There are plenty of exciting things about having a baby – think endless snuggles, impossibly tiny outfits and leisurely stroller walks. But car seats? Those don’t typically make the “most exciting” cut.
Car seats are an inevitability of parenthood. You’re spending tons of time in your car with your child in tow – and, scarily, accidents happen. If your child is properly secured in the car seat, they’re less likely to be injured or even killed in a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, kids two and under are 75% more likely to survive a crash if they’re secured properly. And, yes, it has to be a car seat — standard seat belts aren’t just ineffective for babies and toddlers and, in an accident, can actually cause a lot of harm.
Make Sure Your Car Seat Is Ready To Its Job
Car seats can only be effective if they’re installed and used correctly. Scarily millions of parents aren’t checking all of the boxes when it comes to their kids’ car seats. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports nearly three in five car seats and one in five booster seats aren’t properly installed/used.
Avoid these six common mistakes every time you hop in the car:
- Not tightening the harness straps enough: There should be no slack in a car seat’s strap fabric – if you can lift and pinch the fabric with your fingers, there is too much slack and it needs to be tightened.
Once you’ve double-checked yours, be sure you’re also taking a look at the top tether – about half of car seats don’t have a properly-installed tether, putting a child at risk in an accident.
- Placing harness clips in the wrong position: Many parents put clips too high or too low on a child’s chest, which can cause straps to slide off. To be most effective, clips should rest across the chest at armpit level.
- Not anchoring the car seat properly: You shouldn’t be able to move the seat to the left, right or forward more than an inch. If it moves more than that, it’s not anchored tightly enough — be sure to adjust immediately. Without the right anchoring, your child — and his car seat — could be tossed forward in a collision.
- Using the wrong type of car seat for your child’s height and weight: Be sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications before purchasing a seat. Your child should be well within the height and weight parameters of the seat you purchase. When they exceed these limits, it’s time for a new car seat.
- Not leaving the car seat to rear-facing long enough: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids under two or kids who haven’t hit the height/weight limit (usually around 35 pounds — height limits vary by brand) should stay in a rear-facing position. When forward-facings, kids are more likely to get whiplash, spinal injuries or even die during an crash. While, yes, an older or taller child may have to bend his legs slightly — into a “frog position” — he’s better protected than he would be facing forward.
- Using dangerous traditional coats in the car seat: Getting them in and out of the car seat becomes even more of a challenge in the winter. How do you keep kids warm when puffy coats are as dangerous no-no? The alternative? Buckle Me Baby Coats, provides the warmth of a winter coat without the added bulk that makes your child susceptible to car seat-related injuries. Buckle Me Baby Coats front panel can be pulled to the side and out of the way allowing harnesses and straps to fit tightly and properly – keeping kids secure. It’s simple, it’s seamless and it keeps your child warm and safely buckled in the car. Check out all colors and sizes HERE.
That slippery grey thing between your child’s chest and safety in the event of a car accident. It’s so easy to use when brand new but what stays new when you have little ones?
Too soon its gummy, covered in goldfish dust, and who knows what else (just don’t think about it). It’s twisted, the buckle doesn’t slide as nicely as it used to, and you mutter in disgust when using it then promptly forget all about it once the kids are strapped in (unless you have unbucklers, in which case, may the force be with you).
The harness has a pretty important job.
Aside from keeping your little mountain lion from climbing all over the car while you are driving the harness’s purpose is to keep kids in the car seat in a crash but more importantly it’s designed to minimize the child’s forward movement as much as possible during a crash.
In crash test studies the forward movement of the child’s head directly relates to their risk of critical injury. Meaning that the further forward a child’s head moves during a crash the higher the likelihood the child will have a major injury. In studies this term is called the Head Injury Criteria (HIC).
So the grimy, gross harness needs to be in tip top shape to do its job.
Parents have a lot to do – deep cleaning the harness all the time doesn’t have to be complicated.
