Car seat safety is HUGE to me. I have been a Child Passenger Safety Technician for over 5 years now. I will for sure do it for another year, and I will decide after that if I am going to keep going! I hope to but time needed for re-certification, combined with living 45 minutes from most of the people who want their seat checks can be challenging.
I was just talking to my friend about how far I personally had come in car seat safety. I was telling her about how 10+ year ago I used to wrestle with a locking clip in the back of 1990 Honda civic, and how it usually was on the complete wrong side. I really wish I had taken the time to learn the right way! Not only would I have saved a ton of blood sweat & tears, but my kids would have been safer! I had no idea until well after my 2nd kid, that I needed to lock the seat-belt when using the infant seat baseless. I didn’t know after market products where putting my child in danger for ejection & fire risk. I also only read a few pages of the car seat manual. READ THE WHOLE MANUAL PEOPLE! lol I sure wish I had! My straps were never right, and I only used the top tether in cars where it was right above the headrest. I had no idea they could be other places!
Another mistake I made was forward facing soon after the first birthday. Yes it can be easier to install a forward facing car seat if you never took the time to learn how to properly install a rear facing one. But let me tell you, I know prefer my Safety 1st air protect 65 rear facing install with a pool noodle over many car seats forward facing! It’s so easy once you learn the proper way! No tipping seats when you go around a corner, no car seats falling out of the base (totally happened to my friends kid while I was driving, so scary!). Read the manuals, and be open to other parents trying to help! I have had people attack me for simple comments like “hey! move the straps down one slot and you are golden!” they think you are attacking their parenting, but really you are just looking out for them because you have been there! I have seen posts about babies being seriously hurt in car accidents and the parents asking “why did no one tell me I was doing it wrong?” So I would rather tell someone, and lose a friendship, than have them lose a baby.
I know this was a long ramble, but our children’s safety needs to come first, always. No boosters before 5 years old and 40lbs, no forward facing before 2 at the minimum. No belly clips & straps hanging off! And just to show I’ve been there, here are a couple of photos I found where it’s all wrong!
These are both my son Junior who is now going to be 9, and still in a high back booster!
First picture is wrong, not only is he forward facing at 1 year old, but the straps are too loose, the chest clip is too low, and I could have moved the straps down a slot for a more secure fit.
Second picture is him in an infant seat I bought at a second hand shop (yikes! bad call mom), it has a three point harness that I’m sure was never tight enough. I have a pottery barn seat cover over the existing cover, and I have a toy bar on the handle just asking to fracture his skull in a collision 🙁 Toy bars should never be used in a car, and you shouldn’t leave baby in the seat when not in the car if you don’t have to for long enough to need a toy bar 😉 Plus who knows how thick that coat is he was wearing. I have more awful pictures but I’m not trying to depress myself too much today.