Kids and Car Seats – Advice from Mayson

Hi, my name is Mayson!

I’m 4 years old (ALMOST “5”)  and THIS is my very first “BLOG!”  That’s a funny word, huh?  My Daddy (Chris Wylie from Searle’s Auto Repair) says it means I get to type with all of my fingers really fast!  And when I’m as old as HE is, I’ll have written about hundreds and hundreds of awesome things like…

Car Seats!

I don’t always like sitting in my car seat, but today I learned just how important it really is!  It basically saved my whole life!  Mommy’s a really good driver, but when something fell into the middle of the road, she had to swerve out of the way.  If Mommy hadn’t buckled me in properly, I could have gotten really, really hurt!  Until I get bigger, I will be happy to sit in my car seat for me from now on!

Daddy told me someone named ICBC says, “When car-seats are properly installed, our risk of fatality is reduced by 71%, and serious injury is reduced by 67%”.

Sounds like pretty big numbers to me!

But did you know car seats aren’t just protectors – they’re the law!  And if you don’t use them, you could get in BIG trouble.  Mom says that when I was born, the nurses at the hospital checked to see that I was going home in a car seat. They do that for all the babies!

Choosing The Right Size Of Car Seat For Your Child

So, how do you know what size and kind to buy? It’s easy!  Moms & Dads just have to read the labels – they’re good at that.  When I was a baby, my car seat was rear-facing.  But now that I’m 4, I switched to a front-facing seat.  Mine is called a “convertible”.  Which means, it can change with you, so you don’t have to buy a new one every time you grow!

I asked Dad how they picked my car seat, and he says the guide from ICBC goes like this:

Infants: For babies less than one year old and less than 20 lbs. (9 kg), a rear-facing seat is the only way to go. Rear-facing seats support your baby’s neck and head during sudden stops, fender benders, and crashes. Car seats for newborns come with a harness that, when done up snuggly, only allow mommy or daddy to fit one of their fingers between the harness and the baby’s collarbone.

Then, the rear-facing seat goes in the centre of the back seat. Don’t even think about putting the seat upfront with you, especially if your car has airbags that could injure a tiny body when deployed.

Toddlers/Preschoolers: When your baby grows to be older than one year and is between 20 and 40 lbs. (9-18 kg), you have to adjust their car seat. Keep on using the rear-facing position for as long as possible. When us wee ones start to get curious and want to see more of the world around us, we’ll let you know by kicking a fuss, don’t worry.

For everyone with a convertible infant/child seat, all you have to do is modify the seat for toddlers. You saved the instructions that came with the unit, right? If the seat isn’t a convertible, it’s time to buy the next size of seat. It should come with a tether strap for added stability.

Children Under 9: Young children who weigh more than 40 lbs. (18 kg), but are less than 5-ft. tall need sit in a booster seat when they are in the car. Booster seats elevate the child so that their seat belt fits properly – nice and snug.

Thanks Dad!  Here are a few other things you might be wondering about:

Is It Okay To Buy A Used Car Seat?

My parents bought a brand-new one, because they said “all car seats have an expiry-date…and they go bad just like my yogurt!  (Hahaha!)  Because car seats get messy and cleaners can make them soft, they only last between 5 and 9 years.  So if you don’t get a new one, be sure to find out how old it is and whether or not it’s broken, or been in an accident.

What Brand Of Car Seat Is Best?

There are a lot of different car seats out there, so I really can’t tell you which one to get…if I did it would be PINK!  Dad says to make sure to find a seat that complies with Canada’s Safety Regulations and meets the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards  – whatever that means.

I saw some nice ones made by Britax, Frontier, Graco, and Sunshine Kids.  Mom even got mine registered so she’d know if it needed to be returned, replaced, or if anything was wrong with it.  Then we went to a car seat clinic here in Victoria to learn how to put it in properly!

….And finally:

Always Replace Your Child’s Car Seat After An Accident!

Let’s pretend that mommy wasn’t able to swerve in time, and we had  a small accident today.  Even if everyone was ok I’d still have to get a new car seat – even if it looked ok – just to keep me safe.  If my seat was ever damaged, that could really be dangerous for me!

Well, that’s it for now!  But sure to put http://searlesauto.ca/ in your favourites, and if you have any “Grown Up” questions about your car, truck, van (or Ladybug) you can always call us (250) 475-2000, or book an appointment online at: http://searlesauto.ca/make-an-appointment/.