My husband and I recently bought a new convertible car seat for our 9 month old daughter. The installation did not go well at all. We remembered the car seat safety reps from children's Hospital and my husband was able to take the car seat there to be installed. They even set up appointments to accommodate our work schedules. They can install the seat with seat belt or the LATCH system and will be sure its level, secure, etc. Can you post a reminder to parents that this service exists? I feel so much safer knowing that a professional installed my daughters car seat. The best part...its free!
(First, I just want to point out the harnesses on the baby in this picture are way to high. They should be adjusted to fit right above her shoulders and this doesn't look like a 5 point harness! It's not surprising more than 90% of car seats are installed wrong!)
For information about the Illinois SAFE KIDS Coalition (Illinois) or the Mobile Car Seat Check Up Van, call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 217-782-3300.
safekids.org has a list of the next events scheduled.
If you can't make it to a scheduled event, call the Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria to set up a time. 309-671-4813
If you see someone with a child who is not restrained appropriately, take down the license plate and call this number: 888-800-2642
AAA says car seats with a manufacturer's date before 2002 are too old to be safely used. My pumpkin seat from my first son was bought in 2003 and it has been used by four kids. That makes me a little nervous. My neighbor has one that is only 2 years old and she only used it for one child. So I am going to use that one instead! It has a really cushy headrest too. Hopefully this baby won't get plagiocephaly (flat spot.)
Fortunately, my husband went through the two day training to learn how to properly install a car seat. He works for AAA. He said there was a huge room with hundreds of different kinds of seats and they learned the best way to make each brand fit in different vehicles. It is quite a process!
Here's a better picture of a kid in a 5-point harness with the shoulder straps in the right place. Although he is forward facing and as we have mentioned, the AAP is now recommending kids stay rear facing until over 2-years old.
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UPDATE: CAR SEAT PICTURES AT THIS LINK