Before you have kids, there are a few things that you assume are easy to grasp but aren’t, like breastfeeding. Car seat safety is another one for me. As soon as I think I know what I’m doing, it’s time for a new seat!
I had a police officer install my infant car seat because I read that the majority of rear facing only infant car seats are incorrectly installed. I thought I was in the clear for car seat safety after that but as it turns out, that was just the beginning.
My vigilant Facebook friends made sure to post horror stories about children in car seats like fastening the seat belt over a puffy winter coat. Don’t do that! No coat underneath. Then one day, my sister properly adjusted Tommy’s straps. I took this picture to send to Nick so we would remember because we honestly were never shown. Tommy didn’t look too pleased with the new safety measures. #TBTTommy
September is Baby Safety Month, and I partnered and collaborated with Chicco today to answer your car seat questions and also help parents and caregivers remember to do all they can to assure their children’s safety.
I‘m also giving away one of their #1 rated KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seats. See details below to enter.
I asked you guys for questions on my Facebook Fan Page for Chiccos’ Child Passenger Safety Advocate. With more than 50 years of experience, Chicco is committed to keeping babies safe while making parents’ lives easier.
The first question, might as well have come from me, but it didn’t I swear! Tommy has just about out grown his infant car seat and we just got the Chicco NextFit Zip. The question now is when do we install it…
1. Should an upgrade or change from infant car seat to convertible car seat be dictated by weight, height or age?
To keep your child rear-facing as long as possible, transition to a convertible car seat when your child outgrows either the height or weight guidelines for your infant car seat. Keep your child rear-facing in their convertible car seat until at least 2 years old. It’s OK if your kid’s feet are touching the seat back or if they look a little cramped. Kids are a lot more flexible than adults, so it’s okay. Kids need to stay rear-facing for as long as possible to protect their head and neck in the event of a crash. Kids do not need to be turned forward-facing until they reach the maximum height or weight of the car seat. Kids are fragile, and they are best protected rear-facing, even if that means they have a little less leg room.
2. If you have two car seats, what seats should they be installed in? Is it ok to have a seat in the center, or should they be on either side of the car?
Before installing any car seat, it’s important to read your vehicle’s manual to understand if a car seat can be installed correctly in all three seats. In general, the middle of the backseat is the safest place to install a car seat and the placement of the second seat doesn’t matter. There is not one side of a vehicle that is safer than another, but the model of your vehicle and size of your car seats will determine if they can be installed next to one another. If you’re installing two car seats next to each other, make sure that the LATCH anchors and the seatbelt don’t interfere with each other. Also, the seats should install independently of each other. Convertible car seats like Chicco’s NextFit offer an exclusive ReclineSure® 9-position Leveling System, which provides the most recline options of any convertible car seat to accommodate a wider range of vehicles. Whatever you choose, make sure that you’re following the basic safety and installation guidelines for your car seats as proper installation can reduce fatal injuries to infants by 71%. [source]
3. What is the difference between a convertible and a 3-in-1 car seat? A convertible car seat allows for babies to stay rear facing until they are at least two years old, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Chicco also endorses that babies should stay rear facing until they are at least two years old, as that is the safest method. It is even a law in some states! The 3-in-1 car seat seems to be a good option for parents who see the economic benefit of not buying multiple seats, but most don’t realize that some 3-in-1 seats are forward-facing only, and convert from a car seat for older toddlers to a high-back booster and backless booster. This means you would still need to buy an infant car seat in addition to the 3-in-1 in some cases. When buying any car seat, it’s always important to do your research to make sure that it is in line with the most up to date safety guidelines and recommendations.
4. When should my child transition to a booster seat?
Even when your child fits the height and weight guidelines to use a seat belt instead of a full harness with their booster seat, that doesn’t mean they should. Maturity matters – most children younger than 5-years old are not mature enough to sit without a full harness. You know your child best, so don’t make the switch until you’re confident your growing child will sit still and safely without a full harness. Start with a high back booster seat so when your child falls asleep they stay in the correct position.
5. What are Chicco’s tips for transitioning children out of booster seats, into a real car seat with a seat belt?
Kids can stop using a booster seat when the standard seat belt fits them and they are mature enough to sit properly without the assistance of a seat. Before you stop using a booster seat, make sure your child meets all of the following criteria:
- Your child’s knees bend at the edge of the seat when his or her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back.
