We know that nothing is more important than your baby’s safety. But let’s face it, keeping them safe and secure can sometimes get complicated, especially when it comes to car seats. They can be confusing to put together, and the amount of information out there is overwhelming. If you feel like you don’t know where to begin, you’re not alone. The majority of parents will make at least one error during car seat installation, which can have a huge impact on the safety of your child.
Being informed and educated is the best way to prevent errors. So with that in mind, take a look at some of the most common car seat mistakes parents make:
Not reading the manual
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many parents don’t read the manual for their car seat. The first step in making sure your child is safe is knowing how to use the seat. Although there are general guidelines for all seats, each one is made differently by a different manufacturer, and may have specific features or instructions that go along with it. Read the manual for both the car seat and the car itself so you’ll know how to properly install a car seat into your car.
Installing it too loosely
Most of the mistakes made by parents are in the installation. A common error is the seat being too loose. When you tug on the car seat, it shouldn’t move more than one inch in any direction, whether you are using a LATCH base or no base at all. Even the highest quality car seats can’t do their job if they aren’t installed properly, so make sure you are educated on safe car seat installation.
Not fastening the harness straps correctly
Harness straps are a common source of confusion for parents, as they need to be positioned correctly and can look different on each car seat. A general rule of thumb is to keep the straps tight enough that you can only fit one finger underneath them, but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable for your child. The chest clip is an important piece of the seat and should be positioned at armpit level.
Moving through the Installation too quickly
Turning your car seat from rear to front-facing is a huge milestone in your child’s development, so parents often move up to the next level too early. Each time you transition your child to a different car seat, less protection is in place. As long as your child remains within the weight and height limit for their car seat, they should stay in that size. Knowing when to switch to a forward-facing car seat is extremely important to your child’s safety. Don’t let them outgrow their seat, but don’t rush the transition either.
Not checking for recalls
Car seat recalls happen all the time, but many people don’t know to check if theirs made the list. Not all car seat recalls pose a serious threat, but a faulty buckle or a latch that doesn’t close properly can affect whether or not your child is safe. If your car seat has been recalled, contact the manufacturer for instructions on what to do next. Additionally, it’s never recommended to buy a used car seat, as you don’t know if it’s been recalled or what past damage has potentially impacted its effectiveness.
Not traveling with your car seat
Car seats are meant to keep your child safe while inside a moving vehicle, and this includes planes, trains, and everything in between. Bringing a car seat with you on trips can be a hassle, which is probably why it’s becoming increasingly common to travel without one. Not only will bringing a car seat help keep your child safe, but it also ensures you’ll have the right one for your child when you get to your destination, rather than relying on the rental car company to provide it for you. If your family travels a lot, invest in a travel-approved car seat so your little one will always be safe no matter where you’re headed.
Even after you have finished installing your car seat and feel as though its ready for your child, it never hurts to have a professional double-check. There are tons of car seat technicians who will help you install your car seat and correct any errors you may have made so your child will be safe and secure.
At the end of the day, safety is a top priority. No matter what car seat you choose, avoiding these mistakes is the first step towards making sure your child is secure. Doona makes it easy, with quick and easy installation, with or without a base. It’s also aircraft approved, so you never have to go anywhere without it.
With Doona, you get the peace of mind knowing your child is safe in their car seat, while also making your life easier. If you’re ready to make car seat mistakes a thing of the past, check out our full collection of infant car seat seats and strollers, and view our instructional installation videos so you’ll feel confident every time you and your little one hit the road.