It’s almost been one year since the kids and I were in an accident that saw our car become a write-off. We were lucky to get away with some injuries, cuts and bruises.
But I still have dreams about what happened and how lucky we were! I credit my children’s safety to their car seats. My daughter was 21 months and still re-facing in the middle seat, the safest place to be as long as possible, no matter what anyone else says. Since then, I’ve been extra diligent about how the car seats are installed, not just in my car, but in the grandparents’ cars as well.
I have learned so many things that I didn’t know and I was shocked that I hadn’t been taking these precautions after having two kids, it’s a bit scary to think about! A report from the Canadian Paediatric Society says a correctly installed car seat can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 per cent, and the risk of serious injury by 67 per cent.
Those are some big statistics so it’s always important to get refresher in car seat safety and installation. I recently attending the launch of Chevrolet Canada’s Safe & Sure Car Seat Installation Workshop and thought I would share some of the facts and common mistakes that I learned:
1. Car seats are not always securely installed: This is something I found out I was guilty off. If a car seat is properly and securely installed using the belts or harnesses, the base of the seat should not move more than an inch or so in either direction, no matter how much you try pushing it.
2. Car seats have an expiry date: You should be able to find the expiry date on the car seat itself or on the label. If you can’t find it, you can call your manufacturer directly to get the expiry date for your model.
3. Don’t use a seat that has been in a crash: After our accident, both of our car seats looked fine and there was no visible damage but the police told me not to use them anymore. This is because a crash can compromise the integrity of the seat in ways that are not visible. We bought new car seats and were reimbursed by our insurance company.
4. You don’t need to be in a rush to change your child to a front-facing car seat: Although the minimum requirements before you can change the car seat orientation is one-year of age, 22 lbs and walking unassisted, there is evidence that shows it’s safest to keep children rear-facing as long as possible. There are even car seats available in Canada that can be used rear-facing up to 45 lbs!
5. Check your child’s weight before changing them to a booster seat: Children can be changed to a booster seat at the age of four years as long as they weigh 40lbs. And even though booster seats are more convenient at times, don’t be in a rush to put your kids into them. Car seats are the safest and young children can stay in them up to the time they are 65lbs and 4 ft 9 inches.
Car seats and their laws have changed a lot since we were young. When I was born, I was brought home lying on my mother’s lap in the front seat. That is definitely not acceptable any more nor is it safe. Make sure you are taking all the precautions and installing your car seats properly.
If you’re not sure or you need a refresher, you can sign up for a free one-on-one workshop with certified car seat technicians at Chevrolet Dealerships across the Vancouver Lower Mainland as well as Toronto and Montreal to learn how to properly install your child’s car seat. Visit www.SafeandSure.ca to find the location closest to you and to register for your free car seat workshop.
11 thoughts on “Car Seat Safety II”
Sharing on Twitter. I hear you – my son was in a serious accident when he was 13 (and out of a car seat by then) and is alive only because he was belted in. Car seat safety is so vitally important, and improper installation isn’t just a problem in Canada – it also is a concern in the United States. I was glad to hear about the dealership programs in Canada to help with this problem.
Thanks so much for sharing Alana, it’s such important information.
Gosh yes, a very strong message there! Car safety is vital!
My family and I were in an accident when he was just 9 months old, scariest thing I’ve ever been through. We also ditched the carseat even though it looked just fine and got a new one. We had him rear facing and I am so grateful we did because while my husband I were hit with the full blast of breaking glass which cut our faces up pretty good, because my son was turned around, he walked away with one tiny piece of glass in his cheek and that was it.
Accidents with little ones are so scary Misty! I’m so glad you were all okay in the end.
My family and I have been very fortunate to have never been in an accident in our vehicle before. It does not mean we wont ever but when our oldest little girl turned one and was 22lbs we turned her forward facing. We did it for her to be able to look at us and look outside when she wanted. Because of this she is always looking outside and can be very quiet when she does. It makes for an enjoyable car ride. It doesn’t however make her safer if we ever do get in an accident, so I defiantly make sure that her car seat is strapped and anchored down so that it does not move at all.
Your daughters comfort and stress is definitely important when making the decision to change the car seat direction. And if she was not happy and uncomfortable, then you can to take that into consideration. Thanks for your comment.
Thankfully have never been in any accidents with kids in tow *knock on wood*. Thanks for the reminder, have been meaning to get our installation checked out as I’m sure it could use some fine tuning!
So glad your kids have never been in an accident Heather! And yes, it never hurts to take a refresher.
Wow, thank you so much for sharing this post. It’s an incredible reminder of how important car safety really is. Those stats and your photos leave a great impression.