When we began questioning whether to turn our 2-year-old’s car seat forward, we decided it was an excellent opportunity to consult the car seat safety professionals. Most labor and delivery hospitals in our area offer appointments with certified car seat technicians, and the service is free. We booked our visit and headed over, questions in hand.
After exchanging introductions and filling out a form, the tech asked if we could weigh the kids and take their height. This was done as accurately as possible in a small administrative office with two wiggly tots. Then, I was asked for my car seat manual for reference, and we proceeded to the parking lot. During my visit, I asked a few questions about car seat safety that I thought all moms, including myself, might also want answers to.
Q: Car seat laws vary by state, and guidelines vary by seat. How do you know if your child is as safe as possible?
A: Seeing a car seat specialist in the area who is knowledgeable about the state’s regulations is a great place to start. If you don’t know where to begin your search, call your pediatrician’s office and request a referral. Or inquire with the hospital you gave birth at. However, you can quickly and effectively check your seat yourself.
Q: Are car seat checks exclusively for parents of newborns?
A: Absolutely not. We have quite a few clients who visit repeatedly. Purchase a new car and not confident with your car seat installation? Schedule an appointment to have it checked. Are you considering turning your toddler from rear-facing to forward-facing? Schedule an appointment, and we will help you determine whether it’s time to switch. While most of our appointments are with expecting parents, we encourage all parents with questions to stop by.
Q: I’m unsure whether to turn my 2-year-old’s rear-facing seat forward. Can you help?
A: Keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible is always best. While old guidelines promoted turning your child forward at 20 lbs./1 year old, we do not recommend that now. We reference the guidelines on the individual seat and the child’s height, weight, and age. For example, if your car seat manual states “rear-facing up to 35 lbs,” and your child exceeds that weight, is two years old or older, and meets that seat’s height lines, it would be best to switch to forward-facing.
Q: How can I do a quick car seat check on my own?
A: This DIY car seat safety checklist is a quick reference list. It includes items you can check off to give you peace of mind that your seat is installed correctly, as is your baby or child. Here’s what to look for:
Car seat safety is highly important, and I hope this helps you cross car seat questions off your list!