Mom Hacks: Beat the statistics and properly install your child’s car seat

Mom Hacks

(WMBD) — Sept. 19-25 is National Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week.

For this week’s Mom Hacks, we visited Advanced Medical Transport in Peoria to speak with Fleet Logistics Coordinator, Danny Phelan who shows us the proper techniques and tips for installing your child’s car seat.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misuse when it comes to car seats, the manuals can be kind of clunky,” Phelan said. “We have programs like this here at AMT, and also down at OSF locally to make sure that parents and people in the community have the best information available to them to get the car seat installed correctly.”

Phelan said often times families think a child needs to be forward-facing by age two, but he said that’s not always true.

“We have a focus nationally to recognize children based off of age, but it’s not uncommon to see a two-year-old that is smaller, not necessarily as developed as another two-year-old,” he said. “And so one of the most important things is to actually follow the height, weight, and age recommendations from the seat.”

He said rear-facing and forward-facing regulations are found on the side of the car seat.

“Unfortunately if you go forward-facing too soon, your child, or the child that you’re providing care to might actually not be as developed, and they might not be able to tolerate a crash like somebody that went full length in a rear-facing seat and then turn forward-facing,” Phelan said.

Phelan said he also always pushes for families to install their car seats in the middle seat.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 46 percent of car seats and booster seats are used incorrectly.

Car Seat Installation Tips from NHTSA

  1. Read the car seat’s instruction manual and the portion of your vehicle’s owner manual on car seat installation. Every car seat needs to be installed using either the lower anchors or the seat belt to secure it in place. If you choose to use a seat belt to install your car seat, pay close attention to how to lock your seat belt in the vehicle owner’s manual. Because every car seat and vehicle is different, it’s important to follow all instructions carefully.
  2. Place the car seat in the back seat of your vehicle and follow the manufacturer’s installation directions. The car seat must be secured tightly in the vehicle. It should not move side-to-side or front-to-back more than 1 inch when pulled at the belt path.
  3. If it is a forward-facing seat and has a tether strap, connect it to the tether anchor and tighten. This step is very important as it limits forward head movement in a crash.
  4. If it is a rear-facing seat, make sure the car seat is installed at the correct recline angle. Most car seats have built-in angle indicators or adjustors that help with this step. If you have questions, trained Child Passenger Safety Technicians can help you. Many local fire and police stations offer free car seat inspections.

Fitting Your Child Correctly In The Seat

  1. Properly position the harness on your child. Rear-facing: Harness straps should lie flat, not twisted, and be placed through the slot that is at or below your child’s shoulders. Forward-facing: Harness straps should lie flat, not twisted, and be placed through the slot that is at or above your child’s shoulders.
  2. Buckle the harness and the chest clip and tighten.
  3. The harness is snug enough when extra material cannot be pinched at the shoulder. Make sure the chest clip is at armpit level.

For more tips, CLICK HERE.

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