It’s September and the school runs are back in full swing. While we are all talking about how ghastly the morning traffic is, it’s also the perfect time of year to talk about car seat safety, because September 17 – 23 is National Child Passenger Safety Week.
This means you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot of hard hitting statistics flying around. Stats like: Car cra
shes are the leading cause of death of children 1 to 13 years old.
It’s easy (and normal) to not want to think about such gut wrenching facts, so more than often we switch off as a method of emotional self -defense. But the truth is, the BEST defense is ALWAYS knowledge.
That’s the real idea behind National Child Passenger Safety Week – NOT to terrify parents, but to inform and support.
But we get it – parenting 2017 can feel like a LOT of noise. And we’re not just talking about inside the home! We live in a world where parents feel judged and are made to second guess their choices on a daily basis. Opinions, be it welcome or unwelcome, are constantly being fired towards us, through media as well as face to face interactions. It’s really hard to know what to tune in to right now isn’t it? Are people trying to help me or just sell me something?
But when it comes to child passenger safety, getting an expert opinion is ALWAYS a good idea. Because right now, there are currently hundreds of parents driving around with their kids in the wrong or poorly fitted car seat. It’s certainly not because they can’t be bothered, it’s simply because they just don’t know they’ve got it wrong.
There are parents out there who spent hours doing research online and in shops to find exactly the right seat, only to then install it incorrectly, reducing effectiveness.
There are parents who purchased the right seat, and who installed it correctly, but haven’t yet realized that their child has outgrown the seat, because darn, our kids grow so fast right under our noses!
Laws change. Cars change – do you know for sure that you have reinstalled the seat in your new vehicle correctly? Let’s be honest, car seat installation can get tricky!) Even care givers change – is Granny and Grandad using the car seat correctly in your absence?
So, your job this National Child Passenger Safety Week is to MAKE THE TIME to do a little car seat check-up. In fact, it’s National Seat Check Saturday on September 23rd, so put the date on the calendar.
- First, go online and get up-to-date with the latest CA laws to make sure you are following them correctly.
- Then, dig out the instruction manual for your car seat (or find it online) and pay careful attention to the recommended weight / height restrictions – is your child in this bracket? If you’re eager to move your child to the next seat, remember, each time you “graduate” your child to the next seat, there’s a reduction in the level of protection for your child. It’s best to keep your child in each stage for as long as possible.
- Also, look online for installation videos from professionals, plus details of how the harness should sit for a proper fit – is your harness currently snug enough? Do you put the chest clip at armpit level? Do you know why you should?
- Finally, where possible, we highly recommend getting a professional safety inspection from a qualified child car seat safety technician like our wonderful Katie here at Babies in Bloom – she has had hours of training and hands on experience with all types and brands of car seats. Check out her recent TV appearance on CBS 8 here, where she highlights the most common user errors she encounters. You can book consultations with Katie at Babies in Bloom here.
It’s not that much to do for huge peace of mind is it? So go on, have a car seat check-up this month and know for sure that you have the right seat for your child, fitted in exactly the right spot in your car. And don’t forget to share what you learn with anyone else who may look after your child!