September is National Baby Safety Month. Plus, this week (September 18th – 24th) is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Child Passenger Safety Week and Saturday, September 24th is National Seat Check Saturday. Take the opportunity to have a certified technician inspect and verify – free of charge – your child’s car seat installation. Click here for more information and to find an inspection station near you.
Here are a few must-remember tips for keeping your most precious cargo safe:
1. Backseat Is Best. The back seat is generally the safest place for your child in the event of a crash. If your vehicle has a passenger side airbag, it’s critical that children age 12 and under ride in the backseat.
2. Rear-facing As Long As Possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children be kept rear-facing for at least two years of age. You can do this by using a convertible car seat until she reaches the maximum height or weight allowed by the manufacturer. Graco offers several car seats that allow your child to sit rear-facing longer.
3. Keep Them Harnessed. Use a car seat with a 5-point harness restraint until your child reaches the upper weight or height limit for your seat. There are plenty of options for seats that allow your child to remain harnessed beyond the minimum “4-years-and-40-pounds” guideline. The Graco My Ride 65, the Graco Smart Seat and the Graco Nautilus will allow your child to remain in a forward-facing harnessed car seat up to 65 pounds.
4. 4’9″ Is The Magic Number (and between the ages of 8-12). Most adult lap and shoulder belt systems will not fit most children until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh about 80 pounds. Until then, keep your child sitting in a belt-positioning booster seat. The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 in backless belt-positioning booster mode, and the Graco TurboBooster will allow your child to remain in a booster up to 100 pounds. The Argos 70 backless belt-positioning booster mode will hold a child up to 120 lbs.
In addition to these four essential tips, it’s also important to remember that safe car seat usage includes the following:
- Make sure your seat is correctly installed.
- Your seat may need to be periodically adjusted by tightening the LATCH or seat belt mechanism in order to maintain proper installation.
- Ensure that the harness is buckled snugly around your child with the chest clip at armpit level.
- Adjust harness strap level periodically to insure the correct fit.
Use these tips to ensure that your child is riding safely at all times. Car seat usage isn’t an option, it’s the law, so remember to use your car seat for each and every trip, properly securing baby in his seat, even if you are just going a minute down the street.
If you have other car seat safety questions, please ask them here!