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Your baby is going places. Help get him or her there safely with the following tips.
Top Safety Tips
- Seventy-three percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly, so before you hit the road, check your car seat. Here's a quick car seat checklist to help you out. It takes only 15 minutes. If you are having even the slightest trouble, questions or concerns, certified child passenger safety technicians are able to help or even double check your work.
- Learn how to install your car seat for free. Safe Kids hosts car seat inspection events across the country where certified technicians can help make sure your car seat is properly installed. They will teach you so that you can always be sure your car seat is used correctly. Find a Safe Kids car seat checkup event near you.
- Inch Test. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good tug at the base where the seat belt goes through it. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
- Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check your car seat manual). With the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child's shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you're good to go.
- For both rear- and forward-facing child safety seats, use either the car's seat belt or LATCH system to lock the car seat in place. Don't use both at the same time.
- Toys can injure your child in a crash, so be extra careful to choose the ones that are soft and will not hurt your baby. A small, loose toy can be dangerous and injure your baby in a crash. Secure loose objects and toys to protect everyone in the car.
- Look at the label on your car seat to make sure it's appropriate for your child's age, weight and height. Your car seat has an expiration date – usually around six years. Find and double check the label to make sure it's still safe.
- Buy a used car seat only if you know its full crash history. That means you must buy it from someone you know, not from a thrift store or over the Internet. Once a car seat has been in a crash, it needs to be replaced.