Car Seats

Thought not related to birth and breastfeeding, a topic which is relevant to Jessica on Babies is proper use of car seats. To that end, I occasionally write articles about car seat use, in the hopes that more babies and children will be secured safely in their cars.

Car Seat Rules Series
The Car Seat Rules Series will cover some of the basic rules of car seat use in easy-to-digest pieces, instead of a long list of vague rules. Stay tuned for more installments of this ongoing series.

Car Seat Rule #1: How to Use That Chest Clip
Car Seat Rule #2: The Whys and Hows of Rear-Facing
Car Seat Rule #3: Newborns
Car Seat Rule #4: When and How to Forward Face
Car Seat Rule #5: Booster Seats

On Car Seats
Quick Reference: Car Seats
Playing Musical Car Seats
The Three-Across Car Seat Adventure
There She Goes Talking about Her Car Seats Again
Stealth-Adjusting a Car Seat: Right or Wrong?
ALWAYS Buckle Your Child Correctly
Car Seats are a Nuisance
How is a Water Heater Like a Car Seat? Or, Being Prepared for What MIGHT Happen
Watch My 4-Year-Old Get into His Car Seat
3-Across in a Toyota Camry
Know How to Remove and Install Your Car Seats!
Car Seats Need to be Simpler
Putting My Kid in Someone Else's Car

Some General Rules for Car Seat Use
  1. Babies should be rear-facing (i.e., facing the back of the car) until at least two years of age, or preferably until they reach the weight/height limit of their convertible car seat. Rear-facing is always safer than front-facing, no matter the age of the child.
  2. Children should stay in a five-point harness until they have reached the weight/height limit of their front-facing convertible car seat. A five-point harness is always safer than a regular seat belt, no matter the age of the child (or adult!), assuming the child is within the weight/height limit of the harness.
  3. Children should not move to a booster seat until the seat belt fits correctly across their hips (not stomach) and shoulder (not neck) while sitting in the booster.
  4. Children should stay in a booster seat until the seat belt fits properly across their hips and shoulder without the booster, typically when they reach a height of approximately 4'9".
  5. When buckling the chest clip of a five-point harness, the clip should be in line with the baby/child's armpits or nipples, not down by their stomach or up against their neck.
  6. Proper strap-height adjustment for a five-point harness:
    • Rear-facing: Straps should be in the harness slot at or below the child's shoulders.
    • Forward-facing: Straps should be in the harness slot at or above the child's shoulders.
  7. The harness is tightened properly when you cannot pinch any slack at the collarbone, but it should not be so tight as to cause discomfort or contortion of the child's body.

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