There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to car seat safety. After all, the most precious and important cargo you will ever carry while travelling in the car is your child.
We have put together a list of some do’s and don’ts that will help keep your little one safe and make travelling in the car with a baby a whole lot less stressful!
DO wait to move your child to their next seat - It is important not to graduate your child from a convertible car seat to a booster seat too early as unfortunately, the results can be devastating.
DO think twice about buying second hand – Would you trust a second hand car without knowing the truth about its history? No! At least not before having it thoroughly checked out by a professional. So why would you trust a second hand child car restraint to keep your little one safe and secure while out and about? Britax, the world leaders in child car seat safety, do not recommend buying a child car seat second hand. There is no way of guaranteeing that a used restraint is fully safe and it may not contain all the safety features in accordance to the latest Australian standard.
DO ensure your car seat is installed correctly – Installing your car seat correctly is essential. Before installing your car seat, read the instruction manual carefully. If possible, we highly recommend having your seat installed by an expert such as a professional fitter.
DO position the seat in the rear of the car – The safest place for your child is always in the back seat of the vehicle.
DO rearward face for longer – By law, an infant must be in a rear-facing restraint to at least 6 months of age but the longer they remain rearward facing the better. Frontal collisions are the most common type of accident on the road and rearward facing car seats have been proven to offer the best protection there is in the event of a frontal collision. Britax offer a range of convertible car seats that give you the choice to rear face for longer.
DON’T dress your child in bulky clothing – Crash test results have shown infants and children can slip out of their safety seats due to the bulkiness of winter coats and heavy clothing making the harness appear tighter when it may not be enough. If you are worried your child might be cold, you can lay a blanket over the child instead.
DON’T continue to use your child car seat after a crash – Hopefully this never happens, but in the event you are involved in a car accident you should destroy the restraint immediately, even if there’s no obvious damage. Britax Safe-n-Sound also have a Crash Exchange Program available which is a voluntary program designed to ensure children are safe and car seats that have been involved in a severe crash are taken out of the market.
DON’T move your child to an adult seat belt too early – Children are often moved into an adult seat belt way too early. Britax recommend that you only consider moving your child out of their booster seat after they have grown past the shoulder height markers and more than 145cm in total height.
DON’T use your car seat as a replacement cot – A car seat is designed to protect your child during travel, that is it! Using the car seat as a place to sleep can potentially be very dangerous.
DON’T forget to check your car seat – Britax recommend that you regularly check your child’s car seat, especially before heading off on any long trips. Things to check for include:
- Wear and tear: ensure there is no fraying;
- Your child’s seated shoulder height: make sure the car seat’s shoulder straps are in the correct position for their height; and also
- Ensuring that the straps are not twisted in any way.