Car accidents are the number one cause of death for children between the ages of one and thirteen. If you’re a new parent or about to become one, here are some tips for keeping your baby safe in the car:
Install the Car Seat Ahead of Time
If you haven’t already welcomed your bundle of joy, don’t wait until the last second to install the car seat. Once you have it in place, contact your local fire department to see if car seat checks are offered or visit Safekids.org to see if there is a check event near you.
Never Put Bulky Blankets or Winter Coats Inside the Harness
When babies are in their car seat, the harness must be snug against the baby’s body. This means you should not be able to pinch the harness webbing between your thumb and forefinger. If the harness is over a thick blanket or the baby’s winter coat, a slack can result leading to an increased risk of injury in the event there’s an accident. Once babies are strapped in, parents should place a blanket or winter coat over them to keep them warm.
Make Sure Harness Straps and Chest Clip Are Properly Positioned
The correct harness position for a rear-facing infant is at or below the shoulders, while the chest clip should be at armpit level.
Make Sure the Car Seat Is the Proper Size as Your Child Grows
Babies quickly grow taller and heavier, so it is important to know the car seat’s height and weight limitations. Children who are too tall for their seat have a greater chance of sustaining a head injury in a motor vehicle accident.