Infant and child car seat safety is quite the hot topic these days; for good reason too! Vehicles seem to be going faster every day, and there are far too many distracted drivers on the road. Obviously, the safety of our children in the car is something we should be very interested in.
Car seat safety isn't really all that complex. You just need to know how to properly use your specific seat for your child's height and weight, what the laws and regulations are in your location, and you are set! Lucky for all of us, car seats always come with user manuals, and you can even find a certified CPS technician in most every city in the country with this system!
When it comes to the chest clip on both infant and convertible car seats, it should always be placed at the level of the armpits on the child. Why? Well, the chest clip is designed to hold the straps of the seat in the correct place on your child. If the clip is too high or low, then the straps on the seat will not be sitting where they should to hold the child or infant in place, if you are in an accident. With the chest clip at armpit level, and the straps in the correct place, baby's body will be held securely against their car seat.
Is it really that big of a deal? Yes. The chest clip keeps the straps running alongside your baby's neck, and right over the middle/top of the shoulders. Without the chest clip, the straps can very easily move, or be moved (toddler hands sure are tricky), too far to the outside of their shoulders. Straps on the outside of the shoulders make any of the following things become a much greater possibility;
- Increased head excursion (whiplash)
- Spinal cord, internal, and brain injuries
- Ejection from the car seat
Perfectly placed straps keep your baby secure against the back of his/her seat. That is exactly where you want them to be if you do get in an accident!
*Important note: Exact placement of the clip will need to be adjusted as you tighten your straps. Be sure to get the straps tight enough before you slide the chest clip exactly into place! A well-placed chest clip on straps that aren't tight enough is counter productive.
There really isn't much else to the placement of the chest clip! The only other thing to say is...please always fasten both the chest clip and between-leg clips! No matter how late or frazzled you are, slowing down to properly fasten the car seat is well worth your time!