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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
I notice that people get very upset when you bring the subject up, no matter how kindly or gently.