[personal profile] rootofnewt
The amount of carseat misuse I see is really astounding.

For starters, RTFM. Yes, carseats some with manuals! That manual will sell you how to install and use the seat. It will tell you how to find the seat's expiration day/month/year. Yes, seats and their components expire. Crash tests with expired seats are rather frightening to watch. The manual will tell you to never use any aftermarket devices like custom covers, the mighty tite, and other crap. It will tell you to not wash the harness or submerge it in liquid--ever. It will tell you how to properly tighten and adjust the harness, how to position the chest clip (hint, it's *not* a belly clip). Heck, it'll even tell you the minimums and maximums for using a seat in a particular way. Don't buy a used seat if you don't know its history. Don't use a seat which has been in a car crash, unless that seat belongs to one of the two-three brands which follow slightly different criteria.

Now, remember--state laws don't always take the laws of physics into consideration. Keep your little ones rear facing for as long as possible--a minimum of two years, but 3-4 is not unreasonable. Look into cervical spine ossification and internal decapitation if you don't believe me. Those bigger/older kids? Keep the harness snug so that they don't get ejected from their seat in the event of an accident/incident. Keep them harnessed until they can reliably sit totally properly (and that's more than just "hey, look, it buckled!) for all trips, then you move to a booster. And once they pass the five step test, you can consider the seatbelt alone.

This is really fucking simplistic, but I'm sick of seeing kids endangered because their mother or grandfather or aunt or babysitter is too clueless/busy/overcome with brain bats to sit down and read a manual and then use the seat properly every time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sssIsceKd6 (Norwegian video, they don't use the chest clip/precrash positioner over there and the harness is designed a bit differently, but the laws of physics still apply)

http://www.thecarseatlady.com/car_seats/forward-facing_seats.html
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