6 car seat questions answered

Since having kids, I have become somewhat of a nervous driver. I’m not nervous about my driving. I’m actually quite the opposite and am very confident in my driving skills. It’s that I’m nervous about other drivers on the road. Maybe they aren’t the most skilled and confident driver or maybe they are a newer driver and aren’t best with different weather conditions. The best thing I can do is make sure both Princess Peach and Little Dude are in the appropriate car seat and securely strapped in. I have to do my best to make sure my precious cargo is as safe as can be!

Princess Peach happy in her Evenflo SecureKid DLX Harnessed Booster

Princess Peach happy in her Evenflo SecureKid DLX Harnessed Booster

I’m so thrilled that I was given the chance to ask an expert some car seat related questions. Kyle, who is the Associate Director for Evenflo has also taken several car seat safety programs, is a certified car seat technician and works closely with Evenflo’s Research and Development teams answered my questions! I have met Kyle a few times over the last few years and I love listening to him speak on car seats, their safety along with some informative demonstrations.

Q1- I remember being so overwhelmed by choices for car seats when I was pregnant. What should parents be looking for in a car seat for a newborn?

Kyle: If you’re pregnant or have an infant, you have two choices in a car seat. The first, which most parents opt for, is an infant seat. This seat is designed specifically for use with infants generally from 5 pounds to 20 pounds and is always used rear-facing in the car. An infant seat provides features that offer convenience for you and comfort for your baby. For example, this type of seat is lightweight so you’ll find you can transport your baby from one place to another without disturbing sleep, and many offer a separate base which allows the parent to snap the seat easily in and out of the car.

 Your other choice of car seat for an infant is a convertible seat, which is used in the rear-facing position for infants, then converted to the forward-facing position for toddlers. Although convertible seats lack most of the convenience features common to infant seats, they’re an economical way to provide protection, as one seat can generally accommodate your child from 5 to 40 pounds.

Q2- What clues should parents look for if they choose to use a bucket for their baby to move to the next stage carseat? And then into a booster

Kyle: Car seat usage is determined mainly by weight and height.  All car seats come with weight and height ratings to ensure proper fit and ideal performance in the event of an accident.  The most important thing to remember as a parent is to check your child’s weight and height often in order make sure they fall within the proper range for the seat you are using.  If your child exceeding the ratings in either weight OR height you are ready to move to the next phase.

When determining the right time to move to a booster seat, ask the following three questions.  If you can answer “yes” to any of them, your child is ready for a booster seat:

-          Does your child exceed the car seat’s height or weight limits?

-          Are your child’s shoulders above the car seat’s top harness slots?

-          Are the tops of your child’s ears above the top of the car seat?

 

Q3- What is the safest configuration for car seats? Should a single car seat be in the middle seat. What about two car seats? 

Kyle: The single most important configuration for car seats is to always install your infant child (whether using an infant seat or a convertible seat) in the rear-facing position until they are TWO YEARS OLD.  Don’t worry if their legs are slightly touching the back seat – all children under 2 years are safer when riding in the rear-facing position.

Another nice rule of thumb is to place the youngest child in the middle-most seat whenever possible to reduce the potential dangers of a side impact collision. 

Q4- What is the safest thing for babies/kids to be wearing in the car seat in the wintertime?

Kyle: Sweaters and light jackets are perfectly fine to use during the wintertime while your child is riding in a car seat.  However, you should avoid using bulky jackets/heavy winter coats while buckling your child into a car seat as the coat can compress in a crash and create a loose harness that may put your child at greater risk of injury.  Instead, lay the jacket over your child like a blanket once they are properly secured.  When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and use the jacket as a warm blanket.

Q5- In your experience what are the most common mistakes that people make in regards to car seats

Kyle: Turning infants into forward-facing before they reach their second birthday is definitely one of the most common – and potentially most dangerous – mistake many people make.  As tempting as it is to want to look at your child when riding in the car, you should have the peace of mind in knowing that your child will be safer rear-facing until they reach the age of 2.  Also, distracted drivers make for reckless drivers!

The other common mistake has to do with improper installation.  A properly installed car seat should move no more than one inch laterally (left or right).  In order to test for proper tightness, pull the car seat at the belt guides (holes in the base where either the seat belt or LATCH hooks pass through the seat) until the seat moves no more than one inch in either direction.

Evenflo's auto-retracting SureLATCH connectors makes installing the seat very easy

Evenflo’s auto-retracting SureLATCH connectors makes installing the seat very easy

A third common mistake is in relation to the harness straps.  In many cases, parents are afraid to properly tighten the harness straps for fear that their child will be uncomfortable.  To check for proper tightness of the harness straps, apply a simple “pinch test” by securing your child into the harness and pinching the webbing between your thumb and index finger.  You should be unable to pinch any excess harness webbing if the harness is properly tightened.

Q6- Any thing else you can share with parents about car seats and their safety?

Kyle: Always make sure your car seat is installed correctly and your child is properly secured on EVERY RIDE.  Statistics show that most accidents happen close to home – don’t let that quick trip to the grocery store prevent you from performing the following routing safety checks each time your child is buckled up:

-          Inch Test: test the base for proper installation

-          Pinch Test: check the harness webbing for proper tightness

 

Thank you SO much to Kyle for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope this information is helpful to ALL parents and parents-to-be

Comments

  1. loren416 says:

    Peach is looking sweet!

  2. Jenna Em says:

    Thanks for a great article, that many new parents will be thankful to find. My husband and I felt lost when we had to install our first carseat.

  3. LinkedMoms says:

    This is very important safety information to have. This car seat looks very comfortable as in the picture your daughter looks happy! The age used to be younger 13 years ago when you flipped them to the front facing seats. I am very glad it is 2 now. That makes more sense!!

  4. Deanna T. says:

    So much great info here. Much of which I wish I had known when I first became a parent. It’s almost time for my littlest one to transition to a booster. I liked the tip about signs for when to swap. I’m checking to see where the tops of her ears sit vs the chair, next time I’m buckling her in.

  5. oh those surelatch connectors look brilliant!!

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