Being a parent is undoubtedly one of the most exciting yet challenging roles you’ll ever play. There are so many things to think about when your child grows up, like what to call them when they’re older, whether or not to let them play with gadgets, and how to deal with their constant need for attention. But one thing you’ll never consider is whether or not to replace the car seat. It is, after all, a vital part of their safety while driving.
The fact is that your child’s car seat will one day malfunction and, at some point, need replacing. But when that time comes, it’s not a straightforward decision as to whether or not to buy a new one. It mostly depends on what sort of car seat you have and when it was last inspected by an expert. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of car seat inspection, why it’s essential to regularly check up on the safety of your children, and what you should look out for if you suspect something is amiss.
One of the most dangerous things a parent can do is fail to properly inspect the car seat for their child. It’s easy enough to check that the straps are tight and the harness is fitting properly. But what about the foam cushion, which is meant to protect your child from injury in a crash? Inspecting that is a lot more challenging. For one thing, it is easier for a child to remove the cushion and get injured than it is for an adult to do the same. But even more importantly, the cushion is meant to be changed frequently, in case it gets squishy or wet from perspiration or spills. So doing it yourself is probably not the best idea.
Even if you are an experienced parent who always checks up on their child’s car seat, there is still always the chance that it could be damaged in an accident. Sometimes the damage is so minor that it can be easily overlooked or fixed with a glue kit. But sometimes it is more serious, like a torn harness or loose connection somewhere that allows an object to come loose inside the vehicle. In either case, having a good car seat inspection kit and / or manuals in your vehicle at all times will save you a lot of stress and heartache. It is best to choose ones that are easy to use and have all the necessary parts.
When it comes to selecting the right type of car seat for your child, there are several factors you need to consider. First, how old is your child? Second, what type of car are you driving? And, last but not least, how many kids do you have? Before buying a specific type of car seat, make sure you test it out by placing a rear-facing infant car seat in the back and then fastening the harness as tight as possible. This should not be too tight as it will cause your child’s head to be pushed against the back of their seat, causing injury. After you have fastened the car seat, check for fit by pressing firmly on the seat to make sure there are no gaps or movement where the seat meets the back rest. This tip also applies to toddlers who weigh more than 20 lbs as it is harder for them to push away from the back to reach the controls. In either case, if you feel there is any question as to whether or not the seat properly fits your child, it should not be used.
As mentioned above, one of the most vital things you must check for when it comes to your child’s car seat is the harness. The strap system should be snug but not too tight, as too much tension can cause your child’s head to be pushed against the back of the seat, which is also dangerous. Another important thing to check for is the pad, which is under the seat and on the inside of the car. It is vital that this is positioned correctly to prevent your child from sliding around in their seat during a crash. Another thing to keep an eye out for is the type of webbing used in the connection of the seat to the vehicle. Look for any fraying, which can indicate it is time for new material to be tied or looped around the seat. This could potentially lead to an accident.
If you are an experienced parent who thinks they can properly inspect their child’s car seat, you might also notice some air pockets around the edges, near the head or the bottom. These are usually caused by a combination of the sun and heat inside the car, which heats up the air and makes it expandable. When the sun shines through the windows, you’ll notice that some air becomes trapped between the glass and the frame. This can cause some of the above-mentioned issues. To prevent this, make sure the vents in the back of the seat are not blocked by anything, especially when you’re driving in a hot climate. Likewise, it is important to clean these areas frequently with a vacuum or brush to ensure bad air is not collected there and make your child sick. For more information on this particular issue, check out this informative article from the US National Library of Medicine, which discusses the adverse health effects of vehicle air pollution.
This one might seem obvious, yet so many parents become stressed out when asked about this issue because they think it is not safe to drive with the same tires and wheels their vehicle came with. While it is true that new tires can improve traction and handling, it is not always the case. Your tires might have just reached the end of their life when you need them to and it is not always safe to drive on worn out tires or wheels. If you think this is the case, bring in a professional to inspect your tires and advise you as to when it is time to replace them. This way, you’ll be sure to choose the right tires for your needs and the right size, so there will be no accidents due to faulty wheels or tires.
If you need to transport more than one child along with you in the vehicle, it is advisable to get a car seat that is compatible with a third seat. This way, all of your children will be safely buckled in and no one will be missing out on any trips or events because of an open-air transit system. If you have an infant in the back and a toddler in the front, make sure that the infant’s car seat fits in between the toddler’s car seat and the front seat. This will keep both kids in the right place and out of each other’s way. To keep track of them, get a car seat with a built-in child lock. This will prevent any of your children from being removed from their car seat during the trip. You can also fit an additional child in the back using a booster seat. Just make sure you keep an eye on them in the rearview mirror so you can ensure the seat is properly installed and buckled up when they are fastened in it.
This one is really hard to answer because it depends on your child’s age and how experienced you are at taking care of them. If they are newborns, it is better to choose a convertible car seat and then upgrade to a belt-positioning system as they get bigger and taller. This will help ensure their safety as they grow up and develop their motor skills. If you have recently lost your child’s birth certificate and cannot find their age on an official documentation, it is usually safe to assume they are a baby because they cannot talk and have no way of telling you how old they are. In any case, if you are not sure when to replace a child’s car seat, bring it in for inspection by a professional and ask for their opinion.
This one is for the highly-educated parents out there who know exactly what they are looking for and do not need help from random strangers on the internet when it comes to their children’s safety. If you are one of these parents and you already know the answers to all of these questions, why not just go ahead and buy the car seat and get it inspected by a professional in the first place? With that being said, sometimes these car seats are not that easy to find, which is why it is important to understand what to look out for if you decide to purchase one.