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Using a car seat: How can I make sure that I'm doing it right?

Many well intentioned parents often use a car seat incorrectly putting their child at great risk. The excuses are numerous: “We were only driving the neighbourhood so I didn’t put my child in the car seat…”, “My toddler was crying so I took her out of the car seat and sat her on my lap…”

It is vital that you consistently use a car seat properly and never let your child ride in a car when they are not in a car seat. Car accidents are among the leading cause of death for children, and driving is one of the most dangerous activities that we do on a daily basis.

Here are some rules you should follow:
 
  • Never purchase a second hand car seat. It may be damaged and faulty.
  • Replace older car seats. The safety features of older car seats are not up to today’s standards.
  • Do not face your child forward in the car seat until they weigh at least 20 lbs. and are 12 months old.
  • Never put a child under 40 lbs. in a booster seat. These are meant for children over the age of 3.
  • Don’t guess on how a car seat is installed. You should thoroughly read the instructions that come with your car seat and practice the installation.
  • Never ride with a child sitting on your lap or anyone’s lap.
  • Do not let two children share one seat belt.
  • Never let young children sit in the front seat.
  • If you need to put a rear-facing baby seat in the front passenger seat, make sure to turn off the airbag first.

Children will often fuss about getting in their car seat or putting on a seat belt. You must start early and make it a rule that the car does not move until everyone is properly belted in.

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