FORUM DISCLAIMER & Carseat Info Thread - Sybermoms Parenting Forum
Carseats 101 Kids in the car? Buckle them in and do it right. Need ideas? Come inside!

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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2003, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Welcome to the Sybermoms Car Seat tutorial thread. We hope you will have all your questions answered. Click here to enlarge

I'd like to give a huge thanks to my girls who worked so hard on this:

Aspens, JASsyFromTheBlock, Phoebe Jeebies, saffronne, SexyKnickers, terra firmah, todolist, Yup_n_Nope

Click here to enlarge Thank you guys SO MUCH! Click here to enlarge

***This thread will be updated periodically.***

Last edited by todolist; 07-19-2003 at 12:03 AM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2003, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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General Links

Carseat Laws for each state and Canada

NHTSA'a database of Child Passenger Safety Contact people (for seat checks)
Enter your state to find a local tech:

Carseat recalls:

Carseat/car compatibility database:

Kathleen Weber article about when to turn a child front-facing,00.html

American Academy of Pediatrics Carseat Safety Guide:

Consumer reports carseat ratings (free to the public)

Last edited by todolist; 07-28-2003 at 03:28 PM.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2003, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Automobile Manufacturers

Acura (800) 382-2238
Audi (800) 822-2834
BMW (800) 831-1117
Bentley (877) 300-8803
Daewoo (877) 362-1234
Buick (800) 521-7300
Cadillac (800) 458-8006
Chevrolet (800) 222-1020
DaimlerChrysler (800) 992-1997
Dodge (800) 387-9983
Ferrari (201) 816-2600
Ford (800) 323-8400
Geo (800) 222 1020
GMC Truck (800) 462-8782
Honda (800) 999-1009
Hummer (800) 732-5493
Hyundai (800) 633-5151
Infiniti (800) 662-6200
Isuzu (800) 255-6727
Land Rover (800) 637-6837
Jaguar (800) 452-4827
Jeep/Eagle (800)-247-9753
Kia (800) 333-4KIA
Land Rover (800) 637-6837
Lexus (800) 255-3987
Lincoln (800) 392-3673
Maserati (201) 816-2600
Mazda (800) 222-5500
Mercedes Benz (800) 367-6372
Mercury (800) 392-3673
Mini (800) ASK-MINI
Mitsubishi (800) 222-0037
Nissan (800) 647-7261
Oldsmobile (800) 442-6537
Plymouth (800) 992-1997
Pontiac (800) 762-2737
Porsche (800) 545-8039
Rolls-Royce (877) 300-8803
Saab (800) 955-9007
Saturn (800) 553-6000
Scion (866) 707 2466
Subaru (800) 782-2783
Suzuki (800) 934-0934
Toyota (800) 331-4331
Volkswagen (800) 822-8987
Volvo (800) 458-1552

Last edited by Outnumbered; 03-11-2009 at 09:40 AM. Reason: updated phone numbers and manufacturers
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2003, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Glossary of Terms

Belt Positioning Booster:
A booster seat used for an older child to position the vehicle's adult seat belt safely and correctly over the child's shoulder and lap. There is typically a clip or band on a tether, or a back with a seatbelt guide, that guides the shoulder belt over the child's shoulder. This style of seat may either rest without attaching on the vehicle seat OR in some cases, may be attached with LATCH to the vehicle while securing the child with the seatbelt. Consult your vehicle manual.

A forward-facing only seat for toddlers and older children, used either with a built-in harness or as a guide for an adult seat belt.

Combination Seat:
A forward facing only seat that can be used with a built-in harness, typically to 40 or more pounds, and will thereafter be used as a belt positioning booster. (see Belt Positioning Booster in this glossary) The harness is removed when the child reaches the weight restriction for the harness. Typically 40 lbs, but the trend is toward higherweight harnesses, some as much as 80 pounds.

Convertible seat:
A seat that can be used rear facing or forward facing. Usually good from 5 lbs to at least 30 pounds rear facing. Most models rearface to 35 pounds. They can be used forward facing from 20/22 lbs through 40 pounds. (Check your seat to make sure of requirements for FF) These seats are designed for use from Birth to Toddler years, with a 5 point harness or overhead shield. A five point harness is preferred and overhead shields are being phased out. (see T-Shield or Over-the-head/tray shield in this glossary for additional information)

Energy Absorbing Foam:
A Styrofoam-like substance molded to the plastic frame of a car seat to act as a shock absorber and energy displacer in the event of a crash. If your child's body is in contact with any hard plastic (other than the chest clip, crotch buckle or harness straps) that does not have a coating of this foam, there is a real danger of an impact injury in a crash.

