and 3 yr old twins, they are all around the same weight 40-47lbs. The carseats I have for them say to stop using the 5 point harness at 40 lbs, and start using it as a booster seat, but with them being so young I'm afraid to use it as a booster. What should I do?

    ReplyDelete
  107. I have 3 children, a 30 month old and 8 month old twins. I agree that carseats are expensive, but suck it up and buy a good one. If money is an issue, DO NOT get an infant seat, the ones that come out of the car and attach to a stroller. They are a waste of money. I got a Graco 3 in 1 that is rear facing, forward facing, and then converts to a booster seat. It hold kids from 5 lbs to 100 lbs. My twins were just over 5 lbs when I brought them home from the hospital and they fit in them fine. Also, my toddler was very tall for his age, and I was able to keep him rear-facing until 2 because the car seat was very roomy, even though he outgrew the infant seat we used as a back up at 15 months. The car seat was about $300, with additional bases being $50. Though it is heavy and not as convenient as a infant seat, it is definitely much safer. Also, when we brought our van to a car seat safety check done by the NICU nurses at the hospital where we delivered our twins, they we in love with the car seats and said that they are going to recommend it other parents. So, for all those with financial issues, 1 car seat can last forever, which will save you some money and keep your child safe.

    ReplyDelete
  108. This is great!!!

    I did want to make you aware though, there are a select few seats that do allow use of both. You may want to mention this and refer to the manual. Also important here is the new requirements regarding latch max. as well as latch use with boosters.

    Thank you for this simple explanation of the most common mistakes!!

    ReplyDelete
  109. Just because you say "Picture borrowed from Britax, no copyright infringement intended." Does not give you the right to use it. You actually are violating copyright. Even though you may have the best intentions, it does not excuse your breach. I would advise you get permission.

    ReplyDelete
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