Choosing the right infant car seat can be a challenge. There are so many to choose from, in so many different shapes and sizes and colours with different features and safety functions. It’s confusing. But there are some things that are incredibly important that are more relevant after you buy the seat.
This isn’t a rant on whether or not you should be rear facing your child or what laws we think need to be changed. This is our experience, over 20 years of it, as on road emergency paramedics. This is what you need to know about infant car seats.
When our son turned 4 and we decided it was time to get him a new car seat, with a baby on the way we knew we could use his old one for her and buy him a new seat for the next 4 or so years.
So we purchased this one and love it.
I’m a member of a lot of mothers groups and communities and the discussion around car seats is ALWAYS a heated one. People give their opinions on rear facing vs forward facing, side seat vs middle seat, chest clip height (FYI – Australia doesn’t use chest clips), straps, wearing puffy jumpers… if there’s something to have an opinion on, it has been discussed before.
But I wanted to share something my husband and I were discussing.
See, together we have over 20 years of on road experience as emergency paramedics. We have been to more car accidents than you could imagine and seen more mangled car seats than I’d like to share.
While we know the science and research backs up our opinions, that’s not what we are sharing here. We wanted to share what we have seen and experienced in our job.
When you become a parent you spend AGES researching the ‘best’ car seat. You look for safety features, star ratings and reviews and fret over if you can afford the best.
But, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a car seat if you DON’T strap your child in properly.
Between my husband and I, in our 20 years experience, we have NOT seen a single child harmed in a car accident where the child was restrained in their seat properly.
Not a single one.
We’ve seen car seats ejected from vehicles, we’ve seen cars that have rolled over so many times you can barely tell which way is up, we’ve seen accidents where you would be certain there would be no survivors.
But in our experience, the biggest difference between a child’s safety hasn’t been if they were in the $600 car seat or the $200 one. It’s been about those straps.
How tight are you making the straps on your child’s seat? Can they pull their own arms out of them? Can you only fit one or two fingers underneath them? Do they have a big puffy jacket on that stops them from being strapped in properly?
Please know I’m not saying that this is the only factor in preventing injuries, and there is plenty of research to back up what is and what isn’t safe. But in our experience, this is what we have seen.
Would you be confident in doing THIS to them? Would you be confident in turning your child upside down in their seat?
Car seats have incredible safety designs now, they are designed to cocoon your child, protect them as they roll and are thrown around in an accident. but they can only do this if your child is restrained properly.
So next time you buckle your child in, ask yourself… would I be confident in turning them upside down in their seat right now?
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