Car Seat Safety

When I was looking for Cora's "big girl" car seat, I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching car seat safety sites. I remember thinking that it would have been so much easier back in the day where there were one or two option, which wasn't too long ago - almost every car seat I remember was a Graco with an overhead shield. I came to the conclusion that it didn't really matter what kind of car seat you own, but how you use it (that thinking still didn't stop me from finally choosing a seat with a few extra safety bells and whistles. Namely side impact protection and an extended rear facing life - up to 35 pounds).

Here are three important things that aren't always given a second look:

- Make sure it's installed correctly. There are several places you can go to get this double checked. Here is a website to help find a location.

- The chest clip belongs at armpit level, not up at the neck or at the belly. Watch out for strap covers (the covers that keep straps from rubbing on baby's neck) that are too long. Some are the wrong length for correctly positioning the chest clip. I had to take a set back for this reason.

- The harness is tight enough when you can't slip your index finger between the strap and the shoulder. Another way to check: you shouldn't be able to pinch any slack in the strap between your thumb and index finger at the shoulder level.

I have a soft spot for this because I got into a wreck where I hit the passenger side of a car with a toddler (somewhere around 2) in the backseat. I will always be grateful her car seat was properly installed and was used correctly, and in this particular case, that her seat was installed in the middle (not an option for families with more than one child).


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