The Five Most Common Car Seat Mistakes
Car seats have a very important job – keeping your children safe. It’s important to make sure you’ve installed your child car seat correctly. Unfortunately, a vehicle’s cabin can be insecure at a basic level. If you haven’t checked your vehicle’s seats, you may be strapped into a world of trouble. Check out the five biggest car seat mistakes that create safety issues for drivers —and learn how to avoid dire consequences.
Mistake One: Using the Retainer Clip Incorrectly
Many drivers use retainer clips incorrectly, placing their kids in danger. A retainer clip should be placed at armpit level, securing your child across the chest area. Today’s manufacturers provide useful retainer clip operation pictures across car seats, showing users where a child should be secured. If in doubt, take a look at this picture. And, remember, it’s always better to use a retainer clip for children under age 10.
Mistake Two: Buying a Used Car Seat
Sure, a new car seat can be pricey, but don’t be too quick to jump from your manufacturer’s products. Substantial risk exists when a used car seat is purchased or borrowed from a friend. Whenever you replace a car seat, find out if it’s licensed by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Then, find out if the seat in question has ever experienced a model recall.
Mistake Three: Not Having Your Seat Inspected
Every seat of your vehicle should be inspected by your local manufacturer, police station, car dealership or fire department. Similarly, any baby carriers should be inspected alongside the seat to ensure total safety. Often, these inspections are free of charge. They’re also life-saving, in the long run. Safercar.gov offers a great tool to help you find a local child car seat inspection station .
Mistake Four: Using a Previous Model
In addition to avoiding used car seats, you should also avoid purchasing a previous seat model to save money. Often, old models don’t account for a newer vehicle’s cabin needs. Even if the seat is installable, it may carry dangerous qualities which were recalled or removed.
Mistake Five: Not Checking for an Expiration
That’s right, car seats carry expiration dates. While your safety isn’t necessarily contingent upon an expired seat’s replacement, failure to do so can result in dangerous situations during a collision. Make sure your seat is properly situated, and get it examined a little before its expiration date hits. In doing so, you’ll ensure it won’t become detached from the cabin, give way to weight or become ineffective as your car ages.
Remember: Your manufacturer is your friend. Don’t be afraid to contact them, and always make sure your vehicle is up to safety standards—for both you and your family’s safety.