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Is your child in the right car seat? Probably not. Fix it now.

I am furious and heartbroken all at the same time this morning. When I logged on the Internet this morning, the first article on Yahoo.com’s main page just ruined my entire day.

This mother tragically lost her child because her child was not properly restrained in his car seat. Something so simple. Something so easy. Something so many people are not aware of could have saved this poor life. It kills me. My heart is breaking for a complete stranger this morning.

By law, at least in North Carolina, a child is required to be in a rear facing car seat until they turn one. Although that is the law in the state in which I live, other states have laws that require children to remain rear-facing for far longer because experts recommend that a child remain rear facing for as long as possible. Age does not determine if your child gets to be forward facing. A child’s weight and height does. Each car seat is different. Each car seat has different regulations on how your child should sit in the seat and if it should be rear facing or forward facing.

ONE IN FOUR CAR SEATS Are INSTALLED INCORRECTLY. Knowing that alarming statistic, that 75 percent of car seats are wrong, how could you not want to ensure yours is right?!

Please don’t assume because your child is one, or because your friend’s child is forward-facing, that your child should be too, because chances are, they shouldn’t. A child in a rear facing seat is 4 times safer than a child in a forward facing seat when it comes to a collision. FOUR TIMES SAFER. I have no idea that parents can know that fact and ignore it. I have no idea why any parent would want to risk their child’s safety.

I completely understand, that in a lot of cases, like the one of the mother in the article posted above, the problem is lack of education on the topic. Since becoming a mother I have become a car seat nazi. I guess you could say that I am kind of obsessed with it. But when I read articles like the one above… who can blame me? Today, a mother is without her son because she didn’t know the facts. It is that simple.

I have heard some parents say that their child is too big to be rear facing because their feet touch the back of the seat. My sister was one example. But that just simply isn’t true. It is perfectly safe and expected for your child’s feet to be rear facing with their feet touching the seat. It is going to happen and is totally ok. It will keep your child safe. Just do it.

Please educate yourself. Please know what is best for your child. Please don’t let an easy fix take your child’s life.  There are tons of resources, a great one is Safe Kids. Not only does their website have a ton of information, but they also have resources to find car seat technicians who will check your car seat for free. They are certified and can tell you what is best for your child and your vehicle. It doesn’t cost you anything to get it checked, but if you don’t, it could cost you your child’s life.

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So if we are Facebook friends, and you post a picture of your child in a car seat and it is incorrect. Chances are I am probably going to step up and say something, because the mother in this article wished someone would have done that for her.

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Summer Vacation Series Part III: Rear vs. Forward Facing car seat for a long drive

So for our first vacation as a family, well at least the first that counts (we took Turner on work trips with Andrew when he was a couple of weeks old), we decided since we were driving from North Carolina to Destin, Florida, it would be a treat for Turner, and easier for us, if we turned his car seat forward facing.

The first couple of minutes were awesome. We got to see him, and every time we turned around and looked at him he would giggle and he just loved it. It was easier… at first.

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We thought it would be easier. Especially since his car seat presses up against my seat, and if I wanted to lay it back, or not be hugging the dashboard for the entire drive, he would have to be in the middle instead of behind my seat.

When Turner got tired, and we just happened to be stuck in traffic due to a wreck, it was hell. He could not get comfortable in the more upright position the car seat was in. He wanted me to be turned and talking to him or giving him attention every second, which made me car sick. He was livid, and there was nothing we could do because we were stuck in traffic, on the side of the highway, with no end in sight.

We drive halfway the first night, just to make it easier on Turner. Which ended up being miserable for us. But we were so tired, we just decided to leave the car seat forward facing the next morning. It was only 4 hours, and although it was a little harder, it was just so cute to be able to look back and see him. It really was a treat for us. Well, we soon regretted that decision as well.

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Since he could see us, he wanted to us to play and talk to him the whole time. I just couldn’t do it. Well, needless to say, for the non-stop 8 hour trip home, we left his seat rear-facing. And although I could not even begin to straighten my legs, Turner slept and was content the whole way home!

