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Car Seats Recalled

Sources: NHTSA Child Restraint Recall Campaign listing and Britax Website

Car Seat Safety

Ohio law requires the use of a child safety seat for children until they are both four years of age and weigh more than 40lbs. A child is required to be in a booster seat until they are eight years of age and at least four feet nine inches (57 inches) tall.

Parents and guardians should know how to properly install a child’s safety seat. It is your responsibility to keep your child safe from injury while in the vehicle and a child safety seat is the proven method for this. Nearly 80% of all child safety seats are installed incorrectly.

Car Seat Installation

The best way to properly install your seat is to read the instruction booklet that comes with every car seat.  Read the few pages dealing with car seats in the owner’s manual of your vehicle. Together, this will give you all the information you need to perform a proper installation. Always install the seat according to these instructions.  Practice putting the seat in and then taking it out several times to familiarize yourself with the process and the specifics of your vehicle.

Recommendations & Best Practice

It is recommended that you do not use a second-hand seat unless it comes from a relative or close friend so that you can be sure that it hasn’t been abused or in a previous car accident.  Abused or damaged seats may be weakened and not strong enough in the event you are in an accident.

Best practice dictates that children should ride in the backseat of the vehicle until they are 12 years old, with the safest place for a child being in the backseat in the middle. Children should ride in the back because they are farthest away from the windshield, dash board, air bag and everything else that could pose a danger in the front seat.  In the middle, because they are equal distant from side impacts, in the event that you get hit hard enough to cause the side door to bend inward toward the passenger compartment.

Small children – up to 2 years of age and under – should ride rear-facing, looking out the back window. A Childs body is better protected in a crash when supported by the shell of the car seat  than if they were to be held back by the seat harness, which can cause a lot of strain on a young, underdeveloped upper body. A small child’s head in relation to their bodies is heavy, and, in some cases, they can be thrown forward in a crash with enough force to strain under developed neck muscles and potentially lead to paralysis.

The child safety seat should be installed snugly enough so that when you grab it at the belt path and try to move it back and forth it does not move more than one inch side-to-side, door-to-door.  When seated in the car seat, the child’s head should be at a reclined angle and not so upright that the child’s head falls forward, chin to chest.

The retainer clip should be positioned at the child’s armpit level and the harness should be snug enough so that you cannot lift up and pinch any of the strap between your fingers.

The owner’s manual will explain how to switch the seatbelts in the back seat from the “adult mode” to the “car seat mode” to hold the seat with less than one inch of side-to-side movement.

There are labels on the seat with pictures to help illustrate what the directions indicate to do. The most important label is the one that contains the model name, model number and manufacture date. This is the information the manufacturer uses to identify your seat if it is ever affected by a recall. This is why it is recommended to avoid using second-hand seats – because if they are missing this label you will not know if your seat is under recall. It is not recommended to purchase a seat at a garage sale or flea market for the same reasons. Car seats have a life of six to eight years; they should then be discarded and replaced. The manufacturer will mold these expiration dates into the plastic of the seat.

As with many other children’s products, you should make sure that you register your car seat either by filling out and sending in the registration card after purchase or by calling the toll-free number on one of the seats labels.

Contact SEFD

If you have any questions regarding the installation of your car seat, please call The South Euclid Fire Department Car Seat Hotline. Please leave a voice message and a technician will call back as soon as possible. The hotline can be used to request an appointment on our car seat installation days, the fourth Saturday of each month.

Car Seat Hotline: 216-691-4204
or email us at:   Inspector Sebastian

If you are not a South Euclid resident, check with your local fire department and/or police department and ask if they have a technician on staff.