Harness care is simple:
- Keep the harness free from twists – Folding the harness into a triangle makes it easy to remove twists.
- Keep the harness properly tightened and clip at armpit level – you should not be able to pinch the harness when tightened
- Wipe it down occasionally with a damp cloth – never soak the harness this can weaken it.
- No visible frays or wear – replace the belt if it is visibly damaged
Keep that harness in ready-to-go condition and your trips will be safer and hassle free!
We’ve all been there…
It’s freezing outside (and inside the car). You wrestle to get their dangerous, puffy winter coat off, pull the car seat straps on, then proceed to layer-and-tuck piles of blankets, quilts and makeshift wraps, while the crying and shrieking ramp up.
Once you’ve gotten through all the taking off of the coat you wonder if they will even stay under that pile of blankets for the entire ride. Most likely they won’t, and if the worst were to happen and the car rolls over those life saving blankets will be tossed out of reach and useless in keeping your little one warm while you wait for help to arrive.
National Weather Service meteorologist Tanja Fransen warns families that if an accident strands you far from help, those blankets won’t do much good.
“If you roll your car,” Fransen said, “the cellphone is gone and its a stroke of luck if it’s within reach when you’re hanging upside down.” That “blanket or (backwards) coat that’s meant to keep a child warm while driving,” writes The Washington Post, “isn’t going to do much good after the car has rolled” or if temperatures drop below freezing.
Tanya cites numerous cases in and around her home turf — rural Montana — where drivers were stranded for hours and, even, days, with temperatures dropping and blankets being out of reach or, simply, ineffective. It’s scary, but it’s a reality for many families run off the road in out of the way places.
Ditch the blankets – and the dangerous, traditional, puffy coats. Buckle Me Baby Coats go on in the house, then stay on in the car – easy. Simply pop your child into the car seat and secure the harness like you always do. Because of the ingenious design MADE for the car seat, your child will be strapped in safely, warmer, and _bonus_ you’re in the car and on your way in a blink.
Check out our complete collection of car seat friendly coats HERE.
I wanted to do everything right for my kids – I chose the healthiest foods, the safest products, teachable activities – I wanted what every parent wants and I thought I had it all down until I saw this alarming warning:
I tried to heed the warnings – really I did, but my kid had a degree in Car Seat Acrobatics – arched back, kicking, contortions – taking her winter coat off every time we got in the car seat was impossible.
The struggle was real.
One day while struggling I thought – why does the zipper have to be in the middle anyway – and an idea was born.
I took an existing winter coat – cut it up – and the Car Seat War was over for me. I wanted to help other parents end their Car Seat War too. I called coat manufacturers and told them about my idea. Every coat company and had the same answer – Coats are just coats. Car seat safety and coats don’t go together as a product.
They didn’t understand.
They said NO.
I couldn’t manufacture it myself at the time and no one would manufacture it for me so I went back to raising my kids, running a household and a business, finishing my master’s and life moved on.
I would see moms struggling to take the coat off or put the coat on. I would see moms struggling with blankets. I would see moms leave the coat on and tell me they felt bad doing it.
I would see the headlines – a child ejected from car seat and my heart would break.
I knew I had to do it myself – my coat solution is so easy.
Crowdfunding is a way for regular people to present their Really Cool Ideas as projects to other regular people who help bring the Really Cool Ideas to market by funding their projects through pre-ordering. It’s a win-win situation for inventors and buyers. Buyers get Really Cool Stuff long before it hits the market and Inventors have a cost effective way to get their stuff to market.
Kickstarter, one way of crowdfunding, is an All or Nothing way to raise funds.
If the idea is not fully funded the money is refunded to all backers and the project creators have to come up with some other way to get their products into the hands of consumers. 65% of projects fail to get funded.
Buckle Me Baby Coats ran a Kickstarter Campaign in February that was successfully funded!
We are now working with manufacturers to get the coats out to our backers by September!
There’s still time to order your coat for September through our Shop page.
One Less Struggle = Happy Parents