This month is #BabySafetyMonth and we’ve teamed up with the experts at Chicco to answer your car seat safety questions!
When our babies are born into this world, that experience opens us up to SO many raw emotions and feelings. I’m still coming off that high and all of the good, and the not-so-good, emotional adjustments that come along with it… and it’s been a little over three months! I’m sure my husband would quickly, and hopefully quietly, agree. 😉 There are a few changes though that are for life. As their body slides into our arms, a chamber in our heart that we never knew existed opens just to fit them. And at the same moment, our mama bear instinct to love, cherish, nurture and protect our new, sweet little babes kicks in.
I’m currently rocking my littlest babe, nursing her to napping slumber, and as her long eyelashes flutter those bright eyes closed, my eyes well with love. And tears. Those little gulps and sighs. Her sweet fingers wrapped around mine. These are the moments I cherish, and these are the little ones, all of my babies, that I’ll fiercely protect.
As parents, we only want the best for our wee ones. Even now with my fourth, that natural instinct and heart to protect them doesn’t change, it just grows with each one added to the nest. We want to take their pain, make sure they are loved and taken care of, and part of that is keeping them safe.
One of the big ways to keep our little ones safe is in the car! Car seat safety sometimes comes along with a big question mark. The right car seat, the proper installation, the correct fit. It can be overwhelming, and so that’s why I’m so excited to team up with the experts at Chicco to shed some light on it!
With your help (I asked for your car seat questions on social media, thanks for sharing!), we sent in some questions that so many parents face. Below are some great answers from Chicco’s Child Passenger Safety Advocate, Courtney Barry, that can help us all in the area of car seat safety! And for more on this important topic, head over to Chicco’s car seat safety site.
Why do car seats have an expiration date?
Car seats expire for a few different, equally important reasons. First, over time, car seat technology improves and safety standards change. Additionally, materials used in car seats wear down with extended use, which could compromise safety features down the road. It’s also important to note that car seat manufacturers stop safety testing seats after a certain period of time, meaning that past expiration, manufacturers cannot guarantee how a car seat will perform in an accident.
What is the best way to clean straps or anything you can’t put in the washer?
The best way to clean car seat straps and other non-removable pieces is with mild soap and water. To simplify the process, Chicco’s line of Zip car seats – including the newest introductions, the KeyFit 30 Zip Air Infant Car Seat, NextFit Zip Air Convertible Car Seat and KidFit Zip Air Booster – have easy to remove zip-off features, such as a removable seat pad, that make clean-up a breeze.
What’s the best age, or height/weight, to change from an infant car seat?
You may transition your child to a convertible car seat that allows them to remain rear-facing until at least two years old at any time, but must make the switch from an infant car seat to a convertible car seat when your child outgrows either the height or weight guidelines for their infant car seat.
What is the best and most reliable resource to read reviews before purchasing a car seat?
Talking to your pediatrician, fellow parents, researching product reviews on the top-rated car seats on the market are all good resources to help narrow down your car seat search, but in the end it is most important to find a seat that fits your vehicle, fits your child and that you can install correctly every time. One way you can evaluate this is by testing car seats before you purchase. Most retailers will allow you to try several models in your car before you buy.
What’s the most important factor for switching to a forward-facing seat?
The most important factor for switching to a forward-facing seat is that your child has reached the height or weight limits in his/her rear-facing car seat. Your child should be kept rear-facing in their car seat until at least 2 years old. Are your kid’s feet touching the seat back? Do they look a little cramped? That’s okay. Kids are a lot more flexible than adults. Kids need to stay rear-facing for as long as possible to protect their head and neck in the event of a crash. Kids are fragile, and they are best protected rear-facing, even if that means they have a little less leg room.
Are convertible car seats just as safe for infants as an infant car seat?
As long as your convertible car seat is being used in rear-facing mode as instructed and is installed correctly, your infant is protected in a convertible car seat. As a reminder, it’s recommended that child passengers be kept rear-facing until two years of age, whether that is in an infant car seat or convertible car seat.
Do states have different car seat requirements or are they all the same?
Every state has its own car seat safety laws, so look into your state’s requirements before purchasing a car seat. Individual state laws for car seat safety can be viewed here, but these laws are the minimum and are not necessarily considered to be best practice for overall car seat use. National organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have general recommendations around car seat safety that are helpful for parents to reference as well.
Want to win the #1 rated infant car seat in America… a Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat?! I’ve been using this seat for awhile now and it’s one of my favorites! It’s lightweight, which helps when toting a growing babe. The inserts are super soft against my babe’s body, and the zip feature helps to easily change up the configuration of the cover as well as clean the seat! Most importantly, it’s easy to use and install correctly every time.
To spread the word about car seat safety just share these graphics!