From One Mother to Another: Belt 'Em!

For those of you who are still dealing with this issue and just aren’t sure, here are the facts about car seats!

Knowing how to properly install our car seats always baffled me. To this day, I still do not completely know how to install one.  My husband had always done it because I didn’t feel confident doing it myself. 

The one time I did, my daughter ended up being snug in her seat for two days without “it” being seat belted to the car.  I also never really knew when to change from the infant carrier to the toddler seat or booster. 

Our pediatrician and local police department recommended keeping them in each stage until they just can’t fit anymore.  They are safer and assured to be developed properly for the next seat. 

Definitely ask your doctor and read the manual that comes with the car seat but this is a guide for you to follow.  If you’d like to have the seat evaluated, call your local police station.  They will teach you the proper technique and answer all your questions.  Some stations even have specific days set aside for car seat installations.

Stage 1 - Use the infant carrier, (rear-facing- facing the back of the car), until your child is 20 pounds.

Stage 2 - The toddler seat, (forward facing), can be used until they are about 30 pounds or it is too tight to buckle, but keep this seat rear-facing if your child is under 12 months to assure proper development of the neck muscles. 

Stage 3 - Use a booster seat, with the regular car seat belt until their weight is at least 80 pounds or they are 8 years old.  Be sure that the seat belt is in the locked position and rests over their shoulder, not across their neck. (To ensure the seat belt is locked - after hooking, extend it all the way out and then release it over your child.  It will lock automatically.  This will keep them stationary while you are driving.)  

Stage 4 - At 80 pounds plus, your child can sit without a booster and in the front seat although it is safer in the rear.

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Hot Head May 06, 2012 at 11:51 AM
The biggest issue with child car seats that needs to be addressed is proper disinfection. They are a leading cause of RSV, Ear Infection & Strep. Practically impossible to to properly clean yourself; these MICU's (Mobile infection causing units) carry bacteria ranging from e-coli, to enterococcus, Salmonella, Mold mildew and more. I have just started a new business in Woodcliff Lake NJ called Hot Head Magic Steam. Among many applications for our service; one specialty is child safety seats. We clean, sanitize and anti-microbial spray all for $35.00. Incidentally; the avr cost of one 2-day stay at home for strep; between Dr. Co-Pay; prescription and child care at 9 hrs per day is about $370.00. So the cost of one "prevention" means that we could clean your seat once a month, properly; and your effective cost is about $4.17. By preventing two incidents you would actually save money by safeguarding your child with this new service; heretofore unavailable.
dellmom May 06, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Just to clarify-a Convertible Car Seat (which I believe is the one you refer to as a toddler seat) can be used rear-facing up to 30 pounds and forward facing up to 65 pounds (depending on the model). Many car seat manufactuers have created great seats that hold larger children safely when they have to move out of the infant seat. My son was 33 pounds and 33" tall at 12 months old so we were forced out of the infant seat very early! Of course when he was that age there weren't as many great choices as their are now! Just always check out the car seats manual/instructions to be sure you are in the right position/seat for your childs height, weight and age. Also-the NJ State Police in Totowa offers car seat installation assistance!
james May 07, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I've been educated regarding car seats by my daughter who has her certification for car safety. I hope that all the parents who do not want to deal with the devastation of injuries or worse death of their babies, toddlers, and/or children will research, buy and install the correct car seat according to the best guidelines. The inconvience and unhappiness with a child who does not like their car seat rear facing, forward facing or booster is a small price to pay for their safety. As my daughter says dealing with inconvience or unhappiness is a lifelong deal when one has a child. My grandson is over two years old and he is still rear facing and she does a rountine check on his seat every three months. Your most precious cargo will be your child. Please take that into consideration.
Jodi Ciampa May 07, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Thank you everyone for the informative comments. I love the feedback! All and all, I think we have the same goal in mind - to keep our children safe while driving!
Hot Head May 08, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Sorry if I had a typo Holden. This is to "properly clean, disinfect and sanitize your child car seat". If you would be interested in the topic; I will be at the River Vale Green Festival on 6/3 and will be providing the service on-site. Since illness from car safety seats is a more common occurance than injury in an accident; I would take this issue very seriously. As a Father of 4 who are older now; I feel guilty that this information was not available then....let alone the service.


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