Get Your Car Seat Inspected
Whether youve just installed a car seat or need help installing or using one, get help at a car seat inspection station near you. Certified technicians will inspect your car seat free of charge, in most cases, and show you how to correctly install and use it. Some locations now offer virtual inspections.
Cant find an inspection station near you? You may be able to find a tech through Safe Kids Worldwide.
How Is The Car Seat Challenge Test Done
Once you have your car seat in the hospital room, a nurse will start the test by placing your baby properly in the seat and hooking up a few monitors. These monitors include:
- A pulse oximeter.
- Three small patches .
A pulse oximeter is a small device shaped similarly to a bandage, which is wrapped around a foot or wrist. Its job is to check on the amount of oxygen in your babys blood throughout the test.
The electrodes are small patches that monitor your babys breathing and heart rate. These patches will be placed on your babys chest.
For the next 90 to 120 minutes, your baby will stay in the car seat with the devices attached. Each of these devices will send information to your healthcare provider throughout the test. Once the time has passed, your provider will look over the information and discuss the results with you.
Who Has To Do The Car Seat Challenge Test
Your baby may need to do the car seat challenge for several reasons, including:
- If your baby is less than 37 weeks gestation.
- If your baby has a low birth weight less than 5.5 pounds at birth.
- If your baby requires oxygen at the time of discharge from the hospital.
- If your baby is demonstrating decreased muscle tone.
- If you baby has a heart condition.
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Center Seat Safest For Children
In this study, researchers looked at whether those recommendations were still valid by analyzing data on child occupants of motor vehicle accidents from 1998 to 2006 based on insurance claims and a telephone survey.
The analysis included children from birth to age 3 who were seated in a child-restraint system in the rear seat of motor vehicles that were involved in a crash in 16 states.
The results showed that the passenger side rear seat was the most popular position for the baby or child’s car seat followed by the left rear seat and center seat .
Researchers also found use of the center position decreased as the child got older. For example, 39% of baby car seats for infants under age 1 were placed in the center rear seat vs. 18% of child car seats for 3-year-olds, regardless of any additional passengers in the rear seat.
Children seated in the center had a 43% lower risk of injury than those in either side position, which researchers say revalidates current child-restraint safety recommendations.
“Although placement in any rear seating position provides excellent protection,” write the researchers, “those in the center have the lowest risk of injury.”
Researchers say recommendations should continue to encourage families to install child and baby car seats in the center of the rear seat.
When Will The Car Seat Challenge Test Be Done
The car seat challenge test will be done before you take your baby home. The timing of this test can change because its done on premature babies and those with other medical conditions at birth. If your baby is close to 37 weeks premature, the test may be done within a few days of birth. If your baby is several weeks premature, and needs to stay in the hospital for a longer period of time, then the test will not happen till the baby is older and ready to go home.
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Safest Place For A Car Seat In A Minivan Or Suv
Where you put the car seat in a minivan or SUV depends on several factors.
- If the minivan or SUV has third-row seating, you want to try to seat your baby as close to the middle as possible. If your vehicle has a bench in the middle row, then you should install your car seat in the center of the middle row. Conversely, if your middle row has bucket seats instead, you should place the car seat in the third row of seats.
But, what if youre installing more than one car seat?
- If your minivan or SUV has bench seats in both of the back rows, then you should install the car seats on the center seat of each row.
- If you have more than two car seats to install in a vehicle with bucket seats, do so by first installing two car seats on the center seat of each row. Once youve done that, the next best place to install a car seat in a minivan or SUV is on the passenger seat of the middle row. If you need to install another car seat, the next best place to do that is the passenger seat of the back row.
Now, do these recommendations for car seat placement change, depending on if theyre installed in the rear-facing or forward-facing positions? Well get into that a little bit later.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Fitting A Baby Car Seat Or A Child Safety Restraint
One of the most important safety decisions you will make for your child is choosing a suitable car seat . This handy guide provides practical information to help you select the best car seat for your needs.
While the following information provides some tips on how to install a car seat, every car seat is different, and you must follow the manufacturer instructions for your particular model of car seat.
