Cooler mornings and warmer afternoons likely mean your child grabs a coat or sweater heading out in the morning but what about those infants and children buckled into a car seat?
Many parents struggle to readjust the straps on their child’s car seat to simply fit the bulky sweater or jacket. Let’s give you some tips to make the process a little easier but most importantly get the child secure in the seat.
Whether it is a rear facing infant seat or forward facing toddler seat, the straps of the seat are designed to keep the child in tight. Think of those straps for child like those for a race car driver. They must be tight to keep the precious cargo safe and secure.
First how tight is tight? In a rear facing car seat the straps come from a point at or slightly below the child’s shoulders. Forward facing straps come from a point above the shoulders. Shoulder straps are always measure when the child’s bottom is flat on the seat and they properly seated in the seat.
The shoulder straps come over the shoulders and are buckled into place. They need to be tight so that you can slip one finger between the strap and the front surface of the shoulder area. Here’s the confusing part, always fit the seat with the child wearing what is comfortably worn inside the house.
Now if you add another layer of clothing a sweater, hoodie or coat, do not loosen the straps off. Place the child in the seat; expose their shoulders by unzipping and opening up the coat then buckle the straps into position. They should fit without having to loosen them. The reason is this; the child has to be tight in the car seat.
They cannot start to be restrained by the car seat straps till the coat is compressed by the forward motion of the child. The child potentially can be injured because the straps were not tight enough. So for cooler mornings or winter weather do not loosen the straps. Loosen them only as the child grows properly measured wearing regular inside clothing. Keeping the straps tight is the safe way to go.
With comfort in mind babies cannot say “I’m too hot.” Thus unzipping to expose the shoulders and chest keeps them comfortable for the journey. I always tell parents who have an infant car seat they carry out to a base in the car.
Dress the child in regular clothing inside, cover them with as many blankets as needed to stay warm and carry them to the car. It might sound complicated but safe and secure is where you want to be. If it doesn’t make sense or you just need to be sure your child is safe in the car seat.
Call us at Parkland Ambulance 306-953-8358 and make an appointment to get the child and/or seat checked over. We are very happy to offer a free service by appointment to ensure the child is secure in the seat and/or the seat itself is secure.
We always encourage parents or parents to be to take the car seat out of the box, read the instructions and try to put it in yourself before booking an appointment. This gives you a chance to try to get the seat fitted properly and often is a great starting point for questions when you come for an inspection. Please do not expect us to put it in your car while you stand and watch.
We want you to be part of the installation so when it some time to move the seat to a different vehicle or to make adjustments for a growing child you know what to do. Getting the right fit, especially for fall and winter is important to every child that rides in a car seat. The appointment is free so give us a call 306-953-8358.