Whether you’re expecting your first child or just need a refresher, car seat safety is paramount. Here are three tips to guide you as you deal with common car seat concerns:
1. Invest in a New Car Seat
Car seats are one item that is worth investing in. Experts advise staying away from secondhand car seats, as buying used makes it difficult to determine if the seat is still safe to use – parts could be expired or recalled, or it could have been damaged in a previous accident. There are many highly-rated car seats that can be bought new for a reasonable price, but if you’re struggling financially and cannot afford one, there are organizations that work to provide car seats for free or at low cost to those in need. Try calling your local police station, hospital, or WIC for recommendations, or Google “Can’t afford a car seat” for other organizations to contact.
2. Make Sure it’s Installed Correctly
Installing your car seat correctly is crucial to ensuring safety. Because there’s so many variables in each car seat and vehicle, having a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician show you the best practices is extremely helpful. The organization Safe Kids Worldwide does free Car Seat Checkup events around the country, and they also have a database of technicians that are on staff at places such as fire departments and police stations.
3. Do Your Research
Every car is different, so when it comes time for relatives or babysitters to drive your child somewhere, you may wonder if your car seat will work in their vehicle, or if they should take your car. Cars.com has an ongoing Car Seat Safety Check series where certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians walk through popular cars on the market and give them a grade based on the amount of room available for the car seat. This is very helpful information for knowing what to expect from different vehicles, whether you’re considering a new car yourself or just planning for Grandma’s next visit.