A little business card made it’s way into my husbands hand after helping this client at his work place. It’s my husbands job to meet new people every day and teach them about their new cars so he sometimes has some great stories to tell me when he gets home! He knew that I would be particularly interested in this because I am just nerdy like that… Her business card, along with her contact information, had the title ‘Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor’.
I contacted her pretty quickly. If you have children already you know how cumbersome and daunting child car seats can be. There are so many regulations and so many options that it makes people like Diane very, very helpful!
I think just as we are concerned about driving a safe vehicle, getting things checked regularly, and ensuring that we are buckled in and have the appropriate air bags etc… we should also be concerned about the safety and proper usage of our children’s car seats.
Car accidents are one of the main leading causes of death in children and the number one reason is because a child was not buckled in properly or was in the wrong type of car seat for their age/size. So, this is actually really important to read up on and be informed about when using/buying/replacing/installing car seats! It involves a few steps for the parents to make the years of using car seats easier and safer.
Okay I’ll get off my soap box now. I want to tell you about my long-awaited experience with a Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor!
Now, I have Britax car seats and the last time I tried to have them inspected (making sure my installation was correct and I was using them right) I was told that Britax were too confusing and I couldn’t be helped. I was a little frustrated over my car seats and that’s why I wanted an experts advice so you can imagine my disappointment to hear this response. Diane was shocked too! After talking with her about this on the phone, we scheduled a meeting at her house. So, I went with my kiddos and she checked my installation, answered questions about my seats and how to fit my child into them properly, etc…
It was GREAT! It was so reassuring to know that I was already doing a great job handling my kids car seats and she gave me some tips that helped me understand how to do things better. It’s great to feel the reassurance of yes, your children are safe in here in the event of an auto accident. It was a similar feeling to having a lactation consultant come and tell you, yes, you’re breastfeeding looks great so keep up the good work when inside you’re wondering as a new mother about every little thing you might be doing wrong.
First, she checked the installation. She tightened up was a little bit loose and showed me how to make sure it was tight enough. She helped me understand how the seat belt pulling up can create the car seat to ‘tip’ slightly and showed me how to maneuver the lap belt through the seat properly to prevent this from happening. She answered my questions about buckles, traps, adjustments etc…
Then, we got to practice with the kids and fit them in! Now for the fun pictures 🙂
Okay, here’s my son in his Britax Pavilion 70-G3. Here is Diane adjusting the top shoulder strap portion. Okay I know I’m not using the right terminology here but basically this means my boy is growing taller and the harness straps needed to be raised. Yay! The great thing is that it was super easy to do with this particular car seat because you don’t have to re-thread anything.
See how my boy is super curious about what’s going on? This was fun. He hates getting in his car seat and didn’t do so bad this time because Diane made it fun!
Look at how cute he is!?
So, for those who might wonder, my son is about 22 months old in this picture. He is around 27 pounds and I don’t remember his height but it’s about average for his age. YES, he is still rear facing.
The only thing he doesn’t like about rear facing is the process of getting in the seat and I think that’s an issue for us because of the shape of our car door and the size of the car seat. New recommendations say that children should remain rear facing until they are at least 2 years old. This is because (no matter how big they are) the development of a child’s bones and spine are very vulnerable before age 2. The impact of a forward-facing car seat crash could cause major injury or death because of how it affects the spine/head/neck. When kids are rear facing the car seat absorbs all of that impact and their head/neck/spine remain totally intact. If you’re worried about their legs being scrunched, don’t. Kids are flexible and sit with their legs up all the time. Plus, a leg injury is much easier to heal from and fix than a spinal or head injury… just sayin’.
Notice how his chest clip is really high. It should be at armpit level and the hugs pads are lowered so the chest clip it at the top. I don’t think all seats have the hugs pads (the grey things) but this one does so it’s important to note.
Here’s my baby girl in her Britax B-Safe infant carrier. She is buckled in correctly (straps tight to skin and chest clip high at armpit) but had to be snuggled with a blanket. It was chilly!
Just make sure with infants that the straps are tight. There should only be enough room between the straps and baby to squeeze your finger in. As soon as you can lift the strap away from the baby or pinch the straps excess fabric it needs to be tighter. Any bit of wiggle room means in a crash your baby could literally fly out. No one wants that. Make sure blankets are on top of the straps, not underneath. Excess fabric under straps will make it hard to secure baby in with no wiggle room.
Okay here is a picture of my baby girl in the same seat when we took her home from the hospital. Look how itty bitty she is!!! And she was not happy! Once we got moving she settled down, as most babies do.
So, my encouragement with this post is to make sure you’re using your car seats correctly. If you have any questions or concerns about them at all, usually the manual can offer some help, or you could call the manufacturer. But, I like the idea of a car seat safety instructor much more because you get the face-to-face and hands on help. Plus, they’re usually familiar with all brands of car seats and all types!
If anyone is interested in getting in touch with an instructor I am happy to pass on Diane’s contact info! She also told me she could get me in touch with instructors in different locations as well. Diane is in Louisville, KY currently.
Happy car-seating! Be safe 😉