Car Seat Safety
At Infant Crisis Services, we provide life-sustaining formula, food and diapers for babies and toddlers in times of crisis. However, the volunteers and staff at Infant Crisis Services strive to ensure safety and security for our tiny clients.
Car seat safety is vital in protecting the fragile necks, heads, and spinal cords of babies and toddlers, so we make sure to adjust all ill-fitting car seats that come through our doors. Our Client Services Coordinator, Ana Davis is particularly passionate about the importance of car seat safety.
According to Ana, “We feed babies and we save babies. It is important not to put one before the other. We have to do a 100% good job.” Ana is one of three staff members who are car seat certified through Safe Kids World Wide. Executive Director Miki Farris, and Outreach Coordinator Judith Cope, are also certified.
Every Infant Crisis Services volunteer is required to attend a meeting with Volunteer Coordinator Liz Moon, where they are taught the importance of car seat safety. They are instructed to identify the warning signs associated with ill-fitting or improperly installed car seats. Volunteers examine all client car seats and notify Ana, Miki or Judith if they see a problem.
Wobbling bases, loose or twisted straps, malfunctioning buckles and expired carriers are the most common car seat issues we see at Infant Crisis Services, but Ana has experienced more severe cases.
“A child is supposed to use a car seat for as long as they can, but I once saw a grandmother with an infant in the passenger seat. I was terrified, so I spoke to the grandmother. When she had babies, no one used car seats,” Ana explained.
Thankfully, we have plenty of car seat safety knowledge and resources available at Infant Crisis Services. We provide Oklahoma Highway Safety Office “Ride Right: at every age, every stage” brochures in English and Spanish. The pamphlets help parents determine the proper car seat for their baby or toddler based on their age, height and weight.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, rear-facing seats are recommended for babies and toddlers until they are two years old. Rear-facing car seats should never be placed in front of an active air bag, and should recline at a 30-40 degree angle. The harness straps should rest at or below the shoulders, with the chest clip positioned at armpit level. The baby’s head should be cradled and resting more than one inch below the top of the car seat. If the infant’s carrier does not come with a head cushion, rolling a blanket and fitting it around the baby’s head works just as well.
A front-facing car seat should be used when an infant outgrows the height or weight limits for their rear-facing seat. Front-facing seats should also have straps adjusted snuggly to the toddler’s shoulders with the chest clip resting at armpit level. A forward-facing car seat protects from forward movement during a crash.
To ensure that our clients are fully protected, we make sure to check each car seat before our babies and toddlers complete their visits. One of our certified car seat technicians will fit the car seat, untwist any straps, make sure the belts are buckled and the chest plate is lying properly. It is important for babies and toddlers to be snuggly contoured by their car seats, so if blankets have been placed in the carrier under the baby’s body, they are removed. To prevent a loose fitting car seat, it is helpful to leave the car seat base in the vehicle and remove only the carrier when taking the baby out. If there is no base available, safely strap in the car seat with seatbelts provided in the vehicle.
At Infant Crisis Services, we make sure no babies or toddlers leave with an empty stomach or an ill-fitting car seat.
Posted on Thu, July 12, 2012
by Molly Vignos