Five Point Harness:
A harness built into a seat that has 5 points of connection to the seat: over the shoulders, from either side of the hips, and between the legs. The shoulder straps are clipped to each other at the breastbone. This is the safest harness available.

Straps made of strong webbing, attached directly to the car seat, which holds your child in place in the seat.

Height Limits:
The upper or lower height your child can be before requiring a new seat. These are clearly listed in the car seat's manual and can vary widely from seat to seat. Check carefully before buying.

Infant seat/baby bucket:
A rear-facing only child seat. This seat has a handle that makes it easy to carry. It is designed for small infants up to a certain weight and height that is listed on each seat, usually between 22 and 35 pounds. Usually has a detachable base that the seat can be used with or without.

"Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children", or LATCH, is a system now required by the government of both child safety seat manufacturers and auto makers. Cars are required to have a top tether anchorage and two bottom tether anchorages which correspond with permanent hooks or buckles on most car seats manufactured after September 1, 1999. Some vehicles manufactured after September 1, 1999 have LATCH systems installed, and all vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2002 are required to have two LATCH systems installed standard in the rear seat. The LATCH system does not need to use the seat belt to fasten into the car- the anchorages and hooks/buckles do it all.

Locking Clip:
A metal clip used to lock the vehicle's seat belt in position by attaching directly to the lap belt and shoulder belt sandwiched together. All vehicles manufactured after MY 1996 are required by law to have a built-in locking mechanism. With some exceptions, locking clips are only needed for automobiles earlier than 1997. Many seats now some with built in locking clips that the vehicle's seat belt can be threaded through to prevent it slipping or loosening.

Over-the-head/tray shield:
A form of child seat which has an 'arm' or 'tray' that descends over the child's head and is attached to the seat at the sides of the child and also to the harness. This is a seat that can be actively dangerous in a crash. It is a style of 3-point harness that does not fit snugly enough to a child to halt forward momentum. The resulting impact on the hard arm (which is inadequately padded) can result in serious head and abdominal injuries. At least one death has resulted as a direct result of the arm position of this seat.

Paperclip style chest clip:
A one-piece style of clip that fastens the shoulder straps together, typically at the breastbone or at arm-pit level. Only one of the shoulder straps will have this kind of one-piece clip permanently attached to it; the other strap must be hooked into the other side of the clip to fasten the straps together.

A style of harness built into a car seat with 3 points of connection with the car seat: over the shoulders and between the legs. It is missing the hip connections of a 5 point harness and therefore does not provide stability for the pelvis. This is not as safe a harness as the 5-point and could potentially cause harm to your child in the event of a wreck because it does not stop forward momentum as efficiently as a 5 point harness. T-shields have not been manufactured in quite some time. Any T-shield still in existence is almost certainly expired and should be disposed of.

A strap that is either attached to or built into the top of a car seat (either forward or rear facing) which attaches to the frame of your vehicle. In the event of a crash, a tether can stop forward motion of the head up to 8 inches, and reducing side motion overall, reducing or eliminating the risk of head injury. All forward facing seats in the US have top tethers. Some seats require their use after a certain weight is reached.

Tether Bolt:
An anchorage, attached in some manner to the frame of your vehicle, which you fasten a tether strap to. Check you car's owner manual for proper placement of the teather bolt. These should be installed by your dealership for free if they do not come standard in your car; check your vehicle manual for information.

Three Point Harness:
A harness built into a seat that has 3 points of contact with the seat: over the shoulders and between the legs. This harness is only appropriate for a rear-facing infant, and is no longer being manufactured at the commercial level. Some industrial 'give-aways' such as the Graco Assura still come with a three point harness.

Two Piece chest clip:
A two-piece style of clip that fastens the shoulder straps together, typically at the breastbone or at arm-pit level, which have the straps permanently threaded through each side separately and simply clip together lock-and-key style. The chest clip is designed to make sure the harness is positioned correctly prior to a crash and is not a key element of crash resistance in and of itself.

Weight Limits:
The upper or lower weight your child can be before needing a new seat. These are clearly listed in the car seat's manual and can vary widely from seat to seat. Check carefully before buying.

