Car seats are a safety measure we hope you will never actually need. But if you do, here are the important points of each stage.
Position the chest clip over their sternum (chest bone.) In a crash, if the baby is flung against the straps, their bones will be able to transfer the force safely past. But if the chest clip is positioned down on the belly, the force of a crash could cause it to damage internal organs.
Keep the straps snug so that baby cannot be shaken in an accident. Puffy coats are inadvisable, as the puff can disguise how snug the straps actually are on the baby. If your baby has a puffy coat, consider removing the coat and placing it over the baby after the buckles are clipped.
It’s advisable to keep your baby rear-facing as long as possible, because their neck is so much smaller compared to their head than an adults, and so the risk of injury from a head-on collision is higher. Balance this with what is practical and reasonable (for example, keeping a child over 3 rear-facing during long rides can have detrimental effects on their posture.) Make sure the chest clip stays over the breastbone, and that the straps are tight enough that it’s difficult to get two fingers between them and the child.
Boosters keep the child’s hips in position relative to the lap belt. If your child cannot comfortably bend their knees at the edge of the seat, they may scoot their hips forward until they can, putting the lap belt over their stomach and endangering their organs. Make sure they can comfortably sit with the lap belt over their hip bones.
Your booster should have a strap that clips to the shoulder belt and pulls it into position. The shoulder belt should never cross your child’s neck, or be tucked under their arm to cross their stomach and lower ribs. If the shoulder belt cannot be positioned correctly, put it entirely behind your child.
Always check your local laws to be sure you’re in compliance with them as well!
We’ve found car seats give instructions for how to install them, but not how to install the child inside them. Hopefully this gives you the information you need to use your car seat in the best possible way!
Baby Discovery Box Team