Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

This post was written as part of the Allstate Canada Influencer Program and is sponsored by Allstate Canada. I received product and/or compensation in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

I like to consider myself a pretty laid back parent. I try to let things be, let the kids explore at their own pace, and learn to play independently from an early age. But there is one thing I don’t take lightly in this journey of parenting. What’s my one thing? Car seat safety. Buckle them in and you’re good to go, right? Well, not exactly. According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, motor vehicle traffic accidents are the number one cause of death amongst children aged 1 through 12. That’s a scary thought. I could be the world’s greatest driver, but I would still have absolutely zero control over the way everyone else on the road is driving. There is one thing I can control, and that’s buckling my kids into their car seats properly each and every time, no matter how short the drive is going to be. After all, my children are my most precious cargo, and I’d do anything to protect them! The world of car seat safety can be so overwhelming, and it can be hard to know you’re doing everything right each time. Where does that harness need to be positioned for rear facing, and what’s the position for forward facing? Which direction should the child be facing and when are they ready for the next stage of car seat? These are all questions that many parents have before their baby’s arrival, and throughout their years in car seats and boosters. It can be confusing and a lot of information to keep stored all the time. That’s why Allstate Canada is launching their Precious Cargo Campaign in partnership with Safety 1st to raise awareness about car seat safety among Canadian parents. Because it’s so important, I want to talk about some quick tips to help you navigate the world of car seat safety. I’m going to go over a checklist for buckling your child in rear facing, then forward facing, and finally into a high back booster seat. I’m going to demonstrate proper use of car seats in each of those three stages using the Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport 3-in-1 Car Seat.

Rear Facing:

A rear facing car seat is the first type of car seat you’re going to put your child in. Many families choose to use a rear facing only seat (an infant bucket seat) to start out with, but you can also start with a convertible seat. What’s the difference? A rear facing only seat is one that can only be installed rear facing in the vehicle. The seat snaps into a base that is installed in the vehicle, and the seat can be snapped out when you arrive at your destination. Although rear facing only seats are often chosen for the convenience factor, it is possible to use a convertible car seat right from birth. A convertible car seat is installed in the vehicle and stays there. It doesn’t snap in and out like a rear facing only seat. It can be installed in the rear facing position and also in the forward facing position. Some convertible seats are “3 in 1” seats meaning they can be used rear facing, forward facing, and then converted into a high back booster seat.

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

The first thing you want to do when you purchase a car seat is to sit down and read the car seat user manual all the way through. This is where you’re going to find the installation and proper use instructions specific to your seat. Not all car seats are installed the same way, and not all car seats have the same rules for positioning your child. Even if you’ve installed other car seats (even from the same brand), it’s important to read over and understand the manual for each particular seat before you attempt to install it. Once you’ve read both the car seat manual and the vehicle owner’s manual, and successfully installed the car seat according to the directions, it’s time to buckle your child in the seat.

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

You’ll want to check that your child fits rear facing in their car seat. The manual (and the stickers on the side of the seat) will outline the weight and height minimums and maximums for that seat. The Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport can be used rear facing from 5 to 40 lbs and 19 to 40 inches, and MAY be used rear facing until the child reaches the weight or height limit of the seat but MUST be used rear facing until at least the age of two. Petit Prince is 15 months old, approximately 23 lbs, and 31 inches tall. He meets all the requirements to use the Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport rear facing.

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

Once you’ve established that your child is within the rear facing limits of the seat, it’s time to put them into the seat and fit the harness to them. The first thing you want to do is adjust the height of the headrest and harness. The Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport has a Quick-Fit no rethread harness, so adjusting the height of the headrest and harness is done at the same time. This is not the case for all car seats, so it’s important that you check the manual for the car seat that you have. The first thing you want to look for is that the harness is coming out of the back of the car seat at or just below the child’s shoulders. Next you’ll look at the height of the headrest in relation to the top of the child’s head. The top of the child’s head must be at or below the top of the headrest in the Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport, but this will vary from seat to seat with many seats requiring 1 or 1.5 inches between the top of the child’s head and the top of the headrest. If the harness height and headrest height are correctly positioned, it’s time to buckle the child in. Push the buckle tongues into the crotch buckle until they “click”, and then pull up on the harness straps to make sure the buckle is locked. Next, close the chest clip, and tighten the harness. The harness adjustment strap is located at the front of the Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport (at the child’s feet). You’re going to pull that strap until the harness is snug around your child. Next, position the chest clip so that it is sitting at armpit level. Check that the harness is tight enough by doing the pinch test. To do this, you’re going to try to pinch the harness webbing at the shoulders between your index finger and thumb. If you can pinch the strap at all, you need to tighten the harness further. If your fingers cannot grip any of the harness strap and they just slip off, then the harness is tight enough. Now you’re ready to go!

