Parenting Vivian | 05 Sep 2010 09:52 am

10 Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Using Infant Carseats

When traveling with young children, it is critical for you to fully understand all the requirements of child restraints. These laws may differ slightly from one state to another, but they all follow the same principles.

The three primary questions you should ask are:

1.At what age is a child restraint no longer necessary?
2.Is there still a weight restriction for child restraints?
3.How should I position my child restraint in the vehicle?

Correcting mistakes made when installing child safety seats could save a life. If you are at all unsure how to correctly install a child safety seat, do not make a guess at it. Most local fire stations have personnel with the expertise to install or inspect an installation, as well as providing free installation in many cases.

The ten most common pitfalls parents should be sure to avoid in the use of infant carseats include:

1.Never place rear facing infants in front seat with passenger-side air bags.
2.Infant (under one year and 20 pounds) should always face the rear of the vehicle.
3.Infant car seats need to be anchored in vehicle by a safety belt.
4.Child must be buckled in a child car seat.
5.Child seat harness straps in slot at or below infant’s shoulder (rear facing) and at or above toddler’s shoulder (forward facing).
6.Harness straps need to be snug – no more than one adult finger should fit under harness.
7.Harness retainer clip must be at armpit level to hold harness strap properly over shoulders.
8.Vehicle safety belt must hold child safety seat tightly and be threaded through correct belt path of child safety seat.
9.Check infant car seat for correct size/type for child’s weight and age.
10.Infant car seat covers should be used only on infant car seats whereas toddler car seat covers should be used only on toddler car seats, and so on.

(Exemptions include motor vehicles originally manufactured without seat belts (prior to 1972), recreational vehicles, public transportation, buses, school bus, transporting a child in an emergency to obtain medical care, or the interior design of vehicle makes use impractical for multiple child restraint devices.)

Now that you have a general idea on the pitfalls and requirements of installing infant car seats in your vehicle, you are better prepared to make informed decisions on how to install, inspect and use your child’s new car seat. Safe driving!

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