Most parents take their children’s safety seriously. We all go out and get a good car seat for our baby or child to ride in. We follow the installation directions and get it in the car. The fact is, though, that there are many mistakes that can be made when installing our car seat. Studies show that 80% of car seats are installed improperly. Watch for the most common mistakes below.
- Not locking the car seat properly.
- Facing the car seat the wrong way.
- Placing the car seat in an area of the car that has an air bag.
- Not securing the car seat properly with the seat belt or latch system hooks.
- Having a harness in the wrong position, fitted for a different weight.
To give you some guidance on when to put your child in what car seat, the following are some car seat guidelines to last your child from birth until her teen years.
- Infants should be in a rear facing car seat or convertible car seat until they are 1 year old and reach twenty pounds. If your child reaches 20 pounds before her first birthday, she should still be rear facing and if in an infant seat, should be moved to a convertible seat.
- After your baby has reached twenty pounds and her first birthday, she may sit forward facing in a convertible seat or forward facing seat up to 40 pounds.
- When your child is over 40 pounds, she should sit in a booster seat or belt positioned booster until she is at least 8 years old.
- Your child will be ready to get rid of her booster when her seatbelt fits properly, so that the strap goes across her shoulder and not her neck and the lap belt fits across her hips and not her stomach.
- Your child should always ride in the back seat until she is at least 12 years old, so she is not harmed by air bags.