Common Toddler Car Seat Mistakes

Alan Bishop
by Alan Bishop

At only eighteen years of age Alan is the most respected mechanic in ERIC & SON’S garage. He demonstrates expertise and the will to work on big machines.

image1Having children is like having your heart walk around outside your body. They are so innocent and their full trust is in you to take proper care of them, nurture and love them. You have to make the responsible decisions to keep them as safe as you can so you can watch them grow into adults and make you proud. Sometimes your children can even teach you life lessons but when it comes to car seat safety you need to do the research and find out the best choice for car seats, how to install them and the correct way to buckle up; doing any of this wrong can increase the chance your child is injured or even killed in the case of an automotive accident. 

image3So let’s get into some of the common errors parents and other adults make when putting their child in car seats. This topic can get heated or shame some parents but it is up to us to keep our children safe when they are too young to know the right ways themselves. One of the most common mistakes that adults make when securing toddlers and young children in their cars is to turn them around forward facing too early. Keeping your children’s car seats rear facing longer helps to protect children 76% better than forward facing.  Some parents might see a forward facing only seat that states it can be used by children weighing as little as 20-22lbs and they might have an infant under a year old who weigh that much and think this is the right seat for them. We strongly recommend that parents get a seat that is rear facing until their child is at least 30-35 lbs. Children can stay in these seats until they are 2 or even older. Most parents ask “what about my child’s legs?” Well most children naturally sit with their knees to the sides anyway so that doesn’t bother them. The larger seats that are designed for rear facing longer have room for a child’s knees.

image2Another question that many parents are concerned about is if they’re in a motor vehicle accident, can their children’s legs be broken in that position. Well in a crash, which you can look up and see many of the crash films that are used to show how effective safety seats are, you will often see the child’s legs fly up in the air because they are not held down by the hip straps. It really isn’t a big issue but even it were an issue, is it worse for your child to have a broken foot or leg or to possibly have a broken spine? When you do buckle your child into their car seats and you’re using a front facing make sure the harness slots are at or above shoulder level and the retainer clip is at armpit level. If you have covers on your straps just be sure they don’t cause you to place the retainer clip too low on your child’s body. With forward facing you should always use the tether strap to stabilize the seat and keep your child’s head away from danger. Make sure the straps holding your car seat are nice and tight and test its mobility at the belt path. Try to pinch your child’s straps and if it’s possible, make them a little tighter. Always remember it’s better to be safe than be sorry and that applies to driving with your child so take care and be safe.