We all want to keep our children as safe as possible when we’re out on the road. A big part of that is making sure to provide them with the proper gear for a secure ride. For babies, toddlers and young children, that means purchasing a car seat.
Most people are well aware of what to look for when they purchase a brand-new car seat, but unfortunately, few are experienced in how to spot a deficiency with the seat. You can set up the most secure situation for your child, have the seat buckled in, positioned according to the manufacturer instructions (rear-facing or forward-facing), but if there is an undetected defect, all you work will amount to little. Don’t let your child’s safety be thwarted by a factory mistake. Below is a complete guide of how to spot defects in your child’s car seat. If you have been sold or currently own a car seat for your child that is defective, in addition to the following guide the experienced defective child safety seat attorneys at Reyes Law based in Dallas, Texas have provided information regarding your rights.
Examine the Seat for Flaws or Operational Issues
It is one thing to thoroughly examine a car seat in the stores, it is entirely another to look at it in its intended functional role. You may also look at a car seat on the display, and if the ones for sale are boxed up, you will not get the opportunity to check until you’ve opened the package completely. That said, the best way to test and check your new car seat is by installing it into your vehicle.
Install the car seat using the following instructions:
- For forward-facing car seats: Attach the tether at the top of the car seat to the anchor positioned above and behind the rear seat. Attach the two lower tethers of the car seat to the anchors on the sides of the rear seat. (You may need to adjust the placement of your tethers depending on your vehicle and the make of your car seat.) Weave the seatbelt through the opening on the back of the car seat and buckle it. Ensure the seat is in the upright position.
- For rear-facing car seats, follow these same instructions, but ensure to lean the seat back as much as possible while still keeping the bottom flat and secure against the rear seat.
- Check to make sure the car seat is secure by placing your hands on either side of it near the lower tethers and tug on/move the seat back and forth. It should not move any more than an inch in any direction you pull.
When performing step two, you have the opportunity to check for the first defect. If the seat is moving around too much, there may be a flaw in the structural integrity of the seat. Keep up to date with any recalls of your model by registering your car seat with the manufacturer and/or signing up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There are also certified technicians that can assist you both in installing your car seat and examining it for free.