So this week is car seat safety week, and I thought, what better time for a post about an event that has become an essential part of my life since Boo was born–actually, even before Boo was born: the FREE Car Seat Check-up run by the South Windsor Police Department (and hosted by the South Windsor Fire Department). After all, a properly installed car seat is the #1 accessory for getting “out and about” with your little ones!
Did you know, according to the South Windsor Police Department, that 4 out of 5 child car seats are installed incorrectly? It’s true, and I can tell you that had I not found out about this wonderful event 2 1/2 years ago, I would have been driving Boo around in one of those 4. You see, it’s easy to think that you have your car seat installed correctly. Yup. I did. Then you go to the Car Seat Check-up feeling a little smug and perhaps a bit high and mighty and thinking that the trained Safety Specialists are going to give you a pat on the back and tell you what a wonderful job you did installing your own car seat. Uh, no. Turns out I had a lot to learn, including the true meaning of the word “tight” when it comes to strapping in a car seat 🙂
I’ve spent the past two years telling every new mom I know about the South Windsor Car Seat Check-up, and I get the same reaction each time. Everyone just thinks you drive in, someone gives your car seat a wiggle to see if it’s tight enough, and then you just drive out again. This could not be further from the truth. The Car Seat Check-up is a comprehensive program where you can expect to receive the following:
- An brief overview of the basic features of your particular car seat, especially if you have a popular model.
- Practice fastening a “baby” (i.e. a doll or teddy bear) into your car seat for moms-to-be or a demonstration with your child.
- Demonstration of how to adjust the car seat straps as your child grows.
- Instruction on how to properly install your car seat.
- Techniques for tightening the seat belts to ensure a secure fit for the car seat.
- Helpful safety tips about car seats and keeping kids safe in cars in general.
- You can expect your visit with the Safety Specialist to last between 15 and 20 minutes.
- If you are bringing your little one with you, make sure you have another adult accompany you too so that someone can monitor your child while you work with the Safety Specialists. It will be very difficult–perhaps impossible–to supervise your toddler and effectively install your new car seat.
- If you’re having an infant car seat installed, you should take your new car seat out of the packaging, but it’s not necessary to “try” to install it (or the base unit) yourself prior to going to the Check-up. The Safety Specialists are just going to take everything out of the car anyway 🙂
- If you are having a convertible or later stage car seat installed, you should also remove the new car seat from its packaging, but it’s okay to have the previous car seat still installed in your car when you arrive at the Check-up. Especially if you need to bring your little one with you! The Safety Specialists will help you remove the old car seat prior to installing the new one.
- BE SURE TO BRING THE MANUFACTURER’S INSTRUCTION BOOKLET FOR YOUR CAR SEAT. The Safety Specialist may need to to consult it to help you fully understand your car seat’s functionality.
- It is also a good idea to have your car user manual with you as well. The Safety Specialists may need to check on things like where to find the tether points or any weight restrictions on the latches.
- Come prepared to tell the Safety Specialists your child’s current height & weight. It’s important that you have accurate numbers for these stats as it will determine things like whether or not you can use the latches to install your car seat or whether your child is big enough to be front-facing. If possible, plan your visit to the Car Seat Check-up shortly after your child’s latest pediatrician appointment. Then you know you’ll have the most accurate measurements.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The Safety Specialists are extremely knowledgeable about car seat safety.
- Make it an outing! Nearby destinations for family fun include the indoor play area at the Shoppes at Buckland Hills, Ted’s Montana Grill at Evergreen Walk, Buffalo Wild Wings, and My Friend’s Place Boundless Playground.
- For additional car seat check events in our state, click here.
- Also check out our fellow CT blogger, Julie’s post at A Year with Mom and Dad for more great safety tips!
Tomorrow, we’ve got a great GIVEAWAY for any new parent or parent-to-be.
Then next week, Mandy’s crossing the border for a “wild” adventure. Plus, where did the month go?! It’s time for the September Round-up.
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