Infant Car Seat Safety
Commonly asked questions and general information regarding infant car seats.
For specific information about Ingenuity Infant Car Seats, please reference the product instruction manual. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for regarding Ingenuity Infant Car Seats, please contact our Consumer Experience Department.
Car Seat Basics
Where is the safest place in the car for my child to sit?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that all children 12 and under be restrained in the rear seat. Researchers estimate that putting a child in the back seat instead of the front reduces the chance of injury and death by more than 30%, whether or not the car has a passenger air bag.
What is the safest car seat?
The safest seat for you is the one that you feel the most comfortable installing correctly every time. A car seat is only as safe as the installation. All car seats are tested to meet federal safety standards by NHTSA.
What is a convertible car seat?
A convertible car seat can be installed to be either rear-facing or forward-facing.
What do I do if my car seat is in an accident?
You should not use your car seat after it has been in an accident. The forces in a collision can sometimes cause hidden damage to your car seat’s structure. This damage could keep the car seat from working properly in protecting your child in future crashes. That’s why it is important to replace your child’s car seat if you are involved in a crash.
Why do car seats have expiration dates?
There are many reasons why car seats have expiration dates, which is one reason why it’s never a good idea to purchase a used car seat.
- First, the materials that compose the seat (plastics, fabrics, webbing, etc.) can all break down over a period of time due to environmental factors, such as sunlight and heat.
- Car seat manufacturers have the ability to perform "life cycle testing” in an environmental chamber. This chamber allows manufacturers, like Ingenuity, to perform tests replicating an expected life span of the seat. Several factors come into play during this lifecycle testing, including the materials the seat is made from, the process by which the seat was made, the design of the seat and the size and weight of the child using the seat.
- A car seat has to meet government standards that are in place at the time the seat is manufactured. These safety standards are constantly changing and being updated as new research is conducted and new technologies are developed. So a car seat that was manufactured ten years ago and met the government’s requirements then, may not meet the safety standards that are in place today. A newer seat will offer the latest technology and will meet the latest safety standards.
How long should my child be rear facing?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children remain rear-facing until at least 2 years of age. As your child grows, he or she may outgrow the car seat, so stay aware of the weight and height limits of your car seat (this information is found directly on the labels on your car seat as well as your car seat instruction manual).
For more information, see the Car Seat Safety Chart provided by the AAP.
Is it safe for my rear-facing baby’s feet to touch the vehicle seatback?
There is no evidence that longer legs are at risk of injury in a crash; in fact, leg and foot injuries are more common in children facing the front of the car. Most children learn to fold up their legs for comfort when their feet touch the back of the vehicle seat. For taller rear-facing children, the risk is not potential leg injuries but possible head contact with the vehicle interior in a severe rear impact or during rebound from a severe frontal collision.
Child Passenger Safety Regulations
Where do I find more information on automobile and car seat standards?
Additional information can be found on www.nhtsa.gov
What is LATCH?
LATCH is an acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. It is a system in your vehicle enforced by the federal government, designed to make car seat installation easier. All new vehicles and most child safety seats manufactured on or after September 1, 2002 are equipped with the LATCH system.
Where is LATCH?
Cars, minivans and light trucks manufactured on or after September 2002 are required to have LATCH anchor points between the vehicle's seat cushion and the seat back in at least two seating positions. Reference your vehicles owner’s manual for locations in your vehicle — many sedans and small SUVs do not have LATCH in the rear, center position.
Why does LATCH matter?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that the LATCH system will reduce as much as half the misuse associated with improperly installing a car seat However, use of the LATCH system does not eliminate all mistakes. Note: Even if your car comes equipped with LATCH anchors — you should still consider having your car seat installation checked by a certified technician.
When has my child outgrown the LATCH system?
The lower anchors can only be used up to a certain weight. Vehicle manufacturers can’t guarantee that the lower anchors will work once your child has reached a certain weight. While a vehicle may say that LATCH works up to 65 pounds, ALWAYS check your car seat owner’s manual for the LATCH weight limit.
Note: Depending on what manufacturers estimate to be the weight of the average child seat, many limit LATCH use to between 40 and 48 lbs. Once children exceed this weight, the seat must be installed using the vehicle seat belt, not LATCH.
What is a tether and when is it used?