- The vehicle lap belt should fit across the upper thighs (not their stomach).
- The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest.
- Children are usually between 8 and 12 years old when the seat belt fits them properly.
Thank you to the Chicco Car Seat Safety Advocate for helping answer these questions. They might have been your questions but they were already so helpful for me. What I love about my KeyFit 30 is that it snaps into my jogging stroller. This has been my savior since Tommy was born when it comes to running.
Want to spread the word about car seat safety? Share these infographics.
Chicco’s car seat portfolio offers car seats that accommodate babies from infant to toddlers up to 110 lbs, including the #1 rated KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat and NextFit Convertible Car Seat, as well as the KidFit Booster.
Chicco has created a car seat safety hub where parents and caregivers can visit for more information.
To enter to win a KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat, leave a comment below sharing what surprised you the most about being or becoming a parent. I was surprised at how often babies sleep, I know that’s silly but I seriously didn’t realize how little they were awake at first! I’ll choose my favorite answer to win the car seat on Tuesday, September 27th, Winner will be sent an email.
This post was sponsored by Chicco. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We really do love our Chicco car seats!!!
What surprised me the most is, I couldn’t believe how much love you have in your heart from the first time you hold your newborn and how it just grows and grows every day
Malerie E. says
I have a four month old and have been surprised at how babies’ eating habits resemble adults. They are hungrier some days than they are others, at times just want a little snack and are often comforted by food (milk). Not so different from an adult 🙂 It has taught me not to try and schedule feedings and by teaching my daughter to trust her hunger cues, I have begun to trust mine.
How much they eat!!!
Cristina Brehob says
I am almost halfway through my first pregnancy and am so thankful for your very personal and down to earth mom blog! Thank you Sarah! I have been going back to watch your pregnancy posts and can’t wait to have a little baby of my own! Thank you for the safety car seat post ???? Although I can’t post about my baby yet, I can say that I have been surprised a out how quick time flies while pregnant!
I am halfway through my first pregnancy and I have been babysitting out me newborn niece to prepare for our little one.bi never knew how quickly they can dirty an outfit or how many outfits they can easily go through in one day!
How you might have to cut off onesies due to diaper blowouts!
Shannon Casey says
What surprised me most was how much work breastfeeding is! I had to go back to work right after my son was born and the pumping, constant feedings and very little sleep have changed my entire view on motherhood. I have so much respect for all the mamas out there❤️
I was surprised when my boy for the most part only napped for 45 minutes at a time until he was about 5 months old!
I’m due I January, but have been with my friends infants and toddlers and also am still surprised at how much they sleep. Especially when they transition to one nap a day.
I am surprised by the constant noise, and that I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
I have been surprised at how much my babies have made me laugh! You hear so many negative realities about parenting, and laughing with (and at) them has definitely been the best surprise!
I was very surprised by how much ear wax babies produce!! I even commented to a girlfriend and she said her baby has a lot of ear wax too…..glad to know I’m not alone, lol!!
Upon becoming a parent, I was surprised how changing diapers doesn’t gross me out or really seem like a chore -- I thought for some reason it would be way more obnoxious. Now, my daughter is 10 weeks so maybe this will change haha but so far, being a mom is just the best and most fulfilling job I could dream of 🙂
I am currently pregnant with my first and what has surprised me so far is that baby’s hiccup in the womb! I’ve never thought I could feel even their hiccups 🙂 it’s so adorable just thinking about the baby hiccuping inside me!
I had no idea how quickly they grow! My little man doubled his birthweight in just a few months!
I am halfway through my first pregnancy and I am surprised at how much there is to learn! I am trying to be a sponge right now and soak up as much as I can before our little boy is here -- this post came at the right time!!
The thing that surprised me the most about becoming a parent was the amount of concern I have for every little thing that I do in order to ensure the safety and contentness of my baby girl. I’m on a mission to constantly make her feel loved and cared for. Unfortunately, I feel guilty if I don’t spend a significant amount of time tending to her each day, which surprised me about becoming a parent as well.
Thanks for the helpful information. I recently found out I’m pregnant for the first time so I’m trying to learn as much as I can and would love to win this car seat! It’s overwhelming how much there is to research and learn before the babe comes. I’m glad I have another 7 months to figure it out 🙂
I was surprised that he ‘knew’ me. I know it sounds so silly but I was terrified that he wouldn’t like me or connect to me and I wasn’t sure how to make the bonding happen. I remember being shocked as soon as I held him that he felt like he had always belonged in my arms.
