The Right Way to Use a Car Seat Cover

A car seat cover is a recently highly sort after accessory by parents this has made there be an increase in supply with a variety of colors, materials and options now available. There are usually car seat covers that come with a car seat when you buy one but they are usually unimpressive and in a bland boring color. Hence parents opt for other options in the market that offer variety and style. By law, parents need to transport children in an age-appropriate car seat every time the drive, but many parents make simple mistakes with car seat installation and use, putting their child’s life in danger.

Every child seat is unique, so installation and use recommendations and requirements differ. That’s why it’s so important that parents read the owner’s manual for both the seat and the vehicle. Experts have compiled a list of common errors associated with car seat use and installation. By following these steps plus doing your own research to be armed with the appropriate information it’ll go a long way to prevent the wrong use of a car seat and car seat cover.

Loose installation of a car seat

Loose installation is the number-one mistake most parents make when installing a car seat. When installed the seat should move no more than 1 inch from side to side. Some seats require quite a bit of effort or a few installation “tricks” to secure. Some parents are tempted to use a “belt and suspenders” approach and secure a seat using both the lower-LATCH and seat belts to secure a seat. Many child seat manufacturers recommend against this; the belt and LATCH hardware can often overlap in your car, so we don’t recommend it either.

Make sure the straps are too loose.

The harness straps are supposed to be secured tightly over the child. If they are too lose a child could be ejected out of the car seat. There should not be any slack in the harness webbing. When pinched at the shoulder, you should not be pinching any harness webbing with your fingers. Also, avoid putting bulky clothing on children such as thick coats before you put them in a car seat. Instead, cover them with a blanket or coat after they are secured in the seat

Harness straps incorrectly positioned.

They should be at or below shoulder level in a rear-facing seat to avoid a child moving upward in the event of a crash, and at or above shoulder level in a forward-facing seat. Be sure to check the straps often, as children grow quickly and the harness position can be easily overlooked.

Use the top tether.

An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study found that only half of car seats were attached by the top tether and most parents didn’t think it was necessary. Contrary to this misperception, the top tether is very important, because it significantly reduces a child’s potential for head and other injuries in a crash.

Do not turn the child forward too early.

Consumer Reports, the Academy of Pediatrics and other safety organizations, recommend that children should stay in rear-facing seats until age two. For most, this will mean that when a baby grows out of an infant seat, you’ll need to switch to a rear-facing convertible seat. From our experience, often a baby will outgrow the height of their infant seat before the weight. A convertible seat offers forward- and rear-facing orientation options but has an increased height limit. Rear-facing is safer for children than riding forward-facing as it does a better job in supporting and aligning a child’s head, neck, and spine in a crash.

Do not place toys, mirrors, or other items in or around a car seat.

These items, while convenient, can become dangerous projectiles in a crash. Securely store all loose items in the car in a console or pocket or the trunk. Something as innocent as an umbrella could become dangerous in a crash.

Not placing an infant seat at the correct angle.

Most seats have built-in recline indicators that properly angle the seat. If the seat is installed too far upright, a very young child’s head can tilt down and potentially cut off her breathing passageway; if the seat is too reclined, it can affect a seat crash performance. For a newborn, position the seat at the most reclined position allowed by the child-seat manufacturer. As the child becomes older you may be able to move the seat to a more upright position.

Moving children up to booster seats too soon.

A child needs to be able to sit properly in a seat for the entire ride—not something a young child is likely to do. In addition, the belt needs to fit the child correctly. Children generally can move to a booster between the ages of 4 years and 7 years. But the test is checking to see whether the seat belt lies midway between a child’s shoulder and neck, flat across the lap; whether her knees bend at the edge of the seat; and whether she can sit properly for the entire ride.

Improperly positioning the chest clip.

Too many times we see the chest clip way down by a child’s belly. The clip is supposed to slide up and be placed at armpit level. If it’s positioned too low a child can be ejected from the seat in a crash; too high, and it can interfere with breathing.

Following these instructions will help you start out using a car seat properly with a car seat cover of choice duly tested. As mentioned earlier make sure you do proper research and check reliable websites like government consumer reports and research websites. Read blogs for information and weigh the pros and cons of each product plus reviews. Follow these steps and your instincts and you’ll be on your way to appropriately prepare for a new baby.