Answers to common questions and installation tips regarding forward-facing child safety seats are provided by Snohomish child injury attorney Andrew Y. Kim.

Installation Tips and Common Questions for Forward-Facing Car Safety Seats

Healthychildren.org posted this article regarding children and car safety seats.  Listed below are installation tips and answers to common questions for forward facing car seats.

Installation
-Make sure the car seat is tightly installed and the harness snugly fits the child.
-When switching a convertable or 3-in-1 seat from rear- to forward-facing, remember to:
  • Always refer the seat's instruction manuel to convert your specific model.
  • Move the shoulder straps to the slots that are at the child's shoulders.  Some convertable car safety seats require the top harness slots to be used when being used as a forward-facing car seat. Check with your instructions to be sure.
  • The recline angle of the seat may need to be adjusted when converting.  Check your instructions to make sure.
  • Make sure that if you are using a seat belt to secure the car seat, it runs through the forward facing belt path.

-If possible use a tether.  Attached to the top of the car safety seat, a tether is a strap that stabilizes the seat by connecting it to an anchor in your vehicle (usually on the back the seat or on the rear shelf).  The tether is important because is provides extra protection by keeping the car seat and child's head from moving too far forward in the event of a crash or sudden stop.  Use the tether for every ride as long as your child has not reached the top weight limit.


Common Questions & Answers

-What if I drive more children than can be buckled safely in the back seat?
  • If your car is equipped with air bags in the front seat, it is best to avoid transporting more children than can be buckled safely in the back seat.  All children ages 13 and younger should ride in the back seat.  If it is absolutely necessary to place a child in the front seat, a forward-facing car seat with a harness may be the best option.  Be sure to move the passenger seat all the way back to leave the most room between the child and the dashboard/air bag.
-What do I need to know if my child will be driven by someone else, such as for child care or school?
  • Make sure your child's car seat fits properly in the transporting vehicle.  Also make sure it is appropriate for your child's size and age.
  • Be sure the person in charge of transporting your child knows how to install the car safety seat correctly.
  • If your child will be transported through child care or school, they should have written guidelines that contain the following:
  1. Drivers must have a valid license.  Some states require school bus drivers to have a special type of license.
  2. The same staff-to-child ratio for the classroom should apply to transport as well.
  3. School staff or parent volunteers should be supervising every child during the transport, so that the driver is able to focus on driving.
  4. School staff, teachers and drivers should be able to know what to do in the event of an emergency, as well as how to properly use car seats, seat belts and all other safety requirements.
-Should my child ride in a car safety seat on an airplane?
  • While most car safety seats can be used on an airplane, travel vests and booster seats cannot.  The FAA and the AAP recommend that to the age of 4 years old, children should be securely fastened in certified child restraints using the airplane seat belts.  Check your instructions or with the manufacturer to make sure your child's car safety seat is certified to be used on an airplane.  There are also child-restraints that are made strictly for using while flying.

The Andrew Kim Law Firm is a personal injury firm in Bellevue that is experienced in handling Snohomish accidents, including accidents involving children.  If your child has been injured in a car accident, or any other kind of accident, call our office for a free consultation.  You will speak with a Snohomish accident attorney who can help with your child's injury claim.  We can be reached at (425) 289-1990, (253) 682-2000 or (800) 636-3676.