Child car seats are important to have on hand and can protect your child in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, according to AAA, a large proportion of child seats in the United States are incorrectly anchored to vehicles. This places children’s lives at great risk. Is your child’s car seat safe? How can you make sure that your child’s car seat is safely and securely fastened?
Consult a Car Seat Technician
If you have been installing child car seats for years for each of your children, you may be surprised to learn that you have been doing it wrong all along. A car seat technician can check to see how you are installing your child’s car seat and offer tips that will help you improve.
AAA offers free inspections and coaching from car seat technicians who have been specially trained to install child car seats correctly. A child’s car seat needs to be securely fastened to the vehicle and should not move more than an inch each way when you turn corners or come to an abrupt stop. Child car seats that tip from side to side are not properly secured and could cause serious injury, or even death.
Buy a Brand New Car Seat
Parents who are on a budget may bristle at the idea of buying everything brand new, including a new child car seat for their child. Instead, many opt for a hand-me-down from friends, family or shop for a used child car seat from a yard sale. Even though you will save money by using a secondhand child car seat, you cannot always be sure of its history.
Child care seats, like anything else, have expiration dates. They usually last from five to eight years. Hotter locations have faster expiration dates, as the heat wears down the webbing of the straps more quickly, which places them at risk of breaking faster. That is why it is best to buy a brand new child car seat. Your children’s safety is well worth the investment.
Follow Current Legislation
Follow your state’s current legislation to make sure your children use car seats for as long as they need to. As of 2011, 39 states have legislation in place that specifies children must be at least 8 years old, or four foot nine inches tall, before they can move out of a booster seat.
When it comes to ensuring your children’s safety, it is your responsibility to check that you have installed child safety seats correctly so that they do not move too much around while your vehicle is in motion. Consult a car technician if you need some tips on proper installation. Buying a used child car seat may save you a few dollars, but is it worth your child’s safety to risk placing them in a car seat that may not be safe? Spend the extra money to buy a brand new car seat and follow current legislation to make sure your child is legally and safety strapped in.