Car Seat Safety 101

Did you know that car seats are only required to be tested at 30mph, so the statistics are unknown at a higher speed?

CPSTs (Child Passenger Safety Technicians) are trained from ages 0-13 years old and have three main jobs: to make sure your child is in the correct seat, to make sure your child is in their seat properly and to insure that your seat is installed properly in your vehicle each and every time. With these three important steps there are many mistakes that can happen along the way. Did you know that 4 out of 5 children have three or more mistakes with their car seats? These mistakes can be fatal in the event of an accident.

Commonly seen mistakes that can easily be corrected and can potentially save your child’s life:

Harness Strap Location


In a rear-facing car seat, the harness straps should always be BELOW the shoulders. In the event of an accident (frontal, rear or a side collision), your child will be forced up the back of their car seat. If your straps are above the shoulder level, this gives your child more room to slide up the spine of the car seat which can cause unnecessary injuries. When the harness straps are BELOW the shoulders there is no extra room for your child to slide up the spine of the car seat, which means fewer injuries.

Chest Clip Location


The location of the chest-clip is extremely important! This is the only thing holding your child’s upper body in their seat. Just like an adult seat belt, it should go across the strongest part of your body–your sternum. This is NOT called an Abdomen-Clip! This is a chest-clip and should always be at the child’s CHEST, lined up with the armpit. If the chest clip is at the abdomen level it can cause severe internal injuries and/or eject your child from their seat entirely.

Here is an example of the importance of this particular part: You go to the doctor and find out your child weighs 15 pounds. Your baby is growing and getting bigger; however, your baby does NOT weigh 15 pounds in a moving vehicle. In a moving vehicle, your baby actually weighs their weight multiplied by the speed of your car. At 65mph, your 15lb. baby weighs 975 pounds! Children’s shoulders, especially infants, are very flexible and can easily fit through your harness straps if the chest clip is too low. This could eject your now  975lb. baby out of their car seat. When the chest-clip is in the proper armpit location, your baby is safest!

Rear Facing vs. Front Facing

A rear-facing child has a 96% injury reducing effect.

This is one of the biggest debates with parents. By law, your child is required to ride rear-facing until their first birthday AND (not OR) they hit a weight of 20lbs. It is STRONGLY suggested to keep them rear-facing until the age of two-years-old. This picture carseat4 gives you a visual of how large your child’s head and torso are compared to their body. It’s not until after the age of two that their head and torso begin to even out and become more proportionate to the rest of their body. When rear-facing, the neck and spine are protected because of the way they are facing in the car. It would actually be safer for everyone in the car to ride rear-facing, even the driver, but we know that’s just not possible. The second you turn your child around you will be increasing their injuries significantly in the event of an accident.

Need help choosing, installing or reassessing a car seat? You’re in luck! Our certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) is knowledgeable about all car seats and educates drivers about best practices for car seat use in different situations. During your in-home consultation, our CPST can help you select the proper car seat for your child, assess whether it has been installed properly and/or advise you on how to properly use it.

Our Car Seat Safety packages includes: 1 hour in-home safety check + follow-up email/phone support as needed- $55

Call or email us at 512-542-3354 or to get started.

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