Car Seat Safety
By: Alyice Edrich
I ran across a really emotional video this past month over at YouTube.com regarding the death of a toddler because his seat belt/car seat failed. Since that time, I’ve sort of been on a mission to talk about the car seat I recently purchased for my house.
It all started because my twin nephews were coming for a month long visit from California and while here, one of them had a growth spurt which meant a new car seat. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to get the Radian80 by Sunshine Kids Juvenile Products.
At first, the Radian80 car seat was going home with my sister-in-law but the more I thought about the video I watched, and the more I read about the naivety of others concerning car seats, the more my sister-in-law and I realized that keeping the car seat for times when I babysat kids of relatives and friends was a good idea—that way, I’d be a responsible sitter.
Gung ho over the Radian80 car seat, I decided to write a review on it over at our blog (http://thedabblingmum.blogspot.com/2007/06/review-radian-80-car-seat.html). Several months later, that review is still the most popular post on my blog.
Suffice to say, the Radian80 car seat receives a hearty
recommendation from me. It grows with your child, the straps are
adjustable, it’s passed crash tests, and it can even go on an
airplane. And my nephew, well let me just say that once we got him
into that car seat he would not go back to his old car seat. In
fact, if we attempted to put him into the old car seat, he freaked
out. After a week of using the Radian80 car seat, my sister-in-law
called home and suggested that her husband pick up two new car seats
before she returned.
Now, I’m making a few posts about the car seat on various blogs and forums, all the while promoting my parenting magazine—I know shameless plug! But in an ironic way, it’s a good thing because it is getting me back in touch with my audience—parents!
At any rate, if you are serious about protecting your children while in your car may I make a few suggestions?
Before purchasing a new car seat, find out if it has been recalled due to safety issues. (And don’t forget to check to see if your car’s seatbelt may be defected.)
When you don’t know which car seat to pick, visit forums where parents are discussing such issues. Knowing what other parents think, what experiences they’ve had, and why they decided the way they did could help you make an informed decision.
Understand how car seats are supposed to work and be installed. When in doubt, read your instruction manual, visit sites like Keep Kids Healthy and visit car seat inspection stations , or visit your local police station—they often have programs to help make sure your children are properly restrained.
Always make sure the car seat you purchase fits properly in your vehicle.
Always make sure the car seat you purchase fits the height and weight of your child.
When the straps on your child’s car seat become too snug, or your child has difficulty sitting in his/her car seat comfortably, don’t wait. Get out there and buy a car seat that fits your child! Take the Safety Belt Fit test.
If the seatbelts in your car are not working properly, take your car in and have them fixed—they could truly mean the difference between life and death.
Whenever possible place your child’s car seat in the middle of your back seat—away from either side of the vehicle.
Make sure your child is in the rear facing position and at a 45 degree recline if he/she is under one year old.
And always place rear facing car seats in the back seat—away from air bags.
Never buy a car seat based solely on affordability—especially if it’s used.
Throw away any car seat that has been in a motor vehicle accident!
Once the car seat is positioned and belted, wiggle it around to make sure the car seat belt is holding the car seat in place. In other words, the car seat isn’t loose.
In the end, your child is only as safe as the precautions you take.