Car Seat Safety: Tips & Guidelines for Keeping Your Kiddos Safe in the Car!

car seat

Okay so I know that I’m a bit extreme when it comes to some things pertaining to M’s safety, but in this day in age what with social media circulating tragic stories, hospitals sending home information with new parents and all the easy access to information on the internet, I feel like people must be living under some sort of rock to not understand car seat safety!!  I mean doesn’t everyone know that babies are safest rear facing and that not only is it the law, but it’s also the safest practice to keep your kids in car seats/buckled up while riding in the car?!  Apparently not!!!  In the past 2 weeks I’ve seen 2 instances where kids were’t safely buckled in: in one situation a mom was holding her child on her lap while driving…and the little girl could have only been about 3 at most!  In the other situation, another little girl, this time probably 5 or 6, was walking back and forth between the middle row of seats and 3rd row in the van in front of me…while they were driving down the road!  And then on a 16 and Pregnant episode one of the girls had her 8 month old baby forward facing in his car seat!!!  What is wrong with people?!

So, I’ve done a little research and put together some information just in case you are looking for guidelines to follow for keeping your little ones safe in the car!

Child safety seats can reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers, ages 1-4.” -National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Car Seat Guidelines Based on Age & Size

It is important to note that car seat laws vary state by state, but in my state the law reads as follows:

-A child under 1 year old who weighs less than 20 lbs. must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system.
-A child under 6 years old must be secured in a safety seat or booster seat. A seat belt alone is not appropriate.
-Children between 6 years old and 11 years old must be secured in a child restraint system or by a safety belt.
-All children under 18 years old must wear a seat belt.

However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should “keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.” – See more at: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Updates-Recommendation-on-Car-Seats.aspx#sthash.LKpy55vI.dpuf

A rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body.  For larger children, a forward-facing seat with a harness is safer than a booster, and a belt-positioning booster seat provides better protection than a seat belt alone until the seat belt fits correctly.” -Dr. Dennis Durbin, MD, FAAP

carseat2

Types of Car Seats 

Rear facing – Birth-2 yrs (or longer) – it is best to keep your child rear facing for as long as possible.  Children should remain rear facing until they outgrow the weight or height restrictions for rear facing in your particular car seat as established by your car seat manufacturer.

Forward facing – 2 yrs (or older)-7 yrs – once your child has outgrown the weight or height restrictions for your rear facing car seat they should be in a forward facing, 5 point harness car seat.  They should remain this way until they reach the weight or height restrictions for your car seat.  At this point they will move into a booster seat.

Booster seat – 5 yrs (or older) – 12 yrs – children should be secured in a booster seat using your car’s seat buckle once they have outgrown the weight or height restrictions for your forward facing car seat.  They should remain this way until they are big enough that your car’s seat belt fits them properly. “For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.” (Parents Central)

Remember: ALL children under the age of 18 should ride in the backseat at all times safely secured by a car seat or seat belt.

New research has found children are safer in rear-facing car seats. A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention showed that children under age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing. -American Academy of Pediatrics

Tips for Keeping Your Kiddos Safe

  • Have your car seat installed by a professional!  “While 96 percent of parents and caregivers believe their child safety seats are installed correctly, research shows that 7 out of 10 children are improperly restrained.” (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)  Call your local hospital, police station or use Google to find certified car seat installation experts in your area.
  • Make sure your child is secured correctly in their car seat.  Shoulder straps should be over their shoulders starting slightly below the shoulders in the back, chest clips should be level with their armpits and the straps should be tight enough so as to not be able to pinch any material between your fingers.

