Thursday, January 31, 2008

Car Seat Nazi

I've been nicknamed (lovingly) the Car Seat Nazi by my good friend. You know what, I am perfectly okay with that. I know the term nazi isn't exactly PC but if it gets the point across, so be it. I really am a huge advocate for child car seat safety and if you look over there <--- you'll see links for it. It amazes me how many parents don't bother to read the instruction manuals on their seats. Take 5 minutes people! And then there are those who don't do research at all on the subject. Just because that booster seat says it starts at 30lbs does NOT mean your 2yr old should sit in it!!!! Most of my friends are really good at asking questions and advice and I don't know it all, so I do go to the experts (CPST- Child Passenger Safety Technicians) sometimes. I certainly don't want to give out any bad information. I'm really happy to help anyone with questions when it comes to their child's safety and do the research for them. I'm hoping one day to be able to take the CPST courses and become certified myself. That will have to wait for another year at least though.

So what brought this on? Well, my friend was showing me her car seat the other day and I saw she had folded up towels under her seats. That's a No-no ( know who you are and you still haven't taken them off! Get busy girl). I took one out and reinstalled her harnessed seat. She was supposed to take the other towels out and put a shelf liner after I left since her seats are leather. (AHEM!!!!!! Now, not in 2 months Miss J) She had a friend come over yesterday and noticed not only the car seat flopping all over (serious belt slack) but that the chest clip was at the baby's belly. The friend was pretty nonchalant about it from what I gathered. That just appalls me. How can a parent be nonchalant about their child when it comes to being in a vehicle? Said vehicle could be driving 15mph and in an accident, it won't matter. The child could be seriously injured and possibly die. Can you imagine at 70mph? So my friend helped her reinstall her seat and told her all about ME. :) Yes, I'm the Car Seat nazi and damn proud.

All I ask is that any parents out there reading this, PLEASE take the time to do some research. Keep your child harnessed as long as possible. There are many options out there now. Check out my links. Check out some of the YouTube videos such as Belle's Gift and the Kyle Miller video.

Don't blindly go by weight limits the mfg give you on the seat. Just because the seat can be used at 30lbs does not mean it should be used at 30lbs.

Check the expiration dates if you have a carseat that is 4-5 years old. Yes, car seats DO have expiration dates. They are anywhere from 5-8 years depending on the brand. It's not a marketing ploy. Plastic does degrade over time and break down. Think about it like this- milk also has an expiration date. It may not spoil on the exact date marked on the carton, but it WILL spoil.

Make sure any seat you are using, is used properly. That means the chest clip is level with the armpits, the straps are as tight on their shoulders as you can get and at the correct slot positions and the seat is at the correct angle. Babies under aget 1 AND 20lbs (not or) must be rear facing. Leave them RF until the limits of the seat if you can. No, their long legs will not bother them and it's better to have broken legs than a broken neck.

Make sure you read the manual and install your seat correctly. If you need help, find a CPST in your area. Your seat shouldn't move more than 1 inch at the belt path, but even better if it doesn't move at all.

This is your child(ren)s life at stake. They are your pride and joy. You are the parent and with that comes a responsibility to keep them safe. Don't let them down.


Heather said...

Question for you? You said towels were a no-no, but why? What about pool noodles, because that is what a certified car seat inspection person put in our car to help get the best install with Tyler's carseat when he was a baby and it was rear-facing???? Just wondering, 'cause I'll be using that same seat with the new baby and want to make sure I have the safest install possible.

Karlise said...

Pool noodles and/or rolled up towels are there to get the correct angle and those are in the crease of the seat only. That's okay. My friend had towels that were folded up under her seat thus making them way too thick and you wouldn't get a great install. (You could slide her seat back and forth) Shelf liner would be much better on leather seats. It's for protection of the leather as well as keeping the car seats from slipping.

Heather said...

Thanks Karlise. I was just picturing it wrong in my mind. Thanks for clarifying. BTW, I've become a bit obsessed myself now, thanks to you!

Melodie said...

Hey, if you're going to be a nazi, car-seat nazi isn't a bad way to go.

jennifer said...

It is an enduring name.......said with only love!

The shelf liners are IN(as of 30 minutes ago)!! Thanks for keeping my kids safe.