Important Car Seat Statistics
Installing a car seat correctly is the most important thing you can do to protect your child or newborn if you are in a crash. If you ever doubted how important a car seat is you'll change your mind once you realize the shocking facts about automobile accidents. First and most importantly, most parents assume that their child is safe whether their car seat is installed correctly. This is FALSE! Other parents mistakenly believe they installed their seat correctly. Unfortunately this is often not the case.
If you use your car seat wrongly or install it improperly you might be in for a big surprise. Studies conducted by transportation authorities in Canada and the U.S. show that four of every ten children are not riding in their car seats correctly. This is because of either improper installation or use of a car seat. Why might this concern you?
Car seats save babies lives. Your baby's risk of death or injury increases tenfold when your car seat is improperly installed or misused. When used correctly, your baby's odds of surviving a bad wreck increase 71%. When you are in a car crash, the force your child bears is equal to the weight of the child times the speed before the crash. So if your baby for example, weights 20 pounds, and you are driving 40 mph when you crash, your baby will undergo 1600 pounds of force in just a second. That force can kill. Fortunately a properly installed car seat can help reduce the impact your child will experience in a crash.
Tips For Installing Your Car Seat CorrectlyThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that up to 82 percent of infant car seats are installed wrongly, increasing the risk of severe injury or mortality if an accident occurs. What can you do to lessen the risk your child faces? One thing you can do is consider buying a car seat with a LATCH system. Automobiles made after 2002 feature LATCH systems that help you install a carseat more safely. Many new infant carriers come with LATCH compatible systems. Britax and Graco for example make car seats compatible with this system.
You should also consider having your installation checked out be a certified car seat safety inspector. You can do this at your local fire station. In fact, your better-off just calling. Many have routine car seat installation days where they will inspect and even install your child's car seat free. These technicians have at least 32 hours training in proper car seat installation. That's probably 32 more hours than you'll ever have to figure out how to safely install your baby's car seat.
If you do need to install your seat on your own at least initially, here are some tips for doing it right:
1. First, check to make sure you have the right seat. An infant carrier for example, will only hold a baby up to 1-year old and 20 pounds. If your baby falls outside this range you'll need a different seat.
2. If possible always position your child's carseat in the rear of the car. This is the safest place for your baby. The middle of the backseat in fact is by far the safest place. You should never place your baby's car seat in the front passenger side if there is an air bag there you can't deactivate or uninstall.
3. Be sure before starting you read your car seat manufacturers user guide carefully and completely.
4. Once you install the seat, either using a LATCH system or traditional belt, check to make sure the seat doesn't move more than one inch in any direction.
5. If using a rear facing seat or infant carrier make sure the seat is angled properly to support your babies head.
Because it is so important, its worth saying again. If you have any questions or concerns about installing your child's car seat, have it checked out by a certified technician. This only takes a short amount of time and can save you loads of headaches when trying to install your baby's carseat. When it comes to your child's safety, you deserve the best! Remember that most seats are installed incorrectly the first time. By having someone check it over you can rest assured that your baby is safe while riding in your vehicle.
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