Keeping your children safe in the car is a top priority for every parent. But even if you think you’re doing everything right, you may still be unwittingly putting your precious cargo at risk. Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network dedicated to preventing unintentional childhood injury, estimates that three out of four children are too small for seatbelts or are incorrectly restrained in car seats or booster seats. Here are some tips to avoid these mistakes:
1. First and foremost, check that you’ve fitted the car seat properly and securely, and in according with the manufacturer’s guidelines. “Not securing it tightly enough is the number one error parents make,” says Dennis Durbin, M.D., of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Injury Prevention. “It shouldn’t move more than 1 inch.” Never put the car seat in the path of an airbag.
2. Don’t buy a used seat as you don’t know its history. Avoid using older seats – especially those with missing parts or cracks – and never use a seat that is missing its instructions or has ever been in a crash.
3. Don’t use a forward-facing seat too soon. Children should face the rear of the car until they reach two years of age. After that age, or when they’ve outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car safety seat, they can be placed in a forward-facing seat.
4. Secure the harness straps properly. They should be straight and snug. For forward-facing seats, use the top slop and strap the harness at or slightly above your child’s shoulders. For rear-facing seats, use the two lower slots and strap the harness at or slightly below the shoulders.
The EU have been strictly enforcing safety laws over the last 5 years making it compulsory for all children to travel in the correct child seat, booster seat or booster cushion.
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