Ten Car Seat Safety Quick Tips

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Part of our Newborn Series, one really important safety concern is traveling with your newborn.  Ensure you and your precious cargo get to where you need to go with this important car seat safety check!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.  This post is a sponsored collaboration between cars.com and Mommy Engineering.  I received compensation to write this sponsored post.  For more information about this disclaimer, please visit our disclosure page. 

There are many different types of infant seats that will help protect your baby during an accident. You can decide to purchase a new car seat, used car seat, or keep your previous car seat from your past baby. Whichever you decide, it’s important to always check your infant seat.

Car Seat Safety Check

10 Car Seat Safety Check

  1. Check For Recalls

    • Whether you decide to purchase new, used, or keep you last car seat, you should always check to see if there has been a recall.  If you had registered it when you purchased it, you should’ve been notified by the manufacturer of any recalls but if you bought it used, it’s possible the previous owner may not have disclosed this information to you.
    • If you find that it does have a recall, follow the appropriate steps issued by the manufacturer or simply call them. They may be able to send you a kit to fix the issue.  Check for Recalls Here
  2. Check The Expiration Date 

    • Depending on the type and brand of your car seat, expiration date may vary.   You can find the expiration date information printed on the back or bottom.  Infant car seats and its base can expire 5 to 6 years after the manufactured date.  Convertible All-in-One seats last quite a bit longer, usually over 8 years.  If it is expired, you will need to get a different one.  If your car seat is expiring soon, like within the range in which your new baby will be using it, then you should get a different car seat.  
    • For budget purposes, you could use the seat until the expiration date is up and purchase a new one later as long as the integrity is excellent.
  3. Check if Your Child Has Exceeding the Weight and/or Height Limit of Your Car Seat

    • Every seat will have weight/height/age requirements and limitations.  Make sure you read the instruction manual that came with your seat and check your state’s current car seat standards.  If you have lost or never received the manual, you can easily find a copy online or get the information from the manufacturer directly.
  4. Check if Car Seat is Becoming Loose

    • You should be checking this every time before you place your baby in the seat.  Especially if you’re using your seat belts to secure your seat instead of the latch or tethering system.  I’ve found that seat belts come loose more often than any other way.
    • If you are having problems with installing yourself, your state usually hosts car seat safety checks with the local police or fire department and they will put it in correctly for you.  You can find this more information about these with your OB and pediatrician or simply call your local police or fire department.  You definitely need to have a secure car seat as a loose seat is useless.
    • Click here to check out information on how to install different car seat types and learn about the latch system on cars.com.
  5. Check if Your Car Seat is Still Reclined at the Correct Level

    • As with car seats becoming loose overtime, the seat may also move from its appropriate reclined level for your baby’s needs.  Every seat is different as some allow 2-3 levels of recline and some have up to 8.  Make sure you adjust the recline level as necessary.
  6. Check for Wear on Car Seat from the Sun

    • With infant seats, you won’t see as much wear from the sun since most often these are not left inside the car.  You can usually tell if the seat has had some exposure to the sun of the fabric of your car seat is fading or faded.
    • Most importantly you should check if the base and infant seat has plastic that is warping in anyway.  Warping is a sign that the car seat’s integrity is no longer any good and should be replaced immediately.  Plastics can become brittle and break and the plastic found on car seats are no different.  In an accident, your car seat may not hold up in an impact.
  7. Check for any Cracks in the Plastic

    • Like the last check, this could happen from warping of the plastic or damage from falling, dropping, or being thrown. If you find a crack, the integrity of the seat may be okay depending on the location and size but safety comes first and you should replace it anyway.
  8. Check for Broken or Loose Parts

    • Loose bolts should be taken care of right away and broken parts should be ordered from the manufacturer and replaced right away.  In the meantime, the seat should not be used.
  9. Check for Ample Padding

    • You should check for padding especially around the side impact supports and make sure there isn’t any wear in those areas.  You may be able to find replacements online or through the manufacturer as long as the model has not been discontinued.
  10. Check for Damages to your Seat Belt that’s Holding the Car Seat, Latch System, or Tethering System

    • As parts on your baby seat can wear and break, so can the parts from your car used to secure your car seat.  Check your seat belts for holes and fraying.  Make sure to check that your latch system is still sturdy and secure.

Looking for more information about car seat safety check?

If you’re interested in comparing different vehicle models with different car seat types to see which works best, check out Cars.com, they have three certified child passenger safety technicians that write the car seat check reports on their website.  Cars.com uses this grading scale:

A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn’t impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.

B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.

C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.

D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.

F: Does not fit or is unsafe.

Below is an example with the 2018 Toyota Camry:

Car Seat Safety check Cars.com Car Seat Check

Have you checked your car seat for this car seat safety check?

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72 Replies to “Ten Car Seat Safety Quick Tips”

  1. These are all important and great reminders since we can often get busy and take shortcuts.

  2. tara pittman says: Reply

    These are all very important tips for parents to read. We want to keep babies safe.

  3. This is good information. One item that I’m not as concerned as usual about price is the car seat. Safety it most important.

    1. Absolutely! I totally agree with you! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Checking if the car seat is becoming loose is so important. This often happens from daily wear and it is something that all parents of children in car seats should be aware of.

    1. Yeah, unfortunately it happens a lot and more so with leather seats! Thanks so much for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

  5. Nicole Anderson says: Reply

    What a fantastic list this is to ensure the safety of our precious children. I never thought of the sun wearing one before but it does make sense. Thanks so much for highlighting all these important points.

