You might think that because you have a car seat set up you’re your child and you have comprehensive insurance coverage in place, your kids are protected during your car journeys, but that sadly might not be the case. You see, various studies have shown that parents not only ignore car seat set-up advice, but that many of them have incorrectly installed car seats and this could be putting their children at risk.
If you aren’t sure whether your car seat is set up for optimum safety, here are some common car seat mistakes parents make, which you should check you haven’t also made and rectify if you have:
Buying a Used Car Seat with No History
Although there is nothing wrong with buying a used car seat, you really should only do so if you know it’s history. You should be confident it’s never been in a moderate-serious crash, it has no parts missing, and it has an instruction label showing it’s make and model number before you use it in your car.
Putting the Car Seat in the Wrong Place
The safest spot to put your kid’s car seat is always in the back seat well away from any working airbags. If your child’s seat is directly next to an airbag and you should crash, they could be seriously injured or even killed by a deploying bag hitting their head! If you’re traveling in a vehicle which only has two seats, deactivate the airbag on the passenger side to keep your baby safe.
Installing the Car Seat Incorrectly
The best way to ensure your car seat is installed correctly is to have a professional at the place you bought it to install it for you. If you can’t do that, please make sure that you install the car seat as per the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring that the seat is secured tightly and does not move more than an inch in any direction. If it’s an infant’s car seat, you should always install it facing the rear of your car, and the harness should always clip at your kid’s armpits.
Dressing Your Kid in Bulky Clothes
It might be cold and raining outside, but you should never dress your child in a big bulky coat when you’re putting them in the car seat. Doing so might make the seat’s harness straps less effective. Instead, dress them in a lightweight jacket and add hats, a glove and blankets over the seat if necessary, to keep them warm and safe.
Switching to a Booster Seat Too Early
Putting a child who isn’t ready into a booster seat is a very common cause of injury that you should make every effort to avoid. Ideally, you should only switch from an infant car seat to a booster seat when your child has surpassed the weight and height recommendations of their car seat, and you should find a booster seat that meets their current physical requirements where possible to prevent any avoidable injuries from occurring.