Personal Injury Lawyer Ottawa David Hollingsworth….It seems like yesterday, but 11 years ago I sat at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus with our first-born and prepared to drive him home. I was almost as nervous for this drive home as I was the delivery. Like any first time parent , I kept thinking …Is this seat safely installed? Did I do it right? I read up online and even called a friend who was a fire fighter to walk me through it…Then, as time went on, a second and third child came and we were constantly juggling various car seats, booster seats, rear-facing this, forward-facing that, watching their weight and wondering when it was time to move onto the next…If any of this sounds familiar or if you are about to enter these years, I would like to share with you what I know when it comes to car seats…
When an infant is in a rear-facing car seat it’s important that the top of the shoulder straps are below or at the baby’s shoulders. It’s important that the straps are in the proper place as to properly secure the infant.
The “bucket seat”:
In almost every case, an infant is safest in a rear-facing car seat. It’s best to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. There are even some rear facing car seats that allow a child to be rear facing up to 45 pounds. Consider this when purchasing your car seat. It is significantly safer to keep children in rear-facing car seats.
It’s important to make sure the harness of any child car seat, especially infant car seats is properly secured. Once your infant is secure in their car seat, test to make sure it is tight enough to your child’s shoulders. You should only be able to fit one finger between the car seat harness and your child’s collarbone. If there is more room, your harness straps are too loose and need to be tightened.
Where the buckle should be positioned:
The buckle that clips over the infants chest should be between the nipples and your infant’s armpits. It’s important that this buckle is not too high or low. If the buckle is out of place, your infant could in fact fly out of the car seat on impact.
Changes in weight and height:
It’s important to keep an eye on your child’s weight and height when it comes to having them in the proper car seat. As soon as they have reached a weight or height limit, it’s imperative you move them to the next level of child car seat. For rear-facing car seats, this means when there is less than an inch of the hard shell left at the top of the seat above your child’s head. As for weight limitations in children’s car seats, they do vary a bit and I would advise you to check with the manufacturer model to be certain and follow these guidelines to a tee.
Remove thick outer wear:
You would be surprised by how much space an infant or child coat takes up. It’s always safest to remove your child’s coat before strapping them in. This allows for the straps to be as secure as possible , avoiding any gaps that may potentially arise from outer wear.
If you are not feeling confident and still have some doubts about whether or not you are using the right car seat , it’s best you seek answers. There are many, many valuable resources such as Transport Canada
Parachute Canada http://www.parachutecanada.org/injury-topics/topic/C2
or call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK
A little bit or research and a little bit of time could save your child’s life. Drive safely and hug your loved ones.