9 Car Seat Safety Tips & Car Seat Safety Check

Appointments Available , Sergeant Walters to the rescue!

By Tina Villalobos, Publisher of Farmingdale & Babylon Macaroni Kid March 19, 2019

Car seat Safety can be confusing, but our children's safety is of the utmost importance. You should see something wrong in our picture above, if not, you definitely need to read below! Here are 9 Tips to Help You Keep Your Child Safe in the Car. Special thanks to Sergeant Walters for doing demos at our StrollerTraffic Live event and for scheduling appointments for our local families to come and get their car seats checked. 

9 Tips to Help You Keep Your Child Safe in the Car

1. Don't be afraid to get help when installing your car seat. Most fire departments and police stations hold appointment days so parents can come in and have their installation checked. Make an appointment before the baby is born and a checkup appointment as your child grows. Straps need to be raised as your child gets older and a trained professional can help you decide if center seat placement is best for your car seat. 

  • The Suffolk County Troopers hold workshops across Long Island. Call 631-756-3389 to make an appointment near Farmingdale. Appointments can be made near Brentwood by leaving a message for Sergeant Walters at 631-756-3389. 
    • Their next set of workshops are at the NY State Police Office in Farmingdale, 7140 Republic Airport, E. Farmingdale   (Additional Suffolk County 
    • Dates are: 3/2/19 from 9am-1pm & 3/9/19 from 9am-1pm (APPOINTMENTS NECESSARY) Trooper Frank Bandiero at (631) 756-3389
  • Find more appointment centers or trained professions on the SAFE NY website.

YouTube is a great place to look for ideas on the best car seats out there this year. Reviews can be sponsored, so always check them out in store and don't just rely on a video to help you install your car seat. Have it checked by a licensed professional.

2. Children should be rear facing as long as possible. More car seats are being made for extended rear facing and convertible seats can accommodate toddlers from 35-50 pounds rear-facing until around 3yrs old. Think of it this way, rear facing their neck is safer, which far outweighs your concern for their legs or their ability to see what's going on in the front. Laws change, so check out the latest NYS LAW on Car Seats, here.

3. Children need a booster seat until they have their:

  1. Knees bent at the end of the seat
  2. Back flat against the seat back
  3. Are sitting up properly with the shoulder belt (If your child keeps putting it behind them it's a good sign it doesn't sit properly on their shoulders and should remain in a booster seat!)
  4. Lap belt rests over the tops of the thighs
  5. Shoulder belt falls between the neck and shoulder (Not across their chin and not across their arm.

4. All current car seats and booster seats need to be tethered for added security. Do NOT just use the car's seat belt to hold the seat in place. In an accident, the seat can move forward many inches, causing worse whip lash to your child's neck.

5. Shoulder straps MUST be snug and the breast plate must always be positioned below the chin and above the belly, across their chest. Too low and they can slip out of the car seat in the event of a roll over. 

6. Remove ALL bulky clothing and jackets before putting your child in the car seat and avoid extras like pads and strap cushions. The cushion your child's coat provides can mean inches of movement in the event of a car accident, causing their body to thrust forward and back. The five point harness is meant to keep them firmly against the car seat to avoid their heads flipping forward and back. Adding extra items like pee pads and strap cushions can also create a false sense of security while actually causing gaps between your child and the straps.

7. Don't Text and Drive! Stay off your phone while you are driving. Pull over to set up your GPS to go somewhere. If the phone rings, let it go until you have stopped the car. Even eating, drinking beverages that can spill, or putting on make-up can cause an accident. Your kids are watching and will be drivers one day, too. Set a good example so they will be safe when they're behind the wheel.

8. Car Seat Safety is for EVERYONE. Adults and teens, front or back seat, need to wear their seat belt. Talk to your kids about the things you're doing while driving to keep everyone safe. Encourage them to not scream or yell so you aren't distracted. Teach your children that the same goes for when they're on a school bus, so the driver can bring them home safely.

9. Always Use a Car Seat, even when traveling! A quick trip from the airport, a ride on a bus to the city, or even on vacation still require a car seat for your child's safety. There are fold-able car seat boosters perfect for travel and many taxis or car services will provide seats for your infant or toddler. It might take a little effort to find one, but your kids are worth it!