Frequently asked questions about car seats

What is the “best” car seat for my child?
The best car seat is the one that fits the child, fits the vehicle, and is used correctly every time.

Is it okay to use a second-hand seat?
It is NEVER recommended to buy a second-hand seat, or use any seat in which you don’t know the entire history. If a car seat has been in a crash, even a fender bender, it may need to be destroyed and replaced. Pieces inside the seat can break or be damaged during even a minor crash, and it’s not known if the seat will protect the child.

I’ve had this seat for a while. Can I still use it?
Did you know that car seats have expiration dates? It should be on your car seat. If you can’t find it, look for the manufacture date, and add six years. If a seat is older than six years, it needs to be replaced. [include a picture of expiration/manufacture date on seat]

There are lots of after-market items for car seats that I can buy. Are they okay to use?
Any after-market items such as “seat saver” pads, head support pads, even toys that can be clipped into a child’s car seat – are not typically recommended. These products have not been tested by the car seat manufacturers, and therefore are not typically recommended. It is recommended to check with the seat manufacturer prior to using any after-market product with your child restraint. A good rule of thumb: only use items that come with your car seat.

My child’s car seat has a five-point harness. Where exactly do I place the harness clip?
Safety experts recommend using a seat with a five-point harness, which has five points of contact over the child’s hips and chest – the strongest parts of their body. The harness clip must be at the child’s armpit level. Many parents incorrectly put it on their child’s tummy. This can cause damage to internal organs during a crash. [include a picture of correct harness placement]

How snug should the harness be on my child?
A good rule of thumb is to make your child’s harness as snug as your seatbelt is on you. You don’t want it so tight where it’s uncomfortable, but it needs to be snug in order to eliminate a child’s movement during a crash. Safety experts recommend using the “pinch test.” Make sure you can’t “pinch” any of the fabric up at the shoulder, and it’s tight enough. [include picture of pinch test]

How high should the shoulder straps be?
For any child who is rear-facing, the shoulder straps should be at the child’s shoulders, or below, so that you have to pull them up and over the child’s shoulder’s just a little bit. [include picture] For any child who is forward-facing should have their straps at, or above their shoulders. [include picture]

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