Last edited by Outnumbered; 03-11-2009 at 09:48 AM. Reason: updated with current information
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2003, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Car Seat FAQ

What is the purpose of a car seat?
A car seat is to hold your child firmly still in the event of a crash, and to absorb the speed and impact of a crash or hard stop. A proper car seat will prevent any 'impact' injuries your child might otherwise suffer in the event of a crash. It does this by holding your child firmly in place and stopping forward motion of your child's body. For an older child, a car seat or booster seat will prevent being ejected under or over the seat belt, which is designed for someone of adult weight and height.

What kind of car seat do I need for my baby/child?
A seat that is appropriate for their height, weight, and level of physical development. Infants need rear-facing bucket seats or convertible seats, older babies and toddlers need convertible rear facing seats until they reach 20 pounds AND the age of one year. It is furthermore recommended that all children under 35 pounds (the maximum limit on most rearfacing convertibles) remain rearfacing to the limit of the seat. Most children in the US can safely rearface to between 2 and 3 years, some longer. Rearfacing is proven to be 5x safer than forward facing and is always the preferred option.

What is the best seat for my child?

The seat that fits your child, your vehicle, your budget, and that you will install and use correctly EVERY SINGLE TIME your child is a passenger in a vehicle is the seat that is 'best' for you.

You can see what seats are most compatible with your car at this link:

How can I be certain I am using my car seat safely each and every time I use it?
The very first rule in using a car seat and confirming that it is in proper use as the manufacturer designed it is to read and understand your seat's user manual. This manual should stay with the seat and you should refer to it frequently as your child grows and you must make adjustments to the seat to accommodate that. Your manual is one of the most important items about your seat and this cannot be overstated. If you don't know how to use the seat correctly, it will not provide adequate protection in the event of an impact.

Check that your vehicle's seat belt has not loosened since you last used it. The installed car seat should be firmly fastened down, moving less than an inch side-to-side or front to back at the belt path when firmly tugged or pushed.

Check your child's harness straps (if in a harness). They should not be twisted or frayed in any way. Do not use any straps that have become frayed- replace them immediately.

Make sure the chest clips are fastened correctly, and that the harness fastens properly into the crotch buckle. Give it a tug to make sure it clicked in there.

If in a belt-positioning booster, check that the vehicle's seatbelt's shoulder strap sits diagonally down the middle of the chest, and is not touching your child's neck.

Make sure the seat still fits your child properly and that they have not outgrown it.

Weekly make sure that the hard seat body is not cracked or worn in any way.

Make sure you replace your child's safety seat when the manufacture states the seat is expired. The plastic will degrade over time and this can affect its strength. Most manufacturers recommend retiring a seat after 6 years.

What are tether straps?
Top tethers are a length of webbing which attach to the top of a child restraint. All U.S. child seats manufactured after September 1, 1999 are required to have a tether strap. Tethers provide an additional method of securing a child restraint to the vehicle. They can be used in many vehicles, but must be used with automatic belt systems that do not lock except in sudden stops or impacts and for belt systems that do not keep a child restraint from moving more than one inch forward or backwards or side to side.

The tether has two parts: The tether strap which is located on the child seat, and the tether anchor which is installed in the vehicle. Most new cars (after 2000) have anchors. If your vehicle does not have an anchor, make an appointment to have one installed that fits your vehicle and your car seat.

What is LATCH?
L.A.T.C.H. is short for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. LATCH is includes two lower anchors and a top tether. LATCH anchors are designed specifically for car seat installation. The idea behind LATCH is to make car seat installation easier. Both seat and vehicle need to be LATCH compatible. A LATCH car seat can be used in a vehicle without LATCH by using standard seatbelts.
NOTE: Refer to your owner's manual for weight limit on LATCH use
Here is a great website with information on Tethers and LATCH:

What kind of harness is the safest?
The five point harness is by far the safest harness style available. T-shield and over the head shield/tray style seats are better than no car seat at all, but don't work to hold your child as snugly and safely as a 5 point harness. T-shield are no longer manufactured and overhead shields are quickly disappearing from the shelves.

Why are overhead shields dangerous? What potential threat do they pose to my child
The over-the-head and T-shield car seat designs utilize a 3-point harness system. There are three points of contact with the body- over the shoulders and at the crotch buckle. It is missing 2 additional points at the hips, which the 5-point harness provides. This 3-point harness is in and of itself not terribly harmful, though it will not hold your child as securely as a 5-point harness. What causes the problem is that in an over-the-head or T-shield design, the safety strap passes through the arm and then down into the crotch buckle, effectively holding the straps away from your child's body and preventing a snug fit. Without a snug fit to your child's body, there is more room for your child to travel in the event of an impact before being caught by the harness (which should prevent all forward movement).

