5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe in Their Car Seats. Learn From My Mistakes.

Sitting forward facing, and was injured in a
minor car accident. (Whiplash) 

When Z was 18 months old, he hit 20lbs and was getting too big for his rear facing bucket car seat. So I thought, well the rules are if a child is 1 years old or older, can walk, and is over 20lbs its ok to change them to a forward facing car seat. Z met all these requirements so I thought we were good to switch him. Besides Wes was 13 months when I switched him(He was a big boy). Z got 5 more months rear facing, he must be ready.

4 months later we were in a car accident. An emergency vehicle was passing and I had slowed down with traffic to allow them to pass. Once they were passed I began accelerating to the speed limit, when out of nowheres, a woman went from the left turning lane, right into my lane. It was physically impossible for me to stop in time and I nailed her passenger side door. As we slammed into her I saw a 10 year olds eyes staring at me from the van’s passenger seat. As soon as I knew everyone in our car was ok. I backed the car up a bit so I could open my door. I ran to the car and the child in the front seat was ok, and the woman was finishing her conversation on her cellphone!! Talking on the phone while driving is illegal in Manitoba, so to finish your conversation after you caused an accident is unacceptable. So I grabbed my phone and started taking photos. 

In the end everyone was ok, and she accepted responsibility. Luckily I wasn’t going the speed limit as we had just slowed down for the emergency vehicle. Because if I had been doing 80km, a lot more damage would have been done. 


I hit the door during impact and got a pretty mean whiplash. Also because Z was forward facing, he sadly also suffered from whiplash. It wasn’t until a few months later that I realized, if Z had been rear facing, he would not have likely gotten whiplash. 

Needless to say he got turned around that night. 

How can you keep your child as safe as possible in the car?

1) Buy a car seat that allows for your child to stay rear facing as long as possible. Don’t change to the next stage until your child reaches the maximum height or weight.
Picture from
 http://www.besafe.com/en/i-size/rear-facing-car-seats-are-safer

Oh but they look so squished rear facing. My child’s legs are too long. They don’t like being rear facing. Well this is what I have to say to you. Have you ever seen the positions a child will get into while playing? Trust me they are not squashed. Would you rather your child have a broken leg or a broken neck? Also if they didn’t having a bath would you not give them one?



2) Make sure your child’s chest clip is where it should be, at the chest, not on the stomach. 
Photo from http://csftl.org/a-chest-clip-goes-on-the-chest/

According to Car Seats For the Littles website, if the strap is too low they risk being ejected from their car seat, and its too high they risk neck injury. 


3) Make sure your child’s car seat straps are tight enough.

Do the pinch test. If you can pinch the strap, its not tight enough. You want to make sure to have the right fit, otherwise your child could wiggle their way out of the straps when you are not looking, not be held in tight during an accident and be thrown around in their seat, or worse case be ejected from the seat.  



4) Make sure your child’s car seat is strapped tight enough to the seat, and it is in the proper spot. 

Make sure you cannot move your child’s car seat more than 1 inch front to back, and side to side. While learning how to properly install car seats in my own vehicle, I found this Youtube video very helpful. 

5) Puffy snowsuits are a big no-no.

This one was news to me! Puffy snow are dangerous to wear in a car seat. This was hard to swallow for me, someone who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Heck our city’s nickname is Winterpeg for crying out loud. 

Basically what happens is a bulky coat, will cause the straps to fit the child too loosely, making them less effective. 

You can read HERE, to see if your child’s jacket is too big, and what you can do if it is. 

Please ignore the fact that my son is forward facing in this photo, However you can see that he is wearing a two piece fleece suit over his clothes. I always prewarm the car and cover him with a blanket once he’s strapped in. But 9 times out of 10, he doesn’t need the blanket and bunches it up to cuddle with.We also alway bring along his warmer puffy jacket in case we hit a ditch or the car breaks down.

Disclaimer: I am not a car seat tech, or car seat specialist of any sort. I am just a mom of two, sharing with you my discoveries through my own research online and while talking with insurance approved car seat specialist. If in doubt contact your local automobile insurance company and ask them where you can contact a car seat specialist in your area. Many times local fire stations also have trained car seat techs. 

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