3 Simple Safety Tips I learned during Child Passenger Safety Month that You Can Apply Right Now
Thank you Graco for partnering with me on this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
September was Child Passenger Safety Month, which made it a great time to check your car seats and refresh your safety knowledge. When I found out about the partnership between Graco and Safe Kids Worldwide™, I felt instantly connected to the cause. Safe Kids and Graco have teamed up to offer community-based child programs in 15 states to increase education and awareness of the importance of child passenger safety. Every program is built on the premise that children leave the events safer than when they arrive. This topic hits home because reports show that 73 percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly*. To help navigate this space, Safe Kids created an Ultimate Car Seat Guide full of practical tips for parents to help keep kids safe in cars.
I am passionate about car seat safety checks and education because we had a very personal and enlightening experience when Kai was an infant. I have always been a proponent of car seat checks because having that peace of mind is so important. When Kai was 6 months old, I started researching local car seat check events since I was curious if we had installed ours correctly. I guess it was a part of my motherly intuition. I am so glad I listened to the little voice in my head because within the first 30 seconds of the inspection, our safety technician found that our seat was installed too loosely! Turns out we had mis-threaded the belt path and it did not pass the 1-Inch Install test.
Here are some eye-opening stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on why car seat checks are important:
Car seats work best when used correctly
In passenger cars, car seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers. For infants and toddlers in light trucks, the corresponding reductions were 58 percent and 59 percent, respectively.
Most parents are confident that they have correctly installed their child’s car seat, but in most cases (59%) the seat has not been installed correctly.
In 2016, among children under 5, car seats saved an estimated 328 lives.
Today, I am sharing 3 simple car seat safety tips I have learned so far and how you can apply them right now!
1. 1-Inch Install Test:
Many parents know that a tight installation is secure, but what is tight enough? When you test for tightness at the belt path, meaning where the vehicle seat belt or LATCH is routed through the car seat– you should have less than 1 inch of movement side to side and front to back. To test simply use your non-dominant hand to move the car seat and determine if there is less than 1-inch of movement. if your seat moves more than an inch, please continue to tighten the LATCH or seat belt, until you pass the 1-inch install test.
2. Harness Pinch Test:
To make sure that your child’s harness is properly tightened, you should perform a pinch test. When tightening the harness straps, check at your child’s collarbone to ensure you are unable to pinch any excess webbing. If you can pinch access webbing, tighten the harness. The chest clip should be positioned at armpit level of the child.
3. Car Seat Expiration:
Did you know car seats expire? Depending on the materials used, those materials can deteriorate over time affecting the integrity of the safety features? Graco stamps an expiration date into the bottom of each car seat so you know when it is time to replace it. Expiration dates can range anywhere from six to ten years or more depending on the car seat, so it’s important to check yours. Used or expired car seats can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know the car seat’s history. Click here for a great expiration FAQ Graco put together.
Graco is truly dedicated to creating products to keep your children safe throughout every stage of parenting. I found a lot of relevant safety information that are age and product specific on their website. From the Car Seat Check events I attended, one seat truly caught my eyes as a parent for its versatility. I am so excited to share that I am giving away a Graco 4Ever® 4-in-1 Car Seat on my Instagram page! This car seat won Baby Center Mom Picks best of 2018 awards and is the IIHS Best Bet Booster. The Graco® 4Ever® 4-in-1 Car Seat gives you 10 years of use, some of the longest on the market I’ve seen! It grows with your child, from 4 – 120 lbs and transitions from a rear-facing infant car seat (4–40 lbs) to forward-facing 5-point harness seat (22–65 lbs) to high-back belt-positioning booster (40–100 lbs) to backless belt-positioning booster (40–120 lbs). My favorite feature is the one-hand, 10-position headrest that you can adjust without installing the whole car seat and re-threading the harness. The dual cup holders are total lifesavers too!
Hop on over to my Instagram for more contest details. I really hope this blog post has been helpful for my fellow moms and dads. Want to participate in a car seat check? Click here to find Car Seat Check events near you!
For more important safety information from NHTSA, please visit:
Traffic Safety Facts sheet: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812491
2017 National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812617
Information on Traffic Safety Marketing: https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/
* Source: SafeKids.org.