Two paramedics, who also happen to be parents, have shared an incredibly important reminder about infant car seat safety. And it’s one that all parents need to know before strapping their children in for a ride.
The safety level of your child’s car seat all comes down to the straps. How tight are they? Can they pull their arms out from them? And, most importantly, would you feel confident turning your children upside down in their seats?
With this simple car seat safety test, it takes only a minute to check if your child’s car seat is safe and can make all the difference in the event of an accident.
Infant safety seat test
Before we buy a baby car seat, we research. We compare prices, we read reviews, we check the safety ratings. But, as paramedic Krystal Kleidon explains, it doesn’t matter how many safety stars your child’s seat comes with if they’re not strapped into it properly.
“Between my husband [and me], in our 20 years’ experience [as paramedics], we have been to more car accidents than you could imagine and seen more mangled car seats than I’d like to share,” Krystal writes on her Facebook page.
“We have NOT seen a single child harmed in a car accident where the child was restrained in their seat properly. Not a single one.”
A car seat is designed to protect a child. But it can only do this if the child is restrained properly, Krystal explains.
“We’ve seen car seats ejected from vehicles, we’ve seen cars that have rolled over so many times you can barely tell which way is up, we’ve seen accidents where you would be certain there would be no survivors,” she says.
“But in our experience, the biggest difference between a child’s safety hasn’t been if they were in the $600 car seat or the $200 one. It’s been about those straps.”
Check your child’s seat
So how can you check if your child is safely strapped into his seat? Before putting the seat in the car, put your child in the seat. Strap them in. Tightly. And tip it upside down.
That’s it. Your child shouldn’t flop around or move when in this position. If they do, then you need to tighten those straps before putting your child’s seat (and your child) into the car.
The manoeuvre takes all of one minute to do. And, as Krystal explains, it can save your child’s life and give you peace of mind that you have done everything you can to protect them on the road.
Just remember, it all starts with the straps and Krystal says it’s important to make them tight. That means no bulky coats or blankets getting in the way.
“How tight are you making the straps on your child’s seat? Can they pull their own arms out of them? Can you only fit one or two fingers underneath them? Do they have a big puffy jacket on that stops them from being strapped in properly?,” Krystal says.
“So next time you buckle your child in, ask yourself… would I be confident in turning them upside down in their seat right now?”
After you try the car seat safety test, make sure to check our previous article about how to carry a baby car capsule without hurting your back.