One of the biggest challenges as a new parent is the car seat! We bought a Peg Perego infant seat and took it to a car seat clinic 2 months before our baby was born, just to make sure it was installed correctly. We were like any new overly cautious parent, super ready and excited for our son to arrive! I can then remember when he was only 4 months old and had already reached the height limit on his infant seat. There are so many manufactures and models on the market, how does one choose? We visited the store and tried 4 seats before we settled on the Britax with the cow print fabric, or until I convinced my husband it was the best and worth the extra money. It was what I wanted all along, I just need him to agree! But the problem was we bought our seat on a Saturday and their installer was only in on Tuesdays, so now what? Everything we read and had been told was that you needed to make sure your seat was installed correctly just like we did with our infant seat. I sat on the computer for a couple of hours searching for car seat clinics in my area and the next one was in a month. That was 9 years ago and lots has changed.
One of the biggest changes are companies like Baby Car Seat Installers. I had to share all about them so that if there is anyone still struggling with installing their car seat like I did 9 years ago, they can rest assured that Mohammad is to the rescue – no need to stress! Read on and learn a little about them, what they do and their advice to anyone purchasing or installing a seat themselves.
1. Please tell us a little about Baby Car Seat Installers.
We install car seats and teach parents how to use their car seats correctly. We also offer free installation inspections for parents who have installed their own child passenger restraint systems. Baby Car Seat Installers was started after I experienced firsthand how difficult it was to install a car seat correctly and how few resources were available. Our child passenger technicians are certified through St. John Ambulance, and we aim to educate and promote the importance of child passenger safety through our services and resources.
2. What areas do you service?
Our drive-in facility is located in Markham. We primarily service the Greater Toronto Area, but our mobile team has visited parents at home, work and even the hospital all over southern Ontario. We do our best to be there—wherever “there” may be—when we’re needed most.
3. Why is it important to make sure that your car seat is installed correctly?
Health Canada indicates car crashes as the leading cause of injury and death among Canadian children. And Transport Canada studies show over 80% of car seats are not used correctly. These two statistics demonstrate a dire need for more child passenger education and services. On the brighter side, St. John ambulance states using a car seat correctly seat can reduce the chance of serious injury by 70% and fatality by 90%. This is why we do what we do. Baby Car Seat Installers is trying to make a difference one car seat installation at a time.
4. Shopping for a new car seat can be very overwhelming. What tips can you recommend to those who are shopping for one?
Rest assured that all new seats sold in Canada meet the Canadian safety standards. That being said, a good place to start is determining what stage car seat your child will need and your budget.
I highly suggest doing some research online first and finding seats you like, and then visiting the store so you can see them. Doing your own research is crucial because the staff at many retailers don’t have the experience to ensure you’re choosing the best seat for your child and vehicle. If you need help in the store, find someone that knows car seats; or visit another time, location, or store. Often seats at different retailers can sometimes look identical but can be different. It is important to pay attention to the seats’ features, weight and height allowances and infant support padding that come with the models.
5. What tips do you have for people who aren’t located in your service area and want to install their seat themselves?
Check with your local health department if there are any community car seat clinics you can attend. Do this well in advance because they are generally held only a few times a year, and they book up extremely fast. If you are left without an option and have to do it yourself, consider the following guidelines:
1) Set aside time and do it well in advance. Doing it last minute will only increase the likelihood of errors.
2) Check YouTube for reputable installation videos—those that are current and done by technicians—for your exact car seat model. If you can’t find one for your model, watch a similar model seat. This will give you a general idea of pressure needed when installing and how a correct installation should look and feel. Bear in mind each car and seat is different, therefore, you will have to install your specific seat according to your particular user guide and vehicle manual.
3) Read the manual. Read the entire car seat bible (manual) and the child restraint sections in your vehicle manual. If you skip this step—long as it may be—your chances of winning a lottery are higher than installing the seat correctly. Your time versus your child’s safety, it’s your call.
4) Prepare as much of the seat as possible out of the vehicle with ample space, then take it into your car for installation. Working in the confined back seat can be frustrating.
5) Check your install. Make sure the base or seat doesn’t move from side to side or front to back more than an inch from the belt path. Check to see if the harness system still operates smoothly. For rear facing seats, be sure to check the angle; and for forward facing, ensure the tether strap is secured correctly and is tight.
6. Do you have a favourite seat that you would recommend to new parents?
Some seats are better suited for some children and not for others, so it’s impossible for me to pick a favourite. There are many quality car seats on the Canadian market and all of them meet Canadian safety standards. The manufactures I prefer are Clek, Britax, Diono and Peg Perego because none of their car seat models is substandard. These brands, however, do cost more. There are other quality car seats out there that don’t cost as much as the name brands; nevertheless, I am not a fan of all of their models.