Texas Living

Top 5 Safety Tips for Child Car Seats

By Kristy Alpert 4.4.14

When used effectively, child car seats reduce the risk of death in car crashes by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. But did you know that three of every four car seats are not used correctly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration?

When it comes to protecting your child, most parents would agree that there are no forces or rules too strong to keep your loved ones safe. Here are the top five rules to keep in mind in regards to child seat safety.

1. Use age-appropriate car seats. Children under the age of eight are required to be in federally approved car seats unless the child is more than 4 feet, 9 inches tall. Check out the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle’s guidelines for buying an age-appropriate car seat.

2. Check your child seat’s expiration date. That’s right, just like potato chips and salad dressing, safety seats expire. Whether it’s prompted by a manufacturer recall or update in technology, the easiest way to get notifications about your child’s safety seat is to register it at safercar.gov.

3. Replace it even after a minor wreck. Car seats, like helmets, are one-time-use items. Once your car seat has been in even the smallest wreck, don’t take the chance. Make sure to replace it right away.

4. Never wash harness straps. Car seats get dirty. Fact. But washing the harnesses could result in washing away the fire-retardant chemicals or weakening the material. If the straps need cleaning, just wipe them with a damp washcloth.

5. Don’t bundle up before you buckle up. Though winter coats may protect your child against cold chills, they could also create too much space between the harness and his or her body. Always remove any unnecessary layers before buckling in your little one.