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The seats and seatbelts that come standard in cars are manufactured to fit adults comfortably while keeping them secure. Because of this, it’s very important that appropriate child safety seats are used to provide comfort and security to young passengers. Kids grow fast, so you should check their car seat every six to twelve months to ensure it still matches their height and weight requirements.

The correct use of a car seat, including its placement in the backseat, can prevent injuries to children in the event of a collision. However, car seats can be complicated and a small mistake in usage can cause injury in a crash. Read all instructions carefully before installing. Try these tips for car seat safety:

  • All small children should ride in the backseat. Infants’ car seats should face the rear of the car for extra protection.
  • Rear-facing car seats should be reclined at a 45-degree angle. Your child’s head should not tilt forward at this position. 
  • Put the car seat carrying handle down while inside a vehicle.
  • Dress your child in clothes that allow the safety straps to appropriately buckle between the legs.
  • Harness straps should fit snugly and lie flat without twists. Fasten the clip at armpit level.
  • Newer car seat models come equipped with top tether straps, which prevent the car seat from being thrown forward in a collision. Tether kits are also available for many older models; contact the manufacturer to acquire one and install it according to instructions.
When is it time to get a new child safety seat? If a child outgrows a car seat, a booster seat may be the next step. Consult with a childcare professional to ensure that your car seat is appropriate for your child. However, there are instances other than a growing child that require a new car seat. Do not use a car seat if:
  • It was made before 1981. Older car seats may not meet current safety standards. It is recommended to avoid car seats older than six years.
  • It contains cracks and/or is missing parts.
  • It’s missing the label that specifies date of manufacture and model number. You may need this information in case of a recall.
  • It doesn’t come with instructions. You absolutely must use the car seat according to instructions to keep your child safe.
  • It’s been a collision. The impact can weaken a car seat, even if it looks fine.

Just like you tell your passengers to buckle up, you should always ensure the proper usage of any child safety seat that is fastened in your car. As children are still developing, it’s easy for them to suffer an injury in a collision if not properly secured.

Protect your little ones while riding in the car. Call Big Don Insurance at (708) 957-7020 for more information on Joliet auto insurance.

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