As part of Baby Safety Month, TOTSY teamed up with Car Seat Lady Dr. Alisa Baer, M.D. to share the most up to date car seat safety tips as car crashes remain the leading cause of death to children in the U.S. Dr. Baer shares her tips below:
- Use a safety restraint on EVERY trip, no matter how short. Studies show that most crashes with children occur within 10 minutes of home and on roads with speed limits of 45mph or less.
- A properly installed car seat goes a long way but a good driver goes further. That means no texting, talking on the phone, or any other distractions like comforting your fussy baby. If the baby gets restless, pull over or keep your eye out for great deals on soft toys on sites like TOTSY to keep in the car.
Buying a car seat
Every car seat sold in the US must pass the same rigorous crash tests so every car seat is safe as long as you use it properly every time and it fits your child and car. (TOTSY will be having car seat sales in the month of August so look out for those special deals.)
Where to place
The center is 43 percent safer than the side—so whenever possible, install your child’s car seat in the center. With two kids, keep the older child in the center as they are typically less protected than the baby.
The best fit
Snug harness straps and a snug fit of the car seat to the car gives your child a parachute landing in a car crash – as slow and gentle as possible while loose harness straps or a loose car seat can cause injury.
When to change
- The right order of progression is rear-facing till at least age 2 => forward-facing => booster => seat belt => front seat. Don’t rush your child to the next stage as every step is a decrease in your child’s safety and don’t worry if their legs look cramped in a rear-facing car seat—babies are flexible! Your toddler is too big for rear-facing when their head is one inch or less of the convertible car seat top or at the weight limit, which is 35-40 pounds for most seats.
- Forward facing is ALWAYS better with a tether! Tethers keep your child’s brain and spinal cord safer by decreasing how far your child’s head will move forward in a crash by 6-8 inches.
- Keep your child in a five-point harness until they are at least four years old, at least 40 pounds and mature enough to sit still in a booster. With many five-point harnesses going to 60 or more pounds, school age kids can continue to ride in a five-point harness before transitioning to a booster.
- Don’t skip the booster! They keep the lap belt properly positioned on a child’s strong hip bones, not on their abdomen where it can cause internal injuries in a crash.
- Your child is ready to ride without a booster when they pass The 5-Step Test (for most kids, this is around age 10):
The 5-Step Test