The tether is part of the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). Using a tether in forward-facing car seats can reduce the forward motion of a child’s head in a crash by 8 or more inches, depending on the size of the child and the severity of the crash. Most rear-facing only infant car seats don’t use tethers. A tether is a webbed strap that attaches to the top of your safety seat on one end and has a hook or fastener to attach to your car’s anchor on the other end. NHSTA strongly recommends the use of a tether for forward-facing seats. Always reference your car seat owner’s manual for proper use of tethers.
What are the changes to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 (FMVSS 213) regarding LATCH that went into effect in February 2014.
There was a proposed change to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 (the safety standard that applies to car seats and boosters sold in the US) that went into effect late February of 2014. This change establishes a requirement that the lower LATCH anchor weight limits total 65 pounds (child’s weight + car seat’s weight). As a result, every car seat (that has a maximum allowable child weight + seat weight that is greater than 65 lbs) and manufactured after February 27, 2014 will have a label stating the maximum child’s weight for which the lower anchors can be used. Please note this change does not apply to the top tethers, only the lower anchors. Please consult your vehicle and car seat owner’s manuals to determine whether to use the LATCH system (lower anchors) or the vehicle seat belt for car seat installation and top tether usage.
For additional information on LATCH, visit the NHTSA website: Link to: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/LATCH
Sources: carseat.org/Resources/FAQs.htm www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/08/new-latch-car-seat-rules/index.htm
“The safest seat for you is the one that you feel the most comfortable installing correctly every time.”
Is it safer to use LATCH or seat belt method?
Both methods meet Federal safety standards. The most important thing is to be sure that the child safety seat is correctly installed in your vehicle. Be sure to read both the child safety seat instructions and the section in the vehicle owner’s manual on installing child safety seats. Never use both LATCH and seat belt methods at the same time.
Why should I keep my infant car seat away from airbags?
NEVER place a rear-facing infant seat in the front seat of a vehicle with a front passenger air bag. Air bags inflate virtually instantly after a crash, bursting from the dashboard at a speed of 200 miles per hour. That speed of impact can injure or kill children who are seated too close to the airbag when it deploys. The safest place for your infant is the back seat of your vehicle.
How can I tell if the car seat fits my car?
Lengthwise, the car seat must fit 80% of your vehicle seat’s bottom. If the car seat base is hanging off more than 20% of the vehicle seat, it’s too big for your car. There should also be no interference between the car seat and vehicle seats or vehicle doors. Not all car seats fit all vehicles. You should try your car seat out in all vehicles you plan to use it in to make sure it fits.
Is it ok to use a vehicle seat protector?
We recommend that you do not use any vehicle seat protectors (or any other layer) between the infant car seat and your upholstery. These items could change the performance of the car seat in a collision by sliding or changing the grip.
What purpose does the chest clip serve?
Chest clips are a helpful positioning tool that can aid in correctly aligning the 5-point harness on baby and American consumers have come to expect them. However, these small pieces of plastic are generally not designed to provide any function during a vehicle crash. Instead, most chest clips are designed to easily separate with one hand in case of an emergency, so you can remove your child quickly if you need to. The 5-point harness, when properly aligned over baby, along with a secure installation of your infant car seat are what protects your baby in a vehicle crash. For example, as CarSeatBlog.com points out, "Believe it or not, chest clips are not required on U.S. carseats by FMVSS 213. That’s because they’re really not necessary for crash protection as long as the harness is snug and positioned over the child’s shoulders.”
When do I need to use a locking clip?
When you have a seat belt that doesn’t lock and there’s no belt lock-off included with your car seat. Model year 1996 and newer vehicles are supposed to have safety belts that lock in some manner for installation of child safety seats, but occasionally a locking clip is still needed to keep the lap part of the belt from loosening. The purpose of and need for a locking clip are often misunderstood. A locking clip keeps the lap portion of a lap-shoulder belt tight on a child safety seat by clamping it to the shoulder portion next to the latch plate. If a locking clip is needed, it should be placed within a half inch of the latch plate.
A locking clip will do no good in a crash if used on a lap-only belt. If a lap-only safety belt loosens during use, try turning the latch plate over before buckling the belt. This will re-position the "tilt-lock” or locking bar mechanism used on lap-only belts and may help keep the belt tight.
- Lap-shoulder belt is all one piece of webbing.
- ELR is in place (Emergency locking retractor — only locks in a sudden stop, turn or crash)
- Sliding latchplate does not lock pre-crash
Checking Your Rear-Facing Carseat Installation
Find a Child Passenger Safety Technician near you through the Safe Kids website. Certified technicians will inspect your child car seat installation, in most cases, free of charge - and show you how to correctly install and use it.
Read more articles about First Year Baby Gear