How Do Self-Installing Car Seats Work and Are They Safe?

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Car AccidentCar accidents are one of the leading causes of injury for children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A big part of that is parents and caregivers installing car seats incorrectly, which can leave kids unprotected during auto wrecks. One company is seeking to help parents out with making sure their children’s car seats are properly installed. The company is called 4moms, and their product line includes self-installing car seats.

The self-installing car seat is designed to take the guesswork out of child car seat safety. It includes the following features:

  • Automatically installs itself, including making sure it is sitting at the right level and latched to the vehicle’s seat at the proper tension.
  • Every time the car seat is used, it verifies that it is installed correctly.
  • 20 sensors to monitor car seat status, and continuously make sure that the car seat remains properly installed while it’s in use.

Tips for Making Sure Your Child’s Car Seat’s Installed Correctly

Parents have several options for ensuring their child’s car seat is safe to use, including relying on a self-installing car seat, installing the car seat themselves or heading over to their local police department or fire station to have their child’s car seat installed. Still, you can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of children, so here are a few tips to help parents and caregivers make sure children’s car seats are safe:

  • Make sure that the straps are not too loose. They should be snug, but not so tight that it causes your child pain.
  • Following a car accident, replace your child’s car seat, even if it appears undamaged. In addition, because many car seats are made of plastic and other materials that get brittle with age, they expire. Car seats should be replaced every six to eight years.
  • Infant car seats should always be rear-facing. However, once your child grows out of an infant car seat, he or she will then need a convertible car seat. Convertible car seats can be rear-facing or forward-facing. If possible, once you switch your child over to a convertible car seat, keep using a rear-facing seat. According to Consumer Reports data, rear-facing seats are generally considered safer.
  • If you use a forward-facing car seat, make sure it has a tether strap to anchor it. The tether strap helps lessen the amount a child’s head moves if there’s a car accident, which can help protect the child from head injury.
  • Don’t switch your child over to a booster seat until they are at least 4 years old and weigh at least 40 pounds. Also, make sure your child does not play with the seat belt, lean over or slouch while in the booster seat, because the purpose of the booster seat is to ensure the child’s seat belt is properly positioned. In general, children should sit in booster seats until they’re around 10 to 12 years old.
  • Before you allow your child to ride in a car seat, check with a trained technician at a police station or fire department to make sure the seat is properly installed.

According to the City of Edwardsville’s website, over 81 percent of child car safety restraints are installed incorrectly. The Edwardsville Fire Department employs three Certified Child Passenger Safety Instructor/Technicians who are available by appointment to educate parents and caregivers about proper child car seat safety.

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