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Make Sure The Car Seat Is Properly Installed
When putting your child into a forward-facing car seat, make doubly sure they are strapped in properly. Dr. Garbi explains you should pay attention to the most important safety features, including ensuring it is tightly bound into the car, the straps are tight on their shoulders, and buckles and clips are in the correct places.
Most importantly, for forward-facing seats, always make sure you are securing the tether. The tether is a strap that secures the top of the car seat to an anchor in the back of the car. When the top of the seat is more secure, it decreases how far a child’s head is thrown forward during a collision by up to eight inches.
Do You Put Car Seat Behind Driver Or Passenger
Whether you put your childs car seat behind the front or the rear of the vehicle might depend on factors such as their age, whether they are riding in a forward- or rear-facing position, and how much space is available.
One way to decide which spot to place your babys car seat is by considering where it will be positioned relative to where adults ride. If there are three people in the vehicleincluding an adult driving, another sitting behind that driver, and a third sitting behind passenger sidechose the middle. If only one person sits up front with baby up against their chest facing towards them, consider setting them next to that person instead of between them and another passenger if space permits.
However, if there is limited space or you have other children in the car, it is best to put the infant car seat behind the driver.
Since theres no difference between driver and passenger side I always think of my parking habit. If I mostly park so the traffic is on the left side then I prefer to install the car seat on the right side because its easier to put and remove my daughter.
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Tip : Always Choose A Car Seat That Has Been Safety Tested
In a collision, infants, babies and children are extremely vulnerable if they are not properly secured in a car seat. Australias Standards for car seats is one of the toughest in the world to ensure better protection for our children.In Australia, it is illegal to purchase or use a car seat that does not comply with the Australian/New Zealand Standard 1754. Always look for the certification mark AS/NZS:1754 on the car seat you choose for your child.
- Britax Safe-n-Sound Unity ISOFIXSuitable for newborns up to 12 months . Only capsule in Australia suitable for low birth weight and premature infant without restrictive medical conditions. $0
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Tip : Regularly Check The Height Of The Child
This is the best method of ensuring that the child is safely restrained for as long as possible. In addition to using age as a guide, child car seats feature a shoulder height marker which dictates use.
Your child should remain in a rear facing seat or position until their shoulder is in-line or above the forward facing height marker.
Your child should remain in a forward facing seat until their shoulder height is above the upper shoulder height marker. For example, if your child is ten years old and still below the exit height marker, they need to stay in their safety seat.
Choose The Safest Position For The Car SeatThe safest placement of a car seat is on the rear seat of your vehicle in the center position, as it protects your child in the event of a side impact collision. The rear passenger side of your vehicle is an alternative option. You should always install the car seat where there is an appropriate anchor point and according to the manufacturers instructions and the instructions in your vehicles owners manual. A professional fitter can help to install your car seat in the safest position in your vehicle and teach you how to confidently do so as well! Professional fitting is strongly recommended with each new seat.
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Where Is The Safest Place For A Car Seat
You probably know by now that baby should always be placed in the back seatbut even here there is a sweet spot thats considered safest. A 2008 study revealed that the middle of the back seat is 43 percent safer for baby than the two outboard seats . So if youre hauling double or even triple the precious cargo, always put your youngest, most fragile rider in the middle.
That said, there are a few instances where baby isnt better off in the middle:
If you want to use the LATCH system. LATCH, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is a car seat installation system that relies on anchors and tethers that are built into the car itself. While some vehicle models have dedicated lower anchors for the middle seat, most only come with one set in each outboard seatand its not safe to borrow a lower anchor from the two outboard seats. One of the issues I see most often is people using the lower anchors in the center position when theyre not allowed to be used for that position, Nye says. Most of the time, theyre only safe to be used in the outboard positions or if there are dedicated extra anchors for the middle seat. If youre a LATCH devotee, youll probably need to install the car seat on one of the outboard seats. But dont feel like you have to use LATCH. The lower anchors are convenient, but despite what people often think, they arent any safer than the seatbelt as a method of car seat installation, Nye says.
