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Infant Car Seat Question?

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Morgie44

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Over the weekend, I rode to a family event with SIL (DH''s sister) and MIL. I sat in the back with SIL''s 3 month old nephew. Sitting next to him, it seemed that when we went over bumps/curves, the seat moved quite a bit. I grabbed the handle and it wiggled back and forth a lot...probably like 4+ inches in each direction. I also noticed that he didn''t have any type of restraint over his shoulders. He did have a small nylon strap (like the kind you would see on a highchair) and maybe a strap between his legs, I couldn''t tell, he had a blanket over his lap. It just seemed like he was SO loose in there... Is this safe?


If it is unsafe... I have had a very rocky relationship w/ DH''s family... I am always occused of being a busy body etc. and am not really comfortable asking SIL what''s for dinner for the risk of being occused of being nosy by her... SIL is also very ''my way is the best way and I don''t want to hear what you think'' about normal things so I am sure she will/would be the same way with So I wasn''t really comfortable saying anything to her. I can''t really have DH say anything because he has never ridden with nephew in the car like that so she would know that I said something to DH and was "trying to make her look bad" What would you do? Hopefully I am just being overly paranoid, and it really is fine for nephew to ride around like that but as a non-parent, I feel like all the other infants I have seen have some sort of harness-y thing?
 

TooPatient

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I don''t have kids. I did take care of my little cousins for my aunt and my grandmother was a nanny.


The best seat has a 5 point harness. That means it has five spots in the seat it attaches to. (one on either side for sholders, legs, and between the legs)

The seat should NOT be loose like that.


The fire departments have child seat info days. Maybe you could find out when they are having it and suggest it casually? That way it is coming from them and not you.
 

MustangGal

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He should have had shoulder straps on, ALL infant seats I''ve seen have those. As far a wiggling, my infant seat wiggled more than I thought it should have, and we did have it in correctly
 

Morgie44

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Toopatient - Thanks, but after Mustang''s comment, maybe it is installed correctly? I guess it is better for them to have it checked either way, but maybe they already had.

Mustang - That makes me feel a little better... the seat definitely had slots in the fabric around the shoulder area but there was nothing there? Are these straps removable?
 

mia1181

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OMG! That is my pet-peeve in life! A car seat needs to be in tight! I am not a parent but I speak up when I see a loose carseat. When I was a nanny I had a policy where I made the parents install the carseat into my car. That way, if anything happened they couldn''t blame me for improperly installing the carseat. However, this went out the window when I realized most parents do not know how to install a carseat. I can''t tell you how many times I''ve seen a dad wiggle the carseat 2 inches in either direction and then say "good enough!"


I just try to say it in the nicest way and if they get mad at me I really don''t care. I just can''t sit there in a dangerous situation like that. But that''s just me.
 

robbie3982

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Infants should definitely have a 5-point harness and the seat shouldn''t wiggle from side to side. We have a base in each car and neither move like you''re describing. I noticed on Saturday that the one in DH''s car was loosening up a bit, but he fixed it and now we''re back to no movement.
 

mia1181

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Date: 10/27/2009 3:52:59 PM
Author: Morgie44
Toopatient - Thanks, but after Mustang''s comment, maybe it is installed correctly? I guess it is better for them to have it checked either way, but maybe they already had.

Mustang - That makes me feel a little better... the seat definitely had slots in the fabric around the shoulder area but there was nothing there? Are these straps removable?
They can be repositioned and on some maybe for cleaning? There are often 2 or 3 different levels of strap slots and the straps may have been on the lowest level and the baby was sitting on top of them.
scary.
 

Morgie44

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Thanks for the responses... I am starting to worry that I just didn''t see the harness? I don''t want to say anything if he really was wearing it and look like I am trying to cause even more problems... He had on tan overalls and the straps on the car seat they have are tan as well. (here: Cosco Spirit) I am 100% that he had on a belt like the one that is shown on his stroller over his lap. Is it possible that I just didn''t see the harness?
 

