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Old 04-11-2012, 09:57 PM   #1
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Unsafe buckle

I am not sure if this is the right place to put this. But I figure since it has to do with carseats I should start here.

So, this weekend we spent time with my BIL, SIL, nephew and niece. Well, for most of the trip my nephew rode in my van with me (he is almost 3). When I went to buckle him in his seat I noticed that his straps we REALLY lose. As, in, I could probably fit my fist between his chest and the strap. It made me super nervous and I felt uncomfortable driving him around like that. I decided I would just tighten it and just say well he was in my car so he follows my rules but I could find the strap to tighten it. I tried to casually mention it to my SIL that I noticed that his straps were really lose and she kind of brushed it off. Just saying "oh, hes in the back seat." "he can move the straps sometimes" "on the way up here the last hour his arms weren't even in the straps, we were just trying to survive." It floored me!! My SIL is like CRAZY helicopter mom so it shocked me that she was so relaxed about something like this. Then I noticed that my niece 1 month old was the same way her straps are CRAZY loose. Like nowhere near her chest or shoulders.

So, my questions are:
1) Did I just make this up but aren't the straps supposed to be snug against your child? I think I remember the firefighter telling us with our first that you should only be able to get your 2 fingers between the strap and child.
2) If in fact she is strapping them in too lose how do I tell her? Or do I say anything at all since I tried to mention it and she kind of brushed it off? Are there any good unbiased links I can share with her?
3) Just so that I'm more educated why do you want them strapped in tighter? I mentioned it a little to my MIL and when I was telling her I said that its to prevent neck/back injuries and brain trauma. Can a child be thrown from a carseat if its too lose? That was what my MIL said, "but its not like he would come out of the seat."

Thank you so much!!

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Old 04-11-2012, 09:58 PM   #2
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Re: Unsafe buckle

Straps should be bra-strap tight. You shouldn't be able to pinch them.

Kids can DEFINITELY be ejected from a carseat that is too loose!

This is a great video that explains why they need to be tight, and how to do it. It was made by a pediatrician. 3:30 shows the pinch test, and that you shouldn't put more than 1 finger in.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:00 PM   #3
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Re: Unsafe buckle

I know a firefighter who has seen two babies thrown out of their seats because the straps weren't tight enough...it can happen!
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:23 AM   #4
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Re: Unsafe buckle

Quote:
Originally Posted by branfam View Post

So, my questions are:
1) Did I just make this up but aren't the straps supposed to be snug against your child? I think I remember the firefighter telling us with our first that you should only be able to get your 2 fingers between the strap and child. The two finger test is outdated. The straps should be tight enough that you cannot pinch any slack in them horizontally above the chest clip (near the child's collarbone)
2) If in fact she is strapping them in too lose how do I tell her? Or do I say anything at all since I tried to mention it and she kind of brushed it off? Are there any good unbiased links I can share with her? She is strapping them in far too loosely. The straps will not be able to function as intended in an accident if they're not used properly
3) Just so that I'm more educated why do you want them strapped in tighter? I mentioned it a little to my MIL and when I was telling her I said that its to prevent neck/back injuries and brain trauma. Can a child be thrown from a carseat if its too lose? That was what my MIL said, "but its not like he would come out of the seat." Yes they can and will fly out of the seat if they're not strapped in properly. Harness straps, like seat belts are designed to stretch to keep the occupant from taking all the forces of the crash and allow the body to ease to a stop rather than just stopping. This helps prevent internal injuries as well as keeping the occupant in place. Those children would slam forward until they reach the end of the harness and then it will stretch some more meaning they would likely hit something else in the car and be injured if they stayed in the seat at all.

Thank you so much!!
Here is a thread on car-seat.org with videos of crash tests with common misuses. There is one with the harness too loose.
http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=154011
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info! I didn't know they could still be ejected from the seat!

So, now the thing is do say something to her? If so how do I bring it up? What do I say?
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:58 PM   #6
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Also, I watched the video on the car seat link where the straps were too loose. Can someone explain the difference b/t the two dummies? I can just picture her or someone else saying "oh it would just give them whiplash."
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:26 PM   #7
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Re: Unsafe buckle

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Originally Posted by branfam View Post
"oh it would just give them whiplash."
Most people have very little understanding of crash dynamics. There is a standard that each seat manufacturer has to meet for head excursion to prevent the child from slamming in to the seat in front of them, or worse, breaking their neck. It does not matter what tests a seat passes, if you don't use it properly then it is not going to do its job. Unfortunately, there are still many parents that see car seats as baby containment devices or something that they are required by law to use rather than as the life saving piece of safety equipment that they really are.

While there are unsurvivable crashes, many serious injuries and fatalities are due to misused seats. The misuse rate for car seats is anywhere from 75-90% depending on the area. If you live in a state with a proper use clause in the child restraint law, then she is breaking the law as well as endangering the lives of her children.

You could approach her by saying you recently learned about how so many car seats are misused. The NHTSA is doing a media campaign right now to try and raise awareness about car seat misuse. They just launched a new site, http://www.safercar.gov/parents/CarSeats.htm . You can tell her that you learned about this site and wanted to share it with her. Tell her that there are tons of great moms out there that just don't know how important this is. This isn't an attack on her parenting, this is a chance for you to share newly acquired knowledge with her.

There is a chance that she will still brush you off. Many parents do because to make a change is to admit that they were doing something wrong in the first place. At that point, all you can do is hope and pray that they're never in an accident and you can properly restrain them when they are in your vehicle.
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:44 PM   #8
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Re: Unsafe buckle

Personnally I'd have to be smart with her at that point and ask "So you want your kiddo to have whiplash?"
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:26 PM   #9
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That's a good idea maybe I could play it off that way. Just that I found this info and wanted to pass it along.

I think her reasoning is that she thinks it's uncomfortable for her kids?!?! Which personally I'd take my kids life over them being comfortable in the car...
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:27 PM   #10
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I live in Texas how do I find out if our state hasa proper use clause?
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