Safety Tips for Baby Car Seats
We launched our Car Seat and Baby Gear Shop last year, and we brought on well-known Los Angeles Car Seat Technician and Baby Gear expert Adam Lari to join our team of parenting experts. While Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our business, we are still here, “boots on the ground,” doing everything we can to support expecting and new parents and give them the confidence and information they need to keep their babies safe and help the whole family thrive. We’ve been working with new families for over 30 years, we have so much knowledge and evidence-based information to share, and of course we want to do what we can to help. So we’re excited to announce that in the next few weeks we’ll be launching our Youtube channel, so we can more easily bring our parenting education and experience into your home. In the meantime, we thought we should take a moment to talk about Car Seat Safety. Whatever is going on out there, you and your baby can’t leave the hospital without a car seat, and we can help you pick the one that is both the safest and best for your lifestyle. We sat down with Adam and asked him to answer some of the most common questions about infant car seats he hears from parents:
1. What is the safest car seat?
The safest car seat is the one you can install and use correctly every time you put your baby into a vehicle. All car seats are safe and must meet minimum requirements to be sold in the US. With that said, when you buy from us we’ll install it for free. Importantly, we know you may have to move it from time to time, so we also educate you on how to re-install it safely.
2. Where is the safest place to install the car seat?
All spaces in the back seat of your car are safe for installation. However, if the car seat fits in the middle, that’s usually the best place for it as it puts your infant furthest away from all possible impact points. If your car seat doesn’t fit in the middle, you should put it on the passenger side as that is safest. The passenger side is curbside, so placing it there mitigates the risk of taking your baby/toddler/child out in the middle of the street with traffic coming.
3. Why do so many people install car seats incorrectly?
Well, to install the baby car seat correctly, you really need to read both your car’s owner’s manual as well as the instructions for your car seat manual, which is no easy task. Let’s be honest here, you’re having a baby, and you’re taking in so much information that it’s easy to get confused. Because all vehicle seats are different, the car seat manual can’t account for the wide variety of possibilities you could encounter while installing. If you are installing yourself, be sure to take the time to read through both manuals. In the event you don’t have the time, or you want the assurance of working with someone who has been doing this for a long time and worked with tons of different cars and car seat combinations, we’re happy to help. We provide free installation at our store location if you buy the car seat from us, or we can guide you virtually as well. As with everything we do here at The Pump Station & Nurtury, the education we provide is just as important as the products we sell to get you off to the best start possible with your new and growing family. Even if you haven’t purchased the car seat from us, we can install it for you, but there is a charge for the service.
4. Is it safer to use the seat belt or LATCH to secure the car seat?
Both methods have been thoroughly tested, and they are equally safe for a given car seat choice and weight of your baby or toddler. LATCH was created to make installation easier for parents given the fact that prior to 2002 so many people were installing baby car seats incorrectly. A really important consideration, though, that many people don’t know is that with some car seats LATCH has a weight limit of 40 pounds, whereas a seat belt can hold any weight. Most LATCH positions are on side seats, so if you can place the car seat in the middle, and you want to do so for safety reasons, you will likely need to use the seat belt to secure it, which is challenging at first but like anything else gets easier as you do it over and over again.
5. Are there specific safety features I should look for when shopping for a car seat?
Remember, all car seats sold in the United States have passed the minimum safety requirements and are considered safe. That said, there are some additional features that can increase the safety of your car seat. Anti-rebound bars provide extra rear impact protection; Load legs can provide extra front impact protection, some car seats come with extra layers of side impact protection. and extended canopies for baby’s protection from the elements.
6. Is it ok to use accessories with my car seat?
With regard to all accessories, you should check your car seat manual to see what can and can’t be used with the car seat, as some could void your warranty in the event of a collision. Some accessories, such as seat protectors can be used with your car seat. While these don’t necessarily protect your vehicle seat from getting dents they can protect them from getting dirty from food or milk. Mirrors can help you see your baby, but we always remind people that they can also provide distractions and you need to make sure you are paying attention to the road. With regard to other toy accessories, these should really only be used when your car seat is on your stroller, particularly if they are larger, as you wouldn’t want any objects to be launched towards your baby if in an accident.
7. Is it true that car seats have expiration dates? If yes, why?
Yes, car seats do have expiration dates. While expiration dates are not mandated by the government, they are recommended by manufacturers for safety reasons. Some of these include changing regulatory standards, recalls, wearing down of materials and improved technology. You can usually find the expiration date at the base, back or sides of the car seat
8. Can I get a used car seat from a friend, family member or purchase from a 3rd party?
Yes, you can. However, we caution you to make sure you know the history of that seat and that it has not been recalled. While this may save you some money it may also shorten the life of use of that seat. Used seats may also have missing or worn down parts. Most importantly, sometimes they have been in an accident and the damage is not visible. If you do get a second-hand seat we recommend you go to the manufacturer’s website and register the seat with you as the new owner. This will ensure you get recall information if there are any problems with the seat.
9. Do you have any other suggestions?
Yes – make sure you drive carefully and defensively! Many new parents are tired, and it can be stressful to have your baby in the car with you the first few times, especially because they are “all the way in the back”. This may seem obvious, but take your time and be safe. If your baby drops something, or you need to rearrange something, pull over, park the car, and do it safely. Your car seat will help keep your baby safe in the event of an accident, but the goal for all of us is that it never needs to be tested that way.
As you can see there is a lot to consider when buying and installing your car seat, and we haven’t even started talking about features yet! If you have other questions you always email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at 310-998-1981.
Infant Car Seat Safety Features Shown: Load Leg, Extended Canopy, Latch