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

How will you know it’s time to move your child to the forward facing position? First, don’t rush it! It’s important to remember that your child should remain rear facing until they reach the rear facing limits of their car seat. The Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport can be used rear facing until the child is 40 lbs, 40 inches tall, OR the top of their head is above the top of the headrest when the headrest is in the highest position. It must also be used rear facing until the child is at least two years old. One of the common concerns parents have about rear facing is that their child’s feet can touch the back of the vehicle seat in front of them. This is not a reason to turn your child forward facing. It is perfectly safe for your child’s feet to touch the back of the vehicle seat in front of them, and it is perfectly safe for them to need to bend their legs to sit rear facing. It is not a safety concern. Children should remain rear facing to the limits of their car seat even if their feet and/or legs touch the back of the vehicle seat.

Forward Facing:

It’s time to turn your child forward facing when they have reached one of the rear facing limits of their car seat. The first thing you’re going to do is uninstall the car seat and reinstall it forward facing following the instructions in the car seat user manual. Once the seat has been correctly installed forward facing, it’s time to buckle your child into the seat.

The first thing you want to do is make sure your child meets the requirements to forward face in the car seat you have. The Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport can be used forward facing from 22 to 65 lbs, 29 to 49 inches, and at least 2 years old. Petit Prince will remain rear facing until he reaches the maximum weight or height for rear facing in the Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport, and he does not meet the minimum requirements to forward face as he is not yet two years old. The Heir is four years old, 33 lbs, and 40.5 inches tall. He has outgrown the rear facing limits of the Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport and can now use the seat forward facing.

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

Once you’ve established that your child is within the forward facing limits of the seat, it’s time to put them into the seat and fit the harness to them. The first thing you want to do is adjust the height of the headrest and harness. You want the harness to be coming out of the back of the car seat at or just above the child’s shoulders. Next you’ll look at the height of the headrest in relation to the top of the child’s ears. The top of the child’s ears must be at or below the top of the headrest in the Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport. If the harness height and headrest height are correctly positioned, it’s time to buckle the child in. Push the buckle tongues into the crotch buckle until they “click”, and then pull up on the harness straps to make sure the buckle is locked. Next, close the chest clip, and tighten the harness with the adjustment strap. Position the chest clip so that it is sitting at armpit level. Check that the harness is tight enough by doing the pinch test.

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

How do you know your child is ready to move to the next stage of car seat, the high back booster? Just like the transition from rear facing to forward facing, you don’t want to rush into the booster seat. Your child should remain forward facing in a five point harness until he has reached the forward facing limits of your car seat. The Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport can be used forward facing up to 65 lbs, 49 inches, or until the tops of the child’s ears are no longer below the top of the headrest. With forward facing, you also want to keep an eye on the position of the harness in relation to the child’s shoulders. Once in the highest harness position, the harness must still come out of the back of the car seat at or just above the child’s shoulders. If the child’s shoulders are above the harness when it is in its highest position, the seat is outgrown for forward facing with a five point harness even if they have not reached the maximum weight or height limit of the seat.

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

High Back Booster:

Being “booster ready” is about more than just meeting the minimum height, weight, and age requirements. There’s also a level of maturity required for a child to be ready to use the vehicle seatbelt with a high back booster. First, the child must be able to sit upright without slouching or leaning for the full duration of the drive, even if they fall asleep. They also must not play with the seatbelt. For most children, this level of maturity is reached around age 6. There’s no need to rush into a high back booster seat!

