Friday, January 18, 2013

Car Seat Safety: Put your Back/Knee/Arm Into It (Part 2 of 3)

Securing the Seat to the Vehicle

This is something that a lot of people struggle with. In the end, when properly installed, the seat should not move more than 1″ side to side, when tested at the belt path (closest to the vehicle seat back). When the seat moves, ideally the whole car should move with it.

  • Proper installation often requires 2 people and lots of leverage. Pushing down and back (towards vehicle seat) while reefing on the tightening straps, wiggling from side to side, using your whole being, get that sucker as tight as possible.
  • Ensure to use the level indicator on the seat or even an iphone app to check the angle. The seat back (the portion the child’s back rests against) for a child less than 6 months old should be at 45 degrees, and for an older child could be between 30 and 45 degrees. Correct angle is imperative for a child under 6 months as they do not have the neck support to keep their airways open.
  • The UAS (or LATCH) anchors have been installed in all vehicles after 2001, with the intent of making it easier for parents to install child seats. Most vehicles have a weight limit for UAS use (many at 40lbs) so ensure to check with your vehicle manufacturer to find out when you will need to switch to a seatbelt installation if currently using UAS.
  • Either the UAS or seatbelt method of install will work, as long as you are able to get it tight enough. One install method is not “safer” than another – but don’t use both at the same time. Each install method is meant to work independently and they could interfere with each other if used in conjunction.
  • Forward-facing seats must be tethered using the top tether and a designated anchor point in the vehicle. Check your manuals for details pertaining to your seat/vehicle.

Securing the Seat to the Base (for infant seats)

Securing a child in the vehicle when using an infant bucket seat is a 3 step process (base to vehicle, seat to base, and child to seat). You must ensure that the seat itself clicks audibly and firmly into the base in order for the child to be properly secured. Please remember that you can only use a base specifically designed for the model and manufacture date of the seat being used. When in doubt please call the manufacturer.

Part Three: Securing the Child

The following is part two of a three part guest post on Car Seat Safety. Rene is a certified Car Seat Technician in the Province of Ontario. She is posting on her own merits, not as a representative of any one specific organization.

Note that Journeys of The Zoo makes no claims to know anything about car seat safety. Please check with a local representative regarding any questions you may have.

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