Sharilyn Wagner, RN, with Franciscan Health car seat safety program, shares 5 things parents need to know about car seats and how to keep their young children safe.
Harness straps should not allow slack; the strap lies in a relatively straight line without sagging yet does not press into the child's shoulders creating an indentation.
“If you can make a fold, this is very dangerous,” Wagner said. “You should not be able to make a pinch in any of the six areas.”
“When you first get a baby, you get all these fun things. You get harness covers, mirrors, shade covers, all these different things that are all fun,” Wagner said. “They're really cute, but none of them are recommended. They all could be hazardous in an accident.”'
It’s not a deal to buy a used car seat or not replace your car seat after an accident. Hairline cracks in the car seat may not be easily visible, Wagner said. You should NEVER use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash.
Most insurance companies will replace your car seat after a crash. The old car seat can be recycled as well.
“One of the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics is to rear face as long as possible, now for the height and weight of the car seat,” Wagner said. “You want to make sure that you take care of your precious cargo.
“Now, people are always worried about their feet. It's okay. A broken ankle is a lot easier to fix than a broken neck or spine. With forward facing they have (the potential of) more damage to their legs.
Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced updated recommendations on car safety seats. The key change? Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat, even if it’s after the age of 2.
The AAP now recommends:
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, using the right car safety seat or booster seat lowers the risk of death or serious injury by more than 70 percent.