6c8a258256dafc6992d64c4e38780815

  • Don’t use after market products on your car seat.  This includes head supports, vehicle seat covers, shoulder strap cushions, etc.  These things aren’t crash tested with your particular car seat, therefore your child might not be as safe when they’re being used.
  • Don’t bundle your child when they’re in their car seat!!!  This is a big one, especially here in the Midwest where it gets cold!  Rather than bundling up your babe, you’re better off to warm up the car and dress them in warm, thin clothing covered with blankets.  Or, you can safely buckle your child in and then put their arms through their coat backwards so that it is covering the front of them.  One last idea would be to make (or buy) a blanket poncho that can go over their head but be flipped up in the back so as to not be under the child/straps.  (Side note – this is what I did… it was super easy to make using a blanket that we already had!)  In order to allow your child to fit in their car seat with a big bulky coat on, you’ll have to loosen their straps.  In the event of a car accident, the coat will compress leaving an unsafe amount of space between your baby and the straps of their car seat.

3684d2558f5c12a000d0a376229adb48

  • In the event of a car accident, replace your car seat immediately!  Many people don’t realize that even the smallest fender bender can compromise the safety of your child’s car seat.  No matter how big or small of an accident that you get into, it is important to replace the car seat!  If you turn in a claim to your insurance company, most of the time they will cover the cost of the replacement car seat.
  • Check your car seat’s expiration date.  Did you know that your car seat expires??  It is important to pay attention to the expiration of your car seat to ensure your child’s safety.  Expiration dates vary depending on the car seat manufacturer and can typically be found on the car seat itself.  If not, there should be a manufacture date and you can look on your seat’s manufacturer website to determine the length of time before your seat expires.

Resources

For more information on car seat safety, visit the following websites!

American Academy of Pediatrics

Parents Central

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

SeatCheck

The Car Seat Lady

Happy Fall {+ a Weekly Craft!}

Well, it’s October so that means it’s officially Fall, right?  This means pumpkin patches, bonfires, hayrack rides, apple orchards and pumpkin flavored everything.  Here in the Midwest where we’re blessed to have seasons, Fall also signifies a change.  The leaves on our trees go from green to deep shades of red, purple, yellow and orange, eventually they fall to the ground leaving bare branches, the weather is changing as well, we’re met with cool, sunny days and crisp, chilly nights.  We feel this sense of urgency to take advantage of the nice days we have spending as much time outside as we can before the weather really makes a change as winter sets in in the days ahead.  Even the smell in the air changes, a mix of burning leaves, fields being harvested and cooler air.

In this season of change, where the holidays are right around the corner, what better time to reflect on the blessings in your life.  Perhaps in doing so you’ll come up with some things you’d like to change about yourself, about your surroundings, about your life.  And during this season of change it seems appropriate, don’t you think?

 

In honor of Fall, my favorite season of the year, I thought it would be fun to post weekly Fall-related crafts!  M LOVES arts and crafts so I’m always looking for cute little projects for us to do together: this week we made handprint leaves!

It was super easy and turned out so cute!  All you do is paint your kiddos palms with craft paint, have them stamp their handprints and when the paint’s dry, draw on the veins and stems of the leaves with a brown Sharpie.  Happy crafting!! 🙂  And check back next week for another fun Fall craft!

handprint leaves

My Summer “On-the-Go” Kit aka “Ouch Pouch”

ouch pouch 1

School’s officially out and the days are getting longer and warmer, which means more trips to the park, pool, beach and more.  With a toddler around, more time spent playing outside also means more “boom booms” as M calls them!  I decided that with all of our outdoor adventures, it would be a good idea to put together a little on-the-go first aid kit of sorts.  I came across a super cute idea to make an “ouch pouch”, containing everything one needs in case of a “boom boom” and modified the idea a bit to include the things I deemed necessary for a summer on-the-go kit suitable to grab and throw in any bag on the way out the door to our summer activities, regardless of what they are.

Here’s what’s in my “ouch pouch”:

  • chapstick
  • antibacterial hand wipes
  • hand lotion
  • hand sanitizer
  • homemade, natural bug spray (find the recipe here)
  • bandaids (in a variety of sizes)
  • sunscreen
  • Neosporin
  • antiseptic wipes
  • gauze pads
  • Kleenex
  • Earth Mama, Angel Baby Bottom Balm (for rashes, eczema spots, burns, scrapes, bug bites, basically anything and everything!)
  • and last but certainly not least… a sucker (cause they make everything feel better, right?!)

ouch pouch 2

What else could you include??  Pain reliever, allergy medicine, Epi pen (for kiddos with severe allergies), inhaler, snacks/granola bars, basically anything you think you might need!!  Having it all put together in a portable little pouch makes it super easy for you to grab and go!

