Parenting Infants - Installing and Using the Correct Child Safety Seat

I hear a lot of statistics on child safety seats, car seats, child safety equipment, and the like. I am from an age where there were no seat belts, no safety harnesses, no rounded edges, and playground equipment was made from steel and concrete. Parenting infants was a crap shoot.

I rode up front in the seat with my mother. Usually on her lap, but sometimes I would wriggle away and climb around inside the car; lying on the floor boards for part of the long trip on the freeway to my grandmothers. Today if you saw a kid standing in the back seat waving out the rear window you would be dialing 911 on your cell phone before they hit the off ramp.

Now everyone knows that it is now illegal to ride in a car with a child on your lap. For those of you who still don't know, the reason for this law is that if you got into a crash, the baby would go flying through the windshield or your body would crush the baby as you flew forward. So car seats and child safety booster car seats are mandatory and must be purchased an installed according to your child's development stage.

But people are installing them incorrectly. After all, it won't do any good for you to buy a state of the art car seat if you don't read the directions and strap junior in wrong. You will go through three different sizes of car seats before your child is the correct weight and height to use the seat belt alone in your car. There are several places that will be happy to show you how to use the different types and give you parenting advice-the health department, planned parenthood, and any other community child advocate agency will not only show you how to install and use these car seats, some have trade up programs where they will lend you an infant seat and then allow you to return it for the car seat, and on to the booster seat until your child reaches 50 lbs.

Always remember to use the car seat no matter how short your drive will be as most car wrecks happen within five minutes of leaving home. Car seats made before 1981 don't count and can't be used; the federal regulations regarding car seats hadn't gone into effect yet. Keep the car seat clean and free of kid gunk-old food, sticky candy, etc. anything that might gum up the works will deter you from using it-if it's a big chore to use and you're just running to the mini-mart for bread you may elect not to use it and that's bad. Parenting infants with regard to safety has become more involved then when I was a kid-with a little practice and the right equipment your kids may not end up with the scars we had.