TravelingGal

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If the seat can move more than 1 inch in either direction, it is not installed correctly. 90% of people install it incorrectly. Many of my friends did too. You really have to stand on the bases of a lot of these carseats and tighten with all your might to get a good install. And when I mean move it an inch, I''m talking trying to move it with a LOT of force.
 

fieryred33143

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Date: 10/27/2009 4:37:04 PM
Author: Morgie44
Thanks for the responses... I am starting to worry that I just didn''t see the harness? I don''t want to say anything if he really was wearing it and look like I am trying to cause even more problems... He had on tan overalls and the straps on the car seat they have are tan as well. (here: Cosco Spirit) I am 100% that he had on a belt like the one that is shown on his stroller over his lap. Is it possible that I just didn''t see the harness?
Did you notice whether he was moving around a lot too? I''m trying to picture strapping DD only at the legs and not the shoulder and it would have to be pretty loose to accomplish that meaning she would be bouncing around as well.
 

Pandora II

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Sounds bad to me.

I use an isofix system where the base unit attaches to the car, the seat then clicks in and there are coloured indicators to show that it''s correct. It doesn''t move an inch.

If I''m taking her in another car then I fix the seat in with just a seatbelt and again there is almost no movement.

I always use a 5 point harness and make sure it''s tight enough that she couldn''t wriggle her arms out.

Always a problem saying things. My brother''s wife is expecting a baby in January and they''ve bought a used car-seat off eBay. They were supposed to be picking Daisy and I up next week and think I''m being over-protective because I''m unhappy about her going in a seat I know nothing about. DH is now driving us. It''s one thing having a carseat from a close friend or relative where you KNOW it hasn''t been in any accident, but second-hand from eBay??? Just not worth my child''s life. I have a feeling once their baby is here they may feel differently...
 

Blenheim

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Date: 10/27/2009 4:51:59 PM
Author: TravelingGal
If the seat can move more than 1 inch in either direction, it is not installed correctly. 90% of people install it incorrectly. Many of my friends did too. You really have to stand on the bases of a lot of these carseats and tighten with all your might to get a good install. And when I mean move it an inch, I'm talking trying to move it with a LOT of force.
The certified car seat technician (or whatever they're called) who checked our installs said that the inch rule is when you push it with your less dominant hand.

That rule refers to the base of the carseat, by the way. If the base of the carseat can move 4", that's way too much. And they need all five points of the harness to be over their body.

I'm really not sure what the best way to address it would be. I'm fairly certain that it's illegal to have a child not restrained properly in a car, not to mention very dangerous were they to get in an accident.
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 10/27/2009 7:48:27 PM
Author: Blenheim

Date: 10/27/2009 4:51:59 PM
Author: TravelingGal
If the seat can move more than 1 inch in either direction, it is not installed correctly. 90% of people install it incorrectly. Many of my friends did too. You really have to stand on the bases of a lot of these carseats and tighten with all your might to get a good install. And when I mean move it an inch, I''m talking trying to move it with a LOT of force.
The certified car seat technician (or whatever they''re called) who checked our installs said that the inch rule is when you push it with your less dominant hand.

That rule refers to the base of the carseat, by the way. If the base of the carseat can move 4'', that''s way too much. And they need all five points of the harness to be over their body.

I''m really not sure what the best way to address it would be. I''m fairly certain that it''s illegal to have a child not restrained properly in a car, not to mention very dangerous were they to get in an accident.
Ha, I guess ours are more aggressive here...I had both seats checked and I swear, they way they shook it, you''d think they were trying to strangle it. He said TGuy did an A+ job but still managed to tighten it further.
 

drk

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Is your relationship with MIL as rocky as that with SIL? I''m sure she''d have been in the back with the grandkid at some point, but probably doesn''t know much about carseats since they wouldn''t have had them back when she was raising infants. If it''s a better relationship with her, I''d probably phone her and say you''d been worried about saying something directly to SIL for fear of offending her, but you love the baby and were concerned that maybe the car seat wasn''t installed properly. Then maybe she could suggest SIL take it to be checked out (and maybe they could reinforce how to properly restrain the baby in it too?).

