Proper car seat usage is not only vital to your child's safety, but also a highly debated topic.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all infants should ride in rear facing car seats until age two, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. After outgrowing their front facing seats, they should stay in a booster seat until they are between ages eight and 12 and are at least four feet nine inches tall.
Some parents follow this exactly while others don't. Some take to shaming other parents on social media for improper car seat usage. It can be difficult to follow the guidelines exactly if you don't fully understand them.
We've heard about the importance of proper chest clip positioning, keeping the shoulder straps tight, and making sure puffy coats are removed before strapping them into their seat.
How can you know if your child is safe?
Two parents who have a collective twenty years of paramedic experience say it ultimately comes down to one factor: proper restraint.
We all know what they experts say about proper restraint, but sometimes it's tricky to know if you did it correctly. Yet, as the paramedic parents state, "Between my husband and I, in our 20 years experience, we have NOT seen a single child harmed in a car accident where the child was restrained in their seat properly. Not a single one."
They continue by posing important questions, "How tight are you making the straps on your child's seat? Can they pull their own arms out of them? Can you only fit one or two fingers underneath them? Do they have a big puffy jacket on that stops them from being strapped in properly?"
And then, the parents turn their child upside down in the car seat. Would you be comfortable doing that with the current state of your child's car seat straps?
Installing your car seat properly and strapping your child in correctly are vital to protect your child while driving in a motor vehicle. Your local highway patrol or police officers would be more than happy to help make sure your car seats are being used correctly if you are unsure about installation or anything else.