Things You Need To Know About Using Car Seat Straps
Tips on Using Car Seat Straps Properly
Using car seat straps to strap your baby may look like an easy job, but it is the most common mistakes made on child car seats. The car seat straps are used to restrain your child, and also to absorb energy in case of a collision. Here are some tips and guides on using the straps safely. Please spend some time reading it as it may save your child’s life.
1: Make Sure Shoulder Straps Are in Proper Position
For a baby that is rear-facing, the top of the shoulder straps must be at or below the height of the baby’s shoulders. For a forward-facing baby (not recommended position) the straps should be at or above the height of the shoulders. It is taken perpendicular (at right angle) from the back of the baby car seat and not from the ground. If you are not sure just stick a pen into the slot with your baby properly seated in the seat to check the position.
2: Rear-Facing Is the Responsible Choice
Except if your child has medical issues, they must be placed rear-face until they grow out of the car seat or reach 30 pounds.
A child have to and if possible to be in their rear-facing car seat until the minimum of 2 years or 30 pounds according to the AAP’s improved guidelines. New and cheaper seats are now available which are suitable even for a child up to 40-pound or higher rear-facing limits.
You have to keep your child in the rear-facing seat for a minimum of 2 years or until your child can no longer fit in the baby seat. It is proven that your child will be 500 percent safer in the rear-facing seat.
Since children’s heads are significantly larger compared to their body than an adults and their spines are still soft(cartilage—-not bone) In the case of an accident, their heavier head pulls the weak spine as they are not fuse or harden until around 4 years old, they may be internally decapitated. The cartilage and spinal cord inside their neck snap and they die instantly. Therefore it is imperative that you keep them in rear-facing child seat unless he has a serious medical condition that prevent him from doing so. This scenario is serious so please take note.
3: No Gaps Allowed Between Baby’s Crotch/Groin Area and Harness
This is really an important issue for newborns only. So parents with newborns please take note. There should not be a gap between the crotch and harness buckle. You must roll up a receiving blanket or a simple washcloth and put in in a U shape facing upside-down with the middle between the baby’s crotch and the harness. The rest lying flat between the legs. This will keep the baby snug in the strap.
4: Be Sure the Chest Clip Is Positioned Properly on the Chest
The chest clip should be positioned between the nipples and armpits. In this position the strap will secure your child safely and will prevent him from flying out of the seat. Injuries can occur if the clip is placed anywhere else.
5: Know the Proper Guidelines for Outgrowing a Seat
When a child’s legs touches the seat it doesn’t mean he has grown out of it. Legs touching the seat will not cause the legs to be broken in case of an accident. Even if it do it is better to break something that can be healed than breaking the neck. Your child will be considered to have outgrown his seat when he has reached the limit in weight for that position. Another way to check is the height of his head. It should not be less than half an inch from the top of the seat above the child’s head. You can check this by looking at the perpendicular from the top of the seat to the child’s head. To be sure about whether your child has outgrown his seat is to read the manual for the car seat.
6: Car seat straps Need to Pass “The Pinch Test”
Do not use the old method of putting two fingers under the chest clip because it is not accurate. The strap will be too loose and in case of an accident the child may fly out of the seat, or even get stuck half way and get badly hurt. The new rule is to make sure that the is no slack from the lap-portion by pulling the strap. Then you pinch the strap near the collarbone and if you are able to pinch it then it is considered too loose.
7: Coats Are Not Allowed
Coats are a no-no for a child in the car seat as there are reported cases where the coat is still strap in the car seat strap but the child had been flung out of it. Almost all manufacturers have this warning in their manual as a child is not safe wearing a coat while strapped in. To understand this we can do a little experiment. First strap a child wearing a coat in snugly then you try to carry the child out without loosening the straps. You will be surprised how easily the child can slip out. Now remove the coat and put it on again then you will be surprised again how easily you can slip him back again, coat and all without needing to loosen the straps.
Take off your child’s coat before you strap him in. After you have got him snugly strap in, put on the coat back on them backward. You can also keep some blankets handy in the car for safety and also useful if you are stranded in winter. There is one item that your child would definitely love, that is car seat poncho. There are many variety available and some are pretty colorful.
8: Read the manual
Read the manual before you use your car seat. Make sure the car seat straps are correctly positioned for the particular car seat. This is because every car seat if different. Not one rule fix all. Just spend a few minutes reading it to avoid a lifetime of regrets. You can even find a specific location to keep the manual at the car seat so you can access it easily when you have doubts. If you have misplaced it, you can easily get a new pdf copy online.
9: When in Doubt, Get Help
Here is where you can get help if you have doubts about safety of your child or the proper use of the car seat and car seat straps. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t know ASK. After all your child’s safety is paramount importance.
Best Way To Keep Your Car Seat and Car Seat Straps Clean
1. Do not delay: Once the seat is soil you must get to it as soon as possible. The longer you leave it, the harder for you to get it cleaned. You may even have to replace the car seat which you can barely afford so don’t be tempted to delay cleaning it.
2. Remove gross matter first: Any gross matter should be wiped off using a baby wipe and pick off any gross matter without rubbing, scrubbing or using a cleaning agent.
3. Cleaning the harness: The car seat straps or harness can be cleaned by using a soft cloth and cold water. Only use a gentle soap if you cannot get the stain out by using water.
4. Cleaning the buckle: The buckle can be cleaned by inverting it in a cup of tap water and swish it around to dislodge any foreign matter trapped in the mechanism. When done, wipe it dry.
5. Sun and fresh air can help: Remove the harness and put it in the sun for a few hours to get rid of any smell or odor.
6. Rinse and repeat if necessary: If you cannot get the stain or odor out you may want to call the manufacturer to ask if you can purchase a replacement. Normally you can buy a replacement for your model because manufacturer understand that the harness will get into all types of misadventure.
7.Never ever place the car seat strap in the washing machine: This will cause the strap to lose its stretching capability which helps it to protect and restrain the child in case of an accident. All the spinning will make it sparkling clean but the washing machine will prematurely pull all the stretch out of the strap making it hard and unforgiving when in use.
8. Do Not use abrasive to clean the car seat straps: The steel wool will chew up the delicate fibers and it will lose its strength and will not be able to retrain your baby in case of an accident.
9. Do not use harsh soap: Always use soap permitted by the manufacturer in cleaning the strap. Always use a gentle soap. How do you define gentle soap? Any soap with pH near neutral will be gentle enough to use safely on your car seat strap.