Unless you’re a super-mom, installing a car seat can be a real headache. They come with so many catches and clasps, getting it installed properly takes a good amount of work and concentration. If you struggle to correctly install your car seat, you are not alone. A study of the way car seats were used and installed revealed that 46 percent of car seats were misused, meaning that they were either incorrectly installed or not properly used. Some of the major errors included loosely installed forward-facing car seats, lap belts not sitting properly, among other dangerous mistakes.
There are several features that make some car seats easier to install than others. Here are some basic features you should look for when shopping for a car seat.
5 Point Harness
Car seats with the 5 point harness offer unparalleled safety for children. This type of harness is even used by race car drivers. The straps are designed to sit one on each shoulder, one for each thigh and one sitting between the baby’s legs. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is recommended that a child in a forward-facing car seat should remain harnessed until they are 4 years old. Regardless of the age of the child, it is always important to ensure that the harness is correctly positioned and has a snug fit.
LATCH System Compatibility
The LATCH acronym stands for lower anchors and tethers for children. For over a decade, car seats and vehicles have been made compatible with the LATCH system, making car seat installation much more hassle-free. The LATCH system provides a way to directly attach the car seat to the car, instead of the old method of using the seat belt to secure the car seat. This is not just a more convenient way to install a car seat, it is also much safer.
Adjustable straps are an important feature to look for when buying a car seat, as they ensure that the seat grows along with the child. Before you buy a car seat, check to see if the harness can easily be adjusted to fit the child’s height. As your child grows older, you should be able to adjust the straps without rethreading them. Some brands make allowances for these sort of adjustments and have attached handles to the back of the seat to make it easier to adjust, while others have a chord between the baby’s legs that can easily be pulled.
Side Impact Protection
Another feature you should look out for is a side impact protection, which is usually some extra padding at both sides of the baby’s head. This offers additional protection in case of a car crash and is found in most brands of car seats.
Struggling to install a car seat correctly is a safety hazard for your child. Thankfully, a lot of the nuts and bolts have been replaced with modern safety features that also make installation easier. When carrying precious cargo, one can never be too safe.
Do you have trouble installing your car seat?