You painted the nursery. You put together the crib. How could installing the car seat be such a challenge? You chose a car seat with good ease of use ratings. You tried to follow the instructions in the manual, but the seat still wobbles. Maybe you are not the problem.
A 2012 study found that many cars are not designed for convenient car seat installation. You can’t change the design of your car, but there are some things you can do to make sure your child’s car seat is safely installed.
Following are seven tips from Atlanta car crash attorney Jeffrey Kaufman:
- Always install your child’s car seat in the back seat of the car. Front airbags are not designed to be used with car seats and may cause injury or death in a car crash.
- Use the LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system whenever possible. LATCH anchors are standard in all cars manufactured after 2002. If you can’t find the LATCH anchors, check your owner’s manual.
- When installing a rear-facing seat: Loosen the LATCH belt. Place the car seat in the desired position and attach the bottom LATCH connections to the anchors at the crease of the seat. Adjust the seat so it is at the correct angle. Put a hand in the car seat and push down using all your weight. Use the other hand to tighten the latch anchors.
- When installing a forward facing seat: Place the car seat so it faces forward. Attach the bottom LATCH connections to the anchors at the crease of the seat. Place your knee in the car seat and use your weight to push down. Tighten the latch anchors.
- Use the car seatbelt instead of the LATCH anchors if the combined weight of the car seat and child exceeds 65 pounds.
- Use the tether hooks. If the car seat is rear-facing, attach the back tether hook to an anchor on the floor or on the back of the front seat. If the car seat faces forward, attach the back tether hook to an anchor at the top or back of the seat.
- Check your installation. If the car seat moves more than an inch in any direction, reinstall the seat. If you have difficulty, visit a car seat technician. The City of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department offers free car seat safety checks. Call (404) 546-4444 to schedule an appointment.
Why You Should Replace Your Child's Car Seat After a CrashIf you are in a car accident, you may need to replace your child’s car seat, even if your child was not with you at the time of the accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that child safety seats and booster seats be replaced after a moderate or severe crash. Car seats do not need to be replaced after a minor accident. But, what does that mean?
A car seat does not need to be replaced if the car accident meets ALL of the following criteria:
- No one in the vehicle was injured.
- There is no visible damage to the seat.
- The vehicle could be driven away from the scene of the accident.
- The door closest to the safety seat was not damaged.
- The airbags did not deploy.
If ANY of the following conditions apply, the seat should be replaced:
- Someone in the vehicle was injured.
- The car seat was visibly damaged.
- The vehicle could not be driven away from the scene of the accident.
- The door closest to the safety seat was hit or suffered damage.
- At least one airbag deployed.
Most insurance companies will cover the cost of a new car seat. Low-income parents may qualify for a free car seat through Georgia's Child Occupant Safety Programs. Contact your county health department for more information.
If you or your child has been injured in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation and should immediately contact an Atlanta car accident attorney. Call Kaufman Law, P.C. at (678) 712-1115 to schedule a free case consultation.