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As a parent with a small child, it is vital to be aware of car seat safety during and after car maintenance. There are many things to consider when ensuring your child is safe while riding in the car. Here are seven tips to remember regarding car seat safety.

Important tips to remember regarding car seat safety

Car seat in the back of a car practicing car sear safety.
Car seat | Getty Images

Car seat safety is important for several reasons. Most importantly, securing your child in size and weight-appropriate car seats and buckling the seat belts can reduce the risk of serious injuries and death in a crash. Access Auto Insurance reports that using car seats decreases the risk of death by 71% for infants aged one and under and 54% for toddlers aged 1-4.

\With this, you can rest assured that your child is as safe as possible while on the road. While car seat safety might seem straightforward, there are several tips to remember to ensure you’re doing everything correctly.

1. Always face the car seat in the correct direction

A rear-facing car seat is ideal for infants as it protects their spine, neck, and head. Therefore, it is advisable always to secure your baby using a rear-facing car seat for their first few years until they surpass the recommended weight and height limit, which you can find on the back or side of each car seat. It is also important to note that children in a rear-facing seat should be in the back seat far from the airbag.

2. Do not keep your child in a seat after they have outgrown it

As your child grows, they will eventually outgrow their rear-facing seat. Once this happens, it is time to transition them into a forward-facing seat with a harness. Remember that outgrowing their seat has to do with weight and height, not age. Therefore, do not keep your child in a seat they have outgrown physically. Use the forward-facing seat until they outgrow it, then move them on to a booster seat.

3. Remove bulky clothing before buckling your child in

It is important to ensure that your child is not wearing bulky clothing such as puffy coats or snowsuits while in their car seat. This clothing can compress during a crash and prevent the straps from securely holding your child in the seat. Instead, dress them in relatively thinner layers and optionally drape a coat or blanket over the buckled harness to keep them warm.

4. Register your car seat with the manufacturer

Once you have purchased a car seat, register it with the manufacturer to ensure you are notified of any recalls and updates for when it’s time to upgrade your car seat. You can usually find the registration information on the seat label. Take your time to register because it could potentially save your child.

5. Properly install the seat

Proper car seat installation is perhaps the most crucial aspect of keeping your child safe. Incorrect installation can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the seat and put your child at risk in the event of an accident. Make sure to read both the car seat manual and your vehicle’s owner’s manual to install the seat correctly. Upon installation, give the seat a good tug from the base and try wiggling it back and forth, side to side. The seat should not move in any direction at a distance of more than 1 inch.

6. Inspect the child’s seat closely

Regular car seat inspection is also essential to ensure that it has not been damaged and is functioning properly. If you need any assistance with inspection, numerous technicians across the nation can help. These technicians can also help you with the installation of your seat and advice you on what more to know when buying a car seat for your child.

7. Take your child’s medical history into consideration

When installing a car seat for your child, consider their medical history. This measure is typically helpful in the event of an accident where first responders and paramedics need to know whether the child has any medical conditions or allergies. Access Auto Insurance can help you with free car seat stickers that provide vital information to firefighters, first responders, and EMTs in case of an accident. You can also include information about your child’s current medication or known allergies.