best Infant Car Seats is very good for your baby. but sometime have problem.If you’ve got a baby, I’d bet you’ve got a car seat, maybe even several. It’s one of those items that we just can’t get by without. The scary reality though, researchers have found that 80-90% of car seats are not being used properly, even more are used without thought to known car seat best practices. Sometimes it is a matter of not being installed properly or of using the wrong seat for the size of the child. However, quite often it has to do with how the baby is harnessed in the seat.
Here are ten things you should be checking for when you clip those harness buckles.
1. Failing to Read the Car Seat Manual
Ok, I realize this isn’t going to be a real page-turner, but for the sake of your baby be sure to read the manual. Before you attempt to install it, before you clasp the harness clips, before you do anything with your best infant car seat, read it cover to cover. The reason being is that although there are general guidelines for using a car seat, there can be differences from seat to seat. Having a firm understanding of how your seat is to be used is imperative.
Along that same line, be sure you register your car seat with the manufacturer so that you can be updated if the seat is recalled.
2. Twisted Car Seat Straps
I would guess that the most common instance with incorrectly using the car seat harness has to do with twisted straps. I have caught myself hastily strapping in a child with that issue. What’s the big deal, you might ask? Think of it this way, a twisted strap reduces the surface area that is restrained. Instead of distributing the force of impact evenly over the harness, the twisted strap focuses the pressure on certain points of the body. It can be very dangerous for your baby.
3. Harness Straps At Wrong Height
Another issue with the harness has to do with the harness height in relation to your baby’s shoulders. And the thing is, there are tow different rules depending on whether your baby is rear-facing or forward facing. Babies in infant seats or best rear-facing convertible car seats should have the height at or below shoulder level. And while it is now advised that babies stay rear-facing until at least age 2, once they turn forward-facing, harness height should be at or above shoulder level.
4. Harness Too Tight or Too Loose
The pinch test. That’s what you need to remember. When your baby is sitting in her car seat, you should not be able to pinch a fold in the strap. Another test is to be sure that you can only fit one finger between the strap and the top of your baby’s shoulder. A strap is too tight if it pushes into your child’s skin or seems to use contortion to put your baby in an odd, uncomfortable position.
5. Straps Slipping off the Shoulders
I have seen harness straps seemingly falling off the baby’s shoulders more than just a few times. Most often when I see this happening, it is either on a very small infant or a baby with the car seat clip improperly positioned. It is important that the straps are securely placed on top of the shoulders. Straps that are “sitting on the edge” of the shoulder can easily slip off entirely. In an accident this may lead to the baby’s ejection from the seat.
6. Chest Clip Improperly Positioned
The chest clip is the plastic doo-hickey that brings the two shoulder straps together at the chest. For you baby’s safety it is most imperative that you have the clip positioned at armpit level. Too high and it can choke your baby, too low and in an accident not only might your baby slip through the harness, but it can cause extensive damage to internal organs. You want the clip to spread the force of impact across the bones of the sternum.
7. Buckle Position Incorrect
Some seats allow for the buckle between baby’s legs to have different positions. You want to use the position that is closest to your baby’s body. Allowing too much distance can lead to issues of the harness being too slack.
8. Hip Straps Improperly Placed
This point you will have to re-read your manual to be certain where the harness hip straps are to be located. Depending on the seat, the manufacturer might suggest that the straps be located over the top of the thighs or coming up over the hips. Be sure you know which is the right fit for your car seat.
9. Too Much Material Between Baby and Harness
I think there are more than a few people who do not understand how important it is to keep the amount of material or fabric between baby and the harness to a minimum. Winter coats, blankets, and even some car seat covers can cause what is known as coat compression. Check baby’s winter wear or opt for safe winter baby accessories before assuming that your baby is safe in them.
10. Using an Expired Car Seat
This point actually has to do with the entire seat and not simply the harness. Car seats expire, generally after 6 years (check your own manual to be sure). Though many may balk at such a thought, these seats aren’t tested beyond that period and studies have shown how that every day wear and tear combined with the high temps that the inside of cars with stand truly do affect how the seat performs. Your should find out when you should stop using your car seat by checking the manual or the back of the car seat itself.