So lesson learned. If you think a forward-facing seat is easier and better for your little one on a long car ride… think again. Leave it rear-facing for as long as possible!

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My little guy is growing way too fast

So we got another new car seat for Turner this weekend. Since Andrew doesn’t love the Cadillac of rear-facing convertible car seats that we originally bought, we went with a simpler model for the second car. 

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I didn’t install it right away and Andrew wasn’t with me when Ruby and I picked it out, so he had no crash course in installation before he loaded Turner up to take him to day care yesterday. Andrew was convinced I had messed up and bought a forward facing seat, and since that is how he could figure out to install it, that is how Turner rode to daycare. 

Let me just tell you, seeing Turner so happy and smiling and in awe of the world and all he could see was precious. And every time I looked in the back seat he would just smile and giggle at me and it was perfection. Knowing that they should be rear facing until two, and the longer they are rear facing the better, when we got home, I fixed the seat, but it sure was not easy. Being able to see him was adorable! Melts my stinking heart! 

In other news, while I know it is too soon to brag or anticipate anything permanent, the last two nights Turner has actually slept…kinda. He still woke up crying, but instead of me having to get up, get him a new bottle and even rub his back and restart his much to get him to go back to sleep, he was able to do it on his own. It was glorious. Even a little bittersweet. When I put him down for bed, I always kiss him and tell him I will see him at midnight, since that is when he has been getting up like clockwork… but the last two nights, he slept right through our 12 a.m. meeting, and it was a little heartbreaking.

He is basically a grown up. It is hard to believe that he will be 1 in 24 days. Wow. Speaking of 24 days… I have a party to plan that I have no time to do. Crap!

, SiteDart Author

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Not a fan of the new car seat… but looks like I have no choice!

I am completely frustrated. 

On Sunday, Andrew and I drove an hour away to get Turner a new car seat. We had to drive so far because that is where the closest Babies R’ Us is. Our local Walmart didn’t have the car seat that I wanted. Because I am a car seat Nazi, I want Turner to be in a rear-facing seat as long as possible. Because rear-facing seats are not that popular, the selection locally, is basically nonexistent. So we drove an hour away. 

That is not what I am frustrated about. I just wanted to make note of the inconvenience. 

What I am frustrated about is how annoying car seats are in general. Like nothing about them are convenient. I am stoked that they keep Turner safe. I know every rule and all the ins and outs about seats, but that doesn’t mean I understand why they have to be so awful. 

Turner is kind of in an in between stage with his size. He had outgrown his infant seat. His head was less than an inch from the top and he was over 20 pounds. So we elected to get a convertible seat that can stay rear-facing until 40 pounds. But that seat is basically a tank. I guess it is because it grows with the child, but surely there are better options than a seat that weights 15 pounds itself. Turner isn’t even a year yet, so he still sleeps just about every time we put him in the car. But now, there is no handle to carry him in his car seat to and from places, the car seat requires its own buggy if Turner falls asleep.

I feel like there can be a happy medium. 

I feel like there should be an option that is still convenient and easy to carry and transfer from vehicle to vehicle, and one that doesn’t weight the same, if not more than my child! Like a detachable option. That slips out of the main car seat that can be used just to carry the child, something, anything rather than lugging that thing around! 

 

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, SiteDart Author

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Free car seat safety coloring book!

First, I am sorry for not being consistent with posting. I have been super busy with work, trying to contain my walker, and finalizing the Buckle Up, Baby! car seat safety clinic. I wanted to share with you guys the coloring book that the company I work for custom created AND is giving out for free with crayons on April 5. This is just one of the many, many free give-aways that will be at the event! I am pretty pumped about it. 

What is even cooler, you guys can see it and print it out for your kiddos too! Feel free to share it and let me know what you think! Check out the Buckle Up, Baby! coloring book by clicking here!

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, SiteDart Author

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Top 4 reasons you should NEVER buy or sell a used car seat

Your child’s car seat is probably the only thing that you will buy that has the potential to save your child’s life. You can get a basic standard model seat for less than $80. While I understand how tempting it is to go to a garage sale and buy a used seat that is half the price, I would strongly recommend against it.  

