Today I will be having guest writer on Mommie isn’t Money, Kelsey from Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services will be sharing more information about carseat safety and why it is important to make sure your car seat is properly installed.
So hey all last week “September 17th-23rd” was Child passenger Safety week; I know a week late and a dollar short, but still important to acknowledge! So with that I thought it only makes sense to start the conversation about car seats and the importance of using them correctly and also what Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services can offer.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death in children age 1 to 13. Astonishing right?!
But… using a child safety seat correctly can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%. The key word is correctly. Many of us think we have our child’s safety seat in correctly, but in reality 3 out of 4 seats are not used or installed correctly. I know I was guilty of this before I had the proper training.
Some easy tips when it comes to car seat safety is making sure you are buying or using the right car seat.
-And by right seat I mean make sure the seat fits your child. A child should be rear-facing until at least 2 years of age. Many people worry about their children’s legs when they are rear facing, but it is much safer to have them rear facing it allows your child’s head, neck and spine to move evenly into the seat, not away from it in a car accident. Now some of the rear facing seats have a lower maximum weight so you may need to change to a bigger rear-facing convertible seat that will hold a larger child and can eventually be turned to be facing forward.
So after you child reaches the weight limit for rear facing, you will then turn the convertible seat forward facing. These should have a 5 point harness and top tether. After they reach the weight limit or height limit you may need to get a different forward facing one with a harness or depending on their age, height or weight you may be able to switch to a booster seat.
The number one thing is to not be in a rush to move them up to different seats. Keep children in seats till they reach the maximum weight or height limit listed on the seat. The reason to not be in a rush is with each change in seat their safety reduces just a bit and a rear facing is the safest.
So… once you have the correct seat the next step is installing it in your car. Not all seats work in all vehicles. Some of those seats are huge and are not going to work in a little compact car! It is important when installing your seat to look at the owner’s manual of your vehicle and utilize the manual for the car seat. One thing I see all the time is parents using the lower anchors in the seats and a seat belt. You do not need to use both, but once forward facing use the tether and either the seat belt or anchors to install.
One great thing is this is where Des Moines Valley Health and Human Services can help you! We have 6 staff members who have received training and are certified car seat technicians. We offer free car seat checks to anyone… grandparents this includes you too!! Anyone can call either 507-831-1987 or 507-847-2366 to set up an appointment.
The next thing with seats is making sure the harness fits your child correctly (which we can help with also) One thing with cold weather coming is to make sure you take your child’s fluffy winter coat off before buckling them up in their car seat. Without removing this it can give too much space in a car accident and not protect them.
So… when you’re done with different seats it is acceptable to pass them on, but always remember car seats do have expiration dates so make sure to check them. Also if passing on make sure all pieces are included.
With new seats or getting used seats from someone make sure you register the car seat. This is a great way to find out if there are any recalls or any issues with the car seat. New seats come with a card to do this but you can do it online with the car seat company, or the car seat techs at DVHHS would be happy to help with this.
Another tip if you are in any type of car accident even if you child is not in the seat check with your auto insurance company they may pay for a new seat. If you are in an accident and the child is in the seat you definitely need to get a new seat.
So remember you can call Des Moines Valley anytime to arrange a car seat check!
Also in Lakefield this Saturday September 30th at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the parking lot we will be doing a mini car seat clinic from 9am to noon.
To set up an appointment please call me “Kelsey” at 507-822-0916 or drop ins are welcome, but appointments appreciated; and if this day doesn’t work call us and we can set up a time that works for you!
So please any questions or concerns call Des Moines Valley at 507-831-1987 or 507-847-2366