As a parent, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to put your child into a car seat while they are kicking and screaming. Especially when it is -40’C outside – that is just an added bonus. Even though we are at our wits’ end, we need to keep a cool head and make sure our kids are buckled up correctly. Here is some information to make sure you are properly securing your child.
Make sure you follow the manufacturers guidelines of the car seat. The guidelines will tell you:
- If the seat is the right size for your child
- How to correctly position the car seat into your vehicle
- Any equipment you may need
- Directions on how to properly install
Rear facing stage is the safest position for your child. It is recommended that the child stay rear-facing for as long as they possibly can. While the child is in the Infant stage (4-35lbs):
- Car seat faces rear
- Harness straps snug – 1 finger slides between strap and child’s collarbone
- Chest clip at level of armpit
- Seat handle in the position required by manufacturer while in the vehicle
- Baby’s head is at least 1 inch below top of the seat
Children can be switched to forward-facing once they are at least 1 year of age, they weigh 20-65 lbs and they can walk unassisted. There is no rush switching your kid to forward facing. If your car seat allows them to stay rear-facing for longer, you can leave them rear-facing. Again, this is the safer position.
Some things to avoid when installing your seat and buckling up your child:
- Wrapping your baby in a blanket or leaving a snowsuit on your child before securing the straps. Instead, put the straps on the child and cover the baby with blankets.
- Installing the infant car seat completely upright. Adjust the car seat angle with an approved pad to make sure the angle is correct for the car seat to avoid the child’s head from flopping forward.
- Using unapproved or expired car seats or household boosters as they are not designed for transportation purposes.
If you need a visual aid, here is a video to explain and demonstrate proper installation. There are also car seat clinics that happen year round. Check here to see where the next clinic locations will be. You can also book an appointment with a car seat technician to have someone show you proper installation. Here are some contacts.
We live in a busy world, and we are always in a hurry. Let’s make sure we take extra time to make sure our kids are safe and secure before we drive. Taking that additional time might mean everything if an accident occurs. We want everyone to be as prepared as possible and to stay safe.