The older I get, the faster the days and years seem to speed by me. Some days this seems like a blessing, other days like a curse. Darling 1 will be 4 years old this summer. I don't know how it happened so quickly that he has become a boy; not a baby, not a toddler, but a boy. I remember vividly the days leading up to his birth: placing the last finishing touches on his adorable room; stacking books just so; lovingly washing his tiny baby clothes and precisely folding each onesie; carefully lining up the clean bottles, pacis, etc in the cabinet, and going to bed early and waking at the crack of dawn (which is the exact opposite of my normal internal clock); taking walks; resting. I can't say the same for the days prior to Darling 2's birth. Our hearts were full of love for him, and we were crazy with anticipation to meet him, but the difference was that we were busy raising Darling 1, our child-rearing systems were set and the gear was assembled. Before Darling 2's arrival, we pulled out Darling 1's baby clothes from the bins in the basement, washed them and shoved them into the drawer; put up the crib; bought new BPA-free bottles, pacis and diapers, and we were done.
The same goes for car seats. Soon after Darling 1's arrival, we went to the local fire station and had a professional check and install his infant seat. We even did this again when he moved from his infant seat to his rear-facing car seat. We have never done this for Darling 2. We love him the same amount and care about his well-being, but we have more car seat knowledge now, and frankly, we are busier. But being busy can't be an excuse for failing to do something that will keep a child safe. So, sometimes it's a good idea to step back and really look at the seat and see how the seat fits in the car, how the child fits in the seat and then make any necessary adjustments. It's also a good idea to check the state laws to determine what kind of car seat is best for your child based on weight, height and age requirements.
Finding the Right Fit
We have now owned 5 car seats, ranging from infant seat to booster seat. Each have fit our car differently, some better, some tighter, some easier to install, some simply a pain. So, when my pediatrician's office gave me this website I was delighted. I wish I would have had it the whole 4 years, but I just learned about it before buying the booster seat that Darling 1 uses in Dear Husband's car when he goes to preschool. This website has you enter your vehicle information and the type of car seat you are looking for and it spits out the best fitting models: http://www.carseatdata.org/. It's quite brilliant…and magical.
Life is so precious and can be gone in an instant. It's vitally important to make sure your child is in the correct style and size of car seat. Proper fit of both the car seat in the vehicle and the child in the car seat is key to staying safe while on the road. I recently read a statistic that said 7 out of 10 car seats are not properly installed. That is scary. So, in order to ensure that your car seat is not one of those 7, you can find a car seat inspection center near you and have a professional check it out for you. This website will direct you to the nearest car seat check location: http://www.seatcheck.org/. This website also provides a car seat recall list and other useful information.
It is important to know exactly how each individual seat is to be installed in a particular vehicle. For that information, read the manual that came with the car seat. If you can't find the manual, you can contact the manufacturer or go online to their website for information. The Healthy Children website also provides lots of basic information about choosing, installing and using all styles of car seats. For basic car seat information, click here: http://tinyurl.com/2crqtzm.
As a parent, I deal with car seats day in and day out. Darling 2 is generally throwing a tantrum trying to escape forcing me to pin him in the seat, my hands going as fast as they can to get all the belts fastened and tight before he slips out. Darling 1 is much more safety conscious now and makes sure that he is fastened and tight. However, because of the frequency with which we deal with car seats, often with distracted minds, it is essential to check them periodically. Do you have any car seat tips or great websites you rely on for car seat information? If so, leave a comment here, on Facebook or Twitter. On Friday, I will post a bit of Motherly Advice. Over and out…