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Most Common Mistakes


Forum: Car Seat Safety

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  #1  
February 21st, 2010, 05:28 PM
Madeline410's Avatar Maddie
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Here is a list of the most common mistakes parents make when it comes to car seats. (in no particular order..)
  • Use the appropriate seat for your child's height, weight, and age. Rear face as long as possible, harness as long as possible, and booster as long as possible. Each step up in car seats is a step down in safety if it's done too soon.

  • The harness needs to be snug enough to pass the pinch test and the chest clip needs to be at armpit level. Not down on the belly.

  • The straps should not be twisted at all.

  • Never submerge harness straps in water or use any chemicals to clean them. Usually a damp cloth is all you can use to wash them. (Check your manual!) If you have washed, dried, ironed, etc your harness, call the manufacturer and order a new one. It weakens the harness and it might break in a crash.

  • You can never use LATCH AND seat belt at the same time. Pick one or the other. They are equally safe.

  • Most of the time you cannot use LATCH in the center seat. Check your vehicle's manual.

  • Forward Facing straps need to be at or above the child's shoulders. Rear Facing straps need to be at or below the child's shoulders.

  • Top tether all forward facing car seats. If your car does not have top tethers, contact the manufacturer and ask to have one retrofitted.

  • A properly installed car seat should move less than 1" from side to side and front to back at the belt path. A little wiggle is ok. More than 1" is not safe.

  • Don't use an expired car seat or a used car seat. If you aren't 100% sure of it's history, consider it unsafe.

  • Don't use any aftermarket products. If it didn't come with the seat, it's not safe. (Bundle Me, Mighty Tite, shoulder pads, head pillow, snuzzler, mirror, sun shades, seat protector.. the list goes on and on). They can interfere with the seat, or become a projectile.

  • Remove winter coats or bulky clothing before buckling your child in their car seat. See this thread (Let's revisit car seats & winter coats) to see why.

  • Always wear YOUR seat belt! Children do what they see. Set a good example and teach your child safe habits.

  • Don't be afraid to get help! Over 90% of car seats are being misused. Make sure yours is not one of them. Find a certified CPST (or CRST in Canada) and have your seat inspected. It could save your child's life.
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95% of kids aren't in their car seats safely.
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Last edited by Madeline410; September 19th, 2010 at 02:08 PM.
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  #2  
February 21st, 2010, 05:39 PM
::er!ca::'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Awesome thread Maddie Thank you!!!
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  #3  
February 21st, 2010, 05:42 PM
Madeline410's Avatar Maddie
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If you guys think of anything else, let me know! I'll add it
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95% of kids aren't in their car seats safely.
Click here to see how your child should look!


A rear-facing child is 75% less likely to die in a crash. Click here to learn more!

Are you installing your car seats correctly?
to watch my installation videos,
click HERE!

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  #4  
February 21st, 2010, 07:11 PM
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Why not LATCH and a seat belt? I mean, I see that you don't need both, but why "Don't"?

The top tether thing...is that for all car seats, even boosters? Or just harnessed car seats?
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  #5  
February 21st, 2010, 07:45 PM
::er!ca::'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyD View Post
Why not LATCH and a seat belt? I mean, I see that you don't need both, but why "Don't"?
Because it hasn't been approved for use with both. It's either never been tested, or it was tested an failed. And since we don't know which is the case, using both LATCH and the seat belt at the same time would essentially be turning the child into the test dummy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyD View Post
The top tether thing...is that for all car seats, even boosters? Or just harnessed car seats?
Definitely for all harnessed seats. A few boosters allow the use of a top tether, and if it's allowed then it should be used.

Using a top tether can reduce head excursion by up to 6 inches.
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  #6  
August 14th, 2010, 09:20 AM
MyDuckySam's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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THANK YOU! With one RF and the other FF, I always have to check on the strap height requirement.
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  #7  
January 2nd, 2011, 09:05 PM
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What awesome information!
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  #8  
January 3rd, 2011, 01:20 PM
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TFS!
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  #9  
March 14th, 2011, 01:32 PM
Madeline410's Avatar Maddie
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bump
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95% of kids aren't in their car seats safely.
Click here to see how your child should look!


A rear-facing child is 75% less likely to die in a crash. Click here to learn more!

Are you installing your car seats correctly?
to watch my installation videos,
click HERE!

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  #10  
March 16th, 2011, 10:06 AM
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Thank you for this!!!

I especially was unaware about the pinch test. Hubby and I had been pulling the harness SO tight on her, basically sealing her to the back of her carseat. I am going to try the pinch test and hopefully she will be more comfortable. She has been screaming in her carseat lately (we just switched her into a convertible) and I'm going to see if that helps.

Great info, thanks for sharing!
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  #11  
March 16th, 2011, 10:20 AM
::er!ca::'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
Thank you for this!!!

I especially was unaware about the pinch test. Hubby and I had been pulling the harness SO tight on her, basically sealing her to the back of her carseat. I am going to try the pinch test and hopefully she will be more comfortable. She has been screaming in her carseat lately (we just switched her into a convertible) and I'm going to see if that helps.