Additionally, your child will impact the overhead arm due to the inadequate harness system. There is no energy-absorbing foam on this arm, or on the tray shield. So your child's abdomen and very likely their head will strike this arm of essentially naked plastic at a very high velocity. Substantial injuries have been reported and one death attributed directly to this type of impact.

Unfortunately, consumer demand drives the market. On the surface, the over-the-head shield seats look safest. As long as people don't realize the dangers, they will continue to buy these seats and manufacturers will continue to sell them.

If you own an over-the-head shield or T-shield seat, please stop using it immediately. Don't re-sell it; cut the seat cover and tether apart to render it unusable and discard it with your garbage. Purchase a 5-point harness or other appropriate seat for your child.

For additional information you may visit the following links:

How long do I need to keep my child rear-facing?
A child must be kept rear facing until they reach BOTH a minimum of 20 pounds AND 1 year of age. Both of these milestones must be reached before it is safe to turn them forward facing. If they weigh 19 pounds and are over a year you must keep them rear facing, and if they are 28 pounds and 10 months you must keep them rear facing. It does not matter if their feet are touching the back of the seat; it is far better to suffer a potential leg of foot injury than a neck injury. Best practice is to keep the child rearfacing to the maximum limit of the seat, even if that means they are 2 or 3 years old.

Where should I position the shoulder straps?
Shoulder straps for a RF child should be at or below the shoulders. They should not come out from above the child's shoulders.

Shoulder straps for a FF child should be above the child's shoulders. You should also check the seat manual to make sure the slots you are using are reinforced. Some older seats require that a forward facing seat should have the harness ONLY in the top most position. A good rule of thumb is if the child would fit better forward facing with a lower slot, the child should be rearfacing anyway.

Where is the safest place in the car for my child to sit?
Children under the age of 13 should always sit in the rear seat of a vehicle. A child in a rear facing seat must NEVER sit in the front seat if there is a passenger side airbag- the deployment of an airbag into a rear facing seat can injure or kill your child. Children are the safest when placed in the rear of the vehicle in the center seat. They will receive the greatest protection from impact in this position. However, if you cannot get a safe installation in the center, it is still perfectly safe to use an outboard position.

How can I keep my child's car seat firmly installed in the vehicle if their seatbelt does not automatically lock?
You must obtain a locking clip and use that to secure the seat belt used to fasten in your child's car seat. You can find more information on locking clips here
and see a picture of one here

How can I most tightly install my child's car seat? How tight is tight enough?
Installing your child's car seat is best done as a multi-player sport. You can get your seat much tighter and more secure when there are two (or more) people working on it. First off, make sure you understand your seat's instructions very very well. Then thread the belt through as per the instructions, making sure that the seat belt does not twist while going through. Clip the seat in. Now sit in it and pull out all the slack you can. You can place your knee in the seat and provide firm pressure while adjusting the belt. Sometimes, you can achieve adequate force by simply pressing down in the seat with your hand.

You must not be able to move the seat more than an inch in any direction while pulling at the belt path.

If you have *any* questions regarding the instructions, please call and ask the seat manufacturer. That is what they are there for.

Who can I call for help in properly installing my child's car seat?

Check the above website for a Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Location. They can teach you how to install the car seat properly. This is worth doing each time you change car seats or vehicle.

Where can I find out the laws in my state?
Check the following website for the facts on your state:
Remember that the laws do not necessarily reflect when it is *safe* to stop using a car seat, only when it is legal.

When will my child be ready to sit in an adult seat belt without needing a booster of any sort?
At approximately four feet 9 inches and around 10-11 years of age. For additional specific information please see the following link:

The child should be able to pass the "Five-Step Test" before moving from a booster to an adult seatbelt

1. Lapbelt crosses the child under the hips, firmly on the thighs, and does not rest on the tummy.
2. Shoulder belt cross the chest firmly on the shoulder, not touching the neck, or sliding off the shoulder.
3. The child's bottom rests firmly in the bight of the vehicl seat.
4. The child's knees bend at the edge of the vehicle seat AND the feet rest flat on the floor.
5. The child can remain in the position for the ENTIRETY OF EVERY trip without bending, slumping, leaning over or playing with the belt.

