Ask me all your Car Seat questions!

A big thanks to Brande for the inspiration for this post!!!

I am a CPST - Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (also known as a car seat tech) and have been since November. While I will always always always tell you to take your seats to a local CPST to have them checked, I'd also like to open up the opportunity for all of you to ask any questions you might have!! I'm here to answer :) :)

A few of the biggest things I see being done incorrectly:
- you should not be using LATCH and a seatbelt. Pick one and use just one, not both.
- whenever a seat is forward facing it should have a top tether in use.
- TIGHTEN UP THOSE STRAPS!!!! The straps should be (I don't use this analogy often, but here I know it's all women!) bra strap tight. Think about how tight your bra strap is on your shoulder... that's what your child's car seat straps should be like!

05
BethSummerville, South Carolina
    04/01/14
    4Katie
    Thanks so much for this post Beth!

    I hope to officially become a CPST soon, I am waiting for a class to be held in my area. I have studied and read a bunch though so I can teach parents in my childbirth class how to properly use carseats.

    Maybe if someone is having a problem they can also post a picture for advice.
    0
    04/01/14
    Beth
    Absolutely!! I do get nervous offering advice just with pictures because there are lots of things pictures won't show... like if the seat isn't secured to the car tight enough. My fear is just giving someone a false sense of security because I don't have my hands on the seat shaking it... but there are also lots of improvements that I can suggest just based on pictures :)

    I have been passionate about car seat safety since Mason was born, and like you had done a TON of research... but even I learned things (and adjusted my seats accordingly) during the class. Katie, if you have the opportunity to go please do! It is such an interesting 4 days and you will learn something!
    1
    04/01/14
    4Katie
    I agree with you on the pictures but some simple things can be improved such as making the straps tighter or moving the chest clip to the proper position.

    I can't wait to be officially certified. I am a car safety nut. My almost 9yr old just moved out of his 5pt harness seat and into a highback booster. My 3yr old was just turned forward facing. My 6yr old is in a 5pt harness seat and the 18month old is still rearfacing. We even rearfaced her on the airplane when we went to ABC last October.
    1
    04/01/14
    Beth
    LOVE hearing that Katie!! Way to keep those babies safe!!!

    I always joke with my husband that our kids will move out of their boosters into the driver's seat. Mason is such a skinny kid. I've also committed to driving him to and from school everyday because I don't want him riding a bus yet. He is WAY below the weight to legally move to a booster seat (let alone my weight limits!), and I'd much rather go out of my way a little each day to keep him as safe as possible!
    1
      04/01/14
      Hi, I'm starting a registry and have been looking at car seats and have no idea what to choose or how to choose , any tips are welcome!
      0
      04/01/14
      4Katie
      Remember that car seats have expiration dates, based on when they were manufactured. Don't buy them too far in advance, especially a convertible seat or a booster seat because they might expire before you even get a chance to use them.

      Look for a infant seat that has high weight and height limits for rearfacing. Personally I love the Chicco Keyfit and think it has some of the best weight and height allowances and the price is reasonable.
      1
        04/01/14
        8Theresa Gould
        Great tips! Thank you, Beth!
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          04/01/14
          Comment deleted
          04/01/14
          4Katie
          I know I am not Beth but...

          The car seat is testing using only seatbelt or latch. Using both at the same time will put too much tension on the seat and cause the seat to break apart during a crash. You are never supposed to use both.
          2
          04/03/14
          Beth
          Brande Using both is not suggested by manufacturers and the seats are not crash tested with both. Basically we don't know what would happen, and you certainly don't want your child to be the one that tests it out.

          There is also some studies that show using both can put too much strain on the seat causing it to crack and creating vulnerabilities where there wouldn't normally be one.
          1
          04/03/14
          Beth
          Melissa I'm very careful with who and how I approach it. I make it pretty public that I am certified and that people are welcome to ask questions or meet up with me to have me check their seats. I try my best to let people do their own thing unless they ask me or they are breaking the law. You're right. for some reason, no matter how you bring it up people feel judged when you correct their car seat use. It is insane and makes no sense to me - I don't think people are bad parents, I think they were misinformed. I haven't had anyone get upset with me yet... though I have had to bite my tongue and just pray for luck when I've seen things, offered help, and been told "no thanks!"
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          About Beth
          Current: Summerville, South Carolina
          Birth: September 18
          On Moms.com since: Aug 18, 2013
          obsessed with babywearing, cloth diapering, and breastfeeding (but not judgmental about those that aren't). I'm a SAHM that works. Loves cupcakes, kittens, and glitter; hates spiders, housework and pessimism.