Keeping your children safe is every parent’s top priority. As soon as it’s time for your newborn to leave the hospital, your child’s car seat is their safety net while they’re on their way home. So, how do you know if your child’s car seat is actually keeping them safe? As your local pediatrician in Augusta and Evans, we’d like to share a few tips on car seat safety that will ensure for a better ride for you and your child.
Choose the right seat
The car seat that you need is determined by your child’s size and age. It’s important for newborn babies and infants up to 24 months old to ride in a rear-facing car seat. Once your child has outgrown a rear-facing seat, usually after age two, then you can switch to a front-facing, convertible car seat, and after a few years, you can change the car seat into a booster seat. In Georgia, your child is required to be in a child restraint if they are under age 8 and are under 4 feet 9 inches.
Install the seat correctly
For rear-facing and front-facing car seats, your baby should be lying flat in the seat without anything behind or underneath, and you should check to make sure the harness straps come through the seat’s slots at your baby’s shoulders. Secure the car seat with the seat belt per the directions on the car seat label, or you can you secure the seat with the LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children). These connect to the car’s lower anchor bars and should be installed according to the directions. You can tell if your seat is installed correctly by performing an inch test, which means you shouldn’t be able to pull the seat more than one inch when pulling it front to back or side to side. For booster seats, the child should be restrained properly with the seat belt across their chest and shoulders, not positioned behind their backs.
Get the seat inspected
Many parents, especially new parents, may not know that there are professionals out there who will help you install and/or inspect your car seat once it’s installed. These people are certified technicians who know exactly how to make sure your car seat is safe for your baby. Call your local fire stations, health departments, or try a Google search to find your nearest inspection technicians.
Your baby’s safety is important to us inside and outside your vehicle. If you’re looking for a pediatrician in Augusta, call Pediatric Partners today. We have two locations to better serve our patients. Our Evans office is located at 411 Town Park Blvd., and our downtown Augusta office is located at 1303 d’Antignac Street, Suite 2600. If you’re a new mom with questions, please feel free to call us at 706-854-2500.