Understandably, your child's safety is at the top of your list of concerns as a parent. Even though you can't control everything, you can take charge of car seat safety by taking the precautions to ensure that you are buckling them in correctly. That's why it's important to know what are the most common toddler car seat mistakes parents make. Once you have armed yourself with this knowledge, then you will be better prepared and understand what not to do when it comes to ensuring your child's well-being during car rides, because car seat safety is not something you want to mess around with, ever.
Buckling your kiddo into their car seat may not seem like a very complicated process. Because of this, people mistakenly think that not much could go wrong since it's such a seemingly simple task. But that's actually one of the first mistakes parents can make regarding the best practices for car seat safety. If you have a toddler-aged child, then you know that it isn't a snap to get your wiggly tyke into their seat and secured. So whether you're a newbie or an old parenting pro, you might be surprised to discover that these are the most common mistakes parents make when it comes to buckling in their car seat.
1. Facing The Seat In The Incorrect Way
"One of the most common mistakes parents make when putting their child in a car seat is facing them in the wrong direction," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, says to Romper. Backe tells Romper that parents turn their toddler's car seat around to be forward-facing far earlier than they should and weight, not age, should be the determining factor. I know a rear-facing car seat may not be the most convenient when you're trying to hand your toddler something, but safety always wins out.
2. Purchasing The Wrong Seat
"The most common mistakes I see are typically parents getting the wrong seat for the child," Allana Robinson, a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician with the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada, tells Romper. "Look at your child's WHO growth chart and look at where their growth curve lands based on the limits of the seat you're looking to buy — if you have a 95th percentile child you should be looking at seats with rear facing limits over 40 pounds and 40 inches." Thankfully, no matter what your budget is, you can find a car seat that is appropriate for your child's size.
3. Installing The Seat Improperly
"You may not know how to properly install your car seat," Sage Singleton, a safety expert for SafeWise, tells Romper. "Many police and fire departments have certified child passenger technicians who will install your car seat and verify that it is properly secured." Parents who don't have transitional car seats will have to purchase — and install — another car seat after their toddler has outgrown the first one. So, if you're like me, my installation skills are a little rusty since the last time I had to do this was before my son was even born, so giving the local authorities a visit might be a bad idea.
4. Leaving Loose Straps
"Another dangerous and all-too-common mistake is not tightening the safety harness enough," Backe tells Romper. "Parents don't want to make the child uncomfortable by making the straps too tight, but it should snug enough that you can't pinch the slack." This is especially important to remember when driving during winter months. You may be tempted to buckle them in with their coat on, but that will result in loose straps.
5. Disregarding Reclining Recommendations
"Getting fancy with the recline [is a] car seat mistake made by parents of toddlers," Robinson says to Romper. " Every rear facing seat has a recline indicator on it — this is the recline your seat needs to be at in order to function correctly — this may mean that some car seats just won't fit into some cars." This is another reason why it pays to do thorough research before you commit to a certain model or type of car seat.
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