If any of the above is not true, a booster is still needed.

Is a high back or backless booster safer?

A highback with EPS foam in the headwings is preferable for younger children (under 8) due to the increased side impact protection and helping the child to stay positioned. A mature child over 8 years can usually sit safely in a backless booster. A good rule of thumb is to keep the high back portion of the booster until the child is too tall for it before switching to backless.

Always make sure the belt fits your child properly in the booster you have chosen. Some boosters on the market do a really poor job of belt positioning. Dorel 3-in-1 seats are the worst offenders. They make terrible boosters.

What are the dangers of using aftermarket devices on a car seat, such as an attachable tray or the Mighty-Tite?
Add-ons, or things that have not been manufactured specifically for use with your exact car seat, have generally not been crash tested with each individual seat and are therefore not necessarily safe to use with your seat. It is best to avoid them. You can check the following link for additional information:

Do car seats expire?
Yes. Most manufactures will put a date of manufacture or and expiration date. Car seats expire after 6-9 years, in the US. If you are unsure about your carseat it is best to replace it.

Why does a car seat expire

Plastic and other materials degrade over time, even if the car seat is rarely used. After a few years the plastic can degrade enough that in in impact, the harness can actually rip through the back of the seat, allowing the child to be ejected!

Car seats expire because technology is always moving forward. Over time the seat designs change so much. New safety features come out, making older seats obsolete.

What should I do if my car seat is in an accident
The answer will vary, depending on the severity of the accident. Call your car seat manufacturer for guidance. Some manufacturers may want the seat back to do testing on it post accident. Inform your insurer too - they will most likely cover the cost of a replacement. Don't take a chance and do nothing, there may be internal stress damage to the seat that cannot be seen.

How can I safely fly with my child and their safety seat? How can I find out if my safety seat is airline approved?
Air Travel with Child Seats

It is safest for your child to have their own seat on a plane trip, and to be buckled into their car seat. Your car seat manual should provide information stating that the seat is approved for use on aircraft. There should also be a sticker on the seat itself.

Call the airline to ask what guidelines they have for car seat use.

What are the dangers of having unsecured (loose) items in my car?
In addition to buckling up the passengers, look around you in your car. Is Fido riding with you? He should be restrained - for your safety and for his safety. That metal coffee cup sitting next to you? That could hit baby square in the head if you were in an accident. Same goes for the cell phone.
Take a good survey of the car and determine what could potentially become a projectile in the event of an accident. Put the extras in the trunk. If you have a station wagon or SUV, make sure whatever is in the cargo area is securely tied down.

Last edited by Outnumbered; 03-11-2009 at 10:03 AM. Reason: updated/current information
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2003, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Installing Your Car Seat Correctly

Materials Needed:
• Car seat
• Car seat Manual
• Car Operation Manual
• Tools as specified in manual(s)

Congratulations! You have determined which car seat fits your child, your car and your budget. You are now ready to install the car seat. Proper installation of car seat is crucial. If the car seat is not installed properly, the seat will not protect your child properly. Specifically, the car seat must be installed so that it is held securely against the seat back.

Read the Car seat instruction manual from cover to cover. Familiarize yourself with the different components of your car seat, so that you are comfortable with installing and adjusting your seat. Refer to the appropriate section of the car seat manual for your installation. I.e. Rear Facing, Front Facing etc.

Refer to your car manual for LATCH compatibility, seat belt information and information on Tethers.

Send in registration card immediately. This allows you to be notified in the event that your car seat is recalled. If you are not sure if your car seat has been recalled, and you do not have a manufacturer’s telephone number, you can call the toll-free DOT Auto Safety Hotline in Washington, D.C. 1-800-DASH-2-DOT.

Helpful Hint: Make a second copy of your car seat manual to keep in the car.

To determine where your child should ride:

The safest place in your vehicle is the space in the backseat where the car seat can be installed tightly.

Helpful Hint: To adjust the height of harness in car seat, practice with child in car seat before installing car seat. Some car seats cannot have harness height adjusted without removing seat from car.

The lap portion of the seatbelt must hold the car seat in place firmly. Use your full weight by placing your knee in the car seat during installation.

Cars starting in model year 1996 must have safety belts designed to stay tight around car seats. Using both car seat manual and car manual, determine if a locking clip is needed for your installation.

