Friday, February 1, 2019

Get Ready for Upcoming Holiday and Summer Travel By Making Sure Your Car + Child Car Seats are in Check!




Even thought we just welcomed in the new year, in a few short months many kids will say goodbye to their teachers, as they get ready to start their summer vacation.  And, with summer vacation comes family day trips and traveling.  But, before you can hop in the car and head out for a relaxing getaway with your family, you want to make sure you car and the car seats are all in order.  The last thing you want is to find yourself stranded on the side of the road or highway with the hot summer sun beating down on you and your kids fussy in the car, as you wait for a tow truck.  Or, worse, you don't have the new car seat or booster seats installed correctly, and are trying to find a nearby police or fire station to help you install or check you did it right. 

Summer is meant to be enjoyed, and being together as a family, even if that means long car rides to get to a destination. Be prepared for the kids asking from the back seat, "Are we there yet?" It is only inevitable!  But, don't stress the small stuff, as these are the times that memories are made with your family, and that your kids and you will be remembering for years to come.




If you do have plans to travel during the upcoming holidays (Easter, Mother's and Father's Day), or are planning some fun summer trips that require long travel in the car, and you have little ones riding the back seat, make sure you do a car seat check before you pulling out of the driving.  Many families will be piling gifts high in the trunk or squeezing into the empty spots in the back seat, so a child's car seat may be shifted with your fancy packing.  Or, you may be upgrading car seats or switching out car seats from another car to make holiday traveling easier and more comfortable for your child, so you will have to make sure the new car seat is installed properly before placing your child in the seat.  





With all the craziness that the holidays and summer travel bring, including travel stress, why add car seat installation stress to your list.  I don't know about your, but installing a car seat, depending on the brand and how your car is set up, can be time consuming and stressful.  I have lost count of how many times my husband and I have struggled to latch our daughter's car seats, only to find them loose or not even secured the right way.  

Here are some quick tips for parents and caregivers as you gear up for holiday and summer travel with young children this year...






1.  Hopefully you kept the installation manual for the specific car seat you are installing, as they are all different.  If you don't have the manual handy, do a search online as they usually have .pdf versions available.  If you can't find, you can always call the car seat's brand customer service line and ask them for assistance in finding instructions to help with the proper installation.




2.  Check how the back seat you will be installing your child's seat into to see if you can remove the head rest, as these can interfere with a car seat's fit by pushing the safety seat's back off the car's seat cushion.  You will also want to recline the seat back to allow for better access for the Latch anchors and for proper legroom once the seat is installed.


3. Head on over to https://www.cars.com/news/car-seat-check/ to learn more about the Latch System and check your vehicle's ability to accommodate different types of car seats.  All you have to do is select your car make, model and year and you will provided with a detailed article written by a certified child passenger safety technician, who will discuss the car seat check based on their hands-on tests of your car's Latch system and different types of car seats.  





I really found this to be helpful as we are planning to switch out car seats when we travel, so the girls have more room in the family car, with  all the gifts we need to pack up.



17BMW_330i_SO_AC_32.jpg
Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry


4.  Not sure you have installed the seat correctly?  You can call your local fire or police station to see if they have a drop car seat safety check, or have any scheduled car seat checks coming up.  If not, you can also check out the NHTSA website for car seat checks scheduled in your area.





Don't delay in planning your car seat check if you have holiday/summer travel plans.  You don't want to be running around last minute trying to find an expert to assess if you installed the car the right way, or leave you stressing when you can't find the car seat manual or are struggling to figure out how to properly install and latch the car seat.  Get this out of the way now, and when it comes time to pile the kids in the car you will have one less worry. :-)




And, if you find yourself in the market for a new car, or see the miles inching up on the odometer, why not start looking around for a new (or newer) car now.  Maybe you need AC and it is too pricey to fix your current car, or you have been sitting on a clunker, and just a need a push to get rid of it and buy a new car..well, here is your push, and reminder that before you know it, summer will be here, and the kids will be asking "Where are we going?" or "Can we do something?"...and, you don't want to be stuck at home, as the car is in the shop for repairs, or you are left spending the summer looking for a new car for the family.  Both are never fun, and can be avoided if you act now.

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