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Car Seat Safety: Basic Rules and Tips to Remember

Car Seat Safety: Basic Rules and Tips to Remember

Car Seats
As JPMA Baby Safety Month Ambassadors, we're getting buckled up this September with useful tips for safe travels.

Each year we’re proud to support the JPMA Baby Safety Month Event, helping to educate parents and caregivers on best practices for keeping their little one as safe as can be. The whole month of September is dedicated to resources and tools across lots of different safety topics from sleep to car seats, and in this edition of Diono Journal, we’re sharing ours!

Child Passenger Safety

Rear-facing is the safest way for a child to travel. It is recommended to keep your child rear-facing at least until two years old. Some states have laws requiring that kids ride rear-facing until the age of two. We recommend you keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible as per the weight or height limits of their car seat. Don’t be in a hurry to turn them forward-facing!

Forward-facing children should stay in the five-point harness until they reach the maximum height or weight limits as detailed in the car seat manual, or until they can safely ride in a booster seat with a properly fitting seat belt.

Rear-facing passengers should have the harness straps positioned at or below their shoulders. For passengers riding forward-facing, the harness straps should be positioned at or above the shoulders.*

*Note that Diono car seats require harness straps to be above the shoulders when forward-facing. Always check your car seat manual for specific instructions.

Register your car seat with the manufacturer. This is to ensure you’re contacted about any recalls or other safety issues.

Read both your car seat manual and your vehicle manual. Different vehicles have different requirements when it comes to where you can safely install your car seat. It will also tell you where your LATCH anchors are located, where the airbags are located, and how to lock your seat belts. Your car seat manual will instruct you on how to install your car seat properly.

 A used or secondhand car seat is not recommended for use since you may not know its history. It may have been involved in a crash, parts may be missing, the manual might be missing, or it might be expired.

If you’ve been involved in a crash, you’ll need to contact your car seat manufacturer to see if your seat needs to be replaced. Some manufacturers require replacement after any crash, and some follow NHTSA’s guidelines for replacement. Only the manufacturer can advise you on replacement.

There is no evidence to prove that a LATCH installation is safer than a seat belt installation. However, do NOT use LATCH and seat belt together unless your car seat manufacturer allows it.

Lead by example and ensure that all passengers are buckled up correctly. Ensure that all child passengers are riding in a properly installed safety seat appropriate for their height and weight, or that the adult seat belt fits them properly without a booster.

Never leave your child unattended in the car, even for a short amount of time. Keep keys and fobs out of reach, as well as any other items unsuitable for children.

If possible, park your vehicle in a shaded area on hot days. Before putting your child in their car seat, check any metal parts on their car seat to ensure they haven’t gotten too hot. A towel placed over an unoccupied car seat can help prevent metal parts from getting hot.

Most car seat manufacturers do not allow aftermarket accessories to be used with their seats. If you’re uncertain, check with your manufacturer. Note that Diono allows for Diono accessories to be used with our seats.