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All parents want to do their best to protect their most precious cargo. Child car seats provide protection to set parents’ minds at ease. Yet, parents should avoid a false sense of security by making sure the protective measures of a car seat are not lost by installation mistakes. Parents can learn how to avoid common mistakes that lessen the effectiveness of these essential driving safety contraptions.
Before installing the car seat in the vehicle, you must be sure it is assembled to fit your child. Place the child in the seat to determine which slots to feed the shoulder harnesses. Orientation of the car seat will affect the installation height of the harnesses. If you plan to use the car seat in a rear-facing orientation, the straps should be fed through the slots that appear at or below the child’s shoulders, effectively curving over the child’s shoulders. If the car seat will be used in a forward-facing orientation, the straps should be installed to come through the slots at or slightly above the child’s shoulders.
When placing the car seat into your vehicle, pay attention to the angle. This is most important for rear-facing installation. An infant sitting too upright is at risk for breathing obstruction due to their lack of neck control. Most car seats feature a level to visually guide you to ensure that the seat angle is correct.
Secure the car seat into the vehicle using either the car’s seat belt or the LATCH system straps. In either case, be sure that the belt or strap is pulled tightly. Pinch it to be sure there is no more than an inch of slack. Recognize that convertible seats offer two belt paths, one for rear-facing orientation and another for forward-facing use. Confusing the two compromises the car seat’s ability to protect a child in a crash. Whether using the car’s seatbelt or the LATCH system, if a top tether is available, use it to reinforce the seat’s security. Be sure the shoulder harness is as tight as possible. If you can pinch any of the material, it is too loose.
A chest clip on a five-point harness should be positioned across the child’s upper chest at armpit level. When children graduate out of the child seat to a booster seat, make sure the vehicle’s seat belt is secured across their hips and thighs, not across their belly where it can imperil internal organs in the case of an accident.
If your child was injured in a car accident, the Haddonfield car accident lawyers at Williams Cedar have the experience to help you determine who is liable for the accident and will hold them accountable. Whether the negligence was on the part of the other driver, the car maker, the child car seat manufacturer, or some other party, we can help you obtain the fair compensation you and your child deserve. Contact us online or call 856-470-9777 to set up a free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve car accident victims throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and nationwide.