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Though older adults may fondly remember roaming freely about the backseat, and even the front seat, at 60 miles per hour, those days are thankfully long gone.

  • Practice installing the carseat several times before you need to, AND practice tightening and unbuckling straps as well.
  • While the carseat is new, learn what all the parts should look like when they’re in top condition, and make sure they are.
  • Ask for help – there are people in your community trained to help you. Ask local law enforcement or ambulance service for resources in your community. Improper installation can cause injury in the event of an accident.
  • Avoid hand-me-downs – carseats deteriorate in use just as everything else does. Look for the carseat expiration date. Do not use a carseat that has been in an accident – another reason to avoid used carseats.
  • Take as much stuff home from the hospital in advance as possible — you don’t want a carload of flowers, cards, and clothes making the trip any more challenging than it will already be.
Photograph of a car seat with a circle marking an area of wear and tear on the safety strap
Photograph of a car seat with a circle marking an area of wear and tear in a different location on the safety strap

BEWARE OF USED CARSEAT BARGAINS! Purchasing everything you need for a new baby can often strain budgets, and buying used or borrowing can be a great option on lots of items. Always keep safety in mind and do your research by looking for expiration dates, product recalls and inspecting for excessive wear and tear, especially with carseats.

(This article is part of Virginia Gay Hospital’s bi-annual publication, “Thrive” Spring/Summer 2018 issue. An online version of the entire publication can be found at https://myvgh.org/thrive/)

Virginia Gay Family Medical Clinics provide prenatal care to 30 weeks for pregnancies without complications. Well-child visits are available beginning after the first postpartum assessment, and children are cared for through adolescence. To schedule an appointment, call the clinic of your choice: Atkins, Urbana, Van Horne or Vinton Family Medical Clinic.

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