-About 90% of the car seats in Utah are installed incorrectly! That's a scary number!
-The most important thing to do to make sure you install your car seat correctly is read both the owners manual of the car, and the car seat manual.
-Car seats are good for about 6 years. You never want to buy a car seat from a garage sale or second hand store, but if you get a hand-me-down from someone you know, and you know that the car seat has never been in a car accident, you can look for the manufacturing date on the car seat and calculate 6 years later to know how long that seat can safely be used.
-The chest clip needs to be at armpit level. There have been accidents where the slip was too low and the baby flew out of the top of the straps.
-To know how much force will be exerted on your child in an accident, times the weight of the child by the speed of the car. So a 20 pound baby in a car going 35 miles per hour will be hit with 700 pounds of pressure in an accident! SO buckle baby up correctly every time you're in the car!
-In Utah a child needs to be in a booster seat until they are 8 years old (unless they reach 4'9" first). Also, a child should not ride in the front seat until they are 13 years old.
The class was highly informative, and I recommend it for anyone living in Utah. You can go to their web site for more info and to find out when the next class will be. (They are held twice a month in the Utah Country Health Dept. Building on 100 South and University Ave.)
If you live somewhere else. check with your county health department to see if they offer classes or car seat checks.
PS: If you are on WIC of Medicaid or some other form of government assistance, you can buy a car seat or booster seat for $25 after the class. It's not something they advertise, but they announce it at the end of the class.
Other Websites to Consult
Car Seat Recall website-this is great to find out if your car seat has been recalled. Search by brand. You can also register your car seat to make sure that you are contacted in the event that the seat is recalled in the future.
Car Seat Ease of Use Ratings-The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has rated car seats and boosters on several criteria. If you're shopping for a new seat, this web site might be helpful.