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What Happened When I Had My Car Seats Checked

What Happened When I Had My Car Seats Checked

I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a nut for car seat safety. If I’m being honest, I’m a bit of a nut for child safety in general. I have been guilty of being a helicopter mom and I’m working on that, but when it comes to car seat safety, I wear the badge proudly.

carseat_positioningSince car crashes are the number one killer of children ages 1-13, it’s a no brainer to be fanatical about keeping them safe in vehicles. How to go about that however is more difficult than most of us know. Literally. According to research done by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3 out of 4 children are not as secure in their car as they should be because they are in the wrong car seat or their car seats are not being used correctly! Think about that for a second. How important are your children to you? How devastated would you be if something happened to them in a car crash and you had not taken every precaution possible? All of a sudden, finding 30 minutes to have your car seats checked seems a whole lot easier.

Before my oldest was born I visited a car seat safety inspection site and had them install our new seat. I studied what the techs did and I imitated their actions. I learned to use the LATCH system and I felt really proud of my new knowledge of how to get a car seat so tight that it wouldn’t budge. I learned about the proper positioning of straps (especially important now that children sit rear-facing longer), where to put the clasp, and how snug to make the harness. I felt like a bit of a know-it-all.

[sws_pullquote_left]”…3 out of 4 children are not as secure in their car as they should be because their car seats are not being used correctly” [/sws_pullquote_left] Naturally, when the second baby came, I felt confident I didn’t need any help, but she’s 14 months now and big enough for a rear-facing convertible seat. Since I’d never installed one that way, it was time to head back to the pros. Huntsville Hospital offers a great free service and I encourage anyone who is interested to try them, but I was in a hurry and sometimes I’ve found it difficult to find a time that works for them AND works in my schedule. Luckily, my pediatricians office – Huntsville Pediatric Associates – just started offering a service to complement the one already offered at Huntsville Hospital. You don’t have to be a patient to get your seats installed or checked by the HPA techs but there is a fee ($20 for first seat, $10 for each additional seat). However, if convenience is what you’re looking for, this is a great option. Currently there are two certified techs on staff but three more are going through training now and should be available by October. To schedule a fitting, call the office (256.265.2464) and ask for Kerrie Milam.

[sws_pullquote_right]How important are your children to you? How devastated would you be if something happened to them in a car crash and you had not taken every precaution possible? [/sws_pullquote_right] I made an appointment, met my lovely tech (pictured above) in the parking lot and we got to work. I still felt pretty confident that I knew what I was doing and she did compliment me on how solid my installations were. I was feeling good until she pointed out that my lovely baby mirror was basically a 60lb projectile aimed right at my infant. To add insult to injury, our tether on the front-facing seat my 5-year-old is in was connected to the wrong hook! I didn’t even know there was more than one and I still can’t figure out what it is we originally hooked it to.

Needless to say, I’m glad I took the time to have a pro check my “work” and now I’m confident that my children are as safe as I can make them should we be in a traffic accident. Next week is Child Passenger Safety Week and it’s a great time to schedule your visit with a certified car safety technician. In addition to Huntsville Hospital and Huntsville Pediatric Associates, you can also make an appointment for a FREE car seat check during The Baby and Kid Expo (register at at the Westin on Sept. 21st.

Car Seat Safety Resources


View Comments (3)
  • Excellent article! I think one of the biggest issues with car seats is people who leave the child in way past the height requirement. Most parents are aware of the weight requirements, but if you have a tall child, you might not be aware that there should be at least ONE INCH between the top of your child’s head and the top of the car seat (meaning the child’s head is lower than the seat top). I found this out when my very tall 2 year old was TWO INCHES over the top, so you can imagine my horror! We switched to a bigger car seat immediately. Over a year later, my child is just now to the weight requirement of the old seat.

    • Good point Jennifer! My 5-year-old probably has 20 lbs left on her current car seat but only about 1 inch at best.

  • I have always been concerned about my baby’s safety and car seat fanaticism would come naturally, I would say. But, I have also found car seat installations very tricky. I had no patience with this kind of things. Thank you for your advice on when I can have it checked and installed for free. Great post!

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