It''s a very awkward situation for sure, but that kid would easily go flying if they were ever to be in an accident. If the above idea doesn''t work, I''d see if your DH couldn''t conveniently take a ride in the back seat with the kid some time soon, and then bring it up himself.
 

Morgie44

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Thank you all for the input. I brought it up to DH just by saying Do you know if she got the carseat checked? to kind of open the dialog without it seeming like I was criticizing his sister and I think he is going to ask his mom to say something to her about it. I just wanted to clarify one thing... is it the BASE that shouldn''t move more than an inch each way, or the seat itself? I am talking about the seat (the carrying handle on top is what I wiggled)


Date: 10/27/2009 4:54:24 PM
Author: fiery

Date: 10/27/2009 4:37:04 PM
Author: Morgie44
Thanks for the responses... I am starting to worry that I just didn''t see the harness? I don''t want to say anything if he really was wearing it and look like I am trying to cause even more problems... He had on tan overalls and the straps on the car seat they have are tan as well. (here: Cosco Spirit) I am 100% that he had on a belt like the one that is shown on his stroller over his lap. Is it possible that I just didn''t see the harness?
Did you notice whether he was moving around a lot too? I''m trying to picture strapping DD only at the legs and not the shoulder and it would have to be pretty loose to accomplish that meaning she would be bouncing around as well.
He was bouncing a little but, and leaning up against the one side... I am almost positive he had nothing over his shoiulders
 

robbie3982

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Morgie, when the seat is properly snapped into the base, neither should be able to move side to side like you''re describing. The seat should, however, be able to move up and down (the part where the baby''s feet go should be the pivot point) freely. This is what allows the seat to properly absorb the force in an accident.
 

Blenheim

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Date: 10/28/2009 9:34:55 AM
Author: robbie3982
Morgie, when the seat is properly snapped into the base, neither should be able to move side to side like you''re describing. The seat should, however, be able to move up and down (the part where the baby''s feet go should be the pivot point) freely. This is what allows the seat to properly absorb the force in an accident.
Just to clarify -
By "base", I meant the bottom part of the carseat that touches the back of the seat, and not the contraption that the infant carseat snaps into. The carseat and the base it snaps into should not move at all! But as a whole, the part of the carseat that touches the back of the car''s seat should not move more than 1".

Another thing that''s potentially concerning to me is the fact that you grabbed it by the handle to move it. In an impact, the seat can move upwards as Robbie said - and some models of carseats do not have handles that are designed to withstand the impact of hitting the back of the seat, and can shatter and injure the baby. Others are made to withstand the impact. I know that Chiccos are not and that you should always put their handles back behind the seat when the seat is in a vehicle. I''m not sure which makes allow you to leave the handles up, as I was just familiar with the instructions for ours. But that''s another thing that a carseat tech would be able to recognize.

Another thought - do you know how she would take it if you or your husband told her the story of your "friend" (me)? I''m a reasonably smart woman who read the entire instruction manual and figured that she had the whole installation thing covered. My engineer husband did the same thing. We installed the seats and everything seemed okay. And then, six months after baby is here, I got into an accident (everyone was ok). When I went to replace the carseat, the store had a carseat technician on staff who helped us install. And we learned the seats had been installed incorrectly for the last six months. Including the day that the rear of the car, where my son was seated, was hit. SCARY. And we didn''t have any of the obvious stuff going on that''s been mentioned here- we just didn''t realize that you can''t use Latch in the middle seat for Toyotas. So you could say that your friend been bugging everyone she knows to have their carseats checked out.
 

Morgie44

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Thanks Blen and Robbie - It sounds like there are definitely multiple issues here... I think your story might be a great way to bring it up to SIL What a scary thing that must have been for you! I am so glad that you are all safe!
 

robbie3982

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Morgie, sounds like this might not be too uncommon of an issue. Someone posted this on the bump today: http://community.thebump.com/cs/ks/forums/thread/25031689.aspx

The pic is blocked at work, but from the comments, it sounds like what you''re describing.
 
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