As I mentioned in a previous post, I took my car seat to the local police station to have them check my installation. There were a few things I did wrong, so here are my tips. And for those that are curious, we have the Maxi Cosi Mico infant car seat and the Maxi Cosi Pria 70 convertible car seat (not yet installed).
- MAKE SURE IT IS NOT DEFECTIVE! Check to make sure all the clips, pads, straps, etc. that are supposed to be on the car seat actually are – even if you think the seat is brand new, comes in what appears to be the original packaging, and was bought online or received through your registry.
- Most new cars have the LATCH system. However, your car might not have it for all the back seats. Mine only had it for the outside back seats, not the middle. But research has shown (and the police officer confirmed) that the middle seat is safer since baby is further from the side of the car if there is impact. Makes sense to me! However, with that said, you can’t use the outside LATCH anchors in the middle seat, no matter how you are able to force it (like I was). Thus, I use the seat belt, which is fine. In fact, the seat belt doesn’t have a weight limit, whereas the LATCH system does. Neither is better or worse than the other.
- If you are using the LATCH installation, it’s pretty simple. Click the anchors in, tighten, and you’re done. But if you are using the seat belt, you need to make it tight. We all know that if you tug abruptly on the seat belt it will stop (as it should), but do you know how to “trick” the seat belt into stopping? Pull it all the way out and you’ll hear the ratchet start to click as the belt recoils back. Once it does that, you can secure your car seat with it, otherwise the seat belt will just keep moving.
- Strapping your baby in is pretty self-explanatory. But the one thing I did learn was that if you happen live in a colder climate (I do not) and dress your baby in a bulky jacket a la The Michelin Man – take it off when you strap them in. If you don’t, you’re really strapping in the jacket and your baby can still move around inside. Lay the jacket on top like a blanket (or reverse it and put in their arms only).
- According to the police officer, industry regulations allow you to put a blanket or towel on the sides of the baby to secure them even more if they are small. But they don’t allow any after-market pads and will in fact claim no liability if such a pad is used and baby is injured (god forbid).
Do you have any tips of your own?