When we recently began to question whether to turn our 2-year-old’s car seat forward, we decided that it was a great opportunity to consult the car seat safety professionals. Most labor and delivery hospitals in our area offer appointments with certified car seat technicians, and best of all, 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. While walking the hospital campus back to the lot, I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask a few questions regarding car seat safety that I thought all moms, including myself, might want answers to as well. This brings me to…
Car Seat Q&A!
Q: Car seat laws vary state by state, and guidelines vary seat by seat. How does one ever know if they are “getting it right” and their child is as safe as they can possibly be?
A: Well, seeing a car seat specialist in their area who is knowledgeable about their 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. We’ll show you how!
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 install? Schedule an appointment to have it checked. Considering turning your toddler from rear-facing to forward-facing? Schedule an appointment, and we will help you determine whether or not it’s time to make the switch. While most of our appointments are with expecting parents, we encourage all parents with questions to stop by.
Q: My boys are clearly preschool-aged. Lifting my two-year-old in and out of his rear-facing seat is becoming very challenging. I’m not clear on whether it’s best to turn him yet. 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 in addition to 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. This is the case for your son.
Q: You mentioned earlier you could teach me how to do a quick car seat check on my own. Can you show me how?
A: Absolutely! 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 properly as is your baby or child. Here’s what to look for:
Car seat safety is of the absolute most importance, and we hope that this helps you cross car seat questions off your list!