    1. So glad you were able to walk away with something new after this post! thanks so much for visiting!

  6. I had a car seat come loose one time…when my daughter was in it. It was so scary and from that point on I checked to make sure it was tethered properly.

    1. Oh dear ! I can totally understand this! It’s so amazing how loose they get! So important to check it often! Thanks so much for visiting and sharing that story!

  7. Gosh I am so glad I don’t have a child in a car seat anymore, I would be so confused. Laws and requirements have changed so much over time. I love that you are sharing these tips because car seat safety is important and with all the confusion things about it, parents need to know more to keep their child safe.

    1. I can’t wait for the day I don’t have a child in a carseat… it’s a very long time away LOL! Thanks so much for visiting! So glad you liked this post!

  8. These are all great! As a new parent, you would not know most of this. Car seat safety is so important

    1. No kidding yet as our kids get older… we seem to forget about checking this car seat thing. haha thanks so much for visiting!

  9. When we took both of our kids home from the hospital we had a nurse double check that the seat was fasten properly. They even gave us safety tips that I honestly never even thought of.

    1. That’s amazing! What tips did they give you? Yeah where I live, they inspect the car seats before we can leave. I’m thankful for that! Thanks for visiting!

  10. You can never be too safe with your little ones. I think a recheck is a good idea right now.

    1. Absolutely! Let me know if any of these came up! thanks so much for visiting!

  11. This is so important in real life. It is shocking that we ignore some of them which can be dangerous. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I know, some things seem to slip our mind more than others… unfortunately it can be the important ones too! Thank you so much for visiting!

  12. […] 10 Car Seat Safety Quick Tips […]

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  15. Carseat safety is so incredibly important. I think it can be overlooked greatly but with all the awareness being spread about it, it is becoming more well known and discussed. Great quick tips to ensure the safety of our children. Thank you so much!

  16. This is such an important discussion to have and I hope everyone reads this post – car safety is everything!

    1. Thanks! I hope you share it to spread the word!

  17. Krystal Butherus says: Reply

    You can never stress car seat safety enough! It’s extremely important to check for recalls, and the other points you mentioned.

    1. Absolutely! Thanks for visiting!

  18. Car seat safety is so important! I get so aggravated when I see people buckling babies and toddlers in wrong! I wished more people would just get it, and realize that it’s important!

    1. LOL! You just want to go over there and be like, “no like THIIIIS” I know! lol

  19. Cecilia C. Cannon says: Reply

    my little on is giving me a hard time with the carseat but I need to stick my ground and keep strong about how important and vital it is

    1. My little ones did that too!

  20. Car safety is just so important and it is even more important when you have little ones in the car with you! These tips are a must!

  21. Car seat safety is so important! I’m glad that there are certified technicians that can help with installation! Your tips are very helpful!

  22. I had no idea of the expiration date! Wow! Great idea, but I wonder if this is common knowledge? It should be!

    1. A lot of people don’t know this! Thanks for visiting!

  23. Lavanda Michelle says: Reply

    You tips are so helpful. While I was pregnant my hubby to a class and was cerified as the car seat technician. He then taught me and it has been great. We both were able to help a lot of people keep there little lovely safe.

    1. That’s great! I’m so glad you went through that to make sure you had everything in right! Great job!

  24. Kimberly Lewis (Lou Lou Girls) says: Reply

    thank you for this! we all need to be reminded about this and we do want to make sure the babies in our lives our safe!

    1. You’re so welcome! thanks for visiting!

  25. These are such great tips. We get our oil changed on a regular basis but often forget to check things on the inside of the car, especially the car seats.

    1. Awesome! I’m glad you check these for your car seats!

  26. Kim Byars Croisant says: Reply

    Great car seat safety tips – so important to adhere by them. I wished everyone did!

    1. I know a lot of people don’t and maybe it’s because they don’t know!

  27. All of these are wonderful tips, especially for new parents! Car seat safety is incredibly important.

    1. I completely agree with you! <3

  28. I’m so glad that cars.com is sharing these tips to parents. It’s a good reminder for us to make sure that the kids are all safe. It’s also going to help when shopping for the right car seat.

    1. That’s so true! Thanks for visiting!

  29. Kristina Paché says: Reply

    This is good helpful information to know to make sure our kids are safe when driving. It’s good to check the car seats regularly for things like this.

  30. This is a great information! It will help a lot of those who has a kids and has a car to make your family safe.

    1. Keeping everyone safe is important! I still use this guide to check my seats every few weeks!

  31. Yona Williams says: Reply

    I’ve never had to buy a car seat for a baby. I never knew that they had an expiration date.

    1. A lot of people didn’t know it either! Our hospital made sure we had a car seat that wasn’t expired before we left the hospital to take our newborn home!

  32. Reesa Lewandowski says: Reply

    This is so wonderful for you to share. Even experienced parents like myself could use it as a refresher since we become complacent over time.

    1. I still look back on this and check my seats!

  33. Kelly Hutchinson says: Reply

    This is such important information. My friend just brought a baby home from the hospital yesterday. They need this info for Declan.

    1. I hope you share this with them! Thanks for visiting!

  34. Cynthia Nicoletti says: Reply

    Great tips for moms and dads who have newborns and toddlers in car seats. It is so important to know the correct way to put your children into car seats for their safety.

    1. Absolutely! Thanks for visiting!

  35. Though I’m not a parent myself yet, I can definitely appreciate these tips for keeping children safe while driving. It’s such important information, so it’s great to read that your local hospital makes sure new parents take their kids away safely from the hospital x

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  38. Hi Katrizia, thanks for sharing such an informative article. You mentioned many tips which would never come to my mind.

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