Check for proper fit – pull the seat forward, and pull it from side to side. The seat belt should not loosen, the base of the seat should not slide forward or to either side more than one inch. If the seat moves, try installing in a different seat location in the car. For example, the lap belt in the middle seat may hold the car seat most securely.

Here is an excellent site with information on installing car seats:

If you are unable to attach your car seat tightly in your car, call the customer service number for your vehicle or call the Auto Safety Hotline at 1-800-424-9393.

The harness straps that hold your child in place must be adjusted correctly. Refer to car seat manual for proper fitting instructions. Make sure harness is holding child in seat snugly. Make sure the straps are not twisted. Make sure harness is at correct height for your child.

Each and every time you use your car seat, verify that it is installed snugly, and that the harness is adjusted to fit your child correctly.

Convinced you have installed the seat correctly? Do not leave the safety of your child to chance. Make an appointment, and have a certified car seat inspector verify your installation. To find an inspector near you, check out:
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2003, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Checking Your Child's Car Seat

[color=dark red]Is your child using the right size car seat? Does it face the right way for your child's weight and age? [/color]

Under age one: car seat faces the rear of the car. Infant-only car seats always face rearward. Convertible seats face rear for children under 30-35 lbs (check instructions).

Over age one AND over 20 pounds: car seat faces can face forward, but should face rearward to 30-35 pounds..

Over 40 pounds AND four years: belt positioning booster preferred to make lap and shoulder belts fit right. For upper-body protection in lap belt positions, install a shoulder belt (see auto dealer) or a tethered vest or harness [E-Z-On Products, 1-800-323-6598]. It is preferable to keep children in a harness until they are mature enough to sit properly in a booster full time, which usually happens between 5 and 6 years of age.

[color=dark red]Have you followed the instructions? [/color]

Follow specific instructions for your child's car seat.

Use vehicle owner's manual for tops on buckling in the seat.

[color=dark red]Does your child ride in back? [/color]

Never carry an infant in a rear-facing car seat or an unbuckled child in front with an air bag. The impact of a passenger-side air bag can kill a child too close to the dashboard. If the car has an air bag switch, turn it off if a child must sit there.

The back seat is generally safer than the front. Buckle up children age 12 or under correctly in the back seat whenever possible. Keep an infant facing the rear, even in the back seat.

[color=dark red]Is the car seat secured to the vehicle tightly? [/color]

Put the safety belt in the correct, marked path to hold the seat in place. The belt must be tight (see vehicle manual).

If the car seat has a tether strap, install the strap to anchor the seat firmly (see car seat directions and vehicle manual)

[color=dark red]Are the harness straps snug and in the right slots? [/color]

Adjust harness straps to be snug. Place the harness retainer clip at armpit level to hold straps on the shoulders.

For babies riding backward, shoulder straps go in the slots at or below the shoulders. For children facing forward: on convertible seats, straps go in the top slots; on toddler/booster seats, straps go at or above the shoulders.

[color=dark red]If your car seat has been recalled, have you fixed it? [/color]

Call the Auto Safety Hotline (888-DASH-2-DOT) for recall information. Call the manufacturer for free repair parts.

Last edited by Outnumbered; 03-11-2009 at 10:06 AM.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2003, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Determining How Long to Keep Your Infant Rear-Facing

There are several factors that go into determining how long to keep a baby rear-facing, but the first and most important is that infants need to rear-face until they are at least one year old, and a minimum of 20 pounds. It isn’t an either-or option, and these guidelines are the bare minimums. If your child will let you, and your seat is able to, keeping baby rear-facing longer, to 35 pounds and 2 to 3 years of age, is what is now preferred among all safety advocates, including SafeKids, NHTSA, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Weight guidelines on how big a child can be kept rear-facing vary from seat to seat. You will need to check your user’s manual or call the seat’s manufacturer to find the exact weight your seat is safe to remain rear-facing. In general, infant seats (rear-facing only) are safe to 22-35 pounds, convertible seats (rear-facing, then forward-facing) are safe to rear-face to 30-35 pounds, and combination seats and boosters are never safe to rear-face (forward-facing only). Consult your manual or seat manufacturer for your seat’s specific weight limits.

Your child needs to rear-face for a minimum of their first year of life. In the event of an accident, their spine needs the added support it will get when properly rear-facing. After a year, they are still safer rear-facing.

