On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, we went to the Indy 500 Festival Community Day that we told you about in THIS post. We figured as it was a once a year event and we don’t know how much longer we will be Indianapolis (at least one more year), we had to check it out!
So, we took a lap around the track in our car!
And then we made our way over to Safety 1st’s World’s Largest Car Seat Check and got our car seats checked. Because we did so we were entered into a drawing for an all expenses paid trip to the Baltimore Grand Prix, or an iPad 2, or a Safety 1st Advance 70 Air +. (Congrats by the way to the winner of the one we gave away!) We also received two little checkered flags for free, two window blinds, and a little sign that says “Baby on Board.” We had to fill out paper work and then the Safety 1st people got to work checking our car seats.
Getting our three car seats checked actually took a long time. This was due to various things, like Josh being interviewed by someone from CNN! He should be on CNN’s Erin Burnett show, but the night he was supposed to be on, breaking news (President Obama speaking) pushed his segment off the air. As a man who not too long ago was in a serious car accident, he understands the importance of seat belts! He was perfect to interview, although he regrets not shaving that morning. If they ever air it, we’ll attach the clip. *UPDATE* He’s not in the following clip, but here is what did air on May 30, 2013:
It also took a while because they untwisted the girls straps (by the way, our girls totally buckle themselves in their car seats now!) and put them in the top hole. And then all the helpers went and got a picture taken with Scott Dixon, a NASCAR driver.
During all the checking, our girls had fun playing in our car, on the grass, with their new checkered flags, and flipping over the giant orange safety cones. They were pretty good considering how long it all took.
And here are some things that Josh and I learned about installing car seats, that we didn’t know before (and we probably aren’t the only ones since 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly):
- When a seat is forward facing, the straps should be in the hole at or above their shoulders. When they are rear-facing the straps should be in the hole at or below shoulder-level. I’m pretty sure I heard at or below for our forward-facing car seat when we got them checked at the fire department two years ago. But, now we know!
- When you are using the LATCH system, you have to use the top LATCH too, not just the bottom anchors. We hadn’t been doing that, mostly because we didn’t know that the seat in our suburban actually had back anchors. They are pretty much under the seats, but they are there.
- When tightening the straps while using the LATCH system, we found it useful to put the tail of the strap back through the hole, and then pull it that way, all the while kneeling in the seat to make it nice and tight. Made a big difference!
- Also, those seat protector mats, even though crash-tested, are not crash-tested with every car seat, so they aren’t guaranteed to be crash-tested safe with your car seat. So, it’s up to you to decide to use them or not (we decided to still use ours).
- When using a seat belt/strap to install a car seat, pull the belt all the way out so it locks and then release it and tighten it down. We didn’t know that, and we were amazed at how much more secure the seats were.
- While I had heard of the “pinch test” I didn’t really know what it was. To figure out if your child’s seat belt is tight enough, you should try to pinch the strap above the chest clip, and if you can pinch it, it is too loose.
- Also, the chest clip should be in line with your child’s arm pits, high up on their chest, not in the middle of their stomach. I knew this, but it’s always a good reminder.
Josh and I encourage anyone who is a parent that uses car seats to get your seats checked out, because motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer of kids aged 1-12 years old! So, make sure they are installed correctly. Your kids life could depend on it.
You can click HERE to find a local car seat inspection site/station in your state. Most if not all inspections should be free!