Happy Summer! 🙂

Signature

Bzzz into Summer!

photo 5

Summer is just around the corner and I only have 3 days left with the two little boys that I watch.  Today we made a fun, “summery” craft that will bee (hehe) perfect to decorate the fridge with to welcome in summer break!

Here’s what you’ll need:

materials

Paper, yellow craft paint, a marker, googly eyes & a paintbrush

Here’s what to do:

  • Paint the bottom of your child’s foot yellow and press the footprint onto a piece of paper – I cut the paper into 5×7″ pieces.
  • Turn the paper so that the toes are pointing down and draw on the antennae and wings – your child can help with this depending on their age!!

photo 2

 

  • Apply 2 googly eyes to each bumblebee and then draw on stripes.  With a black crayon or marker, have your child color in the stripes on the bee.

photo 3

  • Lastly, draw on the facial features – eyebrows and mouth – to complete your little bumblebee!!  I love how they turned out – SO CUTE!!  And, they were really easy to make and the kids loved it, too!! 🙂

photo 4

Happy crafting and WELCOME SUMMER BREAK…3 days and counting! 😉

Signature

 

 

Happy May {Day}!! Baskets anyone?!

Don’t you just love May?  I mean think about it… May signifies the end of school, warmer weather, (April showers bring…) May flowers!, summer’s just around the corner (finally!), and of course May 1st = May Day Baskets!

M's May Day Baskets!

M’s May Day Baskets!

As a kid I loved this fun little tradition of filling up styrofoam or plastic cups (or even those little green plastic containers strawberries used to come in?!) with candy and popcorn and leaving them on the steps of all your friends around the neighborhood!  It seemed like everyone waited until after school to drop them off because it was especially fun when you’d come home from making your deliveries to find several had been left on your step!  I’ll forever associate stale popcorn with May Day! 🙂  Sometimes we would even make them all crafty and creative with decorations on the cup and of course a pipe cleaner for the handle.  I’m so excited because this is the first year that M is going to leave May Day Baskets on the front steps of her little neighborhood friends (super huge thank you to my mom for the cute idea and all the materials for this year’s baskets!!)!  All this planning for and reminiscing about May Day got me to thinking about how this little tradition came about in the first place… so, I did a little research! 🙂

For hundreds of years, May Day has been celebrated by cultures all over the world as the beginning of summer.  People who are tired and fed up with the cold winter weather would use the day to signify and welcome warmer weather, sunshine, flowers, etc.  In ancient Ireland and Scotland, festivals were held because they were thought to improve crops and livestock reproduction.  In later years, however, people participated in traditions such as crowning a May Queen to lead the day’s celebrations, dancing around the May Pole and gathering flowers and soaking up the sunshine.  May Day Baskets were made by children and filled with flowers and candy and secretly left on the porches of neighbors in the early morning hours.  It was believed that if parents and their children went outside early in the morning of May 1st and covered their face with the morning dew they would be more beautiful and blessed with a healthy, prosperous summer.

Another story about the origin of May Day Baskets comes from Roman, German and Celtic traditions that honored the Goddess of Flowers.  On May 1st, the cultures celebrated the Goddess and the hope for Spring by gathering wildflowers.  Children then filled baskets with these flowers and left them on the door steps of their elderly neighbors to brighten their moods and spirits.

Today, many neighborhoods across the country still honor the tradition of May Day Baskets, filling them with candy and leaving them on the porch of neighborhood children.  No matter the origin of the tradition, how fun to spend the time with your kids decorating and filling baskets, running all around making your deliveries and teaching them the joy of brightening the day of someone else!

