A car seat will probably be one of the most important products you’ll buy for your child at such an early stage in their life. So, not only does it need to be right but most importantly, it needs to keep them safe. With so many different seats on the market, it can be difficult to understand what’s best for your little one. Here’s six car seat safety tips to make sure your seat performs how it should, keeping your precious little one safe.
6 Car Seat Safety Tips
1. No Heavy Overcoats
Although the weather outside says different, it’s important to make sure that your child doesn’t wear heavy overcoats in their car seat. A thick overcoat can leave a pocket of air between the child and the harness. This results in the harness being loose, meaning it won’t perform as well in a collision. Keep little ones warm by covering them with a fleecy blanket, once they’re secured into the seat, allowing for safety and warmth.
2. Seat Cleanliness and Maintenance
When children are crying, food is one of the easiest ways to stop the tears. However, it can also be one of the simplest ways to alter the performance of the seat. Foreign debris such as biscuits and wafer bars easily get stuck and fall into parts of the seat you can’t see.
That’s why it’s important to regularly clean the seat to keep it performing at its best. All RECARO car seats have machine washable covers (at 30°), making it easy to keep them clean! Whilst the covers are off, the seat also benefits from a good hoover, particularly around the buckle. You could always use one of our RECARO seat protectors to help keep your vehicle seats mess free too.
3. Seating Position and Air Bags
Rear facing for longer is certainly safer, as is seating children in the rear of the car. If your child must move to the front of the car, it’s crucial you check the airbag is inactive. NEVER use a rear facing car seat on the front passenger seat if the airbag is active.
Your car may be fitted with a switch to deactivate the airbag; however, this may need to be done by an approved vehicle technician. Your vehicle manual will be able to point you in the right direction. For a seat that helps keep your child rear facing for longer up to around 4.5 years old, take a look at our RECARO Zero.1.
4. Removing The Car Seat Headrest
We all know children don’t stay little for long, so it’s important to get a seat that grows with them. When they reach the stage in their Group 2/3 seat where the headrest needs to be extended, it’s time to act. You’ll need to remove the vehicle headrest to ensure it doesn’t push your child’s seat forward, causing it to be unsafe. With the correct installation, your child’s seat should sit flat against the vehicle seat.
5. Headrest Height
With car seats offering adjustable headrests, it’s important to make sure that your little one’s head’s in the correct position. The headrest should sit centrally behind their head to offer them the most amount of protection. If the headrest is too high or too low, their safety and comfort in the seat will be compromised. Our Monza Nova 2/Seatfix and Monza Nova IS car seats have speakers built into the headrest! It’s perfect for keeping your child’s head back while providing them with some in-car entertainment. Take a look and see for yourself.
6. Harness Position and Tension
No matter the age or weight of your child, the harness position and tension always remains the same. This is true whether the seat has a 3-point or 5-point harness. The harness should sit level to your little one’s shoulders, or just above, but should not sit below them as this can cause discomfort. The HERO safety system found on our RECARO products prevents the belts from slipping or twisting and makes buckling up easy.
To ensure the harness is tensioned correctly, you should be able to place 1-2 fingers behind the harness around the shoulder blade area. Find the HERO safety system on our popular Group 1-2-3 seat the Young Sport Hero.
There’s so much to learn, particularly for new parents, but with these few general safety tips, it’s a start to understanding the wonders of child car seats.