1) Car Seats Expire. 

A lot of people either do not know that car seats expire, or think it is all some hoax to encourage people to buy more seats. Well, you are welcomed to think that, but I think you’re nuts. 

Expiration dates are given to car seats for numerous reasons. 1) The plastic used when making the car seat wears down over time. The plastic gets brittle as it gets older, so the seat could break if it too old and you happen to get in an accident. Doesn’t it make sense that the sun and heat of your car can wear down the plastic and make the seat not as strong as intended? I think that is common sense. 

Often times, car seats come with special flame resistant materials on the straps that secure your child. Over time, that material wears off, making the seat less safe. This film on the straps is also the reason why you should never remove the straps from the seat and wash them in the washing machine. Instead, wipe it down with a wet wipe. 

This video is the perfect example of why car seats expire. 

2) Original paperwork. 

No car seat was created equal. Just because you have installed a car seat before, does NOT mean you can install them all. They are all made different and come with different parts and pieces. Nine times out of 10, if you buy a car seat from a friend or a garage sale, the seat probably does not have the original paperwork showing how to install the seat or how to use the additions that came when the seat was first purchased. Without this information, you could be missing crucial details that could save your child’s life. 

You need the original paperwork. More concerning than not having the original paperwork or parts and pieces, if that you have no way of knowing if the seat has been in a previous accident. A car seat is not designed to sustain multiple accidents. So if they car seat has already been in an accident, the materials are not strong enough to survive another one. Unfortunately, there is not a Carfax for car seat to give you an accident report. Yet another reason you are better off just getting a new one! If you do for some reason, still buy a used seat, you can call the manufactures to get a copy of the manual. 

 3) Car seats are recalled. 

As much as I hate to say it, sometimes seats end up at garage sales or given away because the seat was recalled by the manufacturer. Some parents may acknowledge the seat is not safe for their own child, but think they would be doing someone a favor by still giving it away. And while I can appreciate the thought that a car seat is better than no car seat, you should still be cautious.  Organizations likes the CDC, or your local health department keep a running list of car seats that have been recalled. You might have seen in the news where Graco recalled a ton of seats because of a faulty belt. I think it is safe to say that out of those thousands of seats that were recalled, not all of them made it back to Graco or were properly disposed of, and instead someone else is using it today. 

 4) New Technology.  

Have you ever looked up the evolution of the car seat? They have changed so much since they were first introduced. The first model car seats were introduced not for safety, but instead to let the child see out the window for a more pleasurable driving experience. So often I hear people say, “Well when I was growing up we didn’t have car seats, we didn’t even have seat belts.” I want to punch these people between the eye. Before safety standards for vehicles and the mandate for car seats, the cars we drove were a lot different. Do you think in 50 years, a 2014 Chevy Cavilers is going to be preserved and sitting in a collector’s garage? I think not. Cars are not built the same today. Back then, cars were luxury item that were built to last. They could crash and barely even have a ding on them. Today, you brush up against the curve and the car is totaled. We live in a different time. Cars today also run a little faster, and have considerably more drivers on the roads than back then.  

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A good example of how car seat technology changes  is that in 2002 car seats were not equipped with Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children (LATCH). Now however, they are a standard feature in nearly all car seats.

 The PROPER way to dispose of a car seat is to rip it to shreds. Make sure that you leave nothing left in a car seat so if someone happened to find it at the dump, they would not be tempted to get it. When there are so many different experts and organizations screaming about the safety of these seats, are you really willing to risk your child’s safety to save a few bucks? 

 I understand hardship all too well. I know that sometimes life throws up curve balls and sometimes we just cannot make ends meet. I have been there. If you find yourself in that situation, know that events like the upcoming one in my area, Buckle up, Baby! and local health departments will provide NEW car seats for FREE or at very little cost. And if you still cannot get one, message me. I do not care who you are or where you are. I do not need to know your story  or even why you need it. Just send me a message that you need a car seat, and I will personally get you a new one. Our children’s safety is just too important.

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