Installing a car seat safely is one of the most important things to do before baby arrives. In fact, you can’t leave the hospital without a car seat. Choosing and installing a car seat that best fits your vehicle and lifestyle can seem daunting; that’s why our own Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) is here to help. Here are six steps to ensure your baby’s car seat is safely installed.
If you are a first-time parent, you’ve probably never installed a car seat before. And even if you have other children, you may not be familiar with your new car seat’s installation procedures. To install your car seat safely, read both the entirety of your car seat manual and the portions of your vehicle owner’s manual that pertains to child restraints. We recommend that you install your seat by your 36th week of pregnancy.
Accessories Can Be Dangerous
It might be tempting to use aftermarket accessories for your car seat or car. Don’t. Use only manufactured approved items that come in the box with your car seat (infant inserts, strap covers, etc.). This includes cozy winter inserts like the J.J. Cole Bundle Me, which are not approved for use in car seats.
Don’t Leave Baby in the Car Seat
Avoid keeping baby in the car seat more than absolutely necessary. A car seat is designed to keep baby snug and safe, but limits baby’s movement. Even if baby fell asleep in the car seat or you want to keep baby in the car seat at a restaurant or indoors, consider babywearing or a stroller with a bassinet instead.
Ensure Proper Use of the Car Seat
Straps should come through the slot just below baby’s shoulders, be snug enough that you can not pinch any slack at the collarbone or hips and chest clip should be even with baby’s armpits. Never loosen car seat straps or unbuckle the chest clip or crotch buckle unless you are removing the baby from the seat.
Consult a Child Passenger Safety Technician to Install the Car Seat Safely
Before baby arrives, schedule an appointment with a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). A CPST is qualified and trained to make sure that your car seat is installed correctly and can help you install a baby car seat safely.
As a Doulas of Baltimore client, you may schedule your Car Seat Concierge appointment for $100. What’s included in our car seat concierge service:
- Initial consultation to discuss your feature and brand preferences, budget, and lifestyle factors
- Assistance in selecting the best car seat for your child 90-minute personalized car seat installation appointment with up to 2 seat(s) in up to 2 vehicle(s)
- 12 months of industry professional phone/email support as your child grows to ensure your confident in your child’s car seat safety