car seat mistakes

Do you have a child who uses a car seat? We have put together a helpful list of common mistakes to avoid when using a car seat. Be sure to read them all and make your child’s car ride as safe as possible.

  • Improperly adjusted harnesses: For rear-facing seats, the slots should be at or just below the child’s shoulders. When using forward-facing seats, they should be at the shoulder or slightly above. You should always be able to slide just one finger under the straps at your little one’s collarbone.
  • Improperly adjusted chest clip:  The chest clip should always be at armpit level, not too high or too low.  A snug and properly routed harness is also essential.
  • Baby wearing bulky coats or blankets underneath the straps: Never dress your baby in bulky snowsuits or bulky jackets or clothing. Nothing should ever go between the baby and the harness straps. Clothing compresses in a collision and the baby might be ejected out of the car seat.  If it is cold outside bring a warm blanket to put on top of the baby after he has been securely strapped in the car seat.
  • Using third-party aftermarket products for car seats: Things like head support cushions, add-on trays and strap covers can pose safety risks, if the accessory in question was not supplied with the car seat or by the manufacturer of the car seat then don’t use it. According to Transport Canada, some third-party aftermarket products can cause safety issues ranging from inducing slack in the shoulder harness system to adding compressible material behind the child, which during a crash will allow for slackness in the harness system. Stick to using manufacturer approved accessories only.
  • Turning your infant to face-forward too soon: The bones that protect an infant’s spinal cord are still forming. When a child is rear-facing, the strongest part of his body, his back, can better absorb the forces of a crash. Facing forward, an infant’s relatively heavy head can catapult forward, causing his underdeveloped spine to expose his spinal cord, putting him at risk of paralysis or death. Keep your child in the rear-facing seat until he grows out of it. Your child seat user guide will tell you the maximum weight and height of a child for that seat. If your child grows out of the rear-facing seat, there may be another model that will still fit your child. Some rear-facing car seats are made for children up to 20 kg (45 lbs)! Even if your child weighs 10 kg (22 lbs), is able to walk on his or her own and your provincial/territorial law says you can use a forward-facing seat, the rear-facing position is still safer. As long as your child is still below the weight and height limits of your current child seat, you should use that seat for as long as possible.
  • Using expired car seats: The average lifespan of a car seat is only about five or six years. Car seats have expiry dates clearly labeled.  The reason why you shouldn’t use an expired seat is because the integrity of the plastic might be compromised after many years. There could also be very small cracks on the plastic that would make the car seat less effective should it ever be in a car crash.
  • Buying a used car seat: This one can be a hot topic. Buying a used car seat can save you money but it may put your child at risk. You do not know the history of the seat you are buying and if it has been in any accidents or damaged in any way. Even if the seller tells you that it is in perfect condition there is no absolute guarantee. If you end up getting a used car seat from somebody you trust, a friend or family member always check if the seat has been in an accident or dropped from a high height. Ask for a manual if available and check the expiry date.
  • Improper Installation: All car seats come with instruction manuals and information on how to install them. Check your vehicle’s manual to ensure proper installation. If you are having issues installing your car seat then find a local car seat clinic or free car seat installation and safety check in your city.

Be sure to share these with friends and family using car seats as well! 

In the market for a new car seat? 

Check out the new Platinum Protection Series of car seats by Evenflo.  All of Evenflo’s car seats are rigorously tested to ensure they are safe, durable and comfortable. Evenflo works tiressly with safety focused organization like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to provide education and car seat training so new parents can get off to a safe start.

The Evenflo Platinum Symphony™ DLX All-In-One Car Seat allows children to rear-face up to 40lbs and 37 inches. and has won the National Parenting Publication Awards Gold Prize Winner for its innovation, usefulness to consumers, and high quality.  It also offers e3 Side Impact™ Protection that significantly reduces side impact crash forces up to 50%. through an expanded zone of protection and 3 layers of superior protection.

Visit their website for more information and to learn more about their Platinum Protection Series car seats.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Evenflo. All views and opinions stated on this post are 100% my own.