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  • Writer's pictureSarah Nantel


Remember when you were ready to take your baby home from the hospital? The nurse had to check that your baby was properly secured in their car seat before you were allowed to leave the unit That was your baby’s first car ride and during their childhood, they are in the car countless times. Car seats are an important part of their childhood!

This week, I attended the “Every Ride a Safe Ride” class at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. It is a FREE class that is presented currently on Tuesday evenings, twice a month. It was a great class and I am glad I went. I found out that my current installation of S’s car seat was incorrect. OOPS! But my mission the next morning was to install it correctly.

I actually had attended this class before about 7 years ago when I was pregnant with S. I was a first time mom and wanted to learn about the unknown world of car seats. At that time, I was focused on learning about the rear-facing car seat for infants. This time when attending, I have a 4 and 7 year old so my learning was more focused on the forward facing and booster car seat.

I am not a car seat technician so I don’t have any advice to give on buying car seats or the actual installation. But what I can say is that it is best to READ the car seat manuals and your vehicle manual to help your get the best installation.

I will share with you some common mistakes with car seat use.

  • The straps are too loose. I know it may not seem right to have the straps very tight because you think you may be making your child uncomfortable but it is safest to tighten up.

  • The chest clip is not at armpit level. I tell my boys all the time it is not a ‘belly clip’ and they know to pull it up higher before I start driving. The clip at armpit level will keep the straps over the torso for best protection.

  • Adding padding to car seat . It is not recommended to add anything to the car seat that was not part of the original purchase such as the baby bunting bags that can thread through the harness. This extra padding between the baby and car seat can compromise safety in a collision.

  • Switching to forward facing early than necessary. I know parents are excited when they can turn the in the car seat forward so it is easier to see their babies’ cutie faces. But because their spinal development is not complete and children have large heads, it is safer to stay rear facing .

So, with Spring cleaning on your to-do list, I am sure that many moms out there will be cleaning out their cars. I know that in my car there are lots of snacks, wrappers, and other icky stuff hanging out in my backseat and the car seats are full of crumbs. It would be a great opportunity to take the car seats out to clean, read through the manuals, and reinstall!

Let’s make the ride for our kids safer! Read your carseat manuals! Attend this class! You can register for by calling Alberta Health Link at 811.

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