Keeping your little one safe is our top priority, so for Child Passenger Safety Week, we listed a few common mistakes made by even the best-intentioned parents, and a few tips on how to correct or avoid them.
Common Mistake: Heavy Outerwear
As we enter the cooler months of fall and winter, you may start to dress your little one in heavier jackets. While these are super comfy and keep baby warm, they do not work well in car seats. The additional material can make the harness too loose on the child- especially when they are dressed in poufy jackets or snowsuits. And with some smaller children, the loose harness can actually fall off the shoulders, exposing them to the risk of serious injury.
Also, newborns cannot regulate their body temperatures like adults. So even though they are dressed appropriately for the outside cold, your baby might be overheating in their car seat once you get the car warmed up.
Our Safety Recommendation: Parents should remove baby’s heavy outer layers before buckling them into their car seat. Once the child is fastened in, and the harness is snug, you can lay their jacket or a blanket over them, but be mindful to position it well away from their face, so it does not become an accidental breathing obstruction.
Common Mistake: Use of Non-regulated Products
What is a non-regulated product you ask? Also called an aftermarket product, these are items that seem compatible, but were not designed for, or tested with, your car seat. These are generally sold separately and do not have regulations or safety standards to meet.
Some common non-regulated items include:
- Cute harness pads
- Plush car seat inserts
- Snow Bunting
- Head Support Pillows
- Seat Protectors
Our Safety Recommendation: As wonderful as the product, packaging, or website might seem, do NOT add anything to your Orbit Baby car seat that did not come from Orbit Baby, or directly with your seat. We design and create coordinating accessories for specific compatibility with our car seats, so we can ensure the utmost safety of our products.
Common Mistake: Uncertainty and Incorrect Use of the LATCH system
First, what is LATCH?
LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. It’s a system created for car seat use by car manufacturers and is made up of those little bars in a vehicle’s seat, an anchor point behind the seat, and the connectors on your car seat base.
LATCH and the vehicle seat belt are both equally as safe when they are used correctly. Both systems should never be used at the same time.
Our Safety Recommendation: Find out how to use the LATCH system correctly:
You will need to check with your vehicle owner’s manual to find out which seating locations have LATCH, as not all will have them. Manufacturers are only required to put LATCH in two seating positions in your car.
- Identify a seating position with LATCH.
- Attach the connectors to the appropriate lower anchors.
- Make sure your base is snug and doesn’t move more than 1 inch in any direction.
Common Mistake: Loose Installation of Base
Despite parents’ best efforts, we often see car bases installed using a seat belt or LATCH system that is not tight enough, which could lead to serious consequences.
Our Safety Recommendation: Check your installation! To do this, grasp the base at the belt guides- the car seat base should not move more than one inch at the belt path in any direction.
Common Mistake: Expired Seat / Base
Did you know that all car seats have an expiration date, after which their safety capabilities start becoming less reliable?
Our Safety Recommendation: Every car seat and base have a label that shows the date of manufacture, expiration date, and serial number. Make sure to check your seat, especially if it has been used it for more than one child. Orbit Baby car seats are safe for use 6 years from the date of manufacture.
Common Mistake: Loose Harnessing
Different than the flexibility and give needed in an adult seatbelt a harness on your baby is meant to be nice and snug.
Our Safety Recommendation: Here is how to best harness your child:
- Insert both buckles into the crotch buckle.
- Connect the chest clip.
- Make sure the harness is in the slot that is at or below the child’s shoulders.
- Pull on the adjuster strap to tighten the harness until you cannot pinch any harness material.
- Raise the chest clip to baby’s armpit level.
If you need to adjust the harness height, please consult your car seat manual for information.With safety as our top priority, we encourage you to reach out to us with any questions about your Orbit Baby Car Seat. We are here to assist- especially if it means helping parents avoid these very common, and potentially very serious mistakes. Just send us an email or DM on Instagram.