Once your child has reached one of the forward facing limits for their car seat, has reached the appropriate level of maturity, is at least four years old, and at least 40 lbs, it’s time to install a high back booster. Follow the instructions in the user manual for your high back booster seat (whether it’s a 3 in 1 convertible seat that can be used as a high back booster, a combination seat that can be used as a high back booster, or a dedicated high back booster seat). Once the high back booster is installed correctly, it’s time to buckle your child into the seat.

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure the child meets the requirements to use the seat you have as a high back booster. The Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport can be used as a booster from 40 to 100 lbs, 43 to 52 inches, and at least 4 years old. The Heir is four years old, but does not meet the weight or height requirements to use the Grow and Go Sport as a high back booster. Instead, I’ve borrowed Cub from a friend. Cub is four years old, 40 lbs, and 43 inches tall. Though Cub has not reached the forward facing limits of the Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport, he does meet the most basic requirements to use this seat as a high back booster. At only four years old he has not yet reached the level of maturity required to use a high back booster, but there are older children with the same physical stats as Cub who likely are mature enough to use a high back booster.

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

Once you’ve established that your child is mature enough and within the limits of the high back booster, it’s time to put them into the seat and fit the headrest and seat belt to them. In the Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport, the tops of the child’s ears should be around the midpoint of the headrest, and never above the top of the headrest. If the tops of the child’s ears are above the top of the headrest, move the headrest position up. The seat belt guide located on the bottom of the Grow and Go Sport headrest should be positioned just above the child’s shoulder. Next, you’ll route the vehicle seat belt through the booster belt path as indicated in your seat’s manual. Never use a booster seat with a lap belt only, a booster must be used with a vehicle seat belt that has both a lap and a shoulder belt. The lap belt must lay snug across the child’s hips and upper thighs and not on the child’s stomach. Buckle the seat belt and position the shoulder belt across the child’s chest and shoulder. Pull up on the shoulder belt to tighten it. The shoulder belt should be in contact with the child’s shoulder and sit between the edge of the shoulder and the child’s neck. It must not touch the child’s neck or face, and must not slide off the child’s shoulder. The Safety 1st Grow and Go Sport has a built in seat belt guide at the base of the headrest that can be used if necessary to correctly position the shoulder belt on the child.

Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

What comes after a high back booster? For many children, the next stage is to move to a backless booster but for some, the next stage is to move to the vehicle seat with the seat belt. How do you know your child is ready to move to the vehicle seat with no booster? Again, don’t rush it! There are five things you want to check before deciding to go booster-less. The child must sit with their back all the way against the vehicle seat back, their knees must bend at the edge of the vehicle seat, the shoulder belt must lay across the collarbone and not ride up against their neck or slide off the shoulder, the lap belt must sit low across the top of the child’s thighs and not across the stomach, the child must remain in that position for the duration of the car ride even if they fall asleep. If the child meets all those five criteria, then he’s ready to sit in the vehicle seat without a booster.

For more tips on when to move your child from rear facing to forward facing and then into a booster seat, you can check out Allstate Canada’s GOOD HANDS Blog. There, you’ll find additional information on transitioning between the stages of car seat use, buckling up safely in the winter, and proper car seat installation. More of a visual person? Allstate Canada’s YouTube channel has excellent videos that show you what you need to know about car seat safety. Follow Allstate Canada’s Facebook page for all the latest from their Precious Cargo Campaign.

The Safety 1st Grow an Go car seat can be used Rear Facing from 5-40 lbs (and 19-40″), Forward Facing 22-65 lbs (and 29-49″), and converts to a High Back Belt-Positioning Booster from 40-100 lbs (and 43-52″). The Quick-Fit harness system allows you to quickly and easily adjust the height of the headrest and harness at the same time. With a three position recline that’s adjustable with just one hand, harness holders to keep the harness out of the way when loading and unloading your child, removable cushions that allow the seat to grow with your child, and premium one-click UAS connectors, the Safety 1st Grow and Go is packed with ease of use features! The Safety 1st Grow and Go retails for $259.99 and is available to purchase online at Amazon.ca or in store at Babies R Us.