Great info, thanks for sharing!
Sounds like you definitely had it too tight. I think she'll be happier and more comfortable with it "snug as a hug". She should be able to take deep breaths easily.
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  #12  
March 16th, 2011, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madeline410 View Post
Top tether all forward facing car seats. If your car does not have top tethers, contact the manufacturer and ask to have one retrofitted.
I drive an 05 Dodge Durango. 3 of my kids are FFing and one RFing. My 4 year old is FFing in the Nautilus in our 2nd row and we use the seatbelt and top teather for his seat and use the LATCH for our RFing daughter. My 2 other kids who are FFing are in our 3rd row which does not have top tether anchors (or LATCH at all). I did call a Dodge dealer in the next town and was told I couldn't have the LATCH or Top Tethers retrofitted. Are the kids still safe without top tethering their seats? My daughter is in the MyRide and my son is in an evenflo seat.. not sure which one but we bought it about 2 1/2- 3 years ago.
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Last edited by Mama to 4 Monsters; March 16th, 2011 at 06:09 PM.
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  #13  
March 17th, 2011, 08:36 AM
Madeline410's Avatar Maddie
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You can't get top tethers on a vehicle that already has some installed. Only on vehicles that are too old to have them.

My LATCH manual says you have 3 tether anchors. Can you get all 3 FF seats side by side? The top tether is very important.
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95% of kids aren't in their car seats safely.
Click here to see how your child should look!


A rear-facing child is 75% less likely to die in a crash. Click here to learn more!

Are you installing your car seats correctly?
to watch my installation videos,
click HERE!

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  #14  
March 17th, 2011, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ::er!ca:: View Post
Sounds like you definitely had it too tight. I think she'll be happier and more comfortable with it "snug as a hug". She should be able to take deep breaths easily.
Haha yeah, she was MUCH happier yesterday now that she can breathe easily!

I've got a question...I"m sure the answer is "no" but I was wondering if its ok to attach those hanging toys to the top tether? She is rear-facing and too young to hold onto her toys for very long. If not, any other ideas of where to attach her toys? Thanks ladies!
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  #15  
March 17th, 2011, 09:02 AM
amylynne01's Avatar One happy mama
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If she is RFing, then the top tether strap should be stowed away somewhere. I clip mine into the car seat so it can't fly around while I'm driving or if we're in an accident. You could use the plastic link things to connect a toy to her, but it should be a soft toy. Plastic toys can hurt her if you stop suddenly or get in an accident. Soft books, stuffed animals, etc are good for the car.
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  #16  
March 17th, 2011, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madeline410 View Post
You can't get top tethers on a vehicle that already has some installed. Only on vehicles that are too old to have them.

My LATCH manual says you have 3 tether anchors. Can you get all 3 FF seats side by side? The top tether is very important.
I can get 3 FFing seats in my middle row side by side and there are 3 top tether anchors across the middle row, however if I do that then I have no access at all to my 3rd row. If I put the 3 FFing seats in the middle row, I'd have to put my RFing 5 month old in the 3rd row and I'd have no way to get her back there. Actually I'm not sure if I could put a RFing seat in the 3rd row at all without having the back of the car seat rest on the back of the middle row seat.. there's not much room in the 3rd row front to back.
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Last edited by Mama to 4 Monsters; March 17th, 2011 at 10:41 AM.
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  #17  
March 17th, 2011, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amylynne01 View Post
If she is RFing, then the top tether strap should be stowed away somewhere. I clip mine into the car seat so it can't fly around while I'm driving or if we're in an accident. You could use the plastic link things to connect a toy to her, but it should be a soft toy. Plastic toys can hurt her if you stop suddenly or get in an accident. Soft books, stuffed animals, etc are good for the car.
We have a Britax Boulevard...the manual said to use the top-tether when rear-facing...

Yeah, I was going to use soft-toys but thanks for the reminder!
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  #18  
March 17th, 2011, 11:34 AM
amylynne01's Avatar One happy mama
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The top tether is not required for RFing use on the Boulevard. Only Britax and Radian seats allow for RFing tethering, so I assumed you couldn't.

If you're using the top tether, then it should be connected down behind the car seat to something on the floor. There would be no way to attach a toy to the top tether and have it be accessible to your DD. It should look like this (the seat is a Marathon so very similar):

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  #19  
March 17th, 2011, 07:08 PM
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I wish it looked like that in my car!! But unfortunately the top tether things are in the back in my car. These are the acceptable options from the user guide:



Ours is the first install picture. Ugh, so ugly and cumbersome, but I guess if Britax recommends it, we'll do it. But do you see what I mean about how to hang the toys?
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  #20  
March 18th, 2011, 04:27 AM
::er!ca::'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
I wish it looked like that in my car!! But unfortunately the top tether things are in the back in my car. These are the acceptable options from the user guide:



Ours is the first install picture. Ugh, so ugly and cumbersome, but I guess if Britax recommends it, we'll do it. But do you see what I mean about how to hang the toys?
It's not required, and only 2 manufacturers in the United States even allow it. If it were grossly safer, more manufacturers would allow it. There is also some controversy regarding the safety of it, especially with young infants.

Anyway, it's purely optional, it's not any less safe if you change your mind and decide not to tether the seat rear facing.

Now forward facing is a whole different ball game, it's extremely safer... reduces head excursion by up to 6 inches. Rear facing, they're already soooooo safe, and if the child is within the limits of the seat, it's not going to be an issue. Personally, I would not tether RFing.

So anyhow, no, I wouldn't attach toys to it.
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