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Last night I posted a story over on my Instagram asking about car seats on plane rides. Ava's flown on at least 10 flights already in her life but this August will be the first time she has her own, paid-for seat. The general consensus is that they are not required but they are recommended for safety and for getting kids to sit still. Makes total sense. But then the thought of lugging around our heavy car seats all over the airport made me cringe so I asked you all about some lightweight options, carrier options, etc.
Long story short, I was on a car seat website someone recommend for travel (due to the fact that it's super lightweight) and the first picture on their homepage was of three kids sitting in car seats, two of which were improperly (and unsafely) placed in their seats.
You guys, I can't even begin to tell you how made this made me. I see photo after photo after photo of kids in their car seats on Facebook and Instagram and most of the photos I see have kids wearing the strap incorrectly. So clearly, there's an issue here with education and you know who should be the first to educate us?
Car seat companies.
And yet, I'm here on a car seat company's website and they are showing not one but two kids sitting in very un-safe positions in their car seats. It absolutely blows my mind. It makes me sad and angry and just straight frustrated all at the same time. So I did two things:
1. I emailed the company (no response yet because that was just this morning!)
2. I'm writing this post on car seat safety and I hope it saves a child's life or at least has the potential of making at least one baby or child more safe on the road.
I am no expert but I know the basics because I did the research. And with the help of Britax, here are some tips on car seat safety. 3 out of 4 kids are improperly sitting in car seats --
Are your kids safe?
1. The Chest Clip
This is by the far the most common mistake I see. The chest clip should be at armpit level, over the child's ribs. Think about it -- If you get in a car accident and that clips is over their belly, then their organs inside are the first thing to get hit with the weight of the belt. And this is literally what our ribs are for - protection. So put that clip at armpit level and never forget it.
2. Rear Facing
The law for rear facing used to be one year old and recently it changed to two years old. But does that mean a two year old is safest facing forward? Nope, not necessarily. Every car seat is different but I plan on leaving Ava rear facing until she out-grows what her car seat manual tells me, which is years down the line. It's proven that kids are safer rear facing so why flip them around right at two and risk your baby's life?
3. Car Seat Angle
When I was pregnant with Ava, I hear a story of a baby sleeping in their car seat and dying because he couldn't breathe. First of all, no child should be napping in their car seat because when they're young, they can't hold their little chests up and if they aren't at the correct angle, they may not be able to breathe. I know, scary stuff but it's something I had never heard in my life before a couple of years ago.
And then in the car, there is a position that is safe for your kids to be angled at, and these are tested and proven to be safest. So check the guidelines for your specific car seat, the age of your child and make sure your car seat is angled correctly.
4. Car seats expire.
Yep, they sure do. You can't just use one car seats for all of your kids unless, that is, the car seat has not expired. It takes 10 seconds to check for the safety of your kids.
5. The height of the head.
Your child's head should not go above the car seat. I believe Ava's car seat says the top of her head must be two inches below the top of her seat but check your car seat manual for specific instructions on your specific car seat and child.
Knowing these things and doing your research could literally save your child's life. It's worth every minute.
For more tips on common car seat misuses, click here for a list from Britax!