4 Easy Steps to Making Sure Your Car Seat’s Safety is Solid

For new parents and families with toddlers, a car seat is one of the most important pieces of equipment they will need. While car seats have become a much-needed and often-used addition to the family road trip, unfortunately, most of the time, they are not installed correctly, or these seats do not meet the necessary safety standards. Luckily, our seat belts and safety experts have compiled a brief but comprehensive list of steps that will help you check and meet those safety requirements.

1. Check the ADAC safety rating for the car seat

Check the ADAC safety rating for the car seat

Before you carry out your own safety tests or check YouTube for the answer, we here at Orion Safety Belts would encourage you to check the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) website, to check the safety ratings that different car seat brands have received in the past year. Now, you may wonder–why should we trust this particular rating system? Well, the ADAC is one of Europe’s largest and most well-respected motorist associations. Every year, this group carries out several tests related to motor vehicles, including children’s car seats.

This brings us to the next point: How do you make sense of the rating scale? During the testing phase, the ADAC tests both frontal and side impacts on vehicles, using dummies to simulate different age and weight groups that might be in the car seat. Additionally, they also inspect parameters such as handling, ergonomics, cleaning, workmanship, and the harmfulness of substances used to make the seat.

After taking everything into account, the car seats are graded in five categories: “very good” (0.6 to 1.5), “well” (1.6 to 2.5), “satisfying” (2.6 to 3.5), “sufficient” (3.6 to 4.5), and “inadequate” (from 4.6). To keep things simple, just remember this rule of thumb: the lower the score, the better the car seat’s safety rating.

2. Conduct the “inch” and “pinch” tests, respectively

Conduct the _inch_ and _pinch_ tests, respectively

One of the biggest safety issues that arise with car seats is not so much the safety rating or lack thereof; it has more to do with how it is installed in the vehicle. Orion’s safety experts recommend that you consider doing the “inch test” and the “pinch test” to make sure your seat and child are secured properly.

With the inch test, locate the seat belt or lower anchor straps and the point at which they go through the car seat. Give it a good, hard tug to check. Ideally, the seat should not move more than an inch in any direction. If it is loose, consult the manufacturer’s manual and periodically do this test every other month.

The second portion of the safety check can be done when your child is strapped into the car seat. Once they are all clipped in, pinch the straps at shoulder level with your fingers. If everything is as it should be, you should not be able to pinch any excess webbing.

3. Do a tether check

seat belt tether check

Now most car seats are backwards-facing by design. However, there are options for forward-facing seats as well. If you find yourself the owner of the latter model, you may want to consider doing a tether check.

Most forward-facing car seats come with a five-point harness and a hook strap that attaches to the back of the seat. This is the tether and should be used when the car seat is facing forward. The purpose of the tether is to hold the top of the seat tightly to the back of the vehicle’s in-built seat so as to protect the child’s head in the unfortunate event of a crash.

Most cars manufactured after the year 2000 have this tether capability and an anchor. This anchor could be a bar, bracket, or webbing, depending on the make and model of a particular car. To be on the safe side, check the vehicle’s manual for clear instructions for your specific car.

4. Check the expiration date

seat belt expiration date

Here’s a fun fact, car seats actually have an expiration date! You wouldn’t think so, but they do have a shelf life. To be fair, most car seat manufacturers do carry out extensive testing on their products before releasing them to the public. These studies have found that after a certain amount of time and use, these seats need to be replaced, be it because of the worn padding, the weathered harnesses, or other weakened components that may compromise the safety of your little passengers.

We recommend that you check the back or bottom of the car seat to see if it has an expiration date. However, if there isn’t one, a good measure of usable time is six years from the date of manufacture, which will most likely be listed when you first buy it. So, there you have it. These are the steps that can bring you closer to a safer road trip with your kids.

While all these steps are essential to ensuring the safety of your child in the car seat, keep in mind that, ultimately, it comes down to how good your car’s in-built seat belts are. Luckily, we here at Orion Safety Belts, can offer you a wide range of safety belt services, from fitting and manufacturing to repair and replacement! Given that we already have a myriad of clients across various industries, our experts are highly skilled in servicing a wide variety of vehicles. So, get in touch with us today!

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