Laura mueller says
I was surprised about how many diapers babies go through. I knew it was a lot, but I couldn’t believe the amount we used.
Kelly Richman says
I was surprised by how often newborn babys need to nurse. It definitely was a full time job!
How much they eat!
I was surprised at how quickly he grew out of clothes and was onto the next size! It always seems like we just bought him a new wardrobe and he wore quite a few things only once.
Allison Saxton says
I’m reaching the end of my first pregnancy, and what has surprised me is all the weird things that happen to your body during pregnancy that no one ever talks about. Funky skin rashes, and body odor that you never had before getting pregnant. Oh the joys 🙂
Wonderful information!!! My second child is now 5 months old and I am always amazed how much dedication and hard-work nursing and working can be! All worth it to me 🙂
I have been surprised how guilty I feel trying to balance work and home life. It is so hard working full time outside of the house.
Ugh.. me too!
How all-encompassing the exhaustion from sleep deprivation can be.
Kari phaneuf says
Being a mom to more than one kiddo -- what surprised me the most was how its possible to love each kiddo with your whole heart.
I am also surprised by how long it takes to get out of the house these days!
I was just thinking about this the other day actually!
Honestly, I was shocked about the exact same thing about sleep. My parents and the older generation tried to encourage me to keep the baby awake all day so she’d sleep all night. We finally got wise and let her nap as much as she needed to and it was better all the way around!
How you view the entire world differently! The littlest things are that much more exciting and the scary things are so much more frightening now that you have little people to worry about!
I was surprised our newborn never slept! Seriously 🙁 he was up all day and night for hours at a time then take a 10 minute nap- but only on me. Zzzx
Pregnant with my first and I’m surprised about how often I think about the baby 🙂 Pure love, can’t wait 🙂
i was surprised at how much better you feel once they start smiling at you! Who knew interaction would actually make you feel normal again. Although, the first smile did go to my husband…
This is great Sarah. I see way too many blog posts with photos of people having their kids and properly fastened into the car seats, and it makes me so sad. Thanks for this great post. The most surprising thing to me is how many things I do now that I said I would never do 😉
Edit-having their kids improperly fastened!
I get to be constantly surprised by how many opinions everyone has about you and your baby. 🙂 Just got to do what what works best for you and your family.
I am currently just over 1/2 way through my first pregnancy and I am constantly surprised at how much there is to learn about baby “stuff”! Everything from car seats and cribs down to rockers and pacifiers! So much to research! This blog was very helpful as the Chicco brand is what we are learning towards for a car seat/stroller combo!
Amanda Cherry says
Actually car seat safety totally suprised me. I had no idea extended rear facing was so important. And that big puffy winter coats were such a big no no.
Jackie Bates says
What surprised me most was honestly probably the car seat thing!! There was so much to learn.
I have a 2.5 month old baby boy. He’s started smiling and really looking into my eyes, it’s super sweet. At the moment, I’m actually surprised how hard it’s been adjusting to having a baby and feeling helpless when he cries (and I don’t know why!). I’ve been told it gets easier around 3-4 months, but I’m trying to be patient and enjoy each stage.
I was surprised by how much I really had no idea what I was doing. Every baby is so different. They are one giant guessing game. And just when you think you have a sense of what works they switch it up on you.
I am so surprised how much my baby farts and the poops make so much noise! I was blown away!! Literally rumbles Lol
I’m just over halfway in my first pregnancy and I can’t believe how much I already love my child, and we have not even met yet! I’m also surprised by how much baby moves. If their movement inside is any indication of how they are on the outside we are going to have one very active little baby!
Taylor Cylke says
My son is almost 7 months and I didn’t realize that they need breastmilk and/or formula until they are 1 year old! I thought when they started solids at 6 months, they could start drinking whole milk :/
Woah was I wrong!!
I am very early into my first pregnancy and am learning something new everyday (thank you, little blueberry!) Having gotten pregnant thanks to amazingly wonderful fertility docs, I am surprised and thankful at how much of a miracle the whole process is. I’m also surprised by all of the cravings this little one is making me have! Helloooooo mac and cheese 🙂
27 weeks into my first pregnancy and I’m surprised with how many choices and decisions there are! From big things like your birthing plan all the way down to type of breatpump, color of mattress pad, or which car seat and stroller to get. It’s all very overwhelming!
