Car Seat Installation Tips
I Already Turned My Kid Forward
Yes! When we know better, we must do better. A few months ago when you turned her forward facing you did what you thought was best, but now you know differently. Avoid regrets, and give your child the best protection.
Many parents worry that it will be a disaster turning an older child back rear-facing. Here is one moms experience turning her almost-3-year-old son back rear-facing:
I was initially very hesitant to move my almost three year old son to rear facing from forward facing. He has been sitting forward facing for over a year and can be strong willed when it comes to change. However, after hearing how much safer it is I was willing to try. The first three or so drives were very difficult as he asked to look out mama and dadas window almost the entire time. We ignored and distracted and I was about to give up when I noticed that although he still complained about sitting rear facing it happened less and less. Now he asks maybe once every other drive if he can sit forward facing and was even fine the other day when his friend joined us and sat forward facing. It was a tough first few drives, but I am very happy we did it and I feel so much safer.
Why Are Car Seats Important
Using a car seat, also called a child safety seat, is the best way to protect your kids when they’re in a car. Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death and injury for children. Because car seats save lives, using a car seat is the law in every U.S. state.
But keeping your child safe depends on choosing the right safety seat and using it correctly. The best car seat is the one that fits your child’s weight, size, and age, as well as your vehicle.
Here are some things to know so you can pick a seat that’s right for your child:
Babies start out in infant-only seats or convertible seats. As they grow, kids switch to forward-facing seats before moving to a booster seat. Here’s a rundown of which seat to use when.
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Infant Car Seat Rear Facing Weight And Height Limits
Infant car seats are rear-facing only. They are designed for newborns, babies, and small toddlers under 1 year old. However, the littles usually outgrow the height or weight limits of their infant car seats before their first birthday.
Most of the infant car seats come with a height limit of 32-inch tall while the weight limit may vary between 30 pounds and 35 pounds, depending on specific models. For example, the Chicco KeyFit 30 is designed for 30 pounds littles, while the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is for 35 pounds infants.
Its common that the littles exceed the 32-inch height limit, which happens at 9 months or 6 months for those who grow a bit faster than their peers.
When To Move Out Of Convertible Car Seats To Boosters
Here are the limits for when you need to switch from a convertible car seat to a booster seat:
Age Limit Children must be at least 4 years old before moving into a booster. However, that is the minimum age. Many kids are not ready for a booster seat until much older.
Maturity Level As mentioned above, age isnt everything. Your child must also be able to sit in a booster seat properly and keep their seat belt where it should be.
If they cannot do this, then they are not mature enough for a booster .
If your child is too big for their convertible car seat but still isnt ready for a booster seat then you need to upgrade their convertible car seat . You will need to find a 5 point harness car seat that has a higher weight/height limit so that your child can continue to ride safely.
My recommendation is to buy a convertible car seat that will get you all the way to 80 lbs as then you can skip the booster seat all together This way you only need to buy one seat, instead of buying a bigger convertible seat and then buying a booster.
Weight Limit If your child has reached the weight limit for their convertible car seat then they need to upgrade. The weight limit varies on all car seats so check the car seat label. 40 lbs is common but more car seats are increasing their limits to 55, 65, and even 80lbs.
Ear Level This usually coincides with height but not always. When the top of your childs ears have reached the top of the car seat then its time to upgrade.
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Should I Use A Convertible Seat
Convertible seats are designed to protect kids:
- from birth up to at least 40 pounds facing backward
- up to 65 pounds or even 80 pounds facing forward, depending on the model
Convertible seats are placed in different positions depending on a child’s age and size:
- They face toward the rear until a baby is ready to face forward .
- Then, they can be turned around and “converted” to a forward-facing seat.
Some car seats are known as “all-in-one” or “3-in-one” because they convert from rear-facing to front-facing to booster with the harness removed.
How Do I Clean My Car Seat
As much as wed like to ignore the messes our children make in the back seat, your car seat will not lie to you. Upon occasion, its going to need cleaning. Its important to follow the instructions provided by your car seat manufacturer
regarding the cleaning of your particular car seat model. For Evenflo car seats, covers, inserts and harness covers can be removed and laundered in cold water on delicate cycle using mild detergent. Dry on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes and allow to completely air dry before use.
To clean minor spills and stains on cloth or plastic surfaces, use cold water and mild soap. Metal and plastic parts can be wiped clean with a soft damp cloth and dried with a soft cloth. Do not use abrasive cleaners or solvents. Let the parts air dry.
Its also a good idea to remove your car seat and base from the car before cleaning so you can more easily remove and replace the padding, but also so you can clean the seat of your caralso known as a crumb reservoir.
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Car Seat Weight Limits
It commonly refers to the minimum and maximum weights that a car seat can fit. Each type of car seat may come with a similar weight limit. Infant car seats are typically designed for babies between 4 ~5 lbs to 30~35 lbs. Convertible car seats are suitable for newborns between 4~5 to 40~50 pounds in rear-facing and toddlers between 20~25 pounds to 65 pounds in front-facing. Booster seats are good for big kids weighing from 40 pounds to 100~120 pounds.
When To Go From Rear Facing To Forward Facing
Rear facing is safer than forward facing so long as your child still meets the rear facing weight/height limits.
Age does not have any effect on whether or not rear facing is safer it is solely based on weight/height limits and spinal development. Therefore, if your child still meets their rear facing weight/height limits then they are safest rear facing.
