As we discussed in Part 1, properly installing your child’s car seat is extremely important, as is safely adjusting your child’s safety harness. But there are some other child safety issues you should also consider. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Question 1: What else do I need to do to make sure the inside of my vehicle is safe for my new baby?
Making sure your baby is securely harnessed into a correctly installed car seat (or infant seat with base) is a huge part of the equation, but it’s not quite everything. You also want to make sure there is nothing else in your vehicle that could pose a safety threat to your child. In the event of a collision, anything unsecured can become a potential projectile. Of course, any other passengers (including the four-legged variety) should be properly restrained for their own safety as well as for your baby’s. Also consider these other possibilities: water bottles, toys, diaper bag, or electronics. As your baby gets older and is able to grab things, you’ll also want to make sure soft items like tissues are out of reach, so they don’t become suffocation or choking hazards.
Question 2: When does my child need a new car seat?
There are several reasons your child may need a new car seat. First, check your child’s car seat (and base, if applicable) for an expiration date. If your child’s seat is past the date, the plastic may not be stable enough to hold up in the case of a crash. Even if the car seat is not expired, its safety could become compromised in the case of a car accident. (Check with your insurance agent about coverage for the cost of a new car seat.)
If you need to dispose of an expired or otherwise compromised car seat, be sure to make sure that seat is no longer usable by cutting the harness; you may also want to cover it with a dark trash bag so no one sees it and tries to reuse it.
Of course, even a safe car seat will outlast its usefulness as your baby grows. If your child’s head is within an inch of the top of the seat or surpasses the weight limit of your particular seat, you will need to purchase a new seat. Although state regulations vary, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your child rear-facing until the age of 2, or longer, until the child reaches the height and weight limits of a rear-facing seat.
Many car seats are convertible, from rear-facing to front-facing. Once your child outgrows a full car seat, he or she should use a high-back booster with a 5-point harness for as long as possible. Once the child is tall enough to use a regular seat belt instead of the harness, he or she should still use a booster seat until at least the age of 8 (possibly longer, depending on height and weight).
The Nicholas Insurance Agency, led by Greg Nicholas, is a family owned business serving the York county, Pennsylvania region. In the insurance business since 1981, Greg Nicholas helps families, businesses and individuals understand the value of different insurance products and make wise decisions when selecting the best insurance products for their specific situations.
Offering exclusively Allstate insurance products, the Nicholas Agency provides auto, homeowners, rental and landlord insurance as well as life & disability, recreational vehicle, motorcycle and personal liability insurance.
For more information, visit our two York, PA locations at Westgate Plaza or York Marketplace or call us at (717) 764-2024.
Image credits: Top © Michael Kempf/Fotolia; 2nd © Fotolia; 3rd © sweetlaniko/Fotolia.