Beyond the Car Seat Minimums - Alabama

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Where's Your Manual?

Posted by beyondthecarseatminimums_alabama on November 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

You've heard us talk about the importance of reading and referencing your car seat manual-- What happens if you lose it?!


Most manufacturers have their child restraint manuals available for viewing online. This can make it quick and easy to look up necessary information.

If your manual is not available online, contact the manufacturer through their customer service. They can send you a new manual, usually absolutely free!


Whenever possible, store your manual in the designated area on the seat itself. It will always be there when you need it, even if you're not at home or have to switch vehicles!

Proper Car Seat Disposal

Posted by beyondthecarseatminimums_alabama on November 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you have an expired or crashed seat that needs to be thrown away?

You'd be amazed and what people will pull out of the trash and try to use! Car seats shouldn't be one of those things!


If you can't find a recycle location that accepts car seats, you should try to dispose of your seat in a way that discourages anyone else from trying to re-use it.


1- Cut the harness straps, LATCH straps, and any buckle straps into several pieces.


2- Remove and/or cut the cover and any padding of the seat into pieces.


3- Write warnings all over the seat with a permanent marker. "Crashed! Do Not Use! Dangerous! Expired!"


4- Release any stress or anger on the seat with a sledge hammer, crowbar, electric saw, or any other demolition tool you have available! If you're unable to damage the shell at all, we recommending putting it into a large black trash bag, so it's not easily visible.


If possible, throw the shell of the seat and any accessories (cover, harness, buckles, etc.) away at separate times.

Registration Card

Posted by beyondthecarseatminimums_alabama on November 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Did you return the registration card that came with your child's seat? The manufacturer needs your contact info, so they can let you know if there is a recall on the seat. (Your information will not be used for any other purpose!)

If you forgot to do it when you bought the seat, or if your contact info has changed, you can call the manufacturer to give them your updated address and phone number. Be sure to have your seat's model number and date of manufacture handy when you call.

Rear-Facing Air Bag Warning

Posted by beyondthecarseatminimums_alabama on November 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

As stated in every rear facing car seat's manual, you should NEVER install it in front of an air bag. The child's head and neck can be seriously injured when an air bag inflates and hits the back of the restraint.

Buckle Stalk Twist

Posted by beyondthecarseatminimums_alabama on November 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Does your car seat get accidentally unbuckled by a child climbing in to the seat?


Does your long buckle stalk make it difficult to keep the seat belt buckle properly positioned by the belt path of your car seat?


If you have a non-rigid buckle stalk like this one, (made with webbing like the seat belt) there is a safe way to keep it from accidentally getting unbuckled. Twist the buckle one half turn, so the release button is facing toward the car seat. It's still easy enough to get to when you're trying to unbuckle the belt, but it's not easy to bump on accident.

If you have a too-long-buckle-stalk that improperly positions the buckle on the edge of the belt path, you can turn the stalk up to three full turns to shorten it, while still being safe!

Where's Your Chest Clip?

Posted by beyondthecarseatminimums_alabama on November 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Where's your chest clip? If your child often looks like the picture on the bottom, some changes need to be made! The chest clip is designed to properly pre-position the harness straps over the child, and it should be positioned across the strongest part of the chest. The top of the clip should be at armpit level. It's common for the clip to break open during an accident, after it's done its job of positioning the straps. Having the clip low on the child's belly can damage internal organs, and the ill-positioned harness can allow for ejection.

Booster Sleepers

Posted by beyondthecarseatminimums_alabama on November 26, 2013 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Does your booster rider fall asleep in the car and end up looking like these two to the left and top? Booster seats are designed to properly position the seat belt over the strongest points of the child. If the child is slumped forward or to the side, the booster can't do it's job! The seat belt is put in a dangerous position that could cause multiple, possibly life threatening, injuries.

Teach your booster rider how to stay properly seated when he gets tired, like the picture to the right! High back boosters offer some head support that is helpful to lean against, making it easier to stay upright. Having the child turn his chin up slightly, like he is looking toward the ceiling, can help him keep his back strait so he doesn't lean forward. If you ever glance in your back seat and see your child slumped, wake him immediately so that he can re-position correctly.

3 Ways to Install (Infant Seat)

Posted by beyondthecarseatminimums_alabama on November 26, 2013 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Did you know there are generally 3 ways that you can install your infant car seat?


1- LATCH installation. The base of your infant seat is equipped with the LATCH system. You can install the base to the Lower Anchors of your vehicle. Your seat then snaps in and out of the base, giving you the convenience of carrying baby to and from the car without taking him out of the seat. (But remember, we do not recommend leaving your baby in the carrier for extended periods of time!) After installing the base correctly, you can know that your seat is safe every time you click it into the car.


2- Seat belt installation of the base. If your vehicle is not equipped with LATCH, or if you cannot get a solid installation with the anchors, you can still install your car seat base with the seat belt. Some infant seats even have belt lock-offs on the base to make installation easier with the lap/shoulder belt. This still gives you the convenience of clicking the seat on and off the base.


3- Baseless seat belt installation. In most cases, the base is not required to install your infant seat. You can install the seat with the seat belt, by threading it through the seat belt guides on the sides of the carrier. Just remember to check your car seat's recline angle and check for less than an inch of movement at the belt path each and every time you install the seat. You lose the convenience of just clicking it in to the vehicle, but you can still achieve a perfectly safe installation.


Always check your car seat manual to see the full instructions for the different ways to install your seat. As always, we also recommend checking with a CPST to make sure you feel confident with your install, and to have any additional questions answered!

Inflatable Seat Belts and Car Seats

Posted by beyondthecarseatminimums_alabama on November 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Does your vehicle have inflatable seat belts? Did you know that the majority of child restraints specify that they cannot be used with inflatable belts? And the manufacturers that DO allow a restraint to be installed and used with an inflatable belt often have specific instructions to follow.

Check out this link for the most current recommendations about inflatable seat belts from child restraint manufacturers.

School Bus Safety

Posted by beyondthecarseatminimums_alabama on November 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

When it comes to school buses, have you ever said or thought:

"I'd rather drive my kids to school in their car seat or booster!"

"So many kids without seat belts? No thanks!"

"If it's illegal for them to ride unbuckled in my car, then there should be seat belts on the buses!"


Would you be surprised to know that school buses are actually the safest mode of ground transportation?! It's true-- your child is safer riding unbuckled on a school bus than riding in a car seat in your car! (About 8 times safer, in fact!)


To begin with, school bus accidents are very uncommon. Buses are large, travel slowly, and well- they're bright yellow! This helps minimize the probability of them getting in an accident in the first place.

But, sometimes things go wrong, and accidents still happen. When they do, buses use compartmentalization instead of seat belts to keep their occupants safe. Think of eggs in an egg carton! The seats are tall and purposefully padded to distribute crash forces properly, and the spacing is designed with the same head excursion distance a child would experience in a booster seat belted in a small vehicle. The design of the body of the bus is also important-- they are built to distribute more forces throughout the bus before the forces get to the children riding in it. They also sit fairly high, which means that if involved in a collision with another vehicle, it's almost a guarantee that the bus will be the bigger of the two, and less of the other vehicle will come in contact with the body of the bus.

What's the most dangerous part about riding a school bus? Getting to and from the bus stop!


If you have a school aged child, don't be frazzled about letting them ride the bus to school, or travel for field trips! Rest assured, they are very well protected!