Ok, well he’s not going to teach us a damn thing, but the publicity event that happened last week does provide us the opportunity to make a positive contribution to society.
So thank you Will and Kate, the new parents who were unfortunate enough to have the world watching when they tried to harness Baby Cambridge into his car seat for the first time. You highlighted a common problem parents have with using child car seat. Here’s to hoping that with the international attention on all things royal, more parents will understand how to properly secure their own little princes and princesses.
After spending thousands of hours designing and testing child car seats, there is nothing that we would like to see more than people using them correctly – especially after seeing HRH George Alexander Louis swaddled and placed delicately in a loose and improperly positioned harness. We cringed at the sight of that.
So just for you, we’ve compiled a cheat sheet of general guidelines to using a five-point harness correctly.
|First, make sure your child is resting in the seat properly, with their back flat against the seat.||If children are not seated properly, they can’t be restrained properly. You want the child to move with the car seat.|
|Shoulder straps should be at or below the child’s shoulder for rearward facing seats, and at or above their shoulder for forward facing. Arms on the outside of the shoulder straps at all times.||Properly adjusted shoulder belts will prevent upward motion. If the child’s arms are inside the straps, the shoulder straps can fall off and the child could be ejected from the seat.|
|The chest clip (if present) should be positioned level with the child’s armpits. The chest clips should be done up in both rearward and forward facing seats.||The chest clip will keep the shoulder straps in position and spread the load over the child’s sternum during a crash. If positioned too low or too high it could cause abdominal injuries or choking.|
|The lap belt goes across their hips and the crotch belt goes in between their legs. It’s fairly self-explanatory, but check the manual on this one. Some car seats have specific locations for the lap belt.||The lap belt should immediately restrain the child from moving during a crash. But this location can change depending on the design of the car seat and how it’s supposed to move in a crash.|
|Tighten the harness until it is snug. Measure with a finger under the harness at the child’s collar bone. If you can get two fingers under the harness, it is still too loose.||Again, the goal of the seat is to restrain and cushion the child from the impact on the car. If the child can move even a couple of inches forward within the harness, it is much more likely that injuries will occur.|
|Make sure you are fitting the harness to the child, not their clothing. Swaddled babies should never be put in car seats, and snow suits or bulky clothes can be put on after car rides. It’s safer to buckle up your child and cover them with a blanket.||If the harness is fitted to a snowsuit, that is exactly what it will restrain. There have been cases of crashes where snowsuits and blankets have remained in the car seat while the child is ejected.|
For the millions of first time parents who have to struggle with assembling, latching, and belting in their newly acquired car seats, I’m sure strapping in their infant seems like the easy part. But learn from the experience of engineers who have been present at hundreds of car seat tests: royal or not, things in motion like to stay in motion. And no matter how ingenious your car seat design, it’s not going to help a whole lot if your child isn’t strapped into it properly.