Car seats cannot provide appropriate protection until they are properly installed. Following all the usage and checking instructions for daily drives is also crucial to ensure safe travel for kids. While most parents pay a lot of attention and care about how and where to buy booster seats in NZ, many of them fail when it comes to how to properly use these seats.
Even some experienced caregivers and parents are not always confident that they have not done anything wrong or missed a step while installation and usage. If you feel unsure of the installation despite following all the instructions, here is a list of common mistakes that parents often make. The list will help you figure out what went wrong in your case and ensure a safe ride for your kids.
Improper installation or fastening of car seat
Once the installation is complete check the fix by trying and moving the seat on both sides. A well-installed seat should not move more than 2.5 cm in either direction.
Some easy-to-install seats come with systems that can be directly and easily attached to the inbuilt car anchors. Many newer models also have indicators to show whether the seat is fixed properly or not.
Incorrect positioning of shoulder straps
The correct position of the shoulder strap differs in different types of seats. If you have a forward-facing seat, buckle the shoulder strap to the slot that is at most 25mm lower than the child’s shoulder.
While in rearward-facing seats the strap should be buckled in a slot that is not lower than the shoulder height. In either case, choose a slot that is closest to the shoulder of the child.
Loosely tied harness
A pinch test is an easy way to check the harness. If you can grab extra strap fabric while pinching at the shoulder, the harness is loose. Tighten the harness and double-check to ensure, it is perfectly tied as it is crucial to keep the child in place in case of sudden breaks or accidents.
Incorrect path for the belt
Parents end up choosing the wrong path for the belt is one of the most common installation mistakes. Often they mix up the forward-facing and rearward-facing orientation that leads to the improper fixing of the seat. Make sure you read the manual carefully and follow every step meticulously to avoid such mistakes.
Not using or wrong use of a top tether
Top tethers are an extra protection layer for your kids during a car drive. These tethers provide a greater restraint on the movement of the seat for better stability. Top tethers are an integral part of forward-facing car seats that people often forget to tie.
Wrong positioning, especially the recline
Many car seat models come with an adjustable reclining position for greater comfort for the kids. You can lower them when the baby wants to take a nap and pull it upright for a comfortable sitting position.
In either case, going too far can be risky. Reclining too much reduces the protection from sudden thrust and uprighting too high makes the baby’s head fall and cause troubled breathing.
Wrong installation positioning
Placing a car seat closer to the door is not advisable in any case. Even if your seat has side-impact protection, the ideal installation position is in the middle to avoid injury, if the car meets a crash.