Experts offer tips on car seat safety

  • Nov. 20, 2013 4:54 p.m.

Car seats are integral in baby safety in the car, but if not used properly can be just about useless or more harmful.

“A lot of parents don’t read their manuals or really know how to use their car seat, they think it’s straightforward and that there are no tricks to using it properly, but there are,” said registered car seat safety technician Abby Wah.

Wah said part of what parents don’t understand is a car seat’s limitations including weight, height and developmental level.

“Carseats each have their own weight and height restrictions, so parents and care givers need to make sure they follow those closely. The restrictions change depending on if you’re using an infant bucket seat, a rear facing seat, a front facing seat or a booster,” said Wah.

She added that if parents are unsure about their own seat, to refer to their manual or find a registered car seat safety technician in their area.

With winter fast approaching, Wah said the most important thing for people to remember when putting their child in a car seat is that winter jackets are not appropriate to be worn while the child is strapped in.

“They create the illusion that the straps are tight, but coats squish. If you get in an accident, the force of the impact will compress the jacket further, creating a pocket where your child can move around.”

This movement in the seat on impact can cause injuries like whiplash, concussions, broken bones, and most severely, death. “Children’s bones and bodies are brittle and fragile until everything is fully fused. This doesn’t happen until they are much older, closer to five years old. Until this time, we need to do everything in our power to protect them.”

Wah said the best way to utilize a winter jacket in a car seat is to buckle the child in without the coat first, snug the straps tight, and then put their coat on backwards over their arms.

Some other basic things that Wah said are important to remember include the pinch test, the chest-clip and the importance of rear-facing car seats.

“The pinch test is what it sounds like, pinch the strap above the chest clip. If you can grab material, the straps are too loose. The chest clip also is exactly what it sounds like, a clip that is meant to be on your child’s chest.”

The chest clip should line up with your child’s armpits at all ages, and Wah said this is one of the most important things a parent can remember. Without the chest clip in the proper position, a child can potentially be thrown from their car seat in a collision.

Wah also said that parents who aren’t sure if their child should be rear facing or front facing should ask themselves a few questions.

“If your child can stay rear-facing, keep them that way. It’s safer for them. To move front facing each seat has different qualifications but most of them say one year, over a certain weight and height, and able to walk without assistance.”

For more information, visit www.carsafetyandkids.ca.

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Alberta Election called for April 16th

Upcoming election will be about who is fit to be Premier, says Notley

Red Deer athletes qualify for Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru

The official Pan American Games will be held from July 26th to Aug. 11th

Local youngsters lend a helping hand to the Red Deer Hospital

First Steps and Beyond School students donate to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Red Deer RCMP arrest man during break and enter in progress

RCMP found two males in the parking garage attempting to steal a vehicle

Red Deer RCMP announce new Officer in Charge

Grobmeier has 26 years of service with the RCMP where he has moved through the ranks across Canada

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Here are five political leaders campaigning in Alberta’s spring election

Rachel Notley, Jason Kenney, Stephen Mandel, David Khan, and Derek Fildebrandt

UPDATE Leduc RCMP say sexual assault claim was false

UPDATE Leduc RCMP say investigation revealed sexual assault never took place

Fought to unite Alberta conservatives: Former MP Kenney ready to run for premier

Kenney, 50, was born in Oakville, Ont., raised in Saskatchewan, and spent his adult years in Alberta

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley wants chance to ‘finish that job’

Notley, 54, is the daughter of the late Grant Notley, who led the NDP from 1968 to 1984

PHOTOS: Massive fire at Wetaskiwin’s Rigger’s Hotel

Multiple fire departments involved, building badly damaged

Alberta government announces further easing of oil production restrictions

The government said it will continue to monitor the market and its response to the increases

Most Read