Car Seat Checks

On Thursday, Rob and I had our car seats inspected so we could lawfully & safely drive baby around. The inspections were offered free through the Princeton Health Care System. Tradition told me to first inquire at the local police department who then told us that they do not do them anymore and to look into the Princeton hospital. The nice thing about using the Princeton Health Care System was 1) the inspection was around the corner from my house and 2) it was run by a former L&D nurse and current mom.

Going into inspection, I thought we had done everything correctly. Not so much...

Modification #1
: That really adorable, warm and cozy Bundle Me which I got at my shower and had attached into the car seat is actually not approved as an acceptable car seat accessory. When car seats are crash tested, the Bundle Me has not been included and thus its safety during an accident is unconfirmed.

Modification #2: The suggested/safest location for the car seat is in the middle, however both my CR-V and Rob's Explorer do not have latches in the seat to safely attach the car seat. Even though you can use a safety belt to install, we felt better knowing the seat was secured by the latches. The car's owner manual will have a page on car seats and show you where the latches are for installation.

Safety trick: Each car seat has a little colored dial that will tell you if it is in the proper incline position. In my car, the seat was fine after the nurse used the incline adjuster in the seat itself. In Rob's car, even after she inclined the seat higher, it still did not sit properly (because of the incline of the back seat). She then whipped out a piece of pool noodle that she slid under the car seat to boost it into the right position. Clever!

Baby/Child Protection: Do you have a WHALE sticker for your car seat? WHALE stands for "We Have A Little Emergency" and is an identification indicator for police/rescue if you are in an accident and are unresponsive. If you see the WHALE stickers on the sides of the car seat, that means that there is emergency info about the child in a hidden place, most likely underneath the seat itself. *Do NOT place the emergency info in a visible place that can be viewed through a car window. The last thing you need is someone to look through the car and learn where you and baby live.

Back Seat No-No: Even though you might feel better having a mirror attached to the back of the seat so you can watch your baby, it is a big NO-NO. Two reasons: 1) If there is an accident and the car seat flips up, your baby will hit it's head against and 2) many fender benders by mothers are a result of them looking at the mirror to check on baby.

For more information of car seat safety, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics page.
For a list of car seat recalls, click here.

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