However, if you feel you must switch your child around to forward facing here are the requirements:
Bare Minimum You can forward face your child if they are 1 years old AND 20 lbs. This is not 1 year OR 20 lbs. It must be both. This is because not only is the weight important but so is the spinal development.
Many state laws do state that it is 1 year or 20 lbs but theres a loop holethey also usually include or what the car seats manual states or something to that extend. This is the loop hole that actually makes the law 1 year AND 20 lbs.
As far as I know, no car seat manual says you can forward face at 1 year or 20 lbs, they all say 1 year AND 20 lbs. Why the state laws havent just converted to the 1 and 20 lbs rule is beyond me.
AAP Recommendation I have a whole post on extended rear facing, however I do feel the need to add that while it is the law to rear face at least till 1 year and 20 lbs, the AAP now recommends keeping your child rear facing until 2 years of age or until they meet their seats weight/height limit.
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What To Do With Your Old Car Seat
Step 3 Fill Any Remaining Cracks With Flexifil
After prepping the leather, there may still be a few small cracks in the leather. These are fixed by spreading the Flexifil over the leather with a palette knife. The filler only sits in the cracked leather. After applying a layer, leave for 5-10 minutes to dry. Build the Flexifil up in thin layers until all cracks are filled to be level with the surface of the leather.
The leather should then sanded smooth using fine 1200 grit sand paper.
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Moving From The Back Seat To Front Seat
All children under the age of 13 years old should ride in the back seat of the car If you must have a child under 13 ride in the front seat then make sure to turn the air bag off.
I know that is a lot to take in. Thankfully you dont get quizzed on this stuff!
Just remember to check your childs car seat limits often and you can always refer back to this post if you cant remember when to change car seats or positions.
I Thought My Child Could Turn Forward
This is NOT correct. Many years ago, in the days before the iPhone was invented, the minimum to turn forward facing was 1 year and 20 pounds.
In 2011 both the AAP and NHTSA updated their recommendations to reflect the latest research in child passenger safety. The AAP now recommends that kids sit rear-facing until at least age 2 and for longer if possible. NHTSA now recommends: Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seats manufacturer.
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Harness Your Child Correctly
Car seat straps should be at or below your child’s shoulders when rear-facing and at or above your child’s shoulders if forward-facing. Straps should lie flat and be free of any twisting. Once buckled, you should adjust the harness until the straps are snug. It is literally impossible to make the straps “too tight” on almost every car seateven if you are an NFL linebacker.
Because nearly every child is riding in straps that are too loose, the focus needs to be on getting them properly snug and not worrying about making it too tight. This is a harness the child’s life depends on. You don’t want to assume your child is buckled in correctly. Check for proper fit every time you buckle the child. The pinch test misses the fact that there is often oodles of slack hidden in the straps at the hip and belly area. Finally, position the chest clip at armpit level.
When To Change The Earliest From A Toddler Car Seat To A Booster Seat
We at BeSafe advise you to keep your child rear facing for as long as possible or at least until the age of four. Therefore, we recommend you to move your child to a booster seat only when all three of the following conditions are met:
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When Should You Make The Switch
While infant car seats have weight limits ranging from 22 to 35 pounds, nearly every baby is too tall before reaching the weight limit, especially for the seats with 30+ pound limits. Too tall is when the child’s head is 1 inch below the top of the seat. It would be best if you familiarized yourself with your car seat’s height and weight requirements to ensure your child is riding safely.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends transitioning your baby from the infant seat to a rear-facing convertible seat, once they meet the minimum height or weight requirement for their infant seat. If a child is over the weight limit but still within the height limit, it is not safe to use the seat . Once your child reaches one limit, they are too big.
While the max height for most infant seats is when the child’s head is 1 inch below the top of the seat, crash testing from Consumer Reports indicates that it may be best to transition to the rear-facing convertible seat earlier, before your child’s head is within an inch of the top.
CR’s crash tests with a 12-month-old dummy showed that the risk of head injury is much greater in an infant seat than a rear-facing convertible seatas the dummy hit its head on the back of the front seat in more than half of the crashes in infant seats, but in only 4% of the crashes when in a convertible seat.
Winter Coats And Car Seats
If a child’s winter coat has not been sufficiently compressed, the straps will not be tight enough and will not restrain the child effectively in the event of a collision. The child could be hurt or thrown from the seat.
Each time you put your child in a car seat, make sure that your child is buckled in snugly by inserting a finger between the chest and the straps. If you have difficulty pushing your finger through, the straps are tight enough.
Check the adjustment at the hips and make sure that your child’s coat doesn’t bunch up under the straps or behind his or her back.
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How To Make Sure Your Car Seat Is Fitted Properly
INDIANAPOLIS After a woman charged in connection with her childs death said she didnt know how to adjust the car seat. At the same time, with people heading out for trips during Spring Break, knowing the correct way to adjust a car seat is important.
The U.S. Department of Transportations National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children in a crash. At the same time, 46% of car seats and booster seats are used incorrectly.
If the straps are not adjusted correctly and your child is in the seat you run the risk of the child being injured in a crash, said Aleatha Henderson, Director of Public Education for the Indianapolis Fire Department. The child could even possibly be ejected out of the seat.
Henderson says the first step in making sure the car seat is used correctly is making sure the car seat fits the vehicle and is in the vehicle properly. The car seat should be fully on the vehicles seat and fastened so that it cannot be moved more than an inch when budged.
The NHTSA says there are several ways people can secure a car seat, including with a seatbelt and anchors. People should never use both methods at once. They tell people to read with the car seats instruction manual and the portion of the vehicles owner manual on car seat installation.