Do's and Dont's of Infant Car Seat

The Do's of Infant Car Seat

  1. Always install your infant car seat / booster seat on the rear seat of your car. That's the safest place for children below 12.
  2. Ensure that your rear facing infant car seat is installed in proper angle. If you are using a Graco infant car seat the instruction manual would explain how to use the level indicator to ensure that the seat has been installed in proper angle.
  3. The harness should fit in snug. It should not be loose nor should it press on the child's body. A fun way to ensure that it is fit in optimally is to try and pinch the harness - if it is properly fitted it would lie in a straight line and you would not be able to pinch it.
  4. Check if your car has got the LATCH system, if yes, it would be immensely helpful for you to install your infant car seat.
  5. Always read your car manufacturer's manual and your infant car seat manual in complete details before installing a baby seat.
The Dont's of Infant Car Seat
  1. Never install an infant car seat in the front seat with an active air bag.
  2. Never put a child less that 1 year of age or weighing less than 20 pounds in the front seat.
  3. Always buy new infant car seats, never go for used one. Safety standards change over time and you should alway get the latest model for your kid.
  4. While using a infant car seat don't put your child in sack sleepers or wrap them in towels. These prevents that harness from fitting snugly.
  5. Don't let the infant car seat move. It should fit in firmly to the rear seat of the car and shouldn't move more than an inch in any direction even when it is pulled.
These are just a few easy to follow steps that we can follow to ensure that our children are safe and comfortable in their infant car seat even when they are traveling.

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How to Choose an Infant Car Seat?

With my experience, I can vouch for the fact that deciding on which infant car seat you want to purchase can really be a big confusion. There are so many varieties of those car seats available and all of them promise to be the best, so how do you decide? Here are some pointers that might help you to buy your infant car seat.
  1. With the LATCH system for infant car seats introduced by the Federal Government now most seats are easy to put in. In response to the shocking fact that 80% of the infant car seats are installed incorrectly, the National Highway and Transportation and Safety Board introduced the LATCH system that has eased the installation process for an infant car seat to great extent. LATCH technology is required in all new cars manufactured after September 2002. Ensure your car is also equipped.
  2. Research is the key. There are many categories of car seats and you will often find that they overlap each other in terms of scope of use. However, the basic decision that you will need to make is whether you want an infant car seat or a infant/toddler combo. An infant/toddler combo is installed rear facing for an infant and when the infant grows up to a toddler ( 20 lbs – approx 1 yr old) it is turned around.
  3. Thanks to the internet you can now share your views and also get to know the views of other users for your infant car seat. Log on to the various consumer reviews sites and find out what other parents are saying about the infant car seat that you are planning to buy. Focus on their suggestions in regards to three main points – safe, easy to install, comfortable. Niche websites about babies and baby products are likely to provide better reviews.
  4. Before you buy your infant car seat ensure that it has passed the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards test.

It is advisable to get your infant car seat even before your baby is born. An infant car seat is typically designed to hold babies up to 20 lbs and is installed rear facing to provide nice support to the baby’s neck and shoulders. I have seen infant car seats from Graco easily snap to a car mounted base that makes easy liftoff for sleeping babies.

Once your kid is 1 year old it is time to move him to a seat designed for passengers up to 40 lbs. These are forward facing seats with harnesses that ensure the child’s safety and comfort. If you are buying one like this, ensure that the car seat is easy to install and your child cannot unfasten it. These seats would cost around $100 for any standard make like Graco or Evenflo.

For kids over 1 year you can use a booster seat. Many states make it a legal requirement to be used for children up to 60 lbs.

I hope this helps you to choose your infant car seat and I will be writing more about how to install infant car seat very soon.

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How To Install Infant Car Seat – LATCH system

It might appear to be a pretty simple thing to understand how to install an infant car seat, however, if you are reading this I am sure you must not have found it that simple. In fact installing an infant car seat is often such a big problem that the federal Government has passed a new mandate called the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). All new vehicles and car seats must have this system. At present most of the infant car seats are incorrectly installed which is a serious security threat, expectedly, with this LATCH system in place it would no longer be a major problem for parents to understand how to install infant car seats.

As I mentioned in my earlier post How to Install an Infant Car Seat, that it is extremely important to read your car manufacturer’s manual and also the manual that comes with the car seat before you get on to the installation process.

The LATCH system provides two metal anchors in the back seat between the seat and the seat back to which the infant car seat snaps securely. The latch portion of the system includes a strap that securely fastens the base of the infant car seat to keep the infant seat from moving.

How To Install Infant Car Seat – LATCH system

  • Attach the latch to the anchors set at the base of the seat and then tighten the seat belt to make it firm. It is easier to tighten the seat belt if you kneel in front of the seat while doing so.
  • On a toddler seat you will need to attach the tether strap to the anchors at the base. Then let the tether strap fall back behind the seat and hook it to the base of the seat back. However, if you are using a rear facing infant car seat you will not need to use the tether.

With the risk of sounding repetitive, I would again mention, that these are just general instructions on how to install an infant car seat. Please read your car manual and the manual that comes with infant car seat in details before you actually install the seat. Also, once you are done with the installation of your infant car seat please get I checked by some certified technician.

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How To Install an Infant Car Seat

This first post on How To Install an Infant Car Seat is meant to povide you with the basic steps of installing an infant car seat and is not really a detailed guide. I am working on a more detaied article to explain how to install infant car seats. The most impotant point however, on this aspect is that you Must read your cars manual and the manual that comes with your infant seat before getting on to the installation process.Also, you MUST get your car seat inspected by certified technician to ensure that the installation of your infant car seat is appropriate.

How To Install an Infant Car Seat - Get the Basics
  1. The safest spot in your car to install an infant car seat is the middle seat in the back. Next to it, would come the seat behind the driver. In case these two options are unavailable it is best to install infant car seats anywhere in the back seat that fits best.
  2. While trying to install an infant car seat one of the most common problem that is faced is fixing the correct angle. Check the manual to find out the correct installation angle for the infant car seat. When facing backward an infant seat should not be installed at an angle more than 45 degrees from the vertical. If the installation is flat there is a possibility of your baby sliding out of the straps and if you install it too upright his head may flop making it difficult for the baby to breath. Most good quality infant car seats would have an adjustable base that would allow you to change the angle easily, in case your infant car seat do not have this option, use a rolled up towel towards the foot end of the car seat.Also, if you can look for it, there are infant car seats available in the market that comes with inbuilt angle adjusters.
  3. The infant car seat should be installed firmly on to the car and in no case should be movable.

I hope this helps you all to understand how to install infant car seat. I will very soon be posting more on installing infant seats. In the mean time feel free to put in your comments.

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