If you have a young child at home, he or she is probably the center of your world. It is important for you to do everything you can to protect your child, and this includes using the right car seat. In addition, you need to use the right car seat in the right way. Because there are so many car seat models available, it can be challenging for parents to decide which is the best option. Take a look at a few of the most important safety tips in Florida you should follow to make sure you maximize the protective capabilities of your child’s car seat.
1. Do Not Use an Expired Car Seat
Car seats are expensive, so it is not unusual for parents to try to find a discounted car seat to protect their children. For example, it is not unusual for hospitals to give away car seats that are donated to them. If you are having a baby soon, you may want to talk to your OB-GYN to see if the hospital has a car seat you can use. At the same time, if you purchase a discounted car seat, you need to make sure it has not expired.
If the car seat has expired, it may not provide you with the protection you think it will. Car seat technology progresses quickly, and some of the materials in the car seat might expire. This is particularly true if the car seat has been involved in a car accident. Do not use a car seat that has expired.
2. Do Not Use a Car Seat That Has Been Involved in an Accident
As alluded to above, you should not use a car seat that has been involved in a motor vehicle accident. Think about the car seat as an airbag. If the airbag is deployed, you cannot simply stuff it back in the steering wheel or dashboard. You need to get a new airbag. You need to do the same thing if a car seat has been involved in a car accident.
Even if the car seat looks fine on the surface, it may have sustained a significant amount of damage. Therefore, you should replace it with a new car seat. There is even a chance that your insurance policy may pay for it. You should look at the details of your policy for more information, and reach out to a representative of your insurance company if you need clarification.
3. Stay Rear-Facing for as Long as Possible
You need to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. In general, you should keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until at least the age of two. If your child can remain rear-facing longer than this based on the guidelines published by the manufacturer of your car seat, keep your child rear-facing.
It is not unusual for parents to be concerned about the safety of their baby’s legs, but rest assured that your child will not only be safe but comfortable as well. It is not unusual for a convertible car seat to have a weight limit of 50 lb, so even a three-year-old child may still be able to sit in a rear-facing car seat.
4. The Middle of the Back Seat Is the Safest Place
Next, you need to put the car seat in the safest place possible in the motor vehicle. Put the car seat as far away from any potential point of impact. This means keeping the car seat far away from the windshield, the rear windshield, and both passenger doors. In general, this means putting the car seat in the middle of the back seat. If you have a car with three rows of seats, then you may want to put the car seat in the middle of the middle row. That way, your baby is as far as possible from any potential point of impact.
5. Don’t Forget To Buckle the Car Seat To The Seat
Simply placing the car seat in the car is not enough. You need to make sure you buckle the car seat to the seat. Different models have different ways of doing this, but you should slide the seat belt through a portion of the car seat. Then, buckle the seat belt on the other side just as you would for a passenger. That way, you prevent the car seat from moving when the car is in motion.
6. Get Rid of the Bulk
As a parent, you probably shudder at the thought of your child crying as you drive. Therefore, you may think it is better to give your child a coat, a blanket, or a few toys to play with. It is not necessarily bad if your child holds something in his or her hand, but you need to make sure the child does not have anything between him or her and the straps of the car seat. For example, if your child is wearing a coat, it makes it more difficult for you to strap your child into the car seat tightly. You may think that your child is tight, but in reality, you are simply scrapping the blanket or the coat in place.
Get rid of the blanket or coat before you buckle your child in. That way, the straps keep your child snug in the car seat.
7. Use the Two Finger Rule
When you buckle your child into his or her car seat, how tight is tight enough? You should follow the two-finger rule. This means that you should not be able to get any more than two fingers underneath the strap holding your baby in place. If you can get more than two fingers in between the strap and your baby, this is a sign that the straps are not tight enough. You might be worried about making your baby uncomfortable, but he or she will be fine. It is more important to make sure your child is safe in the event of a motor vehicle accident.
Rely on Doctor Wagner for More Car Seat Safety Tips in Florida
If you live in the local Florida area, it is important for you to make sure your child is safe. This means using your car seat properly. If you have questions about how to use your car seat, or if you are looking for the best car seat to keep your child safe, reach out to Doctor Wagner today. It would be our pleasure to help you protect your child from harm.