Car Seat Safety – Get Your Car Seat Installation Inspected!
*This post today is in the name of safety and if I can help even one family it is worth it. When better to do so than on the heels of September (phew! just made it) which – if you did not know – is Child Passenger Safety Month.*
Well it happened. We upgraded my little smush baby (shown above as he left the hospital) into his big boy convertible car seat. I pushed it back for as long as I could until I realized I was jeopardizing his safety by being a big emotional mess. Sound familiar? Speaking of, we’ll talk again in two weeks when he turns 365 days old…
I have been thinking about car seats ad nauseum. Do I switch them around? Give him my daughter’s? Buy new ones? Do I really need one or even two in my husband’s car? Ugh! Now that our two car seats will be in my car, it leaves my husband’s car – in which my children rarely travel – car seat-less. I’m trying to figure out what to buy, how much I really want to spend ($0), and what is the best of the least fancy ones that I can justify using less than once a month. I’d love to know what you use for your secondary car.
Anywho – in thinking nonstop about car seats, I wanted to make sure I installed my baby’s (I can say baby for two more weeks, so let me) new car seat properly. So yesterday, in honor of his inaugural voyage I headed over to Hassell Auto Body to see Justine – the amazing car seat doyenne, for a complimentary car seat safety inspection.
Monday through Friday from 10am – 2pm Justine (who holds a National Child Passenger Safety Certification through Safe Kids Worldwide in collaboration with The National CPS Board) is happy to pop out of the office and check your car seat. No charge, no inconvenience, no muss, no fuss, just a smile and her check-list of safety. It takes about 15 minutes. She is petite but boy can she yank a strap! I could not believe how much tighter she got the LATCH belts and how she saw things about the positioning I completely missed. She even held my baby (BABY!) while I removed a seat insert she advised was not optimal for his safety.
Hassell Auto Body offers this wonderful, generous service in honor of it’s founder’s daughter Kimberly who was a member of the Nassau County Police Department. Her involvement with the Safe Kids program inspired the Hassell family’s interest in assisting Long Islanders with their car seat safety and their participation in the Kids In Motion’ campaign to educate people on children’s safety. You can also thank them for helping with the awareness signs, LED radar speed displays, and other programs dedicated to child safety around Long Island.
But it doesn’t seem like Hassell’s philanthropy ends with child safety. The Hassell Auto Body office (located at 390 Rte 109 in West Babylon, (631) 587-5500) was literally wallpapered with letters and thank you notes from local organizations and charities commending them for their contributions. It was really impressive. They even gave away Thanksgiving turkeys last year for those in need!
Please, I beg you, get your car seat installation inspected.
If you are not located on Long Island, please visit Safe Kids Worldwide or safecar.gov to find a location near you that will check the installation of your car seat. This is a simple step that could save your child’s life.
A few interesting links I found in the googlesphere:
- Dartmouth Hitch‘s video that talks about car seat safety and updated car seat rules.
- American Academy of Pediatrics’ “Going While They’re Growing”
- AAA’s Top Car seat Mistakes
- Parent’s Magazine article How a Tape Measure and a Scale Could Save Your Kid’s Life
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration general car seat safety information
- For the best protection, keep your baby in a rear-facing car seat until 2 years old. Kids who ride in rear-facing seats have the maximum protection for the head, neck and spine.
- The center rear seat is the safest place for a car seat.
- When your child outgrows a rear-facing seat, move them to a forward-facing car seat. Make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors. Use the top tether until your child weighs 40 pounds.
- Kids can remain in some forward-facing car seats until they’re 65 to 80 pounds depending on the car seat limits. You will then switch to a seat belt that goes through the car seat at that time.