In honor of Child Passenger Safety Week, we wanted to share a few tips to help you keep your little ones safe on the road. Here are our top four:
1) Ensure all straps are snug and fitted properly.
Car seat straps shouldn’t sag or have any slack. While you don’t want them so tight that they’re uncomfortable, leaving them too loose is a serious safety hazard. If you can pinch excess webbing at the shoulder or hips, then the straps aren’t snug enough. When buckling, make sure all straps are buckled securely and in the right slots of the harness.
For older children using booster seats and seat belts, the belt fits properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). Never have the shoulder belt under their arm or behind their back.
2) Make sure front and rear facing seats are securely attached to the back seat.
Installing car seats can be a huge pain, but it’s important to do it right. Never install a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an airbag and buckle children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle. The seat belt acting as an anchor should be as tight as possible, without any slack. If you can move the seat more than one inch side-to-side or front-to-back, then it’s too loose.
3) Keep them in a rear facing seat for as long as possible.
Most people simply look at age when deciding to move their child to the next seat- typically between 2 or 3. But, really, it’s all about height and weight. You should keep your child in a rear facing seat, so long as they meet the height and weight requirements.
4) Strictly enforce the car seat rules.
Car seats are always necessary, even for short journeys. “Occasionally letting a child not be in a car seat sets up behavioral challenges,” said Kristy Arbogast, co-scientific director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Using a car seat is the best way to prevent the leading cause of death for your child. That’s not negotiable.”
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Since 1988, our family owned and operated service center has been providing top quality auto repair services to Agawam, Feeding Hills, Southwick, West Springfield and the surrounding Massachusetts communities. If your car needs maintenance or repair, call us at (413)314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.