Safely Positioning Your Newborn In A Car Seat: How
There are many things that you should be doing when safely positioning your newborn into a car seat, and it can be quite overwhelming when youre first discovering how to do so as you now have precious cargo and want to transport them safely.
There are things youll need to know, such as the correct car seats to use, setting up, and also what you should be avoiding.
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Position : Rear Seat Behind The Driver
If possible, use one of the other rear seats. If you use this seat, you may have to get the child in or out of the car on the road side of the vehicle. However, if you normally park with the driver’s side next to the pavement, this seat would be better than the opposite side.
If you use this seat, make sure the child seat can be fitted in this position correctly.
How To Install A Car Seat Using The Latch System
LATCH was designed to make car seat installation easier and is required in all car seats and most vehicles manufactured after 2002. As the name implies, the system is made up of lower anchors, which are the metal U-shaped bars at the base of the vehicles seat, and a tether, which is a strap thats usually found at or near the top of the car seat and connects to the vehicles tether anchor. In most cars, the tether anchors are located on the back of the vehicle seat or on the ceiling.
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Are There Any Other Safety Tips
- Many seat manufacturers have online video tutorials that can help.
- Some local community resources offer car seat clinics. There may be someone who has been trained to help with installation or check that you have installed the car seat correctly.
- If you use an infant carrier outside of a vehicle:
- Always keep your child buckled.
- Do not put the seat on a raised surface because it may fall.
- Always take your baby out of the car seat when you arrive. A car seat is not a safe place to sleep.
To Secure Your Child In A 5
- For your rear-facing child, make sure the harness straps are in the slot level with or just below your childs shoulders.
- For your forward-facing child, make sure the harness straps are in the slot level with or just above your childs shoulders.
- Tighten the harness straps. You should not be able to pinch the harness at the shoulder. The harness should be flat with no twists.
- Place the chest clip at armpit level.
- Bulky clothing or snowsuits should not be worn in the car seat. They can interfere with proper harness tightening and placement.
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When Can My Baby Face Forward In Their Car Seat
Alex Vance is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from pregnancy and parenting to health and wellness. She is a former news and features writer for Moms.com and Blog Writer for The HOTH. Her motherhood-related pieces have been published on Scary Mommy, Motherhood Understood, and Thought Catalog.
Bringing your newborn home from the hospital is an incredible feelingbut putting them in a car seat for the first time? Talk about nerve-racking! Are the straps tight enough? Is the harness adjusted correctly? Should I drive with sloth-like speed?
Car seat safety becomes a top priority the second your baby exits those hospital doors. Rear-facing is a given for infants, but when it comes to toddlers, you might be wondering if you can switch them to a forward-facing seat. The answer depends on different factors, including the child’s height and weight.
Here, we’ll take a look at when it is considered safe for your baby to face forward in the car seat, why it’s important not to make the switch too soon, and any safety precautions you should keep in mind.
Car Seats For Toddlers And Preschoolers
- Convertible car seat. Toddlers should ride in the rear-facing position of their convertible car seat until they’ve reached the maximum height or weight for their model .
- All-in-one car seat. Again, if your toddler is riding in an all-in-one model, make sure he’s in the rear-facing position for as long as possible.
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Should Car Seat Straps Go Above Or Below The Shoulders
I can clearly remember the car seat strap struggle from when my kids were little. Above the shoulders or below the shoulders – that is the question!
As a momma of four kiddos, there was so much that I had to look up and find the answers to, especially in regard to car seat safety. I can clearly remember putting my first child in the car seat and saying to myself, geez, should car seat straps go above or below the shoulders?
Its not just me asking this question. This is a question I get across social media platforms. Today were going to answer it! In this article, were going to let you know where car seat straps should go on your child and well also provide you with some tips and tricks.
The bottom line is, when your child is in their car seat, the harness is the only thing holding them in place. Thats why its really important for the harness to be correctly fitted and adjusted. Here is a good read from Consumer Reports about proper harnessing.
This is the way that I like to think of it: The harness should come out of the shell at a level thats as close to your little loves shoulders as possible. If their shoulders fall between two height positions, use the one just below the shoulders for rear facing and for a forward facing car seat, the one just above.