Grandparenting - The Science of Installing A Child Car Seat Child Restraint Not a Snap Installation

11/24/2011 10:09

Wow! Janet and I will soon be proud grandparents of a beautiful child, a gift from the loving union of our daughter, Sharon, and her husband, Greg. Who knew there would be so more to learn. And re-learn about the care of baby and children! So much to consider and prepare before the baby arrives. Every parent and grandparent must be diligent in ensuring safety first for their grandchildren.

Auto Travel - don't even think of taking your little munch-kin or grand-child for that quick trip to the corner store without first ensuring that your child/baby car restraint seat is properly installed.

But I installed the Car Seat according the the manufacturer's User's Manual. It's installed properly! Think again!

Those manuals don't always give you the complete picture for best car seat installation. Seek additional help from websites like NHTSA - National Highway Transportation Safety Association and Transport Canada. Watch your newspaper, local TV, or listen to local radio for regularly scheduled Car Seat Clinics coordinated by your local emergency response, fire or police. Or visit a Child Safety Seat Inspection Station near you. Whether as a parent and as a new grand-parent, you owe it to your child or grand-child to ensure that they are properly secured in any vehicle that transports them.

I recently attended such a Car Seat Clinic with my soon-to-deliver daughter. We took my vehicle - BUT YOU SHOULD TAKE ALL Vehicles that will transport this precious human cargo. The 1 hour spent installing, and re-installing, the infant seat in my back seat proved how little I knew about proper Car Seat Installation. The Emergency Response pros at this free clinic were diligent in ensuring a number of crucial installation elements:

1) infant seats must be installed in the rear-facing position in the rear seat of the car. Not! Not every should you install an infant or child restraint system in the front seat ! Repeat NEVER!

2) seat MUST be secured with the car seat belt system or to factory installed UAS anchor bars (restraint clips tucked between the seat back and the seat itself and marked with a visible symbol). UAS anchor bars are in all cars built since September 1, 2002. All car new car seats have 2 USA Connectors compatible with this child restraint system. And it is not just a simple click and quick tug of the belt that will do. It will take ALL your adult weight and strength to bear-down on the car seat and pull tight the seat belt or anchor straps. It might even take TWO adults to perform this more-than-snug feat. You will significantly compress the pad of your rear seat. It is only right if there is no side to side movement in the secured seat.

Observation: I took two adults to perform this task at the car seat clinic. Be warned that releasing the web strap may also require two adults: One to bear down on the seat to relieve some of the tension on the straps and, the Other to relax the web strap and undo the clip from the UAS anchor. Be patient.

3) The rear facing seat, once tightly secured (compressed into the rear seat), should have the back of the seat at a 45 degree angle. This is important 45 degrees. This properly supports your infant's head and neck should there be a collision. Those miracle floating noodles were cut, fitted and inserted between the car seat base and the rear of the seat bottom to get the compressed angle right. It took 4 installs and 3 noodles, secured with dust tape, to provide the correct 45 degree angle.

4) The rear facing seat MUST not touch the back of the front seat. Allow at least a 1 inch gap between the infant seat back and the back of the car front seat.

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Learn how to properly install the infant or child car seat in EVERY vehicle where the car seat will be placed. Do it RIGHT. A young life depends on it!