Common Mistakes & Safety Tips for Baby Car Seats
Some parenting jobs never get any easier, and using car seats is one of them. Safer cars, clever engineering, sturdy anchoring systems and updated laws have all helped reduce the number of children who are seriously injured or killed in traffic collisions. But selecting and installing the right car seat for your child — and your vehicle — is still a challenge.
GM Canada Ltd., Baby Car Seat Experts Inc. and Wee Welcome are sponsoring free child passenger safety fitting clinics from April through November 2012. Certified child passenger technicians will be on hand to install and inspect baby car seats.
The events will be held at selected General Motors dealerships across the Greater Toronto Area.
Most Common Mistakes & Safety tips
- Always read and follow vehicle’s owner manual and/or child restraint manual for instructions.
- Become familiar with the three stages each baby must to go through (rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seat) and determine when it’s time to graduate to the next stage.
- Contact dealership to deactivate side-mounted airbags in back seat before installing car seat.
- Must use a base with infant car seats, unless it’s an emergency and a very short ride.
- Car seat should “click” when securely attached to the base.
- Do not use Universal Anchorage System (UAS) located in outbound positions (i.e. passenger or driver side in back seat) to install baby in centre seat position. Vehicle’s manual usually prohibits it.
- Do not install infant car seat in the middle of back seat thinking it’s the safest spot. The presence of a fold down armrest can fall on the baby.
- Do not use or borrow an expired car seat without checking expiration date.
- Do not buy used car seat from stranger without knowing its history (Car seat involved in a crash MUST be discarded).
- Do not use rear-facing slots for the harness of a forward-facing seat.
- Do not squeeze a rear-facing car seat by pushing one of the front seats too far back (must always leave at least half an inch of space between restraint system and front seat(s))
- Do not neglect seat angle or height of shoulder harnesses.
- Do not assume that because the seat is tightly secured, it’s been correctly installed (i.e. tether is often not attached to the right spot, if at all).
- In Ontario, if seat is installed rear-facing, it must achieve a 45-degree angle along the spine (recommended angle may vary in other jurisdictions).
- To comply with current laws, ask a dealership to install a tether bolt if you drive an older model that doesn’t have one.
- Unlike most brands, Britax and Sunshine Kids convertible car seats MUST be tethered in rear-facing position.
- Seat should never be able to move more than one inch in any direction.
- Remove loose objects from vehicle as they can become dangerous projectile as the vehicle gains speed.
- Make sure harness straps are not twisted, too tight or too loose (Harness should be flat and snug only one finger fitting between straps and child’s collar bone).
- Do not use a locking clip when the vehicle’s seatbelts already have a locking mechanism.
- Booster seats are required for children under the age of eight, weighing 18 kg or more but less than 36 kg (40-80 lb) and who stand less than 145 cm (4 feet-9 inches) tall.