For a new parent, car seats can be a tricky endeavor. Between choosing the right car seat, figuring out how to install it in the car, and then figuring out how to secure your child in it, there is lots of room for potential mistakes. But making mistakes in any of those three steps could mean the car seat doesn’t work as it should, and the risk for your child’s safety is greater. Fortunately, if you know the common car seat mistakes then you’re a lot less likely to make them when putting that car seat in your car. Check out these common car seat mistakes that happen way too often, so you can be sure you’re practicing proper procedure when putting the car seat in the car.
Buying the Wrong Car Seat
One mistake a lot of new parents make when it comes to car seats happens before the car seat even enters the car! Purchasing the wrong car seat for your child means that the car seat may not protect your child in the case of an accident. This can usually be avoided simply by buying a new car seat and not a used one. If you do buy a used car seat, you need to make sure that it’s not a model that’s ever been recalled. It should also be only a few years old, because anything older than six years is likely outdated and won’t keep your child safe. When in doubt, buy new; it’s one of the safest decisions you can make for your child. Even better, you can try and win one, with the baby on board contest going on right now.
Using the Car Seat as a Crib
It can be tempting to use your car seat as a crib when inside your home, but this should always be avoided. It may seem harmless to put your child in the car seat when not in the car, but it can have dangerous side effects on your child’s health. Sitting upright in a car seat may compress a child’s chest, which could lead to lower levels of oxygen. Spending too long in a car seat means your child could be subject to gastroesophageal reflux disease, a chronic digestive disease that isn’t fun for anyone. Additionally, the car seat isn’t strapped in when not in the car, meaning your child could easily rock his or her way out of it and on to the ground. Just always remember that the car seat is for the car only, and you should be fine.
Switching Car Seats too Soon
If you have a very young child, you’re likely using a rear facing car seat. One of the most common mistakes a parent can make when it comes to car seats is switching out that rear facing seat for a front facing seat before your child is ready. Your child should be around two years old before you switch to a front facing car seat, and he or she should be past the weight requirement for the rear facing seat. Always check the manufactures guidelines when considering switching car seats, and don’t do it if it isn’t safe.