Safety 1st Grow and Go Car Seat Giveaway

 

How would you like a chance to win a Safety 1st Grow and Go 3 in 1 car seat of your very own? One lucky reader will win one Safety 1st Grow and Go car seat courtesy of Allstate Canada and Safety 1st! Just scroll down to the giveaway and get your entries in for a chance to win. Open to Canadian residents only, 18+, and closes on November 17th, 2016. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.

DISCLOSURE: The Monarch Mommy is not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations. Open to Canadian residents, 18 years of age and older. Confirmed winner(s) will be contacted via email and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Prize fulfillment is the responsibility of the sponsor(s). Canadian winners must successfully complete a skill testing question. For questions or to see your product featured on The Monarch Mommy blog contact Stefanie at http://themonarchmommy.com/work-with-me/.

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76 Comments on “Quick Tips For Buckling Up Your Most Precious Cargo

  1. I learned that According to Transport Canada, almost 2,000 children aged four or under were killed or seriously injured in car collisions in 2014 alone

  2. Bulky winter coats and car seats don’t mix. Thanks for all the great safety tips!

  3. Do not put Bulky coats on children in car seats – great safety tips, thanks!

  4. I learned that federal safety standards were changed in 2012 so I will need to triple-check before accepting a hand-me-down seat from friends whose kids have outgrown their next size up seats.

  5. Most safety seats expire within 6 to 10 years of their date of manufacture.

  6. I learn that car seat’s have expiry date. That car seats expire within 6 to 10 years of the manufacture date.

  7. I always mix up and have to review my manual when it comes to strap levels – forward facing they need to be at or above the shoulders!

  8. I learned there is no rush to go forward facing, and child seats have an 6-10 year life span from the date of manufacture.

  9. I learn that thin layers of clothes instead of bulky snowsuits keeps the children securely strapped into their car seats.

  10. Great write up! So much information! I didn’t realize that it is just fine for rear facing children to be touching the back of the seat with their feet or even have to bend their knees! That is not a reason to switch to front face seating if they don’t meet the age, weight, height requirements.

  11. its getting more difficult to put my 30 lbs 17 month old in his rear facing seat. seeing the guidelines are up to 2 years for rear facing, i guess i will have to hang in there for a little while longer. thanks for all the info!

  12. Read the manual to find out important safety information about your seat.

  13. Learning where the straps and buckle should go are always a good reminder!

  14. I learned that bulky coats do not belong in car seats….that’s so important

  15. I always new their was an expiry date on car seats but I had no idea why! if not in an accident why do you have to get rid of them after a certain date? I learned that it is because the primary material that car seats are made of, molded plastics, breakdown over time

  16. Check the recalls on the car seats – this is the one that never occurred to me.

  17. Thanks for the great info. I’m so glad my MIL made my baby a poncho for the car seat.

  18. i learned that you should use a rear-facing carseat until two years of age

  19. Honestly, I didnt learn anything new as we are on baby number three and I would like to consider ourselves educated when it comes to carseats so everything I read are things we already knew.

    I keep my children rear facing for as long as possible and never put them in bulky articles of clothing.

  20. I just got a new car seat for my little one and I was wondering if I had it installed correctly so I definitely needed this article. It’s so helpful!

  21. I did not realize the weight is usually the determining factor when moving a child from the rear seat to the front.

  22. I learned that if you can keep your child in their rear-facing seat until they are at least two years old you should, because that is the safest position for them to be in

  23. I was *jusssst* discussing with my husband that it’s fine for a child’s legs to be bent rear facing, and that that isn’t a reason to move them forward facing!!
    Thanks again for such a good and valuable review!! I got a lot out of this. I am definately a tad or of practice, so it’s good to read this to make sure I’m keeping my kids safe as much as I can. As we get into the icy weather this type of information is even more important, because you may have winter tires, drive for the conditions, but you cannot control other drivers. Big fan of your writing.

  24. I learned that child car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 per cent and the risk of serious injury by 67 per cent.

