Carseats - its what you need and don't forget it! Knowing how to safely buckle up your child as he or she grows can be difficult. Check out nine common mistakes parents often make when it comes to car seat safety — and how to avoid them.If you're considering a used car seat for your child, make sure the car seat:Comes with instructions and a label showing the manufacture date and model number
Hasn't been recalled
Isn't expired or more than 6 years old
Has no visible damage or missing parts
Has never been in a moderate or severe crash
If you don't know the car seat's history, don't use it.The safest place for your child's car seat is in the back seat, away from active air bags. If the car seat is placed in the front seat and the air bag inflates, it could hit the back of a rear-facing car seat — right where the child's head is — and cause a serious or fatal injury. An air bag could also hit and harm a child riding in a forward-facing car seat.
Vehicles that have only one row of seats, such as certain pickup trucks, should only be used if the air bag can be turned off with a key.If you're placing only one car seat in the back seat, install it in the center of the seat — if a good fit is possible. Placing the car seat in the center minimizes the risk of injury during a crash.Before you install a car seat, read the manufacturer's instructions and the section on car seats in the vehicle's manual. Make sure the seat is tightly secured — allowing no more than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of movement from side to side or front to back when grasped at the bottom near the attachment points — and facing the correct direction.
If you're using an infant-only seat or a convertible seat in the rear-facing position, keep these tips in mind:Use the harness slots described in the car seat's instruction manual, usually those at or below the child's shoulders. Place the harness straps over your child's shoulders.
Buckle the harness straps and chest clip, ensuring a snug fit. The chest clip should be even with your child's armpits. Make sure the straps and clip lie flat against your child's chest and over his or her hips with no slack. If necessary, place tightly rolled small blankets alongside your baby to provide head and neck support. If the car seat manufacturer allows, place a rolled washcloth between the crotch strap and your baby to create a more secure fit. In the rear-facing position, recline the car seat according to the manufacturer's instructions so that your child's head doesn't flop forward. Babies must ride semireclined to keep their airways open. Many seats include angle indicators or adjusters to guide you. Keep in mind that as your child grows, you might need to adjust the angle. Check the manufacturer's instructions for details.Resist the urge to place your child's car seat in the forward-facing position just so that you can see him or her in your rearview mirror. Riding rear facing is now recommended for as long as possible, until a child reaches the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer. You can start with a convertible seat, which can be used rear facing and, later, forward facing and typically has a higher rear-facing weight and height limit than does an infant-only seat. Or you can switch from an infant-only seat to a convertible car seat as your baby grows.
When your child reaches the weight or height limit of the convertible seat, you can face the seat forward. When you make the switch:Install the car seat in the back seat according to the manufacturer's instructions, using either the seat belt or Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system.
Use the tether strap — a strap that hooks to the top of the seat and attaches to an anchor in the vehicle — for extra stability.
Adjust the harness straps so that they're at or above your child's shoulder level and fit snugly. Remember carseats - carseats - carseats - carseats - carseats - carseats - carseats - carseats -