by Lauren Froelich
Every soon-to-be new parent knows that one of the more stressful parts of preparing for baby’s arrival is figuring out the car seat. Should it go in the middle seat or one of the side seats? Did I install the base correctly? What if I don’t use a base? How tight is tight enough when strapping in my newborn? And the list goes on and on. Below are a few things to remember related to car seats, as well as some great car seat resources available in the Twin Cities.
Things to remember…
- When you start looking for a car seat you may be surprised that there is a whole vocabulary unique to car seats. Here is a helpful glossary of car seat-related terms.
- Make sure you buy the right car seat for your child. Here is a helpful site with more information on car seat types.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends keeping children rear-facing until 2 years old if possible.
You can tell if your child’s harness is tight enough if you can’t pinch any of the harness material. If you can pinch it, it’s too lose.
- The car seat should not shift more than one inch side-to-side when it is properly secured in the car.
- The retainer clip is in the right place if it’s at your child’s armpit level.
- Here is a great car seat safety checklist provided by Children’s Hospital.
- Car seats expire, so if you’re using one that you used with a sibling, be sure it hasn’t expired.
- As tough as it might be during a Minnesota winter, your child should not have a heavy coat or snowsuit on while in his car seat. The Car Seat Lady offers some great ideas on keeping your child warm and safe in his car seat.
Before you buy your car seat, call your insurance to see if it will pay for it. Members of UCare (check out this link for more info) and Medica through MA (click here for more info) may be eligible for free car seats.
- Finally, if you want to be sure you’re using your car seat correctly, check out this link for a list of common mistakes parents make with car seats.
Car Seat Installation and Checks
- BabyLove (located in Eagan) offers car seat installations and checks (click here for more information).
- Flutterby Birth Services also offers car seat installations and inspections.
- Children Hospital offers car seat check-ups in Roseville and Richfield. Check out this flier for more information.
- The MN Department of Transportation provides a list of places that offer car seat clinics and checks.
- If you want to use your car seat without a base, check out this helpful YouTube video.
Feel free to leave a comment with any helpful car seat tips you may have, or if you know of another Twin Cities resource that’s not listed above!