(Mama's Note: When I heard about Child Passenger Safety Week I had to write about it. It seems like every parent struggles with making sure car seats are installed correctly (and up to 80% of us are doing it wrong. SCARY!) After I got started, I connected with Bloggin Mama's to offer a great giveaway—a $100 Amazon gift card to use toward purchasing the perfect car seat for your little (or bigger) one. I've also compiled a few ways to get your seat's installation checked out here in San Francisco and included a ton of great resources and links, so make sure you read all the way through, leave a comment and enter the contest here or on my Facebook page. Cheers!)
Is there anything more important, and yet easier to screw up than installing a car seat? Even with the universal buckle systems and base option available with most seats today, it's tough. September 14-20 is Child Passenger Safety Week, so its a good time to take a look at your car seat installation and make sure its done correctly. And if you're in need of a new seat for your family, this month's giveaway is absolutely for you.
Since Mia was premature at birth part of our hospital checkout procedure was bringing her car seat up the maternity ward so one of the nurses could make sure we had her strapped in correctly before we left. However, no one came down to look at our car and make sure that part was done right, so we resorted to YouTube.
Back in the day fire departments used to inspect car seats, but a chat with some nice firemen in line at Saigon Sandwich this summer revealed that they no longer offer that service. Its now handled by the California Highway Patrol (see below for details). A CHP officer (located at 455 8th St. San Francisco, CA 94103) will review your seat installation for free. You can't make a specific appointment (tough for parents I know). Call 415-557-1094 to get on the list and they will call you as spaces open up to come in.
There are also a few services that will come to you for a fee to inspect your seat:
Buckled Baby: Bryan and team, experts in child passenger safety and fully certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will come out to see you and make sure your seat is installed properly. $95 for one seat, $115 for multiple seats. Schedule your appointment online.
Precious Cargo: Christine is a Child Passenger Safety Instructor since 2003 and serves the entire Bay Area. Her team is also certified by the NHTSA, and her site has a great list of car seat resources. $50, or $45 with AAA discount, plus tolls in San Francisco. To schedule an appointment, call 415-497-6077.
(Please note the services above are specific to San Francisco, but there are tons of other services across the Bay Area and around the country to get help with your seat. Use this link to find one in your city).
Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children age 1 to 13 in the USA? The fatality rate could be reduced by about half if the correct child safety seat were always used.
Bloggin' Mamas is supporting the Ad Council and The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by sharing the word about Child Passenger Safety Week this week (September 14-20).
One of the goals of Child Passenger Safety Week is to encourage parents and caregivers to visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat to determine if their child is in the right seat for his or her age and size and to locate a car seat check event in their area. Additionally, parents and caregivers should be sure to register their child’s car seat with the manufacturer so as to be informed in the event of a recall.
Safety seats, if used correctly, dramatically reduce the risk of fatality or injury to children. However, research shows that three out of every four car seats are not used correctly, meaning the child is not in the correct car seat for their age, height and weight, or the car seat is not installed correctly. In 2012, over one third (37%) of children killed in car crashes were not in car seats or wearing seat belts.
Installation Resources: If a car seat is not installed correctly, your child's safety could be in danger. Every car seat has different installation instructions. You can find resources and tips here to help you get “the right fit” on your car seats.
Free Car Seat Checks: During Child Passenger Safety Week, there will be more than 600 events in 45 states across the country, where certified child passenger safety technicians will inspect car seats and show parents and caregivers how to correctly install and use them. In most cases, this service is free of charge. Locate a car seat check event in your community.
Car Seat Safety Tips
- Find a car seat that fits your child. As children grow, how they sit in your car will change. Make sure the car seat you purchase is designed to fit your child’s current size and age.
- Not all car seats fit in all vehicles so test the car seat you plan to buy to make sure it fits well in your vehicle.
- Before putting your child in a car seat, read the manufacturer’s instructions so you know how your car seat works.
- All-in-One car seats offer you the advantage of using the same seat for the following positions: rear-facing, forward-facing with harness, then booster. These seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
- Remember, the best car seat is the one that fits your child properly, is easy to use, and fits in your vehicle correctly. The information here can help you choose the right seat for your child. Keep in mind that:
- Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat.
- Children ages 1-3 should be kept rear-facing as long as possible.
- Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.
Be certain you've installed your car seat correctly by having it checked at an inspection station or by a certified child passenger safety technician. Bring the Car Seat Instructions AND the Vehicle Owner’s Manual with you to a seat check appointment!
And to make sure you have #TheRightSeat, Bloggin' Mamas is giving away a $100 Amazon giftcard so you can buy one!
Giveaway begins September 17th, 2014 at 12:01 am and ends October 1st, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST. Open to US residents age 18 and older. Winner will be selected by Random.org and be notified by email. See Rafflecopter widget below for full terms and conditions.
Disclosure: I am sharing this post on behalf of Bloggin' Mamas. I was not compensated for this post and am not responsible for prize fulfillment. For questions concerning prize fulfillment, please contact Bloggin' Mamas directly.