Today I took time to run important errands, mainly ones that involved safety and law. For example, I finally changed the address on my license. That’s right, we’ve lived in our house since September and I have just now changed the address. I also decided to take my vehicle to the police station to have my car seats checked for proper installation. The Officer did a great job double checking, tightening, and adjusting Daniel’s and Wesley’s car seats, and I was very pleased with his knowledge. He also applied the LATCH system to Daniel’s seat. Thinking about the installation made me remember the first time I had an officer check out my car seat, and I also recalled the post from my old blog that described the important features of proper installation. Since there are new folks reading that might care/need to know, I thought it good to pass along that information again. So, enjoy a little car seat knowledge:
Although he’s already been in the world 10 months, I decided to go to the police station on Wednesday to check the status of Daniel’s car seat installation. I got the inspiration on Tuesday night from my 4 hours at traffic school, compliments of my speeding. For some reason, the car seat had a slight lean to it. He always seemed to be skewed a bit to the right, thus my initial reason for the trip.
Officer G. Ramsey performed the inspection. It actually took longer than I expected. This was the case for several reasons: 1-I asked several questions 2-The Officer talked quite a bit 3- The car seat was pretty bad
I learned much through my experience, and I figured others might need to know what I’ve discovered:
- Make sure the the straps are really tight. Ours were somewhat loose. I think this was the case because it was just easier to get his little arms in and out if there was a little slack. Although convenient, it is not safe. Get those straps tight!! In fact, Officer Ramsey had them so tight, it was almost impossible to buckle the harness when his belly was taught after his meal.
- The buckle needs to be across his chest, near his shoulders. Ours was in the right place, but the officer filled me in on the why behind the positioning. If the buckle is too low, the baby could actually just pop out the top in the event of an accident.
- Make sure that the lap belt going across the base is completely straight, with no kinks. Also, when you go to tighten the belt, ensuring that the base is locked in correctly, be certain that you pull the lap belt portion first before the shoulder belt portion. If you do it in reverse, you will have the tilt that we had!
- Always keep the handle locked in the laid back position when you are driving. Move it forward when you are ready to lift out the seat. We always did this anyway, and Daniel is beyond the hauling around within the seat stage, but it was intriguing to figure out the importance behind this. If left in the transport position, the car seat will not form the protective cocoon it is intended to create. When car seats are in the backward facing position, the protective feature is that they will fly forward, into the back seat, creating a little shield around the baby. Imagine: car seat flush with back seat. Baby contained inside, protected from whatever harmful things come directly towards the baby immediately upon impact. If the handle is not back, it will prevent the cup action and allow objects to encounter the baby.
- Tuck away all loose objects. Officer Ramsey grabbed the wipe holder from within Daniel’s open diaper bag and held it up. He began to explain how items not latched down or secured become missiles, being that their weight is multiplied when the force of a wreck is applied. He then picked up some teething rings and said the same applies to them. Also, baby aside, the items can hurt other passengers as well!
Whew! See why it took so long!
Anyway, I left feeling like the best mom and the worst mom all in one. I mean, yes I know that my kid is really safe now—officer approved—but it did take me 10 months to do it. Geeze. I vowed to tell my friends expecting babies to get their seats checked out. After all, it’s completely free. It just costs you a little time, but what is that compared to your child’s safety?
I told the officer about feeling like a complete goof. He encouraged me not to be so hard on myself. He did, after all, attend a 40 hour training session to become certified as a car seat inspector.
If you want to find a location, you can use this site to identify a location, but almost all police/fire stations can help. Just be aware that not any officer can inspect car seats, for they must have attended the training mentioned above to assist, so you might want to call ahead to check on officer availability.