Sarah S says
I was surprised that I became one of those mother’s that thinks EVERYTHING she does is adorable! I’m usually pretty easily grossed out, but not when it comes to my baby!
I’ve loved your journery in becoming a mom, Sarah! You make it look easy. The most surprising thing about becoming a parent, although I’ve only been one for 12 days, is how often they eat! My little boy, max, eats all the time what’s leaves me with hardly any time to myself. I don’t mind it at all because I love bonding with him but is just wasn’t something that I was expecting more prepared for.
Thank you and congrats!!
Kristen W says
I am due any day now so, I guess I can say what surprises me is how much I love my son and I haven’t officially met him yet! 🙂
Lisa @ Life as Lisa Knows It says
I don’t know much about being a parent just yet, but my husband and I have a baby girl due in March! As of now I can’t believe how fast she is growing -- the first time we saw her on an ultrasound she was just an itty bitty dot the doctor had to zoom in on and now she is a cute little baby that we get to see every few weeks on the screen! I can’t wait until March until we got to meet her!!! ???? I also had no idea how incredibly sick I would feel every single day -- morning sickness is no joke!! haha
I was aware that babies ate a lot, but was surprised at how much actually came OUT of them, out of their mouth, their nose, their bottom. I was also surprised at how little I cared about all that stuff getting on me and my clothes, a little spit up on my shirt totally isn’t worth changing to a whole new outfit!!!
I was surprised at just how hard breastfeeding was the second time around and how much I had forgotten from my last journey with my son who is just about 3.
I’m due in March and have been surprised how quickly my body is changing but how slowly time seems to go by! Can’t wait to meet the little one 🙂
I was surprised by the amount of items I would need to carry when taking the baby to the beach or on vacation. You have to take everything with you!! My arms have certainly gotten much stronger. Also, getting out of the house takes forever!! I always forget something!
Jessie boyer says
I was surprised how many times they woke up to eat. People told me enjoy your sleep before the baby comes now I know what they meant????
I had the opposite experience, each of the three times I’ve had a baby I’ve been shocked at how LITTLE my babies sleep.
I love how thought out and informational this post was! Great job!!
I was surprised at how much conflicting information and opinions are out there!
We were suprised with how much they sleep!!
I am surprised by how much of my time time is committed to my boobs! I feel like I am always either feeding, pumping, storing milk, washing bottles, wearing and washing special comfy bras, figuring out how to run again without them hurting! haha. Thanks for sharing your journey with us 🙂
I was surprised on how smart babies really are! My daughter did so much a head of time it amazed me.
what surprised me most is how much they eat
the amount of diapers that they actually go through
tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com
The thing that surprised me the most is the nightly infant scream fest that began without fail at 7:06 pm! What the world is that about!
What surprised me the most was how often they eat.
I’m surprised how scary every little thing is! I tend to worry !
What surprised me the most was how the ‘witching hour(s)’. I had no idea to expect that! It always happened at night too.
I was surprised by how exhausting life would be with children.
I was surprised at the depths of how fiercely protective I was immediately, not even just after birth, but from the moment of knowing I had conceived.
Denise K. says
I was surprised by all the little noises babies make 🙂
Maggie L says
I had my son the end of April and I was surprised by how even the littlest things that he does like reach for a toy or babble still amaze me!
nicki joseph says
I was surprised how tired I was after having a baby. Yes they sleep a lot in the beginning, but mine never slept for more than 2 hour stretches. They are so worth being tired for though!
Susan D says
I was surprised at how often babies eat!
It never ceases to amaze me how fast they grow out of clothes! You have to take inventory of the clothes that are given as gifts so you can remember to take pictures of them in it once! What fits them one day can make them look like the Michelin Man the next day!!
I am expecting my first child in February. So far what has surprised me the most is how much stuff needs to get done before the baby arrives! I feel like people stress over planning weddings, but usually you have a year + more to plan for one. Planning for a baby you only have less than 9 months!
Jenny Barnes says
I’m a birthmom so I don’t have any comments regarding my own child, but I am a nanny and I think what surprised me the most about the children I nanny (just turned one and the other is 3) is that the one year old all of a sudden has formed many opinions on life and has no problem telling you so!
Brandon Smith says
I was surprised how my kids have the innate ability to wake ten minutes after I crawl into bed.