Every year, thousands of children’s lives are saved by the car seats they are strapped into. Today’s child safety seats have become increasingly secure and more advanced than ever before. All car seats sold in the U.S. must meet rigorous federal safety standards, but even the most well-manufactured car seats can fail if improperly installed in a vehicle. In recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week this September, we here at Frydach Insurance want to make sure all parents and caregivers in the Germantown area know how to properly install a car seat or booster seat.
Use the LATCH System for Young Children
Whenever possible, use the LATCH system when installing a car seat into your vehicle. The LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) refers to the metal anchor hooks in the backseat of vehicles. These are available in all vehicles manufactured since 2002. The LATCH system is very safe and makes it easy to avoid seatbelt incompatibility, but it does have limitations.
According to Consumer Reports, LATCH anchors are only designed to withstand the pressure of the combined weight of a child and seat that does not exceed 65 pounds. If a child and seat weigh more than 65 pounds combined, the seatbelt system should be used to secure the child.
Car Seats and Booster Seats
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all car seats should be rear-facing for children under age 2, even in places where laws allow for forward-facing car seats after 12 months. Car safety seats should be secured in the back seat — preferably in the middle of the row where the child is the safest. Be sure to follow all of the instructions for installation provided by the seat’s manufacturer, being careful to check the recline angle as indicated.
Some car safety seats are designed to grow with your child from infancy to early childhood. Others have lower weight limits and should be exchanged for booster seats as a child grows and exceeds the height and weight limits of the manufacturer. Either way, all forward-facing safety seats should remain in the back seat regardless of how old the child is.
Securing Your Child
A properly installed car seat or booster seat can only do its job in a collision if the child inside of it is properly secured within the seat. All children in rear and front facing car seats should be secured according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. This includes placing your child’s bottom and back flat against the seat. If your child is wearing a coat or loose outerwear, remove it before securing him or her into the seat.
Ensure that the straps on the seat are not twisted and that they fit snugly across your child’s shoulders. You should be able to fit no more than one finger beneath the shoulder straps.The harness clip should connect both straps across the child’s chest in-line with the shoulders. If the seat is attached to a base, ensure that the carrier handle at the top of the seat is not locked in an upwards position.
Check Your Work
Several locations throughout Southeast Wisconsin will perform car seat and booster seat installation checks — one of which is right here in Germantown. According to Safe Kids Wisconsin, the Germantown fire department will test the safety of your car seats and booster seats by appointment and at no charge if you are a Germantown resident. You can also sign up to receive car seat recall notifications from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and by registering your car seat or booster seat with the manufacturer.
As always, the team here at Frydach Insurance is here to support our customers and the community. We want you and your passengers safe and fully protected while operating your motor vehicle. While you are reviewing the safety of your car safety seats, we recommend reviewing your car insurance protection as well. We offer policies that can provide medical payments coverage for you and your youngest passengers regardless of who is at-fault in an accident. Call us today to discuss coverage options and request a Germantown car insurance quote. We look forward to serving you soon.