  25. I knew most of these tips, but I find it’s always a good reminder! It can be frustrating at times to try and properly strap your squirmy baby in properly, but it’s absolutely essential! Pinch test every time and make sure the chest clip is at armpit level!

  26. I learned not to have your child in a bulky winter coat when buckling into the car seat. Thankfully it doesn’t get that cold here, but it’s a great tip!

  27. I learned that warm, thin layers are safer than insulated, weather-resistant outerwear for children in car seats!

  28. I learned that the lap belt is positioned low over the kid’s hips and thighs and not over the stomach. Now I know what is the proper way. Thanks for the tips.

  29. I learned that children should not be buckled in wearing coats or snowsuits.

  30. The pinch test is a great way to see if a seat’s harness is tight enough.

  31. I really didn’t know that boosters should be used all the way up to age 9!

  32. As a mom to a 6-month old, I’m still pretty new to all of this carseat stuff! I learned that children should stay in their rear-facing car seats until they’re at least 18 kg (40 lbs.); in their forward-facing 5-point harness seat until they are at least 29 kg (65 lbs.); and should use booster seats until they are at least 9 years of age and able to sit up straight with their back flat against the vehicle’s seat, and knees easily bent over the seat.

  33. I learned that most safety seats expire within 6 to 10 years of their date of manufacture.

  34. no to bulky coats! Still can’t believe this wasn’t a thing back when I had my boy 18 yrs ago.

  35. I learned Protecting Your Most Precious Cargo: When to Move Your Child to the Next Car Seat Stage

  36. Wow! This is certainly the BEST and most informative review I’ve seen! Thanks so much for all of the information! What a perfect seat too. I’m ordering from Amazon now!

  37. I learned that dressing baby in warm, thin layers is safer than insulated, weather-resistant outerwear! 🙂

  38. I learned that plastics and materials break down over time and that is why you need to replace older carseats!

  39. The website says that “The correct way to dress kids for their car seat is in warm, thin layers that lie flat and snug across the body”. That’s good to know!

  40. I learned that most safety seats expire within 6 to 10 years of their date of manufacture so check those dates!

  41. I learned you shouldn’t have the kids in bulky winter coats in a car seat.

  42. not to wear great big winter jackets- something i was unaware of with my last child 7 years ago ,,,ill have to follow through this time

  43. Thanks for the great review. Great to know the child’s feet can touch the seat rear Facing and it’s not an issue.

  44. Research your seat! It’s best to look at reviews from other users, as well as check for recalls before you make your purchase.

  45. I learned that kids should wear big bulky coats while being strapped into their car seat

  46. The misuse of carseats and booster seats is so high… it ranges from 44 to 81 per cent for carseats and 30 to 50 per cent for booster seats. That is shocking considering these are safety devices that are supposed to help keep our children safe.

  47. This is awesome. Love all the information in the article and it’s very helpful. The pictures also make it so much easier to know what they mean. Thank you.

  48. I learned that warm, thin layers safer than insulated, weather-resistant outerwear. Good to know as the colder weather is right around the corner! 🙂 It’s too bad a lot of the products on the market for winter outerwear are so bulky!!!

  49. I learned that a car seat’s harness should be snug against a child’s body every time they are in their seat. The chest clip should be at the child’s armpit level —

  50. The pinch test is a great carseat safety tip! It’s a quick and easy way to ensure your child is harnessed tightly enough. Thank you so much for an awesome post and giveaway! Good luck all!

  51. I knew all these tips already (My baby is #4…). I think it’s really important to remember that different carseats have different requirements. (like my infant bucket seat is supposed to have the handle up but the one I had for my other 3 kids was one the handle had to be down with)

  52. Honestly, I didnt learn anything new as we are on baby number three and I would like to consider ourselves educated when it comes to carseats so everything I read are things we already knew.

    I keep my children rear facing for as long as possible and never put them in bulky articles of clothing.

  53. Really good article of safety tips for carseats. We chose a infant bucket seat with a 35 lb. weight limit instead of the regular 30 because we knew LO was going to be a big boy & it would last him longer. Glad we made that choice.

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