Height is not a reason alone to forward-face. If a child has outgrown his seat (see section on how to tell when it is time to get a bigger seat), he needs a new seat.

If your child is able to push off the seat, and move his car seat, the car seat is not properly installed, and you should tighten it, or have a certified technician re-install it more securely. A properly installed car seat will not move more than 1” in any direction when an adult is forcibly shaking it.

Bottom line, the advice to turn foward facing at 12 months and 20 pounds is outdated and in some cases lethal. Keep your child rearfacing for as long as possible!

Last edited by Outnumbered; 03-11-2009 at 10:08 AM. Reason: updated info
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-03-2003, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Seatbelts and how they work with car seats

The following information is for informational use only. Have your car seats inspected for proper fit at a fitting station.

First and foremost, please read the owner's manual in your vehicle and the instruction manual with your car seat before installing any car seat into any vehicle. Of course, as we've seen with the Marathon thread, we know that the manuals are not infallible. Manuals are also not always clear and concise, let alone easy to read! They are however, the first step in correct installation.

In order to install a car seat using the vehicle seatbelt, you must remember that the belt must be locked. This is done either by the retractor or latch plate. If there is no locking available from either of these devices, a locking clip must be used.

Now for seatbelts and how they work.

There are three different types of retractors on seatbelt systems.
ALR or Automatic Locking Retractor
ELR or Emergency Locking Retractor
Switchable which switches between ELR & ALR modes

* ALR is the oldest form of retractor. These are usually found in older vehicles. It's the kind that keeps tightening whenever it can. Any slack in the belt is automatically taken up by the retractor.

* ELR is a newer type of retractor. This retractor allows the belt to stay loose until a sudden change of direction or speed (like a quick stop) OR the occupant moving quickly causes the mechanism to lock.

* Switchable is just what it says! It switches between the two modes mentioned above. At first it seems like an ELR system. However, once the belt is pulled, slowly, all the way out to the end, it switches into ALR mode. Sometimes a click is heard when the mechanism switches.

There are also belts with no retractors. These are lap only belts that have a locking latch plate that allows you to adjust the belt length and then lock it in place. Picture an airplane seatbelt. These are usually found in the center rear seating position. They may be in other positions on older vehicles, as well.

To test what retractor type your vehicle has... check your vehicle manual, first! Next, pull the seatbelt out of the retractor, slowly, until about the half-way point. Allow some of the belt to feed back into the retractor. Pull on the belt again. If the belt keeps winding into the retractor and does not allow you to pull more out, that is an ALR system. If the belt continues to be free flowing, it could be an ELR system. Now, further test the possible ELR system by pulling the belt slowly until you reach the end. Once it reaches the end, allow the belt to feed into the retractor. If you are unable to loosen it after feeding the belt back into the retractor, it is a switchable and is now in the ALR mode. You may hear clicking sounds when a retractor is in ALR mode.

Note: Different seating positions my have different retractors. Usually the driver position will have ELR to allow free movement for the driver. Not all seating positions are appropriate for all car seats.[/i]

Another concern is the latch plate of the belt. This is the plastic & metal portion that clicks into the buckle. There are 5 kinds of latch plates.

LOCKING Only on seatbelts without a retractor. When the latch plate is turned over it reveals a metal locking bar. In order for the latch plate to lock the belt, the two pieces of belt must be parallel.

Lightweight LOCKING
Light-weight LOCKING Used on seatbelts with ELR & some switchable retractors. The latch plate slides freely along the belt unless the belt is buckled and belt is pulled tight enough to cause it to cinch or lock the belt.

SLIDING* No locking mechanism exists on the latch plate. It slides freely on the belt.

SEWN-ON** Latch plate is sewn onto the belt.

SWITCHABLE This latch plate is specifically designed for car seat installation and is only found on some higher-end vehicles. This latch plate has a switch that changes it from sliding to locking.

* A locking clip must be used with this type of latch plate.
** A belt shortening clip must be used with this type of latch plate & ELR retractor system.

See NHTSA website for more information on the use of these clips.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-18-2003, 02:05 AM
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This forum is for informational purposes only!

Due to the inability to physically inspect the vehicles, child restraints, and children discussed in the posts, the advice given here by Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians and other members is not a substitute for having a CPS technician check the seat in person.

Unless otherwise specified, the majority of the information contained in this forum is pertaining to U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Last edited by Yup_n_Nope; 09-20-2003 at 05:04 PM.
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