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Health Happy Round-Up: Tips for Car Seats

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up that  focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

One of the most expensive and necessary purchases that parents [living in western countries] need for their babies and toddlers is a car seat.  I remember feeling overwhelmed with the options and determining the one that would last the longest before we needed to graduate to a larger seat or booster seat.

Car Seat Features to Avoid

Also, I’m not a fan of car seats with handles because they put excessive strain on the back, shoulders, and neck of those who lug them around.

Air Protect1

Instead, I recommend and use more permanent car seats that aren’t meant to be carried around with a child.  As a newborn, I’d slip my son in and out of it, and then immediately tuck him into a sling to carry him to and from the car.

What REALLY Matters in a Car Seat

I think a great car seat should primarily be designed for impact safety.  That’s the purpose and point of the life-saving technology of car seats.  The second most important feature is comfort since babies and children will spend a significant amount of time in the car seats as parents commute and travel for longer periods of time.

My son and I were passengers in a serious car accident when he was only two months old–a combination of icy roads, heavy-falling snow, momentum from a hill, and on-coming traffic.  Although many of us had whiplash injuries or other minor gashes (and the vehicle was totaled), my son, who was immediately checked by paramedics, was perfectly safe without any scratch, strain, or stress on his body.

The benefit of rear-facing car seats is the angle of incline. Since many car accidents are due to rear-impacts, life-threatening injury from upper-neck instability due to whiplash is greatly reduced with rear-facing seats.  The longer a child can remain rear-facing in a car seat, the better.

However, there remains an even greater threat to a child in a car accident.  Once again, the upper-neck instability in a baby and small child make them susceptible to severe spinal cord injury or head trauma in the event of side-impact collision.

1 in 4 car crashes involving children are side impact collisions. They are by far the deadliest type of collision for children, accounting for 1 in 3 child fatalities; nearly all of which are caused by head trauma.

Side-Impact Safety

As a mom, I appreciate the intense level of safety testing that was used to develop the Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat.

Air Protect car seatDorel Juvenile Group (DJG), creators of highly-ranked safety products for babies and children, collaborated with Kettering University’s renowned Crash Safety Center to develop a new standard for side impact testing.  They have shared their findings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), supporting NHTSA’s efforts to provide more comprehensive regulations for side impact crash testing.

Side airbags that protect the head, chest and abdomen reduce driver deaths by an estimated 37 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

airprotect

The Air Protect can be used rear-facing beginning with infants weighing 5 pounds to 40 pound toddlers measuring 19 to 40 inches.  And, it can be used forward-facing for toddlers to preschoolers weighing 22-50 pounds and measuring 34 to 45 inches.

Best Features

My husband and I love the side head “air-filled” wings that not only protect against side-impact collision–but, when our son falls asleep on long road trips, the side cushions support his head and prevent it from rolling around on his shoulders.  As a chiropractor, I hate seeing kids fall asleep with their heads lurched forward in strollers and car seats…I know how that prolonged posture negatively affects their little necks and overall health!

We also like that it’s very easy to install the seat since an adult hand can feed a seat belt strap through the back for the forward-facing feature. One click LATCH system.  Click, and voila! you’re done.  Easy. The QuickFit harness allows you to adjust the tightness from the front–instead of the back. Simple.

The “air protect” technology doesn’t use air bags, but a type of aerated foam system that uses the right amount of air for support upon impact.  I love this safety feature, and the fact that the seat is extremely comfortable for my son.  Perfect for long road trips.

A Little Room for Improvement

There’s very little room for improvement on the Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat because it already has so much going for it.  However, one thing that would help parents get their babies and small children into the seat easier are velcro attachments on the harness belts and sides of the chair.

This velcro feature in on the harness of our son’s other car seat.  When the straps are unbuckled, they can adhere to the sides of the chair for easy in and out access for a child’s arms.  Adding velcro for the bottom safety latch could also help.  Otherwise, parents may struggle with putting a child on the seat, only having to hunt and find the harness buckle that the child is already sitting on.  Awkward and time consuming.  Velcroing the buckle toward the bottom of the seat saves time and helps parents get a small and squirmy child into the seat easier.

It’s not easy to do one-handed harness button depression and unlatching…a feature that I got used to with other car seats.  However, this might be a plus since our soon-to-be-two-year-old is quickly learning how to push buttons and open latches.

This car seat is worth the financial investment–not only because it’s designed for newborns to pre-schoolers, but because of it’s significant safety features and thorough testing.

The Safety 1st Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat is available in two styles: McKenna (gray/black) and Harvest (brown/burnt orange/tan trim).  You can find it exclusively at Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us, and it retails for $249.99.

Thank you to Safety 1st for providing the Complete Air Convertible Car Seat for the purpose of this review.
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One Response

  1. What an excellent post this is, and it is great to hear a mother who has knowledge on the safety of car seats and what the dangers are of not using a suitable one. I think there is not enough awareness on the safety of car seats and what parents should look for in a car seat. Would be excellent for there to be more awareness on every point you mentioned in this fantastic article.

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