As a mommy, you live and learn. Fortunately this lesson, I read and didn't have to live through because it could have been horrific if circumstances were different. And being Child Passenger Safety Week, I wanted to review what a lot of parents (including me) don't know.
I am a mom who has made mistakes. I do not judge or criticize other parents decision. I try to inform the best I can. And that what this is about. I am not an expert nor do I claim to be, but I do have experience. In the image above my daughter is riding in a Toyota Corolla. I now have a van. The reason I longer have that car anymore is because I got in a terrible car accident. My daughter and friend's daughter were in the car with me. If it wasn't for the car seat safety messages I had taken, something horrible could have happened. Thank fully everyone was safe. Now, let's keep those babies safe.
This picture is of my five day old daughter. She was born in the winter so in my new mommy head, I thought "I don't want her to be cold so I will put this cute (but very unpractical) snow suit on her". We live in Georgia. I had a car seat blanket cover. I don't know if you have ever seen one of these things but here is what they look like:
Why couldn't I have used that?
Instead I endangered my baby's life. A few days after I did this, I read an article about taking your infant on their first outing and car seat safety. And it talked about how you shouldn't have a coat or blanket in between your child and the restraints because if you were to get in a car accident, your child could get seriously injured.
I felt terrible immediately and never did anything like this again.
Another thing that I did and looking back on it am still upset with myself, I might have used an expired car seat. I say might have because I couldn't find an expiration date. Just because a car seat doesn't have an expiration date, doesn't mean it's not expired. Since older car seats aren't required to have the expiration date on them, you don't know if they are expired or not.
|This is the carseat my mother-in-law bought from God's know where. I feel it is unsafe because it doesn't have an exp date and the straps do this.|
A car seat expiration means, safety requirements might have changed, restraints wear out over time just from everyday use, aging plastic, a car seat ideally less than five years old and DEFINITELY less than ten. (Contact the manufacturer or look for the serial number online to find an expiration date.)
If you MUST use a secondhand seat, make sure it has the original instructions (or contact the manufacturer for a replacement copy), has all its parts (check the manual), has never been involved in a serious accident, and hasn't been recalled. (Check your seat's recall status here.)
Another thing that I am mad at myself for is forward facing my baby before I should have. I got the okay from the pediatrician and I had outside pressures. Why did I let those pressures overwhelm me? She wasn't ready. The American Academy of Pediatrics says keep your child rear-facing until age two. Or AT LEAST pay attention to the car seat's weight and height requirements (must meet both).