Growing up, I loved riding in the car with my grandmother. She drove my brothers and I all around the city in her hatchback, pointing out all of the landmarks while we giggled in the back seat with nothing more than a blanket to protect us. When I had my own children, I knew better than to let them ride this way, but I also knew I still had a lot to learn about the best ways to keep them safe in the car. If you plan to drive with your baby, you should know the most common car seat mistake parents make and, more importantly, how to fix it.
According to Parenting, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children in this country. Although it's widely known that placing a child in a car seat can help make their ride a lot safer, many parents are making a pretty major mistake every time they take their child for a ride.
When placing your child in his car seat, how you position and secure the harness is crucial to his safety. As Sarah Tilton, director of cConsumer advocacy for BRITAX Child Safety, Inc. tells Romper in an interview, most parents are worried that making the harness too tight will hurt their baby or cause them to be uncomfortable while they ride. When it comes to the harness and your child's carseat safety, however, snug is best. As Parenting advised, the harness should be tightened until you can only fit one finger between the strap and your child's collarbone. Additionally, Tilton says the chest clip should be secured in a position that is level with your child's armpits.
On that note, it's best to strip your child of heavy jackets and other bulky layers in the winter months to make sure she's still snugly fastened in the car seat. According to Tilton, wearing too many layers can result in the harness being less secure. Instead, cover the child with a blanket after she has been placed in the car seat properly.
The next time you and your baby get ready to ride, take a moment to check the security of her car seat's harness and make sure you aren't leaving any slack. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Parents Central is also a great online resource for parents to stay on top of the latest information to keep your children safe every time you hit the road.