Here are some super cute May Basket ideas I found online:

 

Happy May Day!!  I hope you have a fabulous first day of May celebrating warmer weather, sunshine and of course May flowers!  I wish you all nothing but health and prosperity this summer!!

Signature

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/what-is-may-day-all-about/2014/04/29/e2d6056c-cafc-11e3-95f7-7ecdde72d2ea_story.html

http://www.chicagonow.com/lipstick-lollipops/2014/04/may-day-basket/

Friday Find: Resurrection Eggs

Have you heard of these??  I hadn’t until a few days ago, but what a super cute idea for the kiddos!!!  You can buy ready-made eggs, but they’re also really easy to DIY!  There is a little bit of variation in ideas for what to put in the eggs but for the most part the ones I found were pretty similar.  Check it out:

167

Resurrection Eggs can help share the real Easter story, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus so that each of us can be saved through him,  with your kids.  There are 12 eggs, each containing an object and a bible verse to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Starting 12 days before Easter, have your children open one egg each day and discuss the significance of the item inside, as well as the accompanying bible verse.  Use this time to share the real meaning of Easter and reflect on what Jesus truly did for us on the cross!

Day 1: Donkey or leaf – representing the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem/the palm branches people waved at him – Matthew 21:9

Day 2: Silver coins (quarters) – representing the 30 silver coins that Judas Iscariot received – Matthew 26:14-15

Day 3: Cup (thimble?) – representing the Last Supper – Matthew 26:26-28

Day 4: Praying hands/scroll (rolled up piece of paper) – representing Jesus’ prayers in the garden – Matthew 26:39

Day 5: Piece of leather – representing the whips the soldiers used to beat Jesus – Mark 15:15

Day 6: Crown – representing the Crown of Thorns Jesus was made to wear in mockery – Matthew 27:29

Day 7: Nail – representing the cross and nails that pierced His hands and feet – Matthew 27:31

Day 8: Dice – representing how the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ belongings – Matthew 27:35

Day 9: Toothpick – representing the spear used to pierce Jesus’ side – John 19:34

Day 10: Piece of material/cloth – representing the linen cloth used to wrap Jesus’ body after he died – Matthew 27:59

Day 11: Rock – representing the stone placed in front of Jesus’ tombed – Matthew 27:56

Day 12 – Easter Morning – Empty egg!!!  – representing the empty tomb and Jesus’ resurrection into Heaven – Matthew 28:25

 

There’s even a story book about Resurrection Eggs that you can read with the kids, too!!

lily-easter-party

This Easter I hope that you can take some time to put aside all of the secular Eastery things like bunnies and egg hunts to teach your kids and reflect on the true meaning of the day! ❤

Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image credits: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mIRILdPiQFU/T2_6s8LLr8I/AAAAAAABGM/SbXEZ1n5AdY/s1600/167.JPG

http://crystalbowman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lily-easter-party

Watercolor Butterflies

Alright mamas, I’ve got another fun and super easy craft for you to do with the kiddos today!!  It was Miss M’s first time painting and she loved it!  Hope your little ones have as much fun as she did!! 🙂

Here’s what you need!

20140327_101343

 

  • Coffee filters
  • Clothesline clips
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Watercolor paints/paint brushes

Step 1:  Paint the coffee filter.  **Be careful though because if it gets too wet, it’ll tear easily.  Allow to dry before moving on to step 2.

20140327_10265520140327_102735

Step 2:  After it’s dry, gather/bunch up the middle of the coffee filter – you can do it accordion style, or just pinch it into the middle.  Clip the clothesline pin around the center of the filter so that it makes “wings” on either side of the “body” (clip).

20140327_121819

 

Step 3:  Fold pipe cleaner in half, curl the ends and clip into the clothesline clip to make the antennae.  Ta da!  That’s all there is to it!  See, I told you it was easy!!

20140327_121728

 

Happy crafting! 🙂

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12036537/?claim=g9zap8fku25″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Signature