At some point during all this research that I’ve done on car seats, I came to the realization that buying a toddler car seat is almost as complicated as buying the car itself. But since we don’t want to compromise on the safety of our children, I’m sure we all look for all the information we can find. I’ve come across several safety tips, and I’ve decided to break them into separate posts, however many it will take.
Beware of Used Car Seats
First off, let me say that using a used car seat is not a problem in and of itself. It just means that you’re going to have to be a little more cautious. Some things will be easy to check and others, perhaps impossible. Obviously, the first thing you want to do is make sure it’s not damaged or that parts are missing. Then make sure you’re getting an owner’s manual, and some sort of label which indicates the manufacture date and model number. Next, make sure that is not more than six years of age, and that it hasn’t expired. Head to Google and do a search on the model to make sure there’s never been a recall on it. The most difficult might be finding out if the car seat has ever been involved in any kind of car accident. Hopefully the seller would share that information with you. If you can’t verify any of this information, do not put your child’s safety at risk.
Correct Car Seat Placement.
In most cases your infant or toddler car seat should be placed in the middle back seat and away from airbags. Airbags can be potentially fatal to a child. If you have a vehicle that means your child will be sitting in the front row of seats, be sure to deactivate the front airbags. The other alternative is to have a power switch installed which will stop the airbag from deploying in the event of a crash. One word of caution — don’t sacrifice your child’s safety. If you find that the car seat doesn’t fit well in the middle back seat position, it’s better that you place the seat on one side or the other.
The Car Seat Is Not a Crib
Car seats were designed for one purpose, and that is to protect your child while traveling in a car. They were not made to double as a crib in your home. If you put your child to bed in a car seat, you run the risk of lowering their oxygen levels due to the fact of their chest being compressed from sitting upright for too long. And that could ultimately impair your child’s development. Other health risks are having a flat spot develop at the back of the head, or developing a digestive disease like GERD. Lay your child down on a flat surface when it’s time for them to sleep. And what about very long car rides, you ask. In this case, the car seat is safer than the alternative.