Did You Know…?

What you don’t know CAN hurt you!

The following information often times surprises parents.  Either it wasn’t mentioned in their car restraint manuals, the manuals weren’t read, or it was something that they never thought about.  Please read on to learn more life saving information!

Did you know…?

…that car seats and winter coats are not compatible?

Car seats and winter coats do not mix.  Coats are warm, but they are also thick and bulky.  It is virtually impossible to get the harness tight enough around a child who is wearing a coat.  The harness is tightened to the coat, not the child.  Remember, in order to protect the child, there must be only 1 finger’s width between the harness straps and the child.  The warm, fluffy coat is made of highly compressible material.  In a crash, the coat will compress to a pancake and will leave the harness too loose, with more than 1 finger’s width of room.  There is an easy solution.  Buckle your child into his car seat wearing regular clothes.  Then cover him with blankets.

…that unrestrained items in your vehicle could pose a fatal danger in a crash?

Any item that is not tied down in your car, be it a book, your gym shoes, a sippy cup, soda can, ice scrapper, cd jewel case, tissue box, etc., poses a significant danger.  When you are in a crash, everything inside your vehicle that is not restrained is going to move at the speed you were traveling before the crash until something causes it to stop.  If that “something” is your head or another part of your body, it can do serious damage.  The same goes for unrestrained passengers.  An unrestrained passenger can be thrown into a restrained passenger and cause serious or fatal injuries.

…that if you are in an accident you should replace your car seat?

In a crash, a car seat withstands a great deal of force.  If you are in an accident and your car is damaged in any way, your seat should be replaced.  Why?  There may be unseen damage or weakening in the seat.  In another crash, the seat may fail causing your child harm.  Many times insurance will cover the cost of a new car seat.  It is also a good idea to replace any seatbelts that were in use at the time of the crash.  Seatbelts are a “one-crash” item.  They become stretched and will not offer proper protection in another crash.

If your seat was involved in a crash, it should be destroyed so that it is unusable. Cut the harness straps and use a sledgehammer or an axe to break the shell apart.

…that car seats expire?

Car seats should be replaced every 6 years.  Why?  Car seats are mainly made of plastic.  After being subjected to the elements over time, they will start to weaken.  In a crash the seat may fail and leave your child unprotected. 

…that you should never purchase or use a secondhand seat with an unknown history?

While it may be very tempting to purchase a car seat at a garage sale or off e-bay, it isn’t a good idea.  If the seat doesn’t come from trusted family or friends, you cannot be assured of the seat’s history. It could have been in an accident or otherwise mistreated.  It is advisable to order a new harness for any used seat (that isn’t your own from a previous child) as the harness may have been treated with chemicals or heat, which weakens it.

…that you should never iron or treat the harness straps with chemicals?

Treating the harness straps with heat or chemicals can cause the straps to break down and weaken, causing them to break or tear in a crash.  If your straps need to be washed, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines in the instruction manual.  If you have treated the harness straps in a way that isn’t advised by the manufacturer, you may want to consider ordering a replacement harness from the manufacturer.