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Car Seat Installation

I’m in my second trimester, and we just bought our baby’s car seat. But I think it requires a degree in engineering to install. How did you do this?

Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: One of the hardest things to do is to get your car seat installed correctly and know how to put your child in it. We see so many kids in the emergency room after car accidents who were in their car seats but the seat wasn’t installed correctly or the child wasn’t strapped in right. It’s a challenge to install and to use car seats correctly.

Before our oldest daughter was born, I took a class on choosing and installing car seats. I was so overwhelmed with the information that I hired a certified car seat specialist to come put them in me car, and every other car the baby would be riding in.  We bought enough bases for every car, so we wouldn’t be trying to re-install them all the time.  Then I spent time with my husband and everyone else who would be helping me with the new baby to make sure that they understood how to use the car seat correctly. We practiced strapping a baby-sized doll into the seat.

Now I certainly don’t think most parents would—or even could—take a 40-hour car seat class, but you could take a two-hour class. And everyone should take their car seat to a car seat inspection site. They’ll check to make sure your seat is installed correctly—for free. You can visit the website SeatCheck.org to search the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) listing of child passenger safety seat inspection locations. Certified inspectors at these locations can provide guidance on proper child restraint use and installation. Or call them at 866-SEAT-CHECK to find a location near you.

Kristin C. Lyle, MD, FAAP, a mom of three girls and disaster medical director at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, both in Little Rock

The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.