Child Passenger Safety- Are You Up To Speed?

Every day, I load my kids into a hunk of steel and glass on wheels, and I buckle them into their car seats. We go hurtling down roads at speeds up to 75 miles per hour, sharing the road with hundreds of thousands of other drivers who I have no control over.

When you stop to think about it, it’s an incredibly vulnerable position to be in, one that can easily and quickly turn scary no matter how safe a driver I am.

That’s why I’ve always taken the kids’ safety in the car seriously. That’s NOT to say I’ve always done everything the safest way possible. No, I’ll admit that there were times I didn’t know better.

But, the beauty of allowing yourself to learn new things is the power to change. I definitely changed my mind more than once when it came to car seats, like the time I decided to switch Kendall back to rear-facing from forward facing.

This week is Child Passenger Safety Week. I’m not here to harp on you or scold you. The educated choices you make for your children are yours to make alone.

I’m just encouraging you to read up on the newest safety recommendations for child passengers. It’s never too late to change things up (or decide to hold OFF on changing things up for a while), no matter if you’re on your first or fifth kid. Safety recommendations are always evolving, so give these links a look to be sure you’re up to speed.

To start, this infographic from the NHTSA’s Facebook Page is really informative. (Click through to see it larger)

Krystal from Tie A Little Ribbon breaks down the stats on forward facing vs. rear facing carseats here and about the hazards of letting kids wear bulky coats while buckled into their seats here.

Daily Momtra talks about the common mistakes with car seat installations.  And they offer up another great visual for propper car seat usage here.

The Baby Guy NYC puts a funny spin on some great information with a little help from Ryan Gosling here.

Giveaways! 

HowToBeADad is giving away 2 Graco Snugrides here.

The Baby Guy NYC is giving away an Orbit Baby Toddler Car Seat here.

Educate yourself, know the current recommendations, then do what you feel is safest and best for your child.

  • Mandy - I LOVE that you wrote this post, Jill! My friend Ellyn is a Child Passenger Safety Technician, which means she’s certified on things like this, and she is ALWAYS happy to answer questions if anybody has them! She has also written quite a few posts about it here: http://www.profoundlyseth.com/2007/10/carseat-safety.html I would have NEVER known to go above and beyond what’s legal with my kids if bloggers like you two hadn’t brought it to light. Thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • Amie - Thanks for this post Jill! Like Mandy said, our friend Ellyn is a CPST, and I just got certified over the summer. It’s fun and rewarding to help parents, and I get a kick out of playing with all of the different kinds of carseats!ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - I’m glad you wrote this post, too. I’ve posted several times on FB about “extended” rear facing, ie. basically keeping your child rear facing until AT LEAST two, and the flak I’ve gotten astonishes me. Car safety is NOT a parenting issue! We KNOW better now and we can DO better, and yet people get all crazy about it. I rear faced my daughter until three and people thought I was crazy and practically abusing her. She’s barely 28 pounds right now at 3 1/3, of course I was keeping her rear facing! Alas. Anyway, I’m glad you posted this. More people just need to hear that the recommendations have changed and that it is astronomically safer to keep RF longer and in 5 point harnesses longer.ReplyCancel

    • Janine (Alternative Housewife) - Totally. People act like you’re being a snob for encouraging safety. There was a time when people didn’t even use car seats. Now we know better. Same as a ton of other safety issues. And unlike buying organic or other healthier options, money is no object. Time is no object. It just takes a few minutes to educate yourself, put your pride away and make sure your kids are as safe as possible.

      Every time I post about rear facing, I get a bunch of excuses. Mostly shit like, “But my kid is happier facing forward.”

      My 2 year old would be happiest sitting in the passenger seat with no car seat whatsoever. Good thing he isn’t the parent.ReplyCancel

      • Upstatemamma - I think sometimes people don’t know better, like the thing I posted below about the coats, and then they feel defensive. It can also make a huge difference how they are approached about it. Last summer someone accusd me of “not caring if your child dies” because I took a picture that they assumed was of my two month old front facing. In reality I was in the back with her so the picture was of her rear facing bit the point is I wasn’t going to listen to anything else she said after that. We all just want to do the best for our children.ReplyCancel

  • Brett - Bookmarking this… W has been itching to install the infant seat so I guess I’ll let him since I’m full term on Monday. :)ReplyCancel

  • Upstatemamma - Here is a fact that I will throw out there. Simply in the interest of knowledge. It is recommended that children not wear puffy winter coats in their car seats. It creates a pocket of air and they are not as tightly secured (no matter how much you tighten the harness). A lot of people don’t know that so I’m just throwing it out there. :)ReplyCancel

  • New to Mom - Thanks for posting. As someone who has totaled 2 cars in two months this past summer, I’m a freak about Jack being safe in the car. Luckily he wasn’t with me both those time. The first time I hit 2 deer on the way to work and the other I was rear ended by a BIG construction truck hauling some big ass mixer thing. I just thank God that I was alone but now I’m more aware of car seat safety then I was before.ReplyCancel

  • Desiree - I’m glad to see this. My four (almost five) year old is in the Graco Nautilus with a forward facing five point harness, as opposed to a regular high backed booster even though she meets the height and weight requirements for it. I live in Erie, PA where winters tend to get pretty bad and I am just way more comfortable with her being safer … even if it does tend to raise eyebrows with some people. Car seats aren’t about convenience … they are about safety. If it were purely convenience, we would just hop in the car while holding our newborns – haha.

    To the person who mentioned about the winter coats in the car seat – so so so many people don’t know (or care) about this recommendation. It is so surprising to me. Also, there is a product called a car seat poncho incase your child is cold during the winter … definitely worth investing in (or making your own).ReplyCancel

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