5 Things I've Learned About Car Seats | Houston Family Photographer
Car seats. Legally, we can't live without them. They seem so daunting as a new parent, and at times even just as much for the more experienced parent. Anytime I have to even think about moving them from one car to another, I immediately want to just go take a nap instead because I know how little fun it can be. They're not the most convenient item for children, but the lives of my irreplaceable children are beyond more than worth the inconvenience when it comes to their safety. Today I wanted to share a little insight into what I've learned along the way that just might help keep your child safe and secure while going for a ride in the family car.
1. They're a pain to install
Yes, it's true. They are no picnic when it comes to properly installing them. Those anchors that we're supposed to latch into are rarely in an easily accessible place, so be prepared to sweat and struggle a bit there. I personally prefer using the latch system while they're still in the weight limit to do so, tightening it as per the instructions in the instruction manual, as well as attaching the top latch as well. It helps to puts my mind at ease. Goodness knows, as a mom, I don't need to add to the list of things I may second guess throughout the day, causing my brain to play out every. single. worst case scenario that could occur. Is that just me? Please tell me I'm not the only one out there who does that! Once they've reached the weight limit for the latch system, I switch to the seat belt method.
2. Always Tighten The Harness Just One More Time
I've read the pinch trick, when it comes to measuring how tight the straps are. You know, the one where if you can pinch the strap at all, then it's too loose. I, however, prefer the whole placing one finger under the strap method. If I can fit more than one finger between my child's shoulder and the strap, then I tighten it until I can't. I keep the car seat strap covers on the straps so that they don't come away with red marks from the straps digging in, offering them a bit more comfort. Also, it's so important to make sure the chest clip is, well, on the chest. This helps to prevent any damage done internally should there be an accident.
3. Rear Facing Is Best
It's been said that 30% of car seats are turned around too early. The guideline was once stated that when a child reached 12 months of age, they could be forward facing. However, that has since changed and the recommended age/weight is after 2 years of age AND when they've reached the weight limit of the rear-facing seat they are in. Your child's spine is still forming, and rear-facing allows the back to absorb the force of any crash. Waiting until their neck and spine is more developed is so important to protecting their fragile little bodies. It's ok to wait just a little longer to be able to see their precious faces in your rear view mirror. In the meantime, go buy you a mirror for the backseat and that'll take care of that problem.
4. Your Back Seat Will Definitely Get Dirty
Ok, now that we've gotten some of the heavier items out of the way, let's talk about the condition of your backseat. It's going to get nasty!! It's going to collect every little crumb, every little spill of milk, and every single wrapper that they drop. Oh, and the creases that are left behind, I'm still not convinced the seats will ever look the same. Go ahead and invest in one of the seat protectors. You can thank me later.
5. Your Kid Looks Adorable In Them
This last one is my favorite! It's not the most important, but it's certainly the most enjoyable part about car seats. Babies look precious in them!! Seriously, who's kid doesn't look cute in a car seat?? The way they're forced to play with their feet because that's about as far as they can reach. The way their little eyes light up when they see you coming to set them free! How peaceful they look when they're sleeping. The way they're forced to endure all of your sweet kisses because, well, the harness is nice and snug and won't hardly let them move, leading to some of the most precious baby giggles on planet earth! Yeah, I'd say that's one of the best things ever about car seats. Well, that and the fact that they can't escape ;)
For more information on how to properly use your car seat, please head over to your user manual for the basic installation instructions, and click here for the state laws and American Pediatrics Association recommendations, as well as to the Kid's Health website to learn about everything you need to know for you child's safety! It's